Air Force

Pilots Down

Canada’s most up-to-date aircraft in 1939 was the Northrop Delta, manufactured under licence by Canadian Vickers Ltd. in Montreal. It was about the size of a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter—a large, single-engine, low-wing monoplane, powerful and fast. Although noisy and said to be nose-heavy, the Delta was a versatile aircraft and pilots generally spoke...
  • The West Coast Balloon Attack: Air Force, Part 34

    August 22, 2009 by Hugh A. Halliday
    Debris from a Japanese incendiary balloon. PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—PA203222 Commencing Nov. 3, 1944, and continuing to mid-April 1945, Japan launched between 9,000 and 10,000 incendiary balloons from their home islands in an attempt to set North America’s forests alight from Alaska to California....
  • Clearing The Channel: Air Force, Part 33

    June 25, 2009 by Hugh A. Halliday
    A Sunderland flying boat of No. 422 Squadron. PHOTO: CARL F. SCHAEFER COLLECTION, LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—PA202897 The success of Allied landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944, and the subsequent campaign to break out from that ancient province was due to the services and...
  • Winding Down Western Air Command: Air Force, Part 32

    April 25, 2009 by Hugh A. Halliday
    A Stranraer of No. 9 Sqdn. at Bella Bella, B.C. PHOTO: CANADIAN FORCES—PL9599 With the Japanese gone from the Aleutian Islands, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Western Air Command began running down its combat role while increasing its emphasis on training and transportation. Long-range patrols...
  • The Japanese Attack: Air Force, Part 31

    February 23, 2009 by Hugh A. Halliday
    RCAF personnel and aircraft at Patricia Bay, B.C., in 1942. PHOTO: NATIONAL DEFENCE, LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—PA140638 May 1942 marked the high tide of Japanese expansion. This ended abruptly at the Battle of Midway on June 4 when four enemy aircraft carriers were sunk. As...
  • Western Air Command: Air Force, Part 30

    December 19, 2008 by Hugh A. Halliday
    A Supermarine Stranraer at Alliford Bay, B.C., 1941. PHOTO: DEPT. OF NATIONAL DEFENCE, LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA–PA136890 In 1920, the newly formed Canadian Air Board, controlling both civil and military aviation, established a base at Jericho Beach, Vancouver, which became the principal air force base...
  • Airmen Over Arnhem: Air Force, Part 29

    October 10, 2008 by Hugh A. Halliday
    Stirlings (above) were used as glider tugs and transports. PHOTO: CANADIAN FORCES—PL45293 Official Royal Canadian Air Force histories of the Second World War have, of necessity, concentrated on policies directly affecting the national contribution and with particular reference to personnel in RCAF units. Unhappily, this...