The R.C.A.F. Overseas

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The R.C.A.F. Overseas

Post by BFBSM » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:53 am

The Official History of The R.C.A.F. Overseas was published in three volumes over a five year period from 1944 to 1949. The three volumes are available as individual PDF documents:

Volume 1: The First Four Years: ... vol1_e.pdf
The following pages are part of Canada’s Epic of the Air. That Epic which, some day when the war has ended, will be written in complete detail without the restrictions of censorship, is an immortal story of initiative and courage, of sacrifice and undying devotion to duty. The present volume covers the period from February 1940 to August 1943. It is based only on such records as can now be revealed without endangering security. It is confined largely to the activities of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and does not, of necessity, describe the work of the thousands of Canadians in the Royal Air Force. Canadian flyers are fighting today on all the battle fronts of the world. Wherever they are in action, in the Royal Canadian Air Force or in the Royal Air Force, their achievements form a golden record of glory of which Canada is justly proud. Their story is precious to our country. It is my earnest hope that the pages which follow may give to our people a deeper knowledge and appreciation of our airmen’s way of life, their duties, their intrepid heroism and their steadfast honour, and that the valorous deeds here recorded may be an inspiration to the young whose future responsibility will be to maintain in our beloved land the justice and the freedom for which our youthful airmen fought and died.

February, 1944.
Volume 2: The Fifth Year: ... vol2_e.pdf
This volume of the operational activities of the Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons overseas covers a period prior to my becoming associated with the Department of National Defence for Air. Nevertheless, like all other Canadians I have an immense pride in the glorious story of skill, courage and devotion to duty of our fighting airmen all over the world.

This is a story of skill developed in the great British Commonwealth Air Training Plan which the Royal Canadian Air Force had the honour of administering during the five years of its existence. Good tuition alone cannot make a hero. The essential quality of heroism lies within our own
Canadian boys who, having acquired the necessary skill, went far from home to demonstrate to friend and foe alike that a peace-loving Canadian, fighting in a good cause, is a formidable antagonist.

Even a series of historical narratives cannot recount the thousands of deeds of bravery which are a part of the daily work of our airmen, and this volume, while mentioning briefly many personnel, has not attempted to give the complete story. Every reader will realize, however, that the
events narrated symbolize the whole body of courageous Canadian youth serving in the R.C.A.F.

Just as the previous volume covering the operations of the First Four Years of the war was incomplete for security reasons and because it could not cover the activities of those of our personnel who served and are serving with the Royal Air Force this record must also be incomplete. However, the story it tells is unsurpassed in history and is worthy of the attention of all.

I further commend this volume to the consideration of all Canadians because of its timeliness. The historians of the R.C.A.F. have not waited until the dust of years has accumulated on the records of our men but they present the story only a few months after the heroic deeds themselves here recorded.

Colin Gibson
March, 1945.
Volume 3: The Sixth Year: ... vol3_e.pdf
The R.C.A.F. Overseas: ‘The First Four Years narrated the activities of the operational squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force overseas from February, 1940, to the end of August, 1943. The second volume, The R.C.A.F. Overseas: The Fifth Year, carried the story through to September, 1944. Now this, the third and last volume, presents the record of what our men did in bringing the conflict to its triumphal conclusion. It is based on the diaries maintained by every fighting unit, but it differs slightly from the other volumes in that some of the controls, exercised for security reasons, have now been relaxed. With the others it forms a trilogy that tells in simple language what was accomplished so heroically by Canadian airmen in almost every part of the world. The deeds of these men rank with those of their fathers who pioneered in Canadian military and naval aviation in the First World War. They are deeds of which Canada can be proud, unsurpassed as they are in the annals of any country in a cause that could not have been better. They are at once a consolation to the bereaved, an inspiration to our youth, and an incentive to all of us to be worthy of the sacrifices that were made. But for them our Canadian way of life would undoubtedly have perished and civilization would have rotted and decayed under a universal dictatorship.

It has not been possible to give the name of every airman who took part in the epic destruction of Nazism and it is undoubtedly true that many deeds of great valour will never be known. Let those here described be taken as a measure for the rest and may the sacrifices made in the cause of Canadian freedom never be forgotten.

May, 1948.

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