In a few short years, the Royal Canadian Air Force expanded from a small domestic force of 8 squadrons and 4,000 personnel to a globe-spanning air force with 80 operational squadrons and 250,000 personnel (including 17,000 women). The RCAF defended London, led the Normandy invasion, protected convoys in the North Atlantic, and took the fight to Hamburg and Berlin. RCAF pilots served in North Africa, Italy, Burma, and the Aleutians. And, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was one of Canada’s most important wartime activities. This talk will explore the RCAF’s many contributions to victory in the Second World War.
Mike Bechthold (PhD, University of New South Wales) is an historian of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He is the author/editor of eight books and numerous articles. His most recent monograph is Flying to Victory: Raymond Collishaw and the Western Desert Campaign (2017). He specializes in the fields of military air power in the First and Second World Wars, the Canadian army in Normandy and Northwest Europe, and the Canadian Corps in the Great War.
The Maple Leaf Route webinar series is a partnership between the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada, the Canadian Battlefields Foundation and the Juno Beach Centre Association.