Banner with photos of pilots and Air Force Personel during the Second World War

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Introduction

Canada’s participation in the air war involved a wide variety of missions and included dropping bombs, aerial combat, transporting supplies, hunting submarines and acting as the eyes and ears of military forces on the ground. Although the process or building up its strength had already begun, the Royal Canadian Air Force was a small organization when the war began in September 1939.


Overseas, Canadian aircraft and crews fought with the Royal Air Force in the skies over Great Britain and the English Channel during the Battle of Britain in 1940. Throughout the war, Canadian fighters and bombers flew thousands of missions over Northwest Europe escorting bombers, attacking targets on the ground and fighting German aircraft. In addition, Canadian light bombers formed an important part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force in 1944 and 1945.


By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had become the fourth largest air force in the world. Approximately two hundred and forty-five thousand Canadian men and women served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Approximately eighteen thousand of these men and women died on operations or in training accidents.


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