Three thousand miles across a hunted ocean they came, wearing on the shoulder of their tunics the treasured name, "Canada," telling the world their origin. Young men and women they were, some still in their teens, fashioned by their Maker to love, not to kill, but proud and earnest in their mission to stand, and if it had to be, to die, for their country and for freedom.
One day, when the history of the twentieth century is finally written, it will be recorded that when human society stood at the crossroads and civilization itself was under siege, the Royal Canadian Air Force was there to fill the breach and help give humanity the victory. And all those who had a part in it will have left to posterity a legacy of honour, of courage, and of valour that time can never despoil.
Although hundreds of Canadians were serving with Bomber Command in the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of war, the Canadian involvement was one that grew as the war progressed. Through the training of large numbers of aircrew in Canada by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, the number of Canadians serving in all aspects of the air war increased dramatically and members of the Royal Canadian Air Force played a major role. Many members of the RCAF served in Royal Air Force squadrons.
One third of all Bomber Command aircrew were Canadians.
In October of 1942, No.6 Group of Bomber Command was created to be completely manned by Canadian officers and men and at the end of the war it had grown to fourteen squadrons. No. 405 Squadron RCAF finished the war serving with No. 8 Group RAF, the Pathfinder Force.
The Canadian effort reached its peak in 1944 when 25,353 sorties were flown. In total, No. 6 Group flew a total of 40,822 sorties during the war. 271,981 hours were flown, a total of 126,122 tons of bombs were dropped and 814 aircraft lost. Eight thousand decorations for bravery were awarded to No. 6 Group aircrew.
Canadian aircrew veterans remember their efforts with great pride as expressed by Jerry Fultz, "I had the honour and pleasure of serving in the finest force that this country has ever raised, the RCAF."
At the end of the War
while serving with each of these squadrons
is available on
Canada's Bomber Command Virtual Memorial