NO. 242 SQUADRON, THE CANADIAN YEARS: THE STORY OF THE RAP'S "ALL-CANADIAN" FIGHTER SQUADRON
Volume 11 Number 2.
When Canada declared war on Germany in 1939, the flood of aircrew graduates from the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was in the future. Of moment, was Canada's immediate participation in the air war. There were, in 1939, one thousand Canadian aircrew either serving or under training in the RAF (the so-called CAN/RAF personnel). It was decided to form a fighter squadron within the RAF staffed by Canadians. On November 1, with the appointment of Squadron Leader Fowler Morgan Gobeil, RCAF, as commanding officer, 242 "Canadian" squadron was bom. Gobeil had flown with the famous Siskin acrobatic team, making him one of the few members of the RCAF in the 1930s with any experience on fighter aircraft.
No. 242 Squadron, the Canadian Years is the story of 242's life up to September 1941 when the last original Canadian member, Bob Grassick, of London, Ontario was posted. The squadron by then had become cosmopolitan and had lost its Canadian identity. Its pilots fought in the Battle of France, under the famous squadron leader Douglas Bader, in the Battle of Britain and in early offensive operations over Europe. In all of these campaigns, they racked up an impressive record of victories. A fascinating sidelight to the story is the picture of hardship, confusion, and bravery during the hopeless Battle of France.
The author, who served in the RCAF from 1961 to 1968 and is at present curator of war art on the staff of the Canadian War Museum, has also written The Tumbling Sky (Canada's Wings, 1978). This tells the story of over thirty-five Canadian Aces of World War II. No. 242 Squadron, with 108 photos and five maps is a good read and a model of painstaking research. It holds particular interest for old sweats, students of Canadian military history, and to those of all ages who react to the near-legendary name, "Hurricane."
Alfred F. Greenwood, Victoria, BC.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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