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Canada and the War
Personnel of 415 Squadron, RCAF, with one of the unit's Handley-Page Halifax heavy bombers, East-Moor, Yorkshire, England 1944-1945 - AN19790128-002
Personnel of 415 Squadron, RCAF, with one of the unit's Handley-Page Halifax heavy bombers, East-Moor, Yorkshire, England 1944-1945

The Canadian Armed Forces: The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)

The RCAF ran the vital British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, but it also sent nearly 94,000 personnel overseas, and played a major role in the Battle of the Atlantic. More than half of its wartime aircrew served in RAF squadrons, but there were also 48 RCAF squadrons overseas; they made their most significant contributions in the high-intensity operations over North-West Europe. Canadian bomber squadrons formed no. 6 Group, Bomber Command, of the RAF. Fighter squadrons served in Canadian wings, especially in no. 83 Group, 2nd Tactical Air Force, for the Normandy invasion and the liberation of Europe. No. 417 Squadron flew fighters in North Africa and the Mediterranean, while three bomber squadrons operated from North Africa.

Two transport squadrons and a maritime patrol squadron were in the South East Asia theatre. 51 squadrons served in North America, although a number of these later went overseas. Many were part of the antisubmarine campaign in the Atlantic, flying from bases on the East Coast, in Newfoundland (not yet then a part of Canada) or Iceland. Both fighter and maritime patrol squadrons flew in the Aleutians campaign of 1942-1943.

The wartime total enlistment of the RCAF was nearly 250,000 men and women. It had had a meagre pre-war regular strength of 3,048, with 270 aircraft of 23 types, nearly all of them already obsolete.

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