The Influence of Empire: A National Organization and the Birth of the Royal Canadian Air Force, 1918 – 1924

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As a result of its impressive First World War experience – where it not only contributed over 15,000 men to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Royal Naval Air Service, but also produced some of the Empire’s top aces – Canada set out to create its own distinctive air force. In many ways, the Canadian Air Force, which existed between February 18, 1920 and April 1, 1924, was the product of frustration, as its veterans felt their efforts as Canadians during the First World War were often buried under an Imperial banner.

As such, the Canadian Air Force was truly a Canadian organization, complete with its own uniform as well as maple leaf emblazoned badges and symbols. And yet, this experiment failed because the Royal Canadian Air Force (or RCAF) that emerged in its wake was a faithful replica of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The key question, therefore, becomes why Canadian Air Force officials, who were so emboldened by their wartime successes, suddenly abandoned their attempt to build a truly national organization? Read the rest of the article . . .

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