Eric Watts, a natural leader

A black and white photo of a black man wearing a shirt and tie, and a uniform jacket with wings.
When Eric V. Watts joined the RCAF in 1939, Air Force policy directed that only recruits of “pure European descent” would be permitted to join. Thankfully, a recruiter in Calgary bent the rules and enrolled Watts, who went on to serve in the RCAF until 1966. PHOTO: Submitted

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When Eric Victor Watts enlisted in the RCAF on May 10, 1939, technically, he should not have been allowed to join. The federal Cabinet and the RCAF had approved enlistment policies earlier that year that stated recruits had to be of “pure European descent”.

Eric Watts was Black.

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