Ordeal by Fire: Canada, 1910-1945

By Ralph Allen | Go to book overview

XLVII
Goebbels views the R.C.A.F.--Some difficulties over the Air Training Plan--The campaign in Sicily

THE damage is colossal and indeed ghastly. . . . Nobody can tell how Krupps is to go on. . . . It drives one mad to think that some Canadian boor, who probably can't even find Europe on the globe, flies here from a country glutted with natural resources which his people don't know how to exploit, to bombard a continent with a crowded population.-- Joseph Goebbels, Diary, February--March 1943.

If Goebbels knew how important a part Canada was playing in the war, he was better informed than most of the world, Canada included.

Censorship made it permissible for the press and radio to do little more than hint at the growth of the Royal Canadian Navy and its vast job in the Battle of the Atlantic. The Dominion's role in the air was even less well understood. Canadians were soon supplying the majority of the air crews from the Commonwealth Air Training Plan and the majority of that majority were being swallowed up more or less anonymously in the British R.A.F.

As the early complications of administration and combat control began to sort themselves out, it became possible to establish a separate Canadian bomber group and several separate fighter wings and to refer to them in the communiqués as R.C.A.F. units. A new Air Training Plan in June 1942 also placed the overseas commissioning of R.C.A.F. personnel in the hands of a special Canadian selection board and relieved the long-standing complaint that Canadian airmen were getting less than their rightful share of promotions. These and a number of other measures for "Canadianizing" the R.C.A.F. gradually won the Dominion's air and ground crews the

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