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Royal Canadian Air Force

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) had its origins on 1 April 1924, when reorganization was complete and the prefix Royal was officially adopted. It wasn't until 1936, however, that a decision was made that the Royal Canadian Air Force would serve purely as a military organization. Upon this decision, the RCAF was freed from its civil responsibilities and was reorganized and developed into a military air force. Trenton, Ontario, served as the location of the official RCAF main training station when it opened in 1931.

When the Second World War was declared, 1 September 1939, the RCAF peace establishment called for a total of 23 squadrons. However, in the first month of the war, it was realized that it would only be possible for 15 of the squadrons to be brought up to strength and mobilized in time for the war. It was decided then, that 12 squadrons would serve at home, and three would be based overseas.

On 19 August 1942, the RCAF found themselves committed to the Dieppe Raid. On that day, 60 RCAF fighter air craft could be spotted above the shore of Dieppe, supporting Operation Jubilee. The RCAF suffered five casualties as a result of the Dieppe Raid. This operation showed major deficiencies in RCAF ground support techniques, which led to the creation of a fully integrated Air Force to support major ground offensives.

After the Dieppe Raid, Canadian airmen continued to serve in North Africa, Italy, the Battle of Britain, and the Normandy invasion. On 1 January 1944, the RCAF reached its peak strength of the Second World War, being equipped with 215,200 members, 15,153 of which were women. By the end of the war there were 78 squadrons in service, 35 of which had served overseas.

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