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Assessment of RCAF Contribution to Victory

Heroes Remember

Assessment of RCAF Contribution to Victory

Interviewer: How would you assess the contribution of the RCAF to the Allied victory? Oh, I think it was enormous because, well at the end of the war, we had a complete bomber group with about 6 squadrons of bombers, and we had about same number or maybe more squadrons of fighters, but in addition to that, there were people like myself who were with RAF squadrons. So we contributed an awful lot you know, and not only in air crew but we had ground crew over there, who looked after all our air craft as far as the air force, RCAF went. And the biggest thing I suppose of all, was the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. They had 100 different stations in Canada including flying fields and places for mechanics to train, wireless schools, and they train not only Canadians but they trained English, Australian, New Zealanders. A hundred thousand air crew, trained in Canada and that probably was the biggest contribution of all.

Mr. Spear reflects on the RCAF's contribution to the Allied victory.

Allen Maxwell Spear

Mr. Spear lived in Sussex, New Brunswick, before attending Business College in Saint John - he worked in Bathurst, New Brunswick, for a number of years before joining up. Mr. Spear had not enjoyed his Army camp experience in high school and was attracted to joining the Air Force, particularly as a fighter pilot, because of the recognition the Air Force was receiving in the Battle of Britain. He joined as soon as the Air Force lowered the education requirements to high school which allowed him to qualify. After much basic and initial flight training, Mr. Spear was excited to begin Spitfire training in England in fall 1941. In early 1942, he was stationed to North Africa. The camp locations changed often as the RAF and German Air Forces leapfrogged back and forth across the desert. A few months later (July 1, 1942), his engine gave out during a mission. He landed his plane behind German lines, was captured as a POW, and was shipped to Sulmona, Italy for internment. In September 1943, when the Italians capitulated, the POWs at the Sulmona camp escaped. Mr. Spear, along with two other Canadian POWs managed to escape by travelling along the mountains, avoiding the valleys where they were more likely to run into Germans, until they met up with other Canadian troops in November 1943. After being shipped back to England, Mr. Spear was returned to Canada to serve as a Staff Pilot at a Bombing and Gunnery School in Mountainview, Ontario. A post he held until the end of the War, at which time he was discharged.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Allen Maxwell Spear
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Warrant Officer
Spitfire Pilot

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