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Canada’s Contribution to Victory

Heroes Remember

Canada’s Contribution to Victory

The other day I was telling someone, I went a little bit overboard and I said, they said, “Whenever you see the German bringing out some new equipment: the jets, the buzz bombs, all these things before us.” They say, “How did they lose the war?” And I’ve concluded it’s because they had the Canadians and the Aussies, New Zealanders, and all these people. Interviewer: Is that because they would do things that were unconventional? In one way, and they were very determined to do them. But unconventional is a good word. Being able to change and divert quickly is probably our make-up in Canada, you know. I can’t imagine them winning it without the Canadians. I really can’t. And that goes for the Army and the Navy and our Air Force. Wherever the Canadians were there seemed to be strength and success and not that you could do it alone but, and they were, they expressed confidence. They had that little bit of a cockiness that the RAF didn’t have, you know. Which can be a bad thing, but it can be a very good thing at the right time, eh. You know you’re leading people into battle and you have to act like a leader, they want to go with you.

Mr. Edwards reflects on his feeling that the war would not have been won by the Allies if not for the Canadian contribution.

James Francis Edwards

Mr. Edwards was born on a farm near Lockwood, Saskatchewan on June 5th 1921. His father, a First World War Veteran, kept horses until the depression forced him to move the family to Battleford where he became an insurance salesman. His mother had been a nurse during the First World War. In June 1940, Mr. Edwards enlisted in the Air Force. He was sent to the Brandon, Manitoba to do his Initial Training, then to Edmonton, Alberta for Flying School. After completing Flying School, Mr. Edwards was sent to overseas. He was assigned to 55 Operational Training Unit in Osworth, England where he flew Hurricanes. From there he was posted to Africa to take part in the Desert Campaign. Among many battles and operations, he took part in the El Alamein Battle (Egypt) and the Tunisian Campaign. In Egypt, he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. After a period in Cairo running a gunnery school, he was called back to combat in Italy. There he fought in the Battle of Ortona and Anzio and he was given his own squadron, the RAF 274. He was shot down on his first flight as squadron commander. Surviving, he and his crew were sent back to England to take part in D-Day. He would also fight in Holland and Germany. In total, Mr. Edwards served two tours of duty, flying over 360 missions. He had more than 19 confirmed kills. After the war was over he returned to Canada and continued service with the air force retiring as a wing commander.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Francis Edwards
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Wing Commander

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