Creation of the Royal Canadian Air Force
The Royal Canadian Air Force was formed on April 1, 1924. The road to this point in Canadian military aviation history was a long one which involved going through many stages and through many divisions of the Canadian armed forces.

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This DeHavilland DH4 was one of more than 100 planes which Britain gave to Canada in the event that another war broke out. (Click For Full Image)
Military aviation in Canada started on September 16, 1914 when Canada's first military aviation organization, The Canadian Aviation Corps, was formed. The idea of introducing aviation to Canada's military was a relatively new one. The outbreak of WWI created demand for support for Britain in the war. Britain had seen the advantage of deploying airplanes as weapons and had already developed the Royal Flying Corps but Canada had lapsed in creating an aviation branch of their military. Canada, in response to Britain's plea for air support, created the Canadian Flying Corps which consisted of one $5000 plane, a mechanic, and two officers. The lack of a certified pilot meant the plane never even saw the air and eventually deteriorated beyond repair. The Canadian Aviation Corps ceased operations on May 7, 1915. From then on, Canada's only contribution to the war in air during WWI was Canadian troops joining the Royal Flying Corps.

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A Royal Canadian Air Force Vickers Vedette Flying Boat. (Click For Full Image)
By 1918, Canada's only contribution to the war in air was the pilots which flew for the Royal Flying Corps. Some of Canada's greatest contributors, such as W.A. Bishop, and Britain itself, had put pressure on the Canadian Government to form their own air force. In response, the Canadian government created the Canadian Air Force which was to consist of a fighting squadron and a bombing squadron to be stationed in France to assist the fighting on the western front. The Canadian Air Force officially formed on September 19, 1918 but the squadrons were not ready to fight until after the armistice in late November.

More than a year after the armistice, the Canadian Air Force determined that there was no need for an air force in Europe during peace time and all Canadian planes were dismantled and shipped back to Canada.

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An Atlas Mk.I which served in the Canadian Forces from 1927-1942.Aircraft such as this were used for photography missions and generalutility purposes. (Click For Full Image)
Finally on April 1, 1924, the Canadian Air Force was officially designated "Royal" and adopted the same logo, uniforms, rank structures, and motto as the Royal Air Force in Britain. The Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF) duties consisted largely of performing civil operations not related to the military. Examples of some of their duties included forest spraying, forest fire surveying, aerial photography, mapping, and mercy flights.
After much opposition of the Royal Canadian Air Force performing many civil duties, it was decided that all civil operations would be transferred to the newly formed Directorate of Civil Government Air Operations (DCGAO) who would be responsible for all non-military air operations. This new organization took away many of the Royal Canadian Air Force's personnel and funds which would have severely impacted the RCAF's fighting capability if a need to fight broke out. The Royal Canadian Air Force continued to perform some civil duties but much of their civil duties went to the DCGAO.

And thus ends everything from the inception of military aviation in Canada to the first decade of the Royal Canadian Air Force.


Significance in Canadian and World History

The creation of the Royal Canadian Air Force has been significant in Canadian and world history because it showed that Canada was starting to take responsibility for their own defense and start to become more separate from Britain. Later in the decade when Canada began talks with Britain to become more autonomous, Canada would say they want control over their own affairs and want to be more independent of Britain. Creating a dedicated, permanent Canadian Air Force was one of the actions Canada took earlier on which showed that they were beginning to take actions to allow themselves to be completely independent. Creating the Royal Canadian Air Force showed Britain that Canada was no longer going to rely on Britain for anything whether it be defense or law-making or law-enforcement. Creating the RCAF showed Britain that Canada was no longer their little defenseless child and that they had grown up and could now take care of them self.