Air Marshal Annis was born in January 1912, in Highland Creek, Ontario, and completed his education at the University of Toronto, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1936 and trained as a pilot.
He was with 3 Bomber Reconnaissance (BR) Squadron at Halifax at the outbreak of the Second World War, and shortly afterwards became an armament officer at RCAF Station Dartmouth. The following year he became Command Armament Officer at Eastern Air Command Headquarters in Halifax, and during a tour on anti-submarine operations, captained the first aircraft to attack a U-boat in North American waters, about 150 miles outside the Strait of Belle Isle. In February 1942, he was appointed Officer Commanding 10 BR Squadron at Gander, Newfoundland. The following July he was appointed Director of Anti-Submarine Operations at Air Force Headquarters in Ottawa. He returned to command 10 BR Squadron in April 1943, and the following August was named Commanding Officer of RCAF Station Gander, the largest operational RCAF station in existence at that time.
In 1944, Air Marshal Annis was transferred overseas to command RCAF Station Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire, England, a unit of 6 (RCAF) Group of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command. In January 1945, he attended the RAF Staff College in London, and returned to Canada the following June as Chief Instructor at the RCAF Staff College in Toronto. In 1947, he moved to Air Force Headquarters as Director of Air Operations, and in July 1950 became Director of the Joint Staff in Ottawa. In December 1952, he attended the Imperial Defence College, and in December 1953 was appointed Chief Staff Officer at Air Defence Command Headquarters. In September 1955, he became Chief of Telecommunications at Air Force Headquarters, and in January 1958 was appointed Air Officer Commanding Air Materiel Command.
Air Marshal Annis was appointed Vice Chief of the Air Staff on 11 September 1962. He was promoted to Air Marshal and appointed to the position of Chief of Technical Services, Canadian Forces Headquarters, on 1 August 1964. He retired from the RCAF in 1966.
Air Marshal Annis was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and also Mentioned-in-Dispatches (MiD) for his service during the Second World War.
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After a short illness, he passed away on 1 January 1994, aged 81.
Air Marshal Annis was selected for his overall exemplary career achievement as an RCAF officer, but also in light of his strong beliefs in the need for the Air Force to prepare for the future. His understanding of the importance to focus not only on Air Force-specific requirements, but also on the need to operate in a Joint environment was truly a modern way of thinking and is in line, even today, with what CFAWC strives to achieve.
Indeed, with its mission of ensuring the evolution of Canadian Aerospace Power by providing the Air Force with the knowledge to acquire the right capabilities and develop appropriate doctrine to successfully conduct aerospace operations as we move into the future, CFAWC`s dedication of its new headquarters to Air Marshal Annis is most fitting. Air Marshal Annis’ career typifies the broad perspective that is at the core of the CFAWC: a strong, innovative Air Force within a Joint Canadian Forces environment.
The Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre (CFAWC) stood up in October 2005 to become the engine of change for Air Force transformation. Ultimately the aim of the CFAWC is to be recognized as the Canadian centre of excellence for aerospace power by acting as a catalyst for aerospace power development and as a steward for aerospace power knowledge. With its mission of ensuring the evolution of Canadian aerospace power, it is intended that the CFAWC will provide the Air Force with the knowledge to acquire the right capabilities and develop appropriate doctrine to successfully conduct aerospace operations as we move into the future.
The first commanding officer of the CFAWC was Colonel James Cottingham who established the unit in two locations. The Trenton location, a lodger unit of 8 Wing, houses the command portion of the unit as well as the Concepts and Doctrine Development, Analysis & Lessons Learned, the Strategic Aerospace Research, Assessment & Liaison and the Electronic Warfare / Education and Specialty Training branches. The Air Force Experimentation Centre is located at Shirley’s Bay in Ottawa. In April 2010, Colonel Derek Joyce was appointed commanding officer of the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre.