THE FIRST WORLD WAR (1914–1918)

FOCUS ON… THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE RCAF

Camp Borden — now Canadian Forces Base Borden — in Ontario was the birthplace of military aviation in Canada. In January 1917, a group of Royal Flying Corps officers, led by Lieutenant Colonel Cuthbert Hoare, arrived at Camp Borden, which had been used as a camp by the Canadian Expeditionary Force the previous year. Under Hoare’s leadership, the organization known as the Royal Flying Corps Canada (RFC Canada) built Canada’s first flying station from the ground up and trained thousands of air and groundcrew for service overseas.

The aerodrome portion of Borden, which had remained empty since January 1919, was taken over by the CAF in July 1920. By the time the RCAF was formed on April 1, 1924, RCAF Station Borden was the most important station in terms of assets, personnel and flying activities.

DID YOU KNOW…

In 1943, F/O Buzz Beurling meets Capt Roy Brown (left), who was credited with shooting down the Red Baron in 1918.

The Red Baron isn’t just a character in a 1960s novelty song, and he wasn’t defeated by a cartoon beagle named Snoopy.

He was Manfred von Richthofen, a highly capable German fighter pilot. He often flew red-painted aircraft and his unit was known as “the Flying Circus” because of its mobility and flamboyant aircraft colours. The Red Baron was shot down on April 21, 1918, while pursuing Wop May. The Royal Air Force credits Canadian Captain Arthur “Roy” Brown with the kill, while others believe the fatal shot was fired by Australian troops from the ground.

FOCUS ON… THE SOPWITH CAMEL

The Sopwith Camel, easily the best known airplane of the Great War, was quite fast for the era, reaching a top speed of 113 miles per hour (181 kilometres per hour). The aircraft had a reputation for being difficult to fly, but that didn’t stop pilots from destroying more enemy aircraft with it than with any other aircraft. It was one of Captain William Barker’s favourite aircraft, and he won many of his aerial victories while flying a Sopwith Camel.

Sopwith Camel