THE GOLDEN YEARS (1950-1964)

By WO1 Ray Tracy

Sgt Shatterproof.

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) enjoyed many accomplishments during the boom years of the 1950s. The RCAF Office of Public Relations employed some of the best writers, editors, photographers, designers and graphic artists — in or out of uniform — to tell the RCAF story.

Warrant Officer Class 1 Ray Tracy was one of those artists. A gifted graphic artist and cartoonist, Tracy was responsible for recording some of the funniest moments in Air Force uniform and his comic strips and caricatures spared no rank or occupation.

Tracy, a native of Fairville, New Brunswick, joined the RCAF in 1940 as an aero-engine mechanic. But before long, his talents as a draftsman and artist became apparent. In 1945, he changed his occupation and became a full-time graphic artist. He was closely associated with the Roundel magazine from its beginning in 1948 and brought the gloomy, pipe smoking “Sergeant Shatterproof” to life.

Ray Tracy died prematurely at the age of 37 on May 12, 1958. He left behind a legacy of art that deserves to be enjoyed by today’s Air Force and by generations to come.


Tracy was friends with another famous RCAF graphic artist, Flight Sergeant Bruce Beatty. Prime Minister “Mike Pearson asked Beatty to submit a design for the new Order of Canada; Beatty’s beautiful snowflake design was accepted and is still the insignia of the Order. After retirement, Beatty worked with the Department of National Defence and then the Chancellery of Canadian Orders and Decorations at Rideau Hall, designing unit insignia, orders, and decorations. After Tracy died, his widow gave several dozen of his original cartoons to Beatty. During the research for the first edition of this book, the cartoons came to light, and Bruce Beatty donated them to the RCAF to be preserved for future generations.