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Squadron-Commander Raymond Collishaw and pilots of No.203 Squadron, Royal Air Force, July 1918

Type: Image

By the end of the First World War, Canadians made up roughly one quarter of the strength of the British Royal Air Force formed in April 1918. More than 8,000 Canadians served in the RAF and its predecessors, the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). This photograph shows one famous Canadian fighter pilot, Squadron- Commander Raymond Collishaw (1893-1975), along with his British and Imperial pilots at Allonville, France, July 1918. 208 Squadron was formed in February 1914 as Number 3 Squadron, RNAS. The aircraft in the background are the famous Sopwith F.1 'Camel.' (Library and Archives Canada, PA-002792)

Site: National Defence

German airship caught by a searchlight

Type: Image

Although the First World War was not the first time aircraft were used in war (that happened during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911), the war did mark the debut of long range bombing missions. The Germans used rigid airships (popularly known as 'Zeppelins' after their builder, German Count Zeppelin) for night bombing missions over France and Britain. This painting shows one technique used by the defenders - searchlights to illuminate the airships, and anti-aircraft guns to attempt to shoot them down. (Private collection)

Site: National Defence

British Bristol Fighter F2B and German Albatros D.III aircraft in combat

Type: Image

Many Canadians won distinction in the Royal Flying Corps during the Great War. The details of this contemporary painting are none too accurate, but it was this sort of image that caught the public imagination. The legend of the heroic fighter pilot - a 'knight of the air' - retains its power to this day. Despite the myths, however, the humble reconnaissance squadrons, who took photographs and directed artillery bombardments, probably had a greater impact on the war. (Private collection)

Site: National Defence

Avro Lancaster B Mk X bomber in the markings of 419 Bomber Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force

Type: Image

Starting in 1943, a dozen RCAF squadrons were at the controls of Avro Lancasters as they took part in the bombing of Germany. More than 7,300 Lancasters were built during the war, 430 of them in Canada. This machine was restored by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and carries the insignia of the Lancaster B Mk X in which Pilot Officer Andrew Charles Mynarski (1916-1944) gave his life to save his comrades. Mynarski was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his heroism. (Canadian Department of National Defence, 89-787)

Site: National Defence