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RCAF Reaches its Centenary

Monday (1 April) will mark the centenary of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), which first engaged in combat during the Battle of Britain in 1940.


Formed on 1 April 1924, the RCAF had three components, a full-time permanent (regular) force, a part-time non-permanent air reserve and a reserve of non-active personnel. No non-permanent units were created in 1924 as the funding was not available.


No 1 Squadron RCAF supported the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, marking the first time that an RCAF unit had engaged an enemy.


On 26 August 1940, the squadron took on the Luftwaffe, claiming three enemy aircraft destroyed and four damaged, while losing one pilot.


Flying Officer Robert Edwards became the RCAF's first Battle of Britain casualty when he was shot down in Hurricane P3874 by return fire from a Dornier Do 17 attacking Debden. The aircraft crashed at Little Bardfield, Essex. Edwards is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the United Kingdom,


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