May 12, 1942

LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Credited to their account.

Topic:   R.C.A.F.
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LIB

Henry Read Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON:

Our pilots are trained with single and multi-engined planes, but is there any intention of training glider pilots in Canada? This has been done on the other side, and since it has been mentioned in the press, I think this information is public property.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

The matter is receiving our most urgent consideration at the moment.

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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

In view of the announcement made by the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services (Mr. Macdonald) about the sinking of a freighter in the St. Lawrence river, and in view of what has been said about cooperation among the navy and army and air force, would the minister care to say a few words?

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

We do cooperate on both coasts. Recently a supreme commander to coordinate the efforts of all three services has been appointed on each coast. General Elkins has been appointed on the east coast and General Alexander on the west coast,

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

Has consideration been given to setting up an air command for the St. Lawrence region?

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

We have an eastern air command which covers the whole of our defensive aerodromes on the east coast, including the St. Lawrence river.

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NAT
LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I hardly think so.

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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

I should like to express my appreciation of the manner in which the minister reviewed the activities of

War Appropriation-Air Services

the air force so comprehensively and without encumbering his statement with too much detail. His statement to-day, following the one he gave last fall, furnishes the basis for a few questions. But first I should like to pay tribute, like so many others have done, to the gallant boys of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Just in passing, I might say that I was at a service on Sunday of the Upper Canada college boys, and old boys, where it was announced that over 650 of the boys and old boys of the college are now in the service of their country.

An eloquent plea has been made by the hon. member for Peel and several other hon. members that th^ dependents of the boys in the air force should get the cost of living bonus. I heartily concur in their suggestion. I feel it is a great pity that there should be that gap following the time a man is reported missing during which no allowance is paid. It is the mothers of the boys who are joining the air force that I have particularly in mind. Remember, these lads in the air force are younger than the men in the army. We have persistently argued that a dependent mother should be treated, in the matter of allowance, in the same way as the wife, and it is a great pity that that so far has not been done. I know of a young lad in the air force whose mother has been supported by his brother and sister. They have their home, but the father is out of the picture. The boy in the air force is giving his mother $20 a month; I presume that is assigned pay. But now the brother who has been helping to support the mother has been called up. He had wanted to enlist but felt himself unable to leave his mother in her present circumstances. I do not know what will happen now, because there is only the sister left at home. It seems to me that we should not approach this question of an allowance from the point of view of giving charity or asking ourselves: What is the least we can get away with? But that is the way we are treating the mothers to-day, and it must be remembered that it is mostly the mothers who are the dependents of the young boys in the air force. I do not think we should consider how small an amount we can give to the mother who has been dependent on her boy who has joined the air force.

The Minister of National Defence asked the other day: "What are we depriving her of?" That seems to be the basis the government goes on. But I would point out that not only the mother I speak of, but many others are going to be deprived of $20 a month, plus the boy's assigned pay of $20 a month, and that is something which certainly should receive further consideration by the minister and the government.

Another matter has been drawn to my attention. A mother had not heard from her son for a long time. She wrote to me, and I took the matter up with the minister's secretary. She did not know where to get hold of her son or how she could communicate with him.

I received a letter from her to-day by special delivery. I am sure that there are many more mothers in her position, because the air force is so widespread in its operations that mothers have difficulty in knowing just where their sons are. This particular mother has not heard from her boy in the air force for seven months. I should be glad if the minister would tell the house and the country how that mother can reach her boy by cable in England or some other place. I have told her where she could write, but after not hearing from him for seven months she wants to send a cable.

Last year I put a question on the order paper with reference to the grounding of planes for overhaul and repair, and the minister gave an interesting reply. I have not the figures here, but he will no doubt remember. It would be interesting to know how much shorter is the period now required for overhaul and repair, with the modern methods and new equipment of to-day at the various schools. Perhaps the minister, without going into too much detail, would pick out a few types of planes and state for how long a period they now have to be grounded for overhaul and repair.

The special committee on war expenditures presented a report on "salvage" and said, referring to the chief salvage officer:

The officer above referred to stressed the point that salvage is not chiefly a matter of disposal of waste goods but in the better sense is a saving of these goods by repair for further use.

The board has only recently come into existence and its work has just commenced, and therefore the committee was not able to pass any final judgment on the work being done hy this board, but is of the opinion that if the programme as outlined is carried out it should result in very substantial economies.

It was indicated to the subcommittee that this board will function solely in the army, that it is somewhat of an experiment, and that should it prove successful, its programme would be extended to include the air force and the navy.

The people of this country, to-day particularly, in view of the shortage of oil, rubber and other products, want to see no waste, and I would ask the minister whether the air force is functioning in cooperation with this salvage board which has been set up.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

We have a salvage organization of our own and, I understand, a very good one.

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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

The suggestion in the committee's report was that the air force,

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War Appropriation-Air Services

the army and the navy should all cooperate with this salvage board, and I was wondering whether that was being done by the air force.

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LIB

Brooke Claxton

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

I have one hope which

I should like to express to the committee and which I trust all members will share. It is suggested by two remarks which have been made during the course of this debate. The first was made by the minister, when in his fine speech he quoted the Right Hon. Malcolm Macdonald, British high commissioner, as paying high praise to the work of the Canadian air force, but, he added, we did not perhaps blow our own trumpets enough. The second remark was made by the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNicol) when he referred to the exploits of Colonel Bishop and others during the last war. He said, quite properly, that they had electrified Europe. I have the feeling that the hon. member for Davenport would have liked1 to put his tongue to the names of some Canadian heroes of this war if they had come quickly to his lips. But the fact is that they did not, and I suggest to the committee that this brings home to us that we are not making enough of the heroes of the air on whom our whole survival depends to-day. This war is unlike any other war in this respect, that to-day our very existence, the existence and continuation of our institutions, depend not so much on great masses of armies working blindly, but on hundreds and thousands of individual feats of heroism such as have never been matched in the history of the world. I suggest to the committee that we have been carrying on a kind of a Maginot line attitude in respect of our acclaim for the men on whom we depend for our survival. Hon. members will remember that we began the war in a very drab way, without bands and without flags; we did not think they were necessary; we thought they were undesirable. We are finding out how wrong that was. But there is still a hangover in some respects, and I suggest that there is such a survival in respect of the attention being paid ,to particular exploits of individual heroism by our fliers. The fact that the hon. member for Davenport did- not bring his tongue to the name of one Canadian pilot who distinguished himself in this way clearly proves what I have said.

We are proud of what our air force have done. We know that they are doing magnificent things. But I believe that we would be still more proud if we knew the individual exploits of individual fliers, if we knew how many planes they had to their credit. Not long ago I had to make a speech in the United States, and I thought it would be interesting

I Mr. Ross (St. Paul's).]

to them if I could pay tribute to some of their great fliers,-O'Hare and others. I knew how many planes they had to their credit; and I made inquiries of the public relations officers of our air force to find the number of planes that Canadian fliers had to their credit, so that I could tell our United States friends and ask "them to share our pride as we shared theirs. But I could not get the number of planes that Canadian fliers have to their credit, because the numbers are not given out, I was told, by the Royal Air Force.

Already we know that we have some magnificent heroes of the air. There is the man who came back only in the last few weeks and who is now in Ottawa, Larry Robillard, whose record as told in the newspaper? is one of the most astonishing of this or any other war. I am informed that not half the story has been told to the newspapers; it cannot yet be told. There are people like Pilot Officer Dougall of Montreal; Pilot Officer Morin of Ottawa; Pilot Officer Blair Russell; Pilot Officer John Fauquier; Wing Commander Timmerman; Sergeant Duffield.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Pat Christie.

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LIB

Brooke Claxton

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

Pat Christie, and dozens of others who are more or less known by reason of casual mention in the press, but whose names do not mean so much to us Canadians as do the names of the men- that appear week by week in the great United States magazine Life. I suggest that is not good for us. We share the pride of the United States in the exploits of her sons. We need to have pride in our own, and in order to have that pride we must have knowledge. 'The knowledge must be related to the individual, and it must be given quickly, while the matter is new. I suggest to the minister that the whole machine for getting news from the fighting front into the minds and into the hearts of the people of Canada, who need the cheer which the tale of heroism will give, can well be improved. The importance of this is shown by the way in which our own hearts respond to the story of heroism whenever we hear it. Most hon. members must have heard President Roosevelt's great speech on April 28. They must have observed how the last third of his speech was not given to a discussion of great events, great battles; it was not given to a discussion of high policy. He told three simple stories of heroism. He told of Doctor Wassell; he told of the crew of the Squalus, and he told of Captain Hewitt T. Wheless. He closed his three stories by saying of the last named, Captain Wheless, "I hope he is listening"; and twenty or thirty or forty

War Appropriation-Air Services

million people listening in to President Roosevelt hoped that. Our hearts were cheered by those stories of heroism. We know that our own Canadian air force is the equal of any air force in the world. We have a right to be told about it, told about it freely, promptly and in a way which gives full credit to their exploits. It may be said of them as it was said of another fighting force by A. E. Housman:

Their shoulders held the skies suspended,

They stood, and earth's foundations stay.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

May I thank my hon. friend for drawing my attention to that. I have often thought that we do not give the credit which we should give to these young heroes of the air force.

One reason is because of the British passion for anonymity. When I was over in England last year I did my very best to induce them to permit our press to get the latest possible news on the deeds of our men. I think the situation has improved to a considerable extent. It was with something of the same idea in mind as my hon. friend who has just spoken had, that I had a list compiled of the commanding officers of the Canadian squadrons overseas. There is hardly a child in this country who does not know the names of the generals, the officers commanding divisions, even officers commanding brigades in the army, but I am willing to wager that not one man in this house would be able to give me the name of one commanding officer of a Canadian squadron overseas; and the Canadian squadrons are doing the fighting. Therefore, with the permission of the committee- I have torn off the numbers of the squadrons, because we are not permitted to give the numbers-I will insert in Hansard the names of the officers commanding the Canadian squadrons overseas. It will be noted that all but four of them are either Royal Canadian Air Force or Royal Air Force Canadians:

Wing Commander H. W. Kerby, R.C.A.F.

Squadron Leader A. G. Douglas, R.A.F.

Squadron Leader R. E. Morrow, R.C.A.F.

Squadron Leader C. N. S. Campbell, D.F.C., R.A.F. (Reported missing 27-4-42)

Wing Commander P. H. Woodruff, R.A.F. (Can.)

Wing Commander J. E. Fauquier, R.C.A.F.

Wing Commander D. G. Morris, D.F.C., R.A.F.

Wing Commander A. C. Brown, D.F.C., R.A.F. (Can.)

Wing Commander A. C. P. Clayton, D.F.C., R.A.F. (Can.)

Wing Commander P. Y. Davoud, R.C.A.F.

Squadron Leader M. Lipton, R.C.A.F.

Squadron Leader R. B. Newton, R.A.F.

Squadron Leader R. C. Weston, R.C.A.F.

Wing Commander J. D. Twigg, R.C.A.F.

Wing Commander D. M. Smith, R.C.A.F.

Wing Commander E. L. Wurtele, R.A.F. (Can.)

Squadron Leader L. Y. Chadbum, R.C.A.F.

Squadron Leader P. B. Pitcher, R.C.A.F.

Wing Commander G. H. Gatheral, R.A.F.

Wing Commander J. Fulton, D.F.C., A.F.C., R.A.F. (Can.)

Wing Commander D. A. R. Bradshaw, R.C.A.F.

Squadron Leader F. W. Kelly, R.C.A.F.

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LIB
LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I have them only for the present time.

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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

The minister suggested last fall in the House of Commons that he would issue a bulletin. I was reading it to-day, and I wondered why he stopped it.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Unfortunately we receive our bulletins a little too late so that they are no longer news. They are not what is called "hot news." I should like to give a sample of these bulletins to indicate the work done by some Canadian squadrons overseas. I happened to be reading one last night, and I said to myself that if the opportunity presented itself I might give some of the highlights to the house. This is a Spitfire squadron, and the period mentioned is 12-4-42 to 26-4-42; that is twelve days. During those twelve days their operational flying time was 442 hours, and the number of pilots-the Spitfire is a single pilot machine-is only twenty-three. I figured it out, but I have not the figure at the moment. That makes-

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May 12, 1942