Claudio Segré is Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas and author of Fourth Shore: The Italian Colonization of Libya.
As early as 1908, having read the Wright brothers' invention, alberta farm boys and mechanics in Quebec villages were constructing large kites, attempting to fly them. Within a decade, Canadian air aces, like Bishop and Barker, swept the wartime skies over Frances, piloting deadly machines in mortal combat. Through the 20s, that very Canadian breed of adventurer, the bush pilot, ventured over the desolate tundra, delivering medicine and missionaries, mail and Mounties to remote communities as far as Ellesmere Island and Ungava Bay.
Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force fought with distinction during the Second world War. Titles such as The Saviour of London and The Angel of Ceylon seem like wartime hype, but the skill and courage that those pilots displayed half a century ago set them apart still. For the six Canadian airmen who won the Victoria Cross, there were thousands who flew into the meat grinder that was the Allies' strategic air offensive over Europe.
This book chronicles the exploits of only a few men and women -- but it truly celebrates the spirit and resolve of countless brave Canadians who are proud part of aviation in this country.