THE HISTORY OF CANADA'S AIR FORCE
Canadian Air Force 1918 - 1920
In 1915 the British Army Council suggested that the Dominions would raise there own air units for service within the Royal Flying Corps. Canada did not act on this suggestion until the spring of 1918. The Canadian government made a proposal to form a wing of eight squadrons for service with the Canadian Corps in France. The RAF and the British Air Ministry thought that the disruption in reallocating Canadians from RAF squadrons and transferring RAF personnel to fill the voids would unduly disrupt the war effort. There was also a severe shortage of trained CAF ground crew and it was decided to train Canadian ground crew first and establish the squadron when enough ground crew had been trained.
On August 5, 1918 the Air Ministry decided to form two Canadian Squadrons, one a fighter and the other a day bomber squadron. The Canadian Government approved the formation of the Canadian Air Force on September 19, 1918 comprising these two squadrons. Lieutenant-Colonel W.A. Bishop, Canada first airman to be awarded the Victoria Cross and the British Empires leading ace was the CAF's first commander.
Further proposals were made to form the additional 6 squadrons but the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918 precluded the formation of any additional squadrons.
On November 20, 1918, nine days after the Armistice, No. 1 (F) Squadron was formed at Upper Heyford with Sopwith Dolphins, later converted to the S.E. 5a, and on November 25, 1918 No. 2 (B) Squadron was formed with deHavilland DH 9 bombers.
On June 19, 1919 the Canadian Government decided not to form a permanent peacetime air force and orders were sent to cease all flying operations and all equipment belonging to Canada was to dismantled and shipped to Canada. No. 1 Squadron was disbanded on January 29, 1920 and No. 2 on February 5, 1920. So ended Canada's first air force, composed for a time of many of not only Canada's top airmen, but many of the top airmen of the British Empire.