POLITICS

Some of Canada's top air aces

10/13/2014 10:30 EDT | Updated 12/13/2014 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - Canada produced some of the First World War's top air aces. Here are sketches of some of the most prominent:

William (Billy) Bishop

Born in Owen Sound, Ont., on Feb. 8, 1894; died on Sept. 11, 1956, in Palm Beach, Fla.

Service: Attended Royal Military College before joining the army in 1914; transferred to Royal Flying Corps in 1915 as an observer and obtained pilot's licence in 1917. Ended the war as a lieutenant-colonel in command of Canadian Air Force Section of the Canadian military forces overseas headquarters.

Post-war: Went into unsuccessful aviation venture with William Barker in 1919, brought family to England in 1921 where he built up successful business but suffered in Wall Street crash of 1929. Was offered vice-presidency of McColl Frontenac Oil Co. afterward and honorary Group Captain in Royal Canadian Air Force in 1931. Appointed air vice-marshal in 1936 and air marshal in 1938, then director of recruiting in 1940. Retired in 1944.

Medals: Victoria Cross; Military Cross; Distinguished Service Order and bar; Distinguished Flying Cross; France's Legion of Honour and Croix de guerre.

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William Barker

Born in Dauphin, Man., on Nov. 3, 1894; died in plane crash near Ottawa on March 12, 1930.

Service: Enlisted with Canadian Mounted Rifles in December 1914, transferred to Royal Flying Corps in April 1916 as a mechanic, then became an observer where he claimed the first of his kills. Awarded pilot's certificate in January 1917 and made squadron commander a month later. Eventually recorded 50 victories. Participated in one of the war's most famous dogfights when he took on 15 German aircraft alone in 1918 and shot down three despite being seriously wounded. Joined Royal Canadian Air Force in 1920 after short-lived commercial aviation venture with William Bishop and resigned in August 1926.

Post-war: Worked in the tobacco industry in Canada after leaving the RCAF until he sold his interests in 1929. Also served as the first president of the Toronto Maple Leafs and was president of Fairchild Aviation Corp. of Canada when he was killed demonstrating a new plane.

Medals: Victoria Cross; Distinguished Service Order and bar; Military Cross and two bars; Italy's Silver Medal of Valour; France's Croix de guerre.

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Raymond Collishaw

Born in Nanaimo, B.C., on Nov. 22, 1893; died in West Vancouver in 1975.

Service: Joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1916, commanded the so-called "Black Flight" squadron; flew long-range bombing missions into Germany near the end of the First World War. Shot down 60 aircraft and eight observation balloons during the war. Remained with Royal Air Force after the war and served in Russia, attained rank of air vice-marshal after serving in North Africa during the Second World War.

Medals: Distinguished Service Order and bar; Distinguished Service Cross; and Distinguished Flying Cross.

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Donald MacLaren

Born in Ottawa on May 28, 1893; died in Burnaby, B.C. on July 4, 1988.

Service: Joined Royal Flying Corps in 1917, was credited with shooting down 48 aircraft and six balloons in less than eight months. Was briefly director of air services for Canadian Air Force, left in 1919.

Post-war: Was executive assistant to president of Trans-Canada Airlines between 1945 and his retirement in 1958.

Medals: Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Distinguished Service Order

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Alan McLeod

Born in Stonewall, Man., on April 20, 1899; died in Winnipeg on Nov. 6, 1918, of Spanish flu.

Service: Joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1917 straight out of high school, was commissioned as a second lieutenant and flew as a night fighter pilot against German air raids on London. He then joined squadron in France that concentrated on day and night bombing, photography, and co-operation with artillery.

Medals: Victoria Cross

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Roy Brown

Born in Carleton Place, Ont., on Dec. 23, 1893; died of a heart attack at Stouffville, Ont., on March 9, 1944.

Service: Royal Naval Air Service in 1915 and served in various duties before shooting down first aircraft in 1917. He would eventually be credited with downing 11 enemy aircraft, including Germany's fabled Red Baron. He left the air force in 1919.

Post-war: Worked as an accountant, founded a small airline and was editor of "Canadian Aviation." Tried provincial politics but lost election in 1943.

Medals: Distinguished Service Cross and bar.