Formation of No. 6 Group RCAF – 75th Anniversary Commemoration
Although hundreds of Canadians were serving with Bomber Command in Royal Air Force squadrons at the outbreak of war, the Canadian involvement was one that grew as the war progressed. 6 Group RCAF Bomber Group was formed in October 1942, becoming a force of 14 squadrons. The Canadian Group flew a total of 40,822 sorties. 271,981 hours were flown, and 814 aircraft were lost. 10,250 Canadians were killed serving with Bomber Command. The formation of this “All Canadian” RCAF bomber group during WWII was a significant milestone in Canada’s history. Major Bill March, an historian with the RCAF’s Department of History and Heritage spoke of the significance of this to the airmen themselves.
The museum event also commemorated the 75th Anniversary of the formation of 6 Group RCAF. Our guest speaker was Lt. Col. David Bashow from the Royal Military College at Kingston. David is the author of “No Prouder Place-Canadians and the Bomber Command Experience” who reviewed the formation and successes of 6 Group RCAF, the “All-Canadian” Bomber Group and why its contribution to the war effort and to Canada was so important.
Through out the day there were many activities, including running of the Lancaster’s Merlins and the Bristol Hercules.
A very special touch was the presentation of a replacement “Caterpillar Club” pin to 95 year old former bomber navigator William Lloyd Mracek by Karl Kjarsgaard. Mracek’s original pin, which unfortunately had been lost, was earned, when he parachuted from his burning bomber, making him an official member of the exclusive “Caterpillar Club.”