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Raymond Collishaw

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BerichtGeplaatst: 21 Jul 2011 21:05    Onderwerp: Raymond Collishaw Reageer met quote

Raymond Collishaw was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia on November 22, 1893. His father was an itinerant miner and had stopped his wanderings in Nanaimo to earn some money coal mining so he could continue to prospect in California. Ray dropped out of grade 8 at age 15 and his father got him a job as a cabin boy on a Canadian Fisheries Protection Service ship. Really he was a junior sailor as they had no need for a cabin boy. He was onboard the Alcedo when it sailed into the Arctic Circle in search of the Stefansson expedition. Unfortunately, for the expedition, they were too late to help the Karluk, it had been crushed by ice and some of the crew were dead. Collishaw applied for and received the British Polar Ribbon. It was not, as some reports have it, for sailing to Antarctica with Robert Scott. The furthest south he got was China. Later, he found out that he was not really eligible for the medal, and he had to remove it from his military tunics. It was a hard, but exciting life and one that taught you obedience to superior officers. He worked for seven years on the west coast, eventually rising to the post of First Officer on board the Fispa, a ship similar to the one shown below.
When WWI started he tried to enlist in the Royal Canadian Navy, however, he heard nothing from them for some time. Having attended a flying meet at Lulu Island near Vancouver, and hearing that the Royal Naval Air Service was hiring, he decided to apply for them instead. He applied in Esquimalt, B.C. and then was sent to Ottawa, Ontario for a final interview. He was enrolled as a Probationary Flight Sub-Lieutenant and would become a full one upon completing a flying course. At his own expense! He then travelled to Toronto to attend the Curtis Flying School, the only flight training school in Canada at the time. The candidates waited a long time to get into the school, throughput was slow and the weather was getting cold and would soon curtail flying. Due to the destitute condition of many of the RNAS "students" the Royal Navy decided to give them basic naval training in Halifax and then ship them to England and have them do their flight training there. He did his basic training on the cruiser HMS Niobe until January, 1916. It was then that he boarded the White Star liner Adriatic for England with a bunch of other Canadians, including Lloyd Breadner, who was to become the RCAF's Air Chief-Marshal in WWII.

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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Nov 2013 17:44    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Raymond Collishaw, A Forgotten Hero

Paying tribute to Canada's 'greatest airman' of WWI on Remembrance Day

Raymond Collishaw, one of Canada’s most decorated fighter pilots, was the third top-scoring ace of WW1—surpassed only by the famed Billy Bishop and Edward Mannock. He also served throughout World War II with distinction. Yet he is relatively unknown.

Born in Nanaimo, B.C., in 1893, Collishaw enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) at the age of 22 and over the course of WWI rose through the ranks, from Flight Sub-Lieutenant to Flight Commander to Squadron Commander.

Collishaw ended the war with 60 victories, the third highest of the British Empire pilots. He remained in the Royal Air Force after the war and served in other combat arenas, including commanding the British forces against the Bolsheviks in Russia and the allied air forces in North Africa during World War II.

Yet Collishaw’s legacy has mostly flown under the radar, remaining relatively unknown to most Canadians compared to more high-profile aces like Bishop and Mannock. A January 1940 edition of the Toronto Star Weekly named Collishaw the “greatest airman of them all,” yet noted that “no man has escaped publicity so completely.”

This may be due to the fact that Collishaw achieved much of his success as an RNAS pilot. RNAS fliers did not carry the same prestige as their counterparts in the Royal Air Force (RAF), says Roger Bird, president of the Vancouver Island Military Museum.

“Navy fliers weren’t really as renowned as the Royal Air Force fliers,” says Bird.

“Canada at the time needed to have a hero, and [RAF flier] Billy Bishop was one of the ones that was doing a lot on his own, so they jumped on him and promoted his exploits.”

Bishop was the perfect hero to inspire war-weary Canadians with his daring lone-wolf escapades deep into enemy territory. Collishaw was more of a “man’s man,” says Bird, a squadron leader and team player who would often share the limelight and credit others with his successes to encourage them.

“He supported his people and was a good leader,” says Bird. “Even though he did most of the shooting he gave the credit to some of his other wing-mates. He was quite gregarious with his people, rather than just being a loner.”

For this reason—as well as the tendency for RNAS pilots to receive less credit then their RAF peers—some historians believe Collishaw likely had more than 60 victories. Some estimates put the actual number closer to 81 kills—which would place him at the top of WWI flying aces, ahead of Bishop.

Bravery, Awards

Collishaw also had plenty of dramatic solo victories, however.

One of the most notorious occurred in 1916 when he was caught off-guard by six German enemy planes which dove out of the clouds and attacked him. Despite the fact that it was six to one and the Germans had the advantage of height, Collishaw outmaneuvered them all by flying close to the ground, sending two planes crashing into the trees and scaring the others away.

For this victory he was awarded the Croix de Guerre, the first of 26 medals he received during his career. He was nominated twice for the Victoria Cross but never received it. Some believe he should be awarded the honour post-humously.

Over two months in the summer of 1917, the formidable “Black Flight,” an all-Canadian squadron led by Collishaw, shot down 87 enemy aircraft. Twenty-nine of those were destroyed by Collishaw himself—a record still unparalleled.

Collishaw also had several near-misses, and was shot down three times during World War I and was nearly captured by Bolsheviks during the mission in Russia. On one occasion his goggles were hit by an enemy bullet and he was forced to land his plane half blind.

But whenever Collishaw crash-landed his plane he was known to emerge smiling, his courageous spirit unwavering.

“He had to be courageous and daring to do what he did, because if you look at the tri-plane that he flew, it was like a kite with an engine on it. It was made out of canvas, so there wasn’t much protection,” says Bird.

“You had to be fairly brave to do that.”

Collishaw retired in 1943 and returned to Canada, settling in West Vancouver. His memoir “Air Command, A Fighting Pilot’s Story” was published in 1973. He died in 1976 at the age of 82.

In 1999, the passenger terminal at Nanaimo Airport was named after Collishaw, thanks to a successful campaign by Bird and others.
If any question why we died
Tell them, because our fathers lied
-Rudyard Kipling-
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Nov 2013 20:55    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Zie ook
"Setzen wir Deutschland, so zu sagen, in den Sattel! Reiten wird es schon können..... "
"Wer den Daumen auf dem Beutel hat, der hat die Macht."

Otto von Bismarck, 1869
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Nov 2013 23:37    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Dank je, Linge.. Cool

Gr P
Wie achter de kudde aanloopt, sjouwt altijd door de stront.
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