This edited collection of letters tells the story of Pilot Officer Dale Jones, a young Canadian from Saskatchewan who joined the RAF in early 1939. He was still in training as a fighter pilot when war was declared, and would later be posted the RAF’s 242 (Canadian) Squadron. This squadron was created with the encouragement of the Canadian government as a way of emphasizing Canada’s distinctive role in the war effort. Composed entirely of Canadian pilots, the squadron served with distinction in the Battles of France and Britain, but suffered heavy losses in the early months of the war. Dale Jones was one of 242 Squadron pilots who lost his life in combat during the frenzied fighting at Dunkirk in May 1940. The letters provide new insight into the attitudes and experiences of the young Canadian pilots who flew with this squadron. The drudgery of flight training and the problems of adjustment to life in Britain gave way to excitement and pride at serving in an all-Canadian squadron, but this was quickly followed by growing tension and worry as the “terrible and terrifying” business of aerial warfare sank in.
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