February is Black History Month throughout Canada. To mark the month, the RCAF is publishing articles about black Canadians who, during or after their career in the RCAF, have made great accomplishments for Canada.
Here is the story of Henry Johnson Langdon.
During the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Air Force maintained high standards for those it enlisted during the conflict. This is reflected in the achievements of many of the Black-Canadians who served in the RCAF during the war – for instance, four became lawyers post-war.
To cite another example, one with a post-war RCAF tie, Henry Langdon had an outstanding career in the civil aviation maintenance field.
Henry Johnson Langdon was born in Trinidad in 1911 and came to Canada in 1923. Growing up in the Little Burgundy district of Montreal, he had a desire to be a writer, but was working in a gas station at the outbreak of war. At this time he was married, had one daughter and a son on the way. Such was his desire to serve that he was willing to leave them behind, enlisting in the RCAF on November 1, 1939.
At this time the RCAF regulations prohibited the enlistment of anybody whose skin was not white, so somebody in the RCAF recruiting system obviously turned a blind eye to the regulations. Perhaps Langdon’s course in aero engine mechanics helped.
After training at the Technical Training School at St. Thomas, Ontario, he served at No. 1 Service Flying Training School at Camp Borden, Ontario, No. 9 Repair…