Eighty years ago, from early July until the end of October 1940, a deceptively straightforward battle was fought in the skies over England… a battle that ultimately would shape the rest of the Second World War for the Allied Forces in Europe and beyond. It would also shape the future of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
In 2020, the challenges we face with COVID-19 mean there will be no large gatherings, no parades. But with almost no survivors of the Second World War left among us, we must take time to remember those who fought in the Battle of Britain.
Here is the story of Royal Canadian Air Force Wing Commander Arthur Hicklin Warner, one of the many Canadians who took part in the Battle of Britain.
Arthur Hicklin Warner first joined the Canadian Air Force on a part-time basis in 1920 as a mechanic. This marked the start of a remarkable career that would take him all the way up to the rank of wing commander.
In 1923, Warner joined the ranks full-time as an aircraftsman and was one of the original airmen who had enlisted as a mechanic when the Royal Canadian Air Force was formed on April 1, 1924.
His first significant operation started in January 1927 when the RCAF called for volunteers for the Hudson Strait Expedition. He served at Base “C” at Wakeham Bay, Quebec, (now called Kangiqsujuaq) successfully maintaining the engines of two Fokker Universals, offering support to operations throughout the winter of 1927-28. He then served as a mechanic on a photographic…