Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace

(Volume One) By Larry Milberry

Book review by Jim Bates


CANAV Books ISBN 0-921022-11-5

When I first heard that Larry Milberry’s newest book project was a three volume set on the RCAF/CAF I was concerned. Was this going to just be an expanded version of The Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945 and Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984? After getting the first volume of the series in my hands, I realized that I shouldn’t have worried, this book is all new. In fact the vast majority of the photos haven’t been seen before. (A few of the old standards do crop up though.)

Volume One of the series is a 296 page 9"x12" hardcover book with a separate dust jacket. Color is limited to the dust jacket, but there are hundreds of photos. Chapter One begins with the formation of military aviation in Canada and proceeds through Canada’s involvement in World War I. Chapter Two covers the inter-war years. Chapter Three covers World War II at home and last but not least Chapter Four covers day fighters in Europe. Volume Two and Three will finish off the war years, cover the glory days of the RCAF, unification into the CAF, right up to current operations.

The text and photos within the volume are extensive. Many first hand stories are included. Photos, most of which were new to me, include not just aircraft but also life within the RCAF. Almost every type of aircraft operated by the RCAF is represented. There are Spitfires, Hurricanes, Typhoons, P-40s, and Harvards galore. Many lesser-known types are included as well. Everything is well presented and most of the photos look excellent. Flipping though the book, I found all kinds of interesting and unique subjects that would make great looking models. If the photos aren’t enough, the text surely will inspire to you to build some of these aircraft.

If I have any complaint against the book is that of price. Seventy dollars per volume seems somewhat excessive to me, but in today’s publishing climate it is probably quite well within the reasonable range. (In general, I find it hard to explain the prices of some hard cover books these days.) And keep in mind that for your investment you do get an excellent book on the RCAF.

Overall this book is highly recommended and an excellent reference on Canada’s air arm. I am really looking forward to the other two volumes and I’m sure they will keep up the high standard of this volume. Keep tuned to these pages.

For more information contact CANAV Books at 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4E 3B6.