BOMBER COMMAND ET ALThese statistics are meant to be read with the article “World War II Memories”
The 15 RCAF Bomber Squadrons in 6 Group, Yorkshire and Durham:
405, 408, 415. 419. 420, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428, 429, 431, 432, 433, 434
Other Bomber Command Squadrons:
UK 100, Australia 8, Poland 4, Free French 3, NZ 2, Rhodesia 1, Czech 1, Netherlands 1
Bomber Command fought the longest, continuous battle of WWII, suffering 73,741 casualties (59% of its air crews), and lost 12,317 aircraft. Average life expectancy was 5 operations. Of those shot down, only 17% survived to total 9,838. More Canadians flew with RAF, RAAF, and RNZAF Squadrons than with RCAF. 9,919 RCAF were killed in Bomber Command. Of the 7,000 US citizens who flew with the RAF/RCAF, 763 were killed. USAAF 8th AF lost 4,145 aircraft and 12% of its crews. Bomber Command sacrifices were exceeded only by the Kriegsmarine U-Boat fleet that lost 75% of its crews (30,000 of its 40,000 sailors). Our pre-occupation with these losses ignores those of the Soviets, Chinese, Japanese and others.
REFLECTION: These losses, while grievous to the families involved, still left most of the world free of the devastation suffered by Europe and eastern Asia. Too many grew wealthy from the sufferings of others so remained ignorant of the horrors of war. Rebuilding has been truly astounding. Aid from countries that escaped homeland damage was helpful and appreciated but overblown. Most of the reconstruction arose slowly over many years from acute sufferings and sheer hard work of the locals, leaving them with a strong reluctance to engage in further military adventures. Those who escaped all this can never fully appreciate the limits of military power, the underlying resentment of the oppressed and under-privileged, the feeling of utter hopelessness, or the ever-present threat of bloody revolt. We can be grateful to our numerous-but-too-few philanthropists, to Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Greenpeace, Peace Corps, loans to women to start small businesses, and the like. The task is immense and root causes too often overlooked.