THE COLD WAR BEGINS (1945)

The RCAF received its first helicopter, the Sikorsky S51 (known as the H-5), on April 5, 1947. Seven were delivered and they were used for search and rescue.

Friends no more. Although he was “Uncle Joe” during the war against Hitler, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin appeared little better than the Nazi dictator by 1945. Relations between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union had always been somewhat tenuous. But they fell through the floor when the Soviets not only refused to leave the Eastern European countries they had occupied during their advance toward Berlin, but also created or installed Soviet-style governments in the eastern European countries they had overrun in their battles against the Nazis.

Europe was divided in two: the western democracies and the East Bloc Soviet communist satellite countries. Germany, including Berlin itself, was carved up amongst the former allies.

The Cold War was heating up, and Canada was there from the beginning.

FOCUS ON… FLYING FORTRESS 9202

A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress from 168 Squadron.

At war’s end, the medical situation in Poland was dire.

As a result of a request by the Polish Red Cross, the crew of Flying Fortress No. 9202 from 168 Heavy Transport Squadron, left Rockcliffe, near Ottawa, on October 19, 1945, carrying penicillin provided by the Canadian Red Cross.

On November 4, during its second flight, the aircraft crashed in Germany, killing all five crew members. Flying Fortress No. 9205 and crew carried out a replacement flight in mid-November. In all, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) brought five tons of the badly needed antibiotic to Poland.

The five casualties are buried near Muenster, Germany.

A plaque located at the Uplands military chapel in Ottawa — an English duplicate of a Polish plaque in Warsaw — commemorates the fallen. Every year members of the Polish diplomatic corps and Canadian Armed Forces personnel participate in a ceremony there to remember them.