Flying for Freedom: The Allied Air Forces in the RAF 1939-45
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security, and from the unsteady alliance of 1940, a stronger, more communicative friendship emerged from the common battle so bravely fought and deservedly won. NOTES 1. Buck, M., ‘Feeding a Pauper Army’: War Refugees and Welfare in Britain, 1939–1942 (Berghahn Books 2000). Extract from pre-publication paper. 2. Eisen, J., Anglo-Dutch Relations and European Unity, 1940–1948 (Hull University, 1980), p. 1. 3. AIR 40/2031: Orders of Battle, 1939. In a subsequent report prepared for the
enthusiasm has worn off and matters of rank, prestige and, above all, ‘having a good time’ have become predominant. This lacklustre attitude, he believed, might possibly be dispelled by pushing forward the programme of flying training, but more importantly, by encouraging the Poles to mix with their British colleagues so that they might ‘learn by example’. If these were the problems, what were the solutions? First, Landau argued, ‘if the Polish air units in this country are ever to become
battle the Polish Air Force in France consisted of seven squadrons (four fighter, two reconnaissance and one bomber), the action was limited in the extreme, the bomber squadron being entirely unused.21 Hence the French were still locked into their grand hallucination. Testimonies by both the Polish and Czechoslovak air contingents clearly indicate that neither was assigned to any meaningful combat duties, save a few individuals who found themselves flying within French squadrons. Defeatism was
meant that the Czechoslovaks would pay eventually. It seems clear from this that as a viable recruiting ground, Canada was effectively barren from the Czechoslovak point of view. Neither can it be said that the blame rested on the Czechoslovaks: it was more of a combination of the Canadian and British attitudes which stifled such chances there were for the émigrés to boost their dwindling numbers. In the main, the reasons were political and not military, and have much to do with Beneš’s
Gaulle to form an acceptable alternative government and to maintain its sovereignty, but this in itself brought with it a host of thorny complications. De Gaulle had to simultaneously ridicule the Vichy regime as a puppet of the Nazis while avoiding being accused by it of being a tool of the allies. This was no easy balancing act. De Gaulle had to be on his guard at all times not to give the appearance of merely doing Churchill’s bidding, unless there was some vital French interest at stake.