Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Canada 150 Project

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette –  55 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

Happy Canada Day​​
Happy Canada Day
July 1 2017
Happy Dominion Day 
July 1 1942
 It is Canada Day – Happy 150th Birthday to the great citizens of Canada who are privileged today to be living in peace in a truly wonderful country. As the intention of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Canada 150 project is to celebrate the achievements of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in World War II, we harken back to another significant Canada Day, or in this case Dominion Day – July 1 1942, the Diamond Anniversary of Canada’s Confederation – i.e. Canadas 75th birthday..

At that time, World War II was well underway with the three biggest Allied countries, USSR, USA and the United Kingdom with over 12,000,000 citizens serving in their armed forces while the Axis countries, Germany and Japan, had 10,000,000 citizens under arms. Our research shows that by 1945, over one million Canadians served during the war  so it might be safe to say that in 1942, Canada had half-a-million citizens in uniform.

We present the following analysis of Canada and Dominion Day 1942 and a collection of news events from that same year – mostly related to the ongoing struggle between the Allied and Axis countries.

On July 1 1867, when the participants of the Charlottetown Conference signed the articles of Confederation, the agreement became known as the Constitution Act of 1967 and in addition to setting the template for making a country, it contained a provision to celebrate this achievement on a yearly basis. It was to be called Dominion Day. This holiday occurred every year until 1982 when the Canada Act was passed and Dominion Day was changed to Canada Day which also has been celebrated every year since. This year we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, our sesquicentennial.

Unfortunately, not a lot of information can be found on the web about Dominion Day 1942 so we take the liberty to present some speculation and interpretation on what might have beem happening that day.

July 1 1942 was a Wednesday. Dominion Day, as does Canada Day, calls for a statutory holiday. Strictly speaking, a Canadian statutory holiday only pertains to employees employed in federally regulated jobs (e.g. banks, railroads, television stations) but the provinces generally follow Canada’s lead for this holiday.  The terms include closing of all federal offices including banks. Most employees are entitled to take the day off with full pay. Some businesses and government services such as police, fire and essential care require employees to work whereas these workers must receive 1.5x or 2x their regular wages and may also be given another day off. 

How does this square with 1942 and the war… we are certain that Dominion Day did occur that year but we have no idea if it was considered a `big’ thing at the time or just another day off, I have to say that I was aware enough to know it was Dominion Day between the years 1960 and 1982 and I can’t remember anything special happening at that time. Surely the newspapers and radio offered features on the Dominion Day and its significance to the population, Surely most communities offered events for citizens to attend – civic speeches, outdoor concerts, parades etc. The following information is from the official Canada Day website which gives some idea what Dominion Day in 1942 may have been like.

``From 1958 to 1968 : The government organizes celebrations for Canada’s national holiday every year. The Secretary of State of Canada is responsible for coordinating these activities. A typical format includes a flag ceremony in the afternoon on the lawns of Parliament Hill and a sunset ceremony in the evenings, followed by a concert of military music and fireworks.’’

Pretty tame by today’s standards but something that was appreciated by those who attended. Local governments probably offered similar but scaled back events.

The idea of a paid-day off is a sticky one for a country actively fighting a war. Obviously, active combatants (technically federal employees) were not likely given the day off but maybe were given a rousing `pep talk’ from the boss and s slight upgrade in `chow’ that day. Excluding funerals, we doubt there were many intentional 21 gun salutes during World War II. Rear echelon military personnel in Canada may have had time off during Dominion Day such as with the suspension of training schedule in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

One also must ponder the idea of a paid-day off of workers in Canada’s vast arsenal. Were Canada and her partners sufficiently armed in 1942 to allow a day off from work for workers on Dominion Day. Our country was 1034 days into World War II with 1159 days to go – almost halfway. I think at that time, things were starting to turn, but a lot of workers likely were getting the extra pay and a special lunch for that day.

We welcome any comments where we have gone wrong or coaching if you have anything extra to add. Here are some significant 1942 events:

- The First Battle of El Almein (Africa) started
- The first Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses arrived in Britain
- The Declaration by United Nations is signed by China, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union and 22 other nations, in which they agree "not to make any separate peace with the Axis powers"
- United States and Philippines troops fight the Battle of Bataan against Japanese forces.
- Operation Typhoon, the German attempt to take Moscow, ends in failure.
- Heinkel test pilot Helmut Schenk becomes the first person to escape from a stricken aircraft with an ejection seat.
- American film actress Carole Lombard and her mother are among all 22 aboard TWA Flight 3 killed when the Douglas DC-3 plane crashes into Potosi Mountain near Las Vegas while she is returning from a tour to promote the sale of war bonds. Lombard’s husband Clark Gable, stricken with grief, joined the American Army Air Corp as a private and graduated officer’s training as a Second Lieutenant Air Gunner who flew combat missions in Europe.
- The Holocaust: Nazis at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin decide that the "Final Solution (Endlösung) to the Jewish problem" is relocation, and later extermination.
- The first American forces arrive in Europe, landing in Northern Ireland.- Japanese warplanes bomb Darwin, Australia. - Battle of Los Angeles: Over 1,400 AA shells are fired at an unidentified, slow-moving object in the skies over Los Angeles. The appearance of the object triggers an immediate wartime blackout over most of Southern California, with thousands of air raid wardens being deployed. In total there are 6 deaths. Despite the several-hour barrage no planes are downed.
- U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, his family, and key members of his staff are evacuated by PT boat, under cover of darkness, from Corregidor in the Philippines. Command of U.S. forces in the Philippines passes to Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright.
- The Nazi German extermination camp Sobibór opens in occupied Poland on the outskirts of the town of Sobibór. Between April 1942 and October 1943, at least 160,000 people are killed here.
- The Holocaust: the Nazi German extermination camp Treblinka II opens in occupied Poland near the village of Treblinka. Between July 23, 1942, and October 1943, around 850,000 people are killed here,[5] more than 800,000 of whom are Jews.
- Japanese forces begin an all-out assault on the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula. The Bataan Peninsula falls and the Bataan Death March begins.
- Navy cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire are sunk southwest of the island.
- The Japanese Navy launches an air raid on Trincomalee in Ceylon (Sri Lanka); the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (95) and Royal Australian Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire are sunk off the country's East Coast.
- Disney's Bambi was released in theaters everywhere.
- Award of the George Cross to Malta: King George VI awards the George Cross to the island of Malta to mark the Siege of Malta, saying, "To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta, to bear witness to a heroism and a devotion that will long be famous in history" (from January 1 to July 24, there is only one 24-hour period during which no bombs fall on this tiny island).
- Tokyo, Japan, is attacked by the Doolittle Raid, a small force of B-25 Mitchell bomber aircraft commanded by then-Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle.
- Princess Elizabeth registers for war service in the U.K.
- The Reichstag meets for the last time, dissolving itself and proclaiming Adolf Hitler the "Supreme Judge of the German People", granting him the power of life and death over every German citizen.
-- The Battle of the Coral Sea (first battle in naval history where 2 enemy fleets fight without seeing each other's fleets) ends in an Allied victory.
- Anglo-Soviet Treaty of 1942 to help establish military and political alliance between the USSR and the British Empire is -signed in London by foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and by Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov.
- Bombing of Cologne – British RAF Bomber Command's "Operation Millennium", its first 1,000 bomber raid, with associated fires make 13,000 families homeless and kills around 475 people, mostly civilians; 3,330 non-residential buildings are totally destroyed.
- The Battle of Midway: The Japanese naval advance in the Pacific is halted.
J- Japanese forces invade the Aleutian Islands (the first invasion of American soil in 128 years).
- On her 13th birthday, Anne Frank makes the first entry in her new diary.
- The First Battle of El Alamein.
- Twenty-four ships are sunk by German bombers and submarines after Convoy PQ 17 to the Soviet Union is scattered in the Arctic Ocean to evade the German battleship Tirpitz.
- U-boats sink 3 more merchant ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

- The Germans test fly the Messerschmitt Me 262 (using only its jets) for the first time.
- WWII: First raid by heavy bombers of U.S. Eighth Air Force against occupied France.
- Dieppe Raid: Allied forces raid Dieppe, France.
- Battle of Stalingrad begins: German troops reach the suburbs of Stalingrad.
- Prince George, Duke of Kent, brother to King George VI and King Edward VIII, dies in a flying accident over Morven in Scotland at the age of 39.
- The first A-4 rocket is successfully launched from Test Stand VII at Peenemünde, Germany. The rocket flies 147 kilometres wide and reaches a height of 84.5 kilometres, becoming the first man-made object to reach space.
- A U-boat sinks the ferry SS Caribou off Newfoundland, killing 137.
- Award-winning composer and songwriter Ralph Rainger ("Thanks for the Memory") is among 12 people killed in the mid-air collision between an American Airlines DC-3 airliner and a U.S. Army bomber near Palm Springs, California.
- Second Battle of El Alamein: British troops go on the offensive against the Axis forces.
- The Alaska Highway is completed.
- British sailors board U-559 as it sinks in the Mediterranean and retrieve its Enigma machine and codebooks.
- Operation Torch: United States and United Kingdom forces land in French North Africa.
- Guadalcanal Campaign: Aviators from the USS Enterprise sink the Japanese battleship Hieyi.
British forces capture Tobruk.

- A national plebiscite is held in Canada to decide the issue of conscription. Most English-Canadians are in favour, while most French-Canadians are not.
- The Official Food Rules is published, for the first time. It eventually becomes known as the National Food Guide.
- A German U-boat sinks the ferry SS Caribou, killing 137.
- About 22000 Canadians of Japanese descent are stripped of non- portable possessions, interned and evacuated as security risk