Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Raymond Collishaw was born at Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada on 22nd November 1893. He joined the Canadian Fisheries Protection Services as a cabin boy at the age of fifteen. By 1915 he had worked his way up to first officer.
In January 1916, Collishaw joined the Royal Naval Air Service. Over the next two years he scored 60 victories, including 38 assessed "destroyed." He commanded the famous Black Flight of No. 10 Naval Squadron. This unit, all Canadians and flying Sopwith Triplanes with black trim, claimed 87 German aircraft destroyed or driven down in three months. During WWI, Collinshaw was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Service Order with bar.
At the end of the war he remained in what had become the Royal Air Force. He served in Russia during 1919 as part of the Allies intervention on the White Russian side of the Russian Civil War. He added another victory to his total during this conflict as well as managing to sink an enemy gunboat with a bomb dropped from his Sopwith Camel.
During the Second World War he attained the rank of Air Vice-Marshal following distinguished service commanding the Desert Air Force in North Africa. He retired, involuntarily, from the RAF in July 1943.
Raymond Collishaw died on 28th September 1976 in West Vancouver, British Columbia at the age of 82.
His memoirs were titled Air Command, A fighting pilot's Story and were published in 1973.
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