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Thread: American volunteers in the RCAF

  1. #1
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    Default American volunteers in the RCAF

    Hi all,

    I would like to ask for a general rules regarding Americans serving in the RCAF during WWII.
    I know they were joining the RCAF before the Pearl Harbour attack but what was the US government view on such a thing? It was prohibited or tolerated?
    And the most important question for me - what was the law/rules when the USA joined the Allies? Were Americans supposed to return to USAAF? were there any terms etc.?

    My question has been raised by a service of RCAF officer of US origin who joined the RCAF in 1940, was trained as a pilot, commissioned and became SFTS instructor. In 1942 he filled transfer papers to the USAAF but his CO recommended to keep him in the RCAF. He stayed with the SFTS till summer 1943 when he passed OTU course, sailed to the UK and became an operational pilot with RAF squadron. After few sorties he was transferred to the USAAF in November 1943.

    So I am interested if he was asking for the transfer himself or he was transferred by order?

    Any additional info or recommendation for sources on this matter much appreciated.

    TIA

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi Pavel,

    US Citizens were covered by the Neutrality Acts of 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1939, which made travel on belligerent ships at your own risk, and slowly wound up the rhetoric as each one appeared.
    A presedential proclamation of September 1939 made it illegal to "hire someone to go beyond the territorial limits of the US.......for example to enlist in a foreign country military". It was also made illegal to use a passport to get to a foreign country to enlist, to travel anywhere on a belligerent ship, or to travel on any ship in the North Atlantic.
    Some of these restrictions were relaxed or blind eyed after the fall of France.

    Also in the frame was the 1907 Citizenship Act which said " any American shall be deemed to have expatriated himself.......when he has taken an oath of allegiance to any foreign state". The British got round this partly by making recruits swear to obey orders of their commanders, not allegiance to the King.

    So in reality anyone volunteering was way outside the law and on their own until Pearl Harbour.

    I believe that when the Eagle Squadrons were disbanded, their pilots were given the opportunity to transfer to the USAAF which most did, but it was not compulsory.
    regards Peter
    Last edited by PeterColwill; 26th June 2018 at 10:50.

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    Hi Peter, thank you very much for interesting and useful information.

    So now it would be great if someone else can confirm that transfer to the USAAF has not been compulsory but at own request only.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Pavel,

    Many Americans continued to serve the RAF or the RCAF after Pearl Harbor. Whatever the reasons they decided not to do the transfer, Eagles or not. Just two names, JC Newton from Colorado (ex-Eagle) who relinquished his RAF commission in April 1945 (OC 124 Sqn in 1943), or JD Browne from New Jersey who left the RCAF in October 1945 (he enlisted in February 1941) and commanded Nos.441 and 421 Sqns in 1944 and 1945.

    HTH
    Phil

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    Phil, thanks for additional info.
    The life make strange things - a Canadian squadron on British soil commanded by an American:-)

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    A Canadian squadron on Italian soil commanded by an American - 417 Sqn RCAF.
    I made a post at http://www.maketarstvo.net about 417 Sqn RCAF (led by Kallio) and 244 Wing RAF, Desert Air Force.
    It's in Croatian, but guys from CZ will understand it.

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    56 Aircrew from 6 RCAF Bomber group rejoined the USAAF in mid 1943. I believe they were required to complete their tours of ops before going to the USAAF. Many were killed, taken POW before their tour was complete. Many more stayed in the RCAF for the duration. Many more were in Coastal Command with some completing their tour of ops with 415 Squadron flying the Albacore.

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    Many thanks to all for your comments, info and links.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi Pavel,

    I am researching the graduating pilots of Course 58 4 SFTS Saskatoon who graduated as pilots on 9 October 1942. There were six Americans who had joined the RCAF.

    So far I have found out that James Edward BRAITHWAITE J/20069 remained in the RCAF and was posted to 622 Sqn before being shot down on 31 May/1 June 1943 and became a pow.
    Whitney Millard BRAY R/123603 transferred to the USAAF and was shot down on 18 November 1943 and made a pow.
    Bertram James FUREY remained in the RCAF and was posted to 419 Sqn and shot down on 13/14 July 1943 and became a pow.
    Richard Norman GEARY transferred to USAAF and flew Mosquitos.

    The last two Edward Victor CHERYE J/14718 and Frank Raymond HENDERSON remain unknown but I wrote to the US records office for their details yesterday. Let me know if you want the address.

    Regards,

    John.

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