Peace, Alberta, “Tiger Force” – Part Two

On 20 October 1944, a very long-range bomber force was proposed for the alliance between the United States and Britain in the war against Japan. Named “Tiger Force” it was scaled down to two groups [No. 5 RAF Group and No. 6 RCAF Group] on 21 March 1945. With the surrender of Germany on 8 May 1945, the plans for Tiger Force were stepped up.

The bomber squadrons selected for the RCAF Group were returned to Canada for training and reorganization, flying the Canadian built Lancaster B. Mk. X aircraft. A good number of these aircraft carried Canadian Nose Art, some on veteran bomber aircraft, others were on new Lancaster aircraft which were not flown on active operations in Europe. Following a 30-day leave, the bomber squadrons were to begin reorganization and training, No. 661 and 662 Wings on 10 August and No. 663 and 664 Wings on 24 August 1945. Four Canadian Lancaster squadrons of No. 662 Wing were to be operational in the Pacific by 1 January 1946.

 

It is interesting to note that No. 661 Wing of RCAF Tiger Force was formed at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on 15 July 1945, with Wing Commander F.R. Sharp, DFC, in charge.

The ex-Chief Flying Officer at Pearce, Alberta, became a General when the three arms of the Canadian Forces were unified on 1 February 1968. The Air Force titles such as Flying Officer and Squadron Leader were all replaced by Army equivalents. The RCAF strength at the time of the Canadian Forces Re-organization totalled 44,028 Air Force personnel.

From 15 September 1969 to 14 September 1972 General Frederick Ralph Sharp, DFC, CD, served Canada as Chief of Defence Staff.

General Sharp died at Carrying Place, Ontario, 10 June 1992.

With the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 and Nagasaki on 9 August, Japan accepted the Allied terms of surrender on 15 August 1945. The official surrender was signed on 2 September and the RCAF “Tiger Force” units were disbanded on 5 September1945, without having commenced their bomber training.

 

With no requirement for a heavy bomber force the Canadian Government decided to place hundreds of Lancaster aircraft into long-term storage. The “Victory Aircraft Ltd” plant where the Lancaster Mk. X’s were built at Malton, Ontario, became the graveyard for the newer FM serial number aircraft. The older KB serial series veterans were ordered to fly west, to the closed ex-No. 2 F.I.S. at Pearce, Alberta. These aircraft carried the most and best Canadian Lancaster “Nose Art” used in world War Two.

 

I have always wondered if W/C Sharp had anything to do with the selection of his old base at Pearce as the assembly point for the Tiger Force Lancaster aircraft.