There are two profiles of courage I’d like to share with you relevant to the Second World War:
Edwin Erwin Phillips ~ Edwin Erwin Phillips was born in Montreal and worked as a printer’s apprentice before volunteering for service with the RCAF in 1942. Only 21 years old when he enlisted, he would go on to work as a mechanic with No. 168 Heavy Transport Squadron and rise to the rank of sergeant. As part of his duties, Phillips would sometimes accompany transatlantic cargo flights.
The eastern European country of Poland had suffered greatly during WWII and there was a serious shortage of medical supplies. The Canadian Red Cross donated tons of penicillin in response to the humanitarian crisis there after the end of the war and the military agreed to transport it overseas from Canada.
On November 4, 1945, the Flying Fortress aircraft carrying the vitally needed medicine to Warsaw crashed into a hilltop near Halle, Germany and burst into flames. Phillips and the four other crew members onboard were killed in the accident. The fallen Canadian airmen are buried at Munster Heath Cemetery in Germany.
The Carty Brothers ~ Military service was in the Carty family blood. Five brothers from the Saint John, New Brunswick family served during the Second World War. They came by this dedication to duty honestly as their father, Albert Carty, had served with the No. 2 Construction Battalion during the First World War.
At a time when recruiting regulations restricted the ability of Black people to serve in the RCAF, all five overcame the odds and became airmen. Four of the five served at military bases in Canada during the war. Flight Sergeant Adolphus Carty, the eldest, was an airframe mechanic. His brother, Flight Sergeant William Carty, was an aeronautical inspector. Leading Aircraftman Clyde Carty was a firefighter. And Aircraftman (Second Class) Donald Carty was an equipment assistant.
Gerald Carty enlisted at the age of 18 and became one of the youngest commissioned officers in the RCAF a year later. He served as a wireless air gunner in more than 35 bomber missions over occupied Europe and was wounded in action.
In keeping with the family tradition, the two younger Carty brothers still at home during the war years, Robert and Malcolm, were members of the Army and Air Cadets.