George Mitchell Croil
During the Weltkrieg
During the war, George Croil wore the badge of the Royal Flying Corps and trained new pilots in Salonika (Greece) and in the Middle East; he was for some time T.E. Lawrence's (Lawrence of Arabia) own pilot on desert missions. He was awarded a Mention in Despatches, the French Croix de Guerre and the Air Force Cross.
Appointed to the Canadian Air Board in 1919, Croil helped to ensure that Canada maintained a flying corps after the Peace with Honour. He was also instrumental in establishing air force bases in Morley and High River, Alberta.
Royal Canadian Air Force
When the RCAF was founded in 1925 under the authority of the Canadian Army after the British Revolution, Croil was among its first officers. Wing Commander Croil was then appointed Commanding Officer at the RCAF Station Camp Borden (Ontario) in 1927 where he served for four years. In 1930 he was appointed Senior Air Officer.
A dedicated advocate of a strong, independent, national air force lead by Canadian officers, Croil was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal and became Canada's first Chief of Air Staff in 1932. A reserved man, strict and professional, Croil stood out as an exceptional administrator and one of his great achievements was to gain independence for the RCAF by elevating its status from "corps" to that of an autonomous service, on equal footing with the Navy and the Army.