Bennett and the Canadians – 405 Squadron

Bennett wrote in his book Pathfinder:

“I gained another squadron, No 405, when 6 Group* was formed. This raised an awkward matter of principle, as I had insisted from the outset that I would not have any segregation or differentiation in the Path Finder Force. Thus, when the Australians came to me at one stage and asked whether I would have an Australian squadron, I refused point-blank, much to their surprise. The question of the 405 Squadron was different, because it was affiliated to a complete Main Force Group. Nevertheless, I insisted that the crews of this so-called Canadian squadron must not be more than 50 per cent Canadian. I maintained this principle right until the end. I did agree that the CO would always be a Canadian, and it started off under the command of Wing Commander Fouquier, a thoroughly ‘press-on’ type if ever there was one.”

* 6 (RCAF) Group was formed in 1942. AOC George Brookes (English by birth, he had emigrated to Canada with his parents when aged 16) was given the huge task of setting up from scratch a complete bomber group on foreign soil. His contribution was so outstanding the he received the Order of Bath. He was succeeded as AOC by “Black Mike” McEwen (Canadian by birth) in February 1944.