Reflecting on Charles Robertson Olmsted

I did not know until 15 days ago who was Charles Robertson Olmsted on a group photo taken on August 21, 1942, two days after the Dieppe raid.

21 August 1942

Then his nephew Ross found this blog and wrote me where his uncle was on the group photo…

Ross sent me another email last night. I told Ross I had to share what he wrote with my readers.

You are very patient to have read through that. Thank you.

I am sure many thousands of young men died because of mistakes and ineptitude during the war. And I can even bring myself to understand why senior officers could rationalize covering up the facts so as not to undermine morale and turn citizens against the war. It is human nature, and human nature is far from perfect.

Young men such as Charles (whose dream was to act on the stage, and to be with his bride) were suddenly swept up in the terrible whirlwind of Hitler’s war and transformed into fighter pilots. And other young men, who perhaps only wanted to be left alone to work on their farms and chase girls on a Saturday night, were rushed through courses to become aircraft mechanics and maintenance crew. Mistakes were certain to happen.

On the same microfilm reel as the one on which I found that accident report, there were dozens of similar reports on air accidents that took place during that same period on RCAF bases across Canada. There seemed to be one a week.

If there was ever a just war, the war against the Nazis certainly qualifies. Charles may have died as a result of negligence and human error, but he was proud to serve his country and he did so with honour.

My generation is just so damn lucky to have been spared what they went through.

Thank you again, Pierre.


So what did I read?

To be continued…

7 thoughts on “Reflecting on Charles Robertson Olmsted

  1. I agree up to a point but it isn’t difficult to see that many accidents were caused by incompetence and negligence. Men promoted because of their class and family connections and not because of their abilities.

  2. I agree with most of what has been said. The part I slightly disagree with is the part about sparing the need to partake in a war. Yes the brave men women and children that fought and died and also the people that lived will never be forgotten by me. There are many wars going on now that our brave men women and children are fighting in. What many people don’t know or ignore is the fact that many have been on the brink of WWIII. I am a retired AWST 572 from the Canadian armed forces. I fought in the Gulf war one and the Balkan Crisis and they both we on the brink of WW III. I know this is a site that talks about fallen heroes of this Squadron, sorry for interrupting that. I just won’t to say something. You all have a nice day and let keep up the talk so nobody forgets.

    On Fri, Jan 10, 2020 at 12:49 PM RCAF No. 403 Squadron wrote:

    > Pierre Lagacé posted: « I did not know until 15 days ago who was Charles > Robertson Olmsted on a group picture taken on August 21, 1942, two days > after the Dieppe raid. Then his nephew Ross found this blog and wrote me > where is uncle was… Ross sent me another email las » >

    • I hope you will read this Doug.
      Thank you for your comment. I know it was impossible not to go to war in 1939 with Hitler’s invasion of Poland. I agree we have been on the brink of WWIII several times before, and it is men like you we should be thanking. I also know the suffering you went through seeing what you have seen and endure. We don’t talk that much about those who have served in those conflicts simply because veterans like you are suffering deep inside and telling about it makes it much worse. My blogs about WWII started in 2009 when my wife’s uncle told us he was a sailor aboard HMCS Athabaskan. No one knew in the family. When I started writing about it, I knew why he did not want to talk about it. Again thank you for your comment and your service in the armed forces.

    • Clarence wrote this Doug…

      Great Pierre,

      Ask Tim to publish the full history, and if possible use photos.
      When I did my 2010 research, [I was in Mexico] nobody wanted to talk about it. My info. came from two members in Afghanistan, who believed it was close to the truth. My main object was to record the names of the men who painted the Griffons and Chinooks. Our taxpaying funded military museum’s should be saving this, however, the DND take a political position on this aviation art.

      Cpl. Gord Bennet should record his story. I’m really just a WWII nose art guy.


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