The British Empire and the Second World War
In 1939 Hitler went to war not just with Great Britain; he also went to war with the whole of the British Empire, the greatest empire that there had ever been. In the years since 1945 that empire has disappeared, and the crucial fact that the British Empire fought together as a whole during the war has been forgotten. All the parts of the empire joined the struggle and were involved in it from the beginning, undergoing huge changes and sometimes suffering great losses as a result. The war in the desert, the defence of Malta and the Malayan campaign, and the contribution of the empire as a whole in terms of supplies, communications and troops, all reflect the strategic importance of Britain's imperial status. Men and women not only from Australia, New Zealand and India but from many parts of Africa and the Middle East all played their part. Winston Churchill saw the war throughout in imperial terms. The British Empire and the Second World War emphasises a central fact about the Second World War that is often forgotten.
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The RCAF sent forty-eight squadrons and 98,000 men overseas, many serving
with the RAF. After pressure from Ottawa, Canadian air force units were
concentrated in separate Canadian groups, for example, the all- RCAF No. 6
General Auchinleck sent thirty Hurricanes, twenty medium bombers and a
squadron of torpedo-bombers from Middle East Command. In early March 1942
the Eastern Fleet's aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable flew off two squadrons of ...
The RIAF was built around nine operational squadrons - three fighter
reconnaissance, two ground attack, two light bombers and two fighters (including
Hurricane, Spitfire and Vengeance squadrons). Its personnel also serviced RAF