Military and Oral History Conference:
Between Memory and History
University of Victoria
Matthew Chapman received his private pilotís license at age sixteen. After graduating from Selkirk College in 2002 with a Diploma in Professional Aviation, he worked for a small airline in Northern Saskatchewan before returning to school. In 2007 he graduated with distinction from the University in Victoria with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. A student under Dr. Shawn Cafferky in the University of Victoria course, Seminar in War and Peace Studies: Veterans and Oral History, he interviewed No. 6 Group (RCAF) and RAF Bomber command veterans, and won the 2006 Air Force Officerís Association Book Prize for his course research paper. Upon graduation he worked for the Department of National Defence, Canadian Forces Auxiliary Fleet. Researching the history of the west coast civilian auxiliary fleet, Matthew conducted numerous interviews with retired personnel and wrote an extensive narrative on the otherwise unwritten history of the organization. Currently Matthew is a volunteer research assistant and oral history interviewer for Dr. David Zimmerman and Dr. Shawn Cafferky on their project detailing the history of Canadaís St. Laurent Class Destroyers.
A Ruthless Education: The Formative Experiences of World War II Canadian Bomber Crews and the Founding of Post-War Aviation Culture.
Post-war civilian aviation in Canada was shaped by the unprecedented number of aircrew returning from service overseas. As such, the wartime experiences of these men provided the foundations for the culture of aviation which evolved in Canada after 1945. This culture, in its social-anthropological definition, has been in part passed down from one generation of aviators to the next, so that even today the affects of the formative experiences of World War II aircrew can be observed in many aspects of civilian aviation. This paper will explore the role that oral history can play in improving our understanding of aviation culture by examining the personal experiences of World War II aircrew in matters of training and aircraft operation, as well as the social aspects of service during the war. Specifically, issues such as airmanship, safety considerations and their relation to decision-making, crew-resource management and stress considerations will be among the topics considered. For the purposes of this paper, interviews of Canadian aircrew who served in Bomber Command will be used to explore these considerations.
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