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Cedric Mah

We were having difficulties finding images for Canadians in the South East Asian theatre of World War II. Fortunately, we ran into Cedric Mah, who graciously helped us with our problem. All the images for that section are courtesy of Mr. Mah.

Cedric MahCedric Mah did not, in fact, serve with the RCAF during World War II, but with the China National Aviation Corporation, which at that point was part of the United States Army Air Force. Born and raised in British Columbia, Mr. Mah spent the early years of the war instructing in Winnipeg, and then at No. 2 Air Observer School in Edmonton in 1941. In 1943, he was contacted and told that he would be of use in Asia, in part due to his ethnicity and his ability with the Chinese language.

In Asia, Cedric Mah flew over challenging and dangerous terrain, including the infamous "Hump". The Hump, the tail end of the Himalayas that separates Burma from China, was once thought to be impossible to fly due to the turbulent front created by warm, moist air on one side of the hump colliding with cold, dry air on the other. It would be an obstacle that Mr. Mah faced and surmounted with regularity.

Cedric Mah says that flying at night over certain parts of Asia was particularly difficult. "In Canada we had snow caps and mountains. At night, light reflected off the snow," he says. "When you get out in the jungle, there’s no light, the whole jungle is black. All the light is absorbed by the trees—you have to go immediately on instruments," he says.

After the war, Mr. Mah stayed in Asia as a pilot for several years. Now retired, he currently resides in Edmonton and is a regular volunteer at the Aviation Museum.

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