Albertans made a huge contribution to
the First World War, as the
province showed one of the highest rates of enlistment in the
country. Albertans served as soldiers, sailors, pilots, support crew and mechanics.
Their exploits in the skies over France were well known, such as
Captain Wilfrid Reid (Wop) May of Edmonton.
He was pursued and
nearly shot down by the Red Baron, before fellow Edmontonian
Roy Brown gave chase and opened fire on the German triplane.
Brown received a bar to add to his Distinguished Service Cross
for the victory over the Red Baron, although many believe that
it was Australian antiaircraft gunners who brought down the German flying
ace. Brown was given credit for shooting down the Baron by the
RAF as they desperately needed the recognition in face of the losses
they had been sustaining.
Another pilot was Donald MacLaren of Calgary and Keg River,
who shot down 48 aircraft and six balloons, earning the
distinction as third most successful Canadian ace in the war.
Fred McCall, also of Calgary, shot down 30 enemy aircraft and is
the namesake of the Calgary’s International Airport.
These men were significant to Canada’s war effort, and
returned home to continue making noteworthy contributions to the
nation’s economy after the First World War.