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Group Captain Robert Wendell "Buck" McNair, DSO, DFC & Two Bars

Photo of Gp Capt McNair taken Sept 1945

Used with permission from


Group Captain Robert Wendell “Buck” McNair, DSO, DFC was born in Springfield, Nova Scotia on May 15, 1919, and raised in Battleford, Saskatchewan. He came from humble beginnings during the Great Depression, completed his schooling and went into the employ of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Natural Resources as a wireless radio operator. In June 1940, shortly after the outbreak of World War 2, McNair enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He began his training at No.1 Initial Training School (ITS) in Toronto, Ontario, then moving onto No.7 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) in Windsor, Ontario, and completing his training at No.31 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) in Kingston, Ontario in March of 1941.


In September of 1941, McNair entered the war. His first encounter came in the form of an air raid while stationed in Britain. During his service in the war, he was attached to 249 Squadron as part of the RAF. He was later attached to 411 Squadron (RCAF) and was involved in the raid on Dieppe. He was also assigned to 416 Squadron and 403 Squadron (RCAF). He was credited for his successes in combat operations, most notably in Malta. For his efforts during the war, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with two bars.


McCaffery, Dan. Air Aces: the Lives and Times of Twelve Canadian Fighter Pilots. James Lorimer & Co., 1990.

“Robert Wendell ‘Buck’ McNair.” Aces of WW2, n.d.

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