“His inspired leadership and vision in guiding the post-war modernization and growth of Canada’s Naval Air Service, which earned him the title ‘Father of Canadian Naval Aviation’, together with his skills as an aviator and as an astute operational planner, have proven to be of outstanding benefit to aviation in Canada.”
Alexander Beaufort Fraser-Harris began his career flying after joining the military and attending the Royal Naval Military College in 1930. He attained his Fleet Air Arm pilot’s wings by 1939 and took part in the sinking of the German cruiser Konigsberg, which was to be the first enemy warship sunk by aerial bombing. Fraser-Harris would continue flying for the remainder of the war even after being forced down twice and evading capture. At the conclusion of the war, he transferred to the RCN and was first Captain of RCNAS and first Canadian Naval Aviator to command an aircraft carrier.
In 1963 he was promoted to Commodore and appointed to the position of Chief of Staff (Air). During his career in the RCN he played an important and key role in the struggle for enlightened development of naval aviation as a vital, versatile and indivisible element of the fleet, often against deeply entrenched opposition to essential change and wiser decisions.
Born: 16 Nov 1916, Halifax, NS
Died: 19 Oct 2003
Awards: DSC, CD