"His leadership, courage, dedication and his indomitable will to survive were manifestations of his contribution to Canadian aviation.”
Robert Wendell “Buck” McNair grew up in North Battleford, Saskatchewan and was employed as a ground wireless operator. He enrolled in the RCAF in June 1940 and graduated as a pilot in March 1941. He transferred to Malta where he destroyed five enemy aircraft and damaged eight others and scored several more hits during a fierce air battle in his Spitfire over Dieppe. McNair became Squadron Leader in early 1943 of 416 Squadron and then 421 Squadron and in doing so, added eight more victories to his name.
McNair's courage and bravery exhibited in the Second World War carried through to his civil service when in 1953, the North Star aircraft on which he was traveling as Senior Officer crashed at Sea Island, British Columbia. Although injured and soaked in gasoline, he managed to rescue and account for all passengers and crew members.
Born: 15 May 1919, Springhill, NS
Died: 15 Jan 1971
Awards: DSO, DFC, CD, Croix de Guerre avec Palme (France), Chevallier of the Legion of Honour (France)