Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Robert Leckie

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Air Marshal Robert Leckie CB, DSO, DSC, DFC, CD (April 16, 1890 – March 31, 1975) was a Canadian aviation pioneer and Air Marshal in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1944 to 1947.

Leckie learned to fly in Toronto and joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915. During the First World War he flew anti-submarine patrols over the North Sea.

On May 14, 1917 flying a Curtiss H12 flying boat on reconnaissance, Leckie downed the German zeppelin L22 near Terschelling.

On August 6, 1918 during a night time raid, a German zeppelin formation under the command of Fürher der Luftschiffe (FdL.) (Admiral, 2nd class) Peter Strasser attacked Boston, Norwich, and the Humber estuary. Flying in a DH.4 biplane, Major Egbert Cadbury (pilot) and Leckie (gunner) took part in the interception engagement and were credited with downing Zeppelin L70 just north of Wells-next-the-Sea on the Norfolk coast. FdL. Strasser, head of the Imperial German Navy's zeppelin forces, was on board L70 and did not survive. By the end of the war, Leckie was a Wing Commander in the Royal Air Force.

Between the wars, he directed flying operations for the Canadian Air Board, and oversaw the creation of mail and passenger air service throughout Canada. He later returned to the RAF, and by 1940 commanded the British air forces in the Mediterranean Sea from Malta.

As the war expanded later that year, Leckie returned to Canada to take charge of training operations in Canada for the RAF.

He was promoted to Acting Air Vice-Marshal in 1941, and was later made substantive.

In 1942 he transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

In 1944 he became Chief of Air Staff, and was promoted to Air Marshal. After his retirement from the RCAF, Leckie played an active role in the Canadian Air Cadet movement.

He died in Ottawa on March 31, 1975.

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