A Nanaimo Hero

September 21st, 2017

Raymond Collishaw was born in Nanaimo on Nov. 22, 1893, and died in West Vancouver at the age of 94. At the age of 15, Collishaw joined the Canadian Fisheries Protection Services as a cabin boy. He was a lower ranking sailor on board the Alcedo when it sailed into the Arctic Circle in search of the Stefansson expedition. Unfortunately, they where to late to rescue the Karluk. Collishaw would continue working on ships for the next seven years. By 1915, he had worked his way up to first officer. He joined the Royal Naval Air Service near the end of 1915. He remained with the newly-formed RAF after the First World War, and commanded the RAF forces in Egypt during the Second World War until 1941. He was a pilot and commander of the famed “Black Flight” squadron during the First World War and is credited with 60 victories. Some historians credit him with 81 (unofficial) kills, which would place him at the top of First World War flying aces, ahead of the “Red Baron”. Two years before his death, Collishaw was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame. As well in 1999 the Nanaimo’s Airport terminal building was named this Nanaimo born hero.

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