William Keir Carr

Lieutenant General William Keir "Bill" Carr, CMM, DFC, OStJ, CD (March 19, 1923 – October 14, 2020) was a Canadian Air Force officer. As the first commander of Air Command, he has been described as the father of the modern Canadian Air Force.[1]

William Keir Carr
Lieutenant General William Keir Bill Carr, CMM, DFC, OStJ, CD.jpg
Born(1923-03-19)March 19, 1923
Grand Bank, Dominion of Newfoundland
(now Newfoundland, Canada)
DiedOctober 14, 2020(2020-10-14) (aged 97)
Allegiance Newfoundland
Service/branchRoyal Canadian Air Force / Canadian Forces
Years of service1941–1978
RankLt General
Commands heldAir Command
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsCommander of the Order of Military Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Officer of the Venerable Order of Saint John
Canadian Forces Decoration

Early yearsEdit

Carr grew up in Newfoundland, one of six children, with four brothers and a single sister. At age 18 he attended Mount Allison University and obtained his BA, during which time he sold typewriters to earn extra money for school. It was during university that he joined the Canadian Officer Training Corps.[2]:60–61

Second World War serviceEdit

Recruited for service in 1941, when deployed overseas he was stationed first with No.9 OTU (operational training unit) with photo reconnaissance training on the Spitfire. Later he was deployed to No. 542 Squadron at RAF Benson flying the Spitfire PR Mk XI, one of which he flew to Malta when he was transferred to No. 683 Squadron. During one mission he suffered minor injury when his Spitfire lost control over Perugia, Italy.[2]:60–61 He also had one of the first encounters with one of the first Me 262s during a mission near Munich. With 683 Squadron in 1944 he was nominated for and received the Distinguished Flying Cross.[2]:62

Postwar serviceEdit

After the war, Carr made swift progress through the ranks. He became Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff in 1973 and the first Commander, Air Command in 1975 before retiring from active duty in 1978.[3] After retirement from the Canadian Forces Carr joined Canadair where he became Vice-President of International Marketing, primarily in sales of the Canadair Challenger and later in the same role for Bombardier Aerospace.[3]

Carr died in October 2020 at the age of 97.[4]

Awards and honoursEdit


  1. ^ http://airforceapp.forces.gc.ca/CFAWC/eLibrary/Journal/2012-Vol1/Iss4-Fall/Sections/05-Royal_Matters-Symbolism_History_and_the_Significance_of_the_RCAFs_Name_Change-1909-2011_e.pdf
  2. ^ a b c Wayne Ralph (2005). Aces, Warriors and Wingmen: Firsthand Accounts of Canada's Fighter Pilots in the Second World War. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-83590-6.
  3. ^ a b Keir Carr William Keir Carr Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame
  4. ^ Farewell to the father of the modern RCAF
Military offices
Title last held by
C R Dunlap
(As Chief of the Air Staff until 1964)
Commander, Air Command
Succeeded by
G A MacKenzie