Lieutenant General Carr, RCAF, Rtd, First Commander of Air Command
“Father of the Modern Canadian Air Force.”
William Keir "Bill" Carr, CMM, DFC, OStJ, CD
Order of Military Merit
Commander of Military Merit
Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame
Executive Vice President Foreign & Military Sales Canadair Bombardier
National Commissioner of Boy Scouts of Canada
OTTAWA, Ontario, Wednesday, October 14th, 2020, the family is saddened to announce the passing of Lieutenant-General William Keir Carr the morning of October 14, 2020 at the Civic Hospital.
William Keir Carr was born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1923 at Grand Bank, Newfoundland, son of Percy L. Carr and Eleanor H. (Harris) Carr. He attended Mount Allison University, New Brunswick receiving a BA degree. Carr joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941. He graduated, as a pilot, from Flying Training School at Ottawa (Uplands) July 31, 1942
After arriving overseas, he piloted Spitfires with 541 Squadron Royal Air Force. Then in Italy and Malta he flew Spitfires with 683 Squadron RAF carrying out 143 risky and death-defying missions, many involved photographic reconnaissance of great accuracy and thereby contributed substantially to the success of the Allied 8th Army in Italy. On December 18 1944, Carr was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). His citation was for his outstanding skill and courage both as a pilot and as a flight commander.
In 1948 he met Elaine Mulligan of Ottawa on a blind date, pronounced her a ‘living doll” and promptly married her on December 22nd, 1948.
Continuing to serve in the postwar RCAF, Carr was first attached to 413 Squadron Ottawa. Next he attended Rochester New York Institute of Technology where he received his MSc degree. In 1953, he graduated from the RCAF Staff College in Toronto with the rank of Wing Commander.
Wing Commander Carr was a staff officer with the RCAF’s Air Transport Command in the mid-1950s. He then commanded 412 VIP Squadron, which included the transportation of many dignitaries such as Princess Margaret and, Queen Elizabeth, plus piloting the aircraft for Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s 1958 around-the-world tour.
Promoted to Group Captain, in 1960 Carr was deployed to the Congo where he commanded air units from more than a dozen nations in support of United Nations Peacekeeping operations.
Upon his return to Canada, Group Captain Carr became commanding officer of RCAF Station Namao (just north of Edmonton), and later in the 1960s held command and staff appointments with Mobile Command, Training Command, and as NORAD Chief of Operations in Colorado Springs, USA, in 1970.
In 1973, Major General Carr was appointed Chief of Air Operations for the Canadian Armed Forces. In 1974 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and became the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff. He was responsible for centralizing all Canadian air power under a new Air Command, of which he became the first commander upon its establishment in 1975. For this appointment, Bill Carr became known as the “Father of the Modern Canadian Air Force.”
In June 1976 Carr was made a Commander of the Order of Military Merit (CMM) and in April 1977 was admitted to the Order of St. John (OStJ) with the rank of Officer and to the Companionate of Merit with the rank of Commander with the Military and Hospitalier Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.
Carr served as the National Commissioner of Boy Scouts of Canada from 1972 to 1977. At his suggestion Queen Elizabeth attended the second Arctic & Northern National Boy Scout Jamboree in Churchill, Manitoba in 1970.
From 1977 until 1993, Carr was Executive Vice President, Foreign and Military Sales, Canadair Bombardier. He sold significant numbers of the Challenger jet worldwide. On occasion Elaine accompanied Bill; together enjoying the travel and playing golf.
In 2001, General Carr was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame. “His achievements in both military and civil aviation, along with his proven leadership and organizational abilities, have been of outstanding benefit to Canada.”
In 2013 Bill Carr was honoured by Vintage Wings of Canada founded by Michael Potter; “To acquire, restore, maintain, and fly classic aircraft significant to the early history of powered flight and to inspire and educate future generations about the historical significance of our aviation heritage and their pilots as they dance with them in their natural element in the skies in their natural element.”
In 2016 General Carr was conferred Honorary Doctor of Laws by Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Bill and Elaine remained devoted to each other until her death in 2008. They had three children; Virginia, David (deceased) and Peter. General Carr is survived by Virginia Baldwin and Peter Carr, his grandson, Zackary Carr, and one of five siblings, the Reverend Eleanor Moreithi.
A Memorial Service will take place at Stittsville United Church, 6255 Fernbank Rd, Stittsville, on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. To attend the Memorial Service you must RSVP at: https://signup.com/go/OZtpOjN .
A Maximum of 40 people will be permitted to attend in person. Masks are mandatory and for safety, strict COVID precautions will be enforced.
Live Stream and view the Memorial Service at 11:00 am Saturday, October 31st online at: https://www.merge9.ca/generalcarr
A Graveside Committal will follow at Pinecrest Cemetery, 2500 Baseline Road, Ottawa. If you wish to attend the Graveside Committal, you must RSVP here: https://signup.com/go/WGeRBgy
A Maximum of 25 people will be permitted to attend the Graveside Benediction in person.
Live Stream and view the Graveside Service following the Memorial Service online at: https://www.merge9.ca/generalcarr
In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to; Royal Canadian Air Force Association Trust Fund, https://www.rcafassociation.ca/about-us/trust-fund, The Royal Canadian Legion, https://www.legion or Vintage Wings of Canada Foundation, https://foundation.vintagewings.ca
Info: A Memorial Service will take place at Stittsville United Church, 6255 Fernbank Rd, Stittsville, on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. To attend the Memorial Service you must RSVP at: https://signup.com/go/OZtpOjN A Maximum of 40 people will be permitted to attend in person. Masks are mandatory and for safety, strict COVID precautions will be enforced. Live Stream and view the Memorial Service at 11:00 am Saturday, October 31st online at: https://www.merge9.ca/generalcarr
Info: A Graveside Committal will follow at Pinecrest Cemetery, 2500 Baseline Road, Ottawa. If you wish to attend the Graveside Committal, you must RSVP here: https://signup.com/go/WGeRBgy A Maximum of 25 people will be permitted to attend the Graveside Benediction in person. Live Stream and view the Graveside Service following the Memorial Service online at: https://www.merge9.ca/generalcarr