Frederick Ralph Sharp

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Frederick Ralph Sharp
General Frederick Ralph Sharp.jpg
General Frederick Ralph Sharp
Born (1915-12-08)December 8, 1915
Moosomin, Saskatchewan
Died June 10, 1992(1992-06-10) (aged 76)
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch Air Force Ensign of Canada (1941-1968).svg Royal Canadian Air Force (1938–1968)
Canadian Forces (1968–1972)
Years of service 1938–1972
Rank General
Commands held RCAF Training Command
Awards Commander of the Order of Military Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Canadian Forces Decoration

General Frederick Ralph Sharp CMM, DFC, CD (December 8, 1915 – June 10, 1992) was a Royal Canadian Air Force officer and Chief of Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces.


Sharp was born in Moosomin, Saskatchewan in 1913 and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1934, student # 2420. He was raised at Trenton, Ontario. He attended the War Staff College in 1944. He was a student at the National Defence College, Kingston. After the war, he furthered his education by completing his Masters in Business Administration at the University of Western Ontario.

Military career[edit]

Following the outbreak of war, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in Trenton, Ontario in July 1939. He earned his wings as a pilot in Trenton in 1939. He completed the flying instructor course at Camp Borden in 1939. He spent over four years [51 months] on instructional duties in Alberta, before being posted overseas as C.O. of No. 408 Bomber Squadron, 6 Bomber Group 26 November 1944. He won a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on 4 May 1945 with No. 408 Goose Squadron. He served as a flying instructor for the BCATP during World War II. He was a squadron commander at the close of the war.[1]

In 1946, he was a member of the Chelsey committee which was instructed to make recommendations about the provision of officers for the active force, about the educational requiresments of candidates, and about the way they should be trained. The committee, headed by Brigadier Leonard McEwan Chelsey (RMC 1917) favored three plans. Plan A proposed to eliminate Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario as a source of officers and to use the site as a two year course for military training of university graduates. Plan B proposed to enlarge RMC so it could provide the total annual requirements of the active force, to make it free and to impose an obligation on graduates to serve in the active force. Plan C proposed to enlarge RMC to produce 50–70% of the officers needed and to have a parallel officer training system in universities to prepare the balance.

After the war, Sharp served with the Air Force HQ and Central Flying School in Trenton. He served as an exchange officer posted as Directing Staff at the RAF Staff College in Britain.

In 1959, he became the commander of the RCAF Training Command and various posting with NORAD. Sharp was promoted to Air Marshal in the RCAF.[2] He served as Vice Chief of Defence Staff from 1966.[3][4] The following year, in 1968, he was regraded from Air Marshal to Lieutenant General and in January 1969 he was appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief of NORAD.

In 1969, Sharp was elevated to the rank of General and served as Chief of Defence Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces from 1969 to 1972.[5] He retired in 1972 and became a partner in a consulting firm until 1979. In 1983 he joined retired Canadian Ambassador Ross Campbell, as a founding partner in the consulting company InterCon Consultants.

He wrote a paper for the July–August 1967 Air University Review on the Reorganization of the Canadian Armed Forces.[6]


He was married to Betty Sharp and had two sons, John and Richard, and three daughters, Brenda, Barbara and Elizabeth. Brenda Sharp married Charles Walton Cole and had three sons, Adam, Alex and Michael.


The papers he collected on the reorganization and the unification of the Canadian Forces are included in the Robert Lewis Raymont fonds at Wilfrid Laurier University.[7]


Further reading[edit]

  • 4237 Dr. Adrian Preston & Peter Dennis (Edited) "Swords and Covenants" Rowman And Littlefield, London. Croom Helm. 1976.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "To Serve Canada: A History of the Royal Military College of Canada" 1997 Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1969.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "Canada's RMC – A History of Royal Military College" Second Edition 1982
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Preston "R.M.C. and Kingston: The effect of imperial and military influences on a Canadian community" 1968
  • H1877 R. Guy C. Smith (editor) "As You Were! Ex-Cadets Remember". In 2 Volumes. Volume I: 1876–1918. Volume II: 1919–1984. Royal Military College. [Kingston]. The R.M.C. Club of Canada. 1984
Military offices
Preceded by
Robert Moncel
Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
Succeeded by
Michael Dare
Preceded by
William R. MacBrien
Deputy Commander of NORAD
January – September 1969
Succeeded by
Edwin Reyno
Preceded by
J.V. Allard
Chief of the Defence Staff
Succeeded by
J.A. Dextraze