Robert Leckie CB DSO DSC DFC CD was born in Glasgow Scotland, and in 1906 he came to Canada to work for his uncle in Toronto Ontario. He took flying lessons in Toronto and in 1915 joined the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). In 1916 he was posted to Great Yarmouth England, where for the next three years he flew HS2L and DH4 flying boats, attacking German Zeppelins and flying anti-submarine patrols.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) after he shot down his first German airship, on May 14 1917. A year later, after completing 100 dangerous and risky reconnaissance trips over Germany and on submarine patrol which included sinking a German submarine, he received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). The RNAS became part of the newly formed Royal Air Force (RAF) in April 1918 and on August 15th 1918 Leckie shot down another German Zeppelin and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).

After WW1, Wing Commande Leckie returned to Canada on loan from the RAF to become Director of Flying Operations for Canada's Air Board. In 1920, he led the first trans-Canada flight, which took 10 days although the actual flying time was 49 hours and 7 minutes. In 1924 Leckie went back to England where he served with the RAF in various capacities, including command, in 1938, of the RAF in the Mediterranean region.

In 1940, Leckie was seconded to the RCAF with the responsability for establishing the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). By the end of WW2 the BCATP had trained 131,553 air crew from 11 countries. In 1942 Leckie transferred to the RCAF with the rank of Air Vice Marshall. In 1944 he was promoted to Air Marshall and appointed Chief of Air Staff.

During his career Leckie was named a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB). The USA named him a Commander of the Legion of Merit. Belgium named him a Grand Officer of the Crown and Czechoslovakia named him Grand Commander of the Order of the White Lion. Poland named him Grand Commander of the Order of Polonia Restituta and Norway awarded him King Haakon VII's Cross of Freedom. He was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1988.