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Thread: ww2 pilots training canada

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    Default ww2 pilots training canada

    I have noticed in records many overseas commonwealth countries like new zealand australia etc when training to fly for the raf in the uk actually trained in canada was there a particular reason why they couldnt train in the uk? seems like a long way off to train for a european conflict any help greatly appreciated !!

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    Google for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

    Makes perfect sense when the skies of Britain are potentially full of German combat aircraft as well as Allied combat aircraft. Also the cleaner weather of the overseas countries eased the training process. Later in the war I understand it was found necessary to introduce advanced flying units (AFU) to help overseas trained crews aclimatise to European skies. Typing on a smart phone so excuse the spelling.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    The deity seemed to have put an awful lot more space into the three dimensions in many Commonwealth countries than into those in the UK! Additionally, there's a lot more meteorological 'clag' in the UK (which Dennis has alluded to). If you've the odd few weeks spare, Biggles, you might like to research the ratio of the number of air-to-air collisions in UK (from whatever cause), and those in BCATP (ditto). It would, I suspect, make interesting reading!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    There also wasnt enough places on the UK training stations to cope with the number of airmen being trained once it really got going. Thank goodness for the BCTAP. I think I would have liked to have trained in Rhodesia and South Africa if given the choice!! LOL

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    Must have been a severe culture shock to come to UK from BCTAP. From wide-open spaces, good weather, excellent food, good company, etc, to over-crowded and dangerous airspaces, crappy weather, crappy food, and miserable people. I'll bet that sorted a very large number of 'men from boys', 'sheep from goats', etc, etc. Can't have been very pleasant especially when, if you were bomber fodder, you're life expectancy was not quite as good as it might have been!!
    Rather them than me!
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 5th November 2011 at 15:05.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    amazing to think these young lads braved foul seas u boats etc to come to a war zone which was perilous to say the least hats off to them saved our skins to be sure

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    The BCATP was originally enacted in 1939 as the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) and, unlike in Canada, was largely referred to as such in Australia and New Zealand throughout the war.

    Errol

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    Negotiations between the Canadian and UK governments for training of RAF aircrew in Canada predated the war. The initial agreement creating BCATP/EATP was signed on 17 December 1939. For a country with a small population, such as Canada had back then, it was a monumental undertaking.

    You can find out way more than you probably want to know about Canada's part in the BCATP at http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/gh-hg/detail-eng.asp?BfBookLang=1&BfId=20

    And Peter - from my current research it appears mid-airs were all too common in Canada. Yes, we had lots of space, but everybody insisted on flying near the few airfields we had - at least for take offs and landings.
    Last edited by Bill Walker; 5th November 2011 at 22:46.

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    Hi biggles

    For your interest from my research (with particular emphasis on men from Australia):

    Flying training for Australian men was the product of a plan hatched by the British Air Ministry shortly after the outbreak of war, in late September 1939, when they quickly recognised their inability to recruit and train sufficient numbers of airmen at home, and lacked the necessary manpower, facilities, security and safety.

    The British Government therefore proposed a plan which called for recruitment of airmen throughout the Commonwealth and Britain and their training overseas, away from the European front. Graduates of the programme would then be fed into operational Royal Air Force units in the United Kingdom to bolster ranks.

    The first draft of the training scheme, which they called the 'British Commonwealth Air Training Plan' ('BCATP'), was sent to the governments of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand on 26 September 1939. It stipulated the numbers of trainees to be fed into the scheme and the costs each country was required bear, in order that sufficient numbers of trained pilots would continue to be pumped into the European war to replace Allied casualties.

    Within days, the plan was tabled in Parliament in Canberra, and approved in principle on 5 October 1939. The Australian Government boldly announced it would send six RAAF squadrons to the United Kingdom but, in reality, had little to offer. As war was declared, the effective strength of the Air Force numbered just 310 officers and less than 3200 men. Little more than a quarter were air crew, and half of these, or about 450 men, were already in Europe or the Middle East serving in RAF squadrons! The RAAF possessed 246 aircraft, but only about 60% were considered operational, and then made up of bi-winged Ansons, Demons, and Seagulls.

    The Australian Government consequently sent a mission to Canada for a meeting with representatives from each government, to discuss the details and draft a final agreement, which was signed on 17 December 1939. One of the articles of the final contract agreed that each country should retain its identity as much as possible and, thus, it was decided the RAAF would form eighteen new squadrons, numbered 450 to 469. In Australia, the training programme became known as the ‘Empire Air Training Scheme', also know as ‘EATS’, and recruiting began almost immediately.

    The first training course commenced on 29 April 1940, and men were sent to an Initial Training School to participate in an eight-week training course. Here, they were issued a uniform and given the rank Aircraftman 2nd Class, the lowest status in the Air Force. Designed partially as a selection process to identify those best suited to becoming a pilot, observer [navigator] or air gunner, candidates were redirected from there to relevant courses within the EATS programme. Although nearly all the young Australian men accepted for ITS wanted to become pilots, barely 35% of them were actually accepted for pilot training. This was partially influenced by the results of the initial medical examination, as pilot training candidates were required to achieve an A1B medical standard, whereas all other aircrew duties only required a minimum A3B result. A further 25% of ITS trainees were trained as observers and the remaining 40% as Wireless Air Gunners, or ‘WAGs’. [My relative] was fortunate to have been one of those selected for pilot training.

    Upon completion of ITS, men were promoted to the rank of Leading Aircraftman and posted to Elementary Flying Training School for another eight-week flying course, where the curriculum included logging 50 flying hours on Tiger Moth biplanes. On completion of the course, the successful graduates were given six days leave. Many of the men were destined for Canada or Rhodesia to continue their training at a Service Flying Training School, and the break gave them a final chance to see family before embarking.

    Approximately 2/9 of the graduates, according to the official figures, were sent to Camp Borden in Ontario, Canada, for their SFTS course. Airmen destined for Canada were officially attached to the Royal Canadian Air Force prior to embarking, and departed for Vancouver by troopship, many aboard HMTS 'Aorangi'. The voyage took them via Auckland, New Zealand, where New Zealand trainees joined them, and from there to Suva, in the Fiji Islands, and on to Honolulu, Hawaii, escorted by an Armed Merchant Destroyer.

    Although it would be another year before Japan entered the war, it was a dangerous exercise, as several highly successful German raiders were active in the Pacific. The troopships stopped in Hawaii for a short lay-over but as the United States was not yet at war and, technically speaking, a neutral country, the men were not allowed ashore, much to their disappointment. Some men have recalled that this did not stop several men trying to swim ashore for some for some ‘horizontal R&R’. However, the ‘absconders’ were promptly rounded up and escorted back to the vessel by unamused American Military Police.

    Troopships arrived in Vancouver approximately 25 days after leaving Australia, the men in many cases having sailed north from the Australian Summer into the Canadian Winter. They then transferred to a train to take them over the Rockies and across the great plains to Toronto. Along the way, the train stopped in Calgary to let out the boys doing other courses.

    After three days travel, the trainee pilots arrived in Toronto, and were transferred to No.1 SFTS at Camp Borden, a pre-war Canadian Air Force base around 70 miles from Toronto. Upon arrival, they were subjected to another medical, after which they commenced schooling with groups of Canadians, British, New Zealanders, Americans and men from a number of other Commonwealth countries.

    The training consisted of several weeks intensive flying on single-engined Yale and Harvard aircraft, which included night flying, solo flying, and navigation by sight. Solo night flying for the first time was a particularly frightening experience for every pilot, but the Winter landscape even by daylight made navigation extremely challenging for the Australians on the course; many of them had never seen snow before. Whilst other lessons included armaments, drill, radio telephony (R/T) and Morse code, pilots logged about 10 hours on Yales and 110 hours on Harvards.

    Most trainees graduated as Sergeant Pilots, but a number also graduated with commissions as Pilot Officers. Days later, the men were transported to No. 1 Troop Embarkation Depot at Debert, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, to await a troopship to take them to the United Kingdom. Two weeks after departing Halifax, the men were landed in the United Kingdom, and immediately sent by train to one of a number of personnel receiving centres.

    From here, the pilots were split up and sent to their respective Operational Training Units, or OTUs. Some of the men found themselves destined for fighter training, whilst others were prepared for bomber units.

    Hope this is of help/interest

    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    hi steve
    many thanks for this superb description of bcatp its certainly cleared up all my questions about war training in canada also the others on the forum peter bill etc many thanks heres a you tube link of interest
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IesBr8hGB0c

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