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Thread: #1 Y Depot, Halifax

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    Default #1 Y Depot, Halifax

    I am currently finishing a book about my mother and father who were both stationed in Halifax durning the war. My mom was at HMCS Stadacona and my dad was a RCAF pilot who was posted to #1 Y Depot, Halifax for about a month before being sent to England in September of 1943. He eventually became a Mosquito pilot in the 409 Squadron.
    I would like information about #1 Y Depot, Halifax. Where exactly was it in the city? What happened there? In the letters my dad wrote home to his parents in Hamilton it seemed he was very bored and spent a lot of time at the airfield in Dartmouth. He also worked as an instructor on a link trainer while waiting for his posting.
    Any help you could give me would be much appreciated. Thanks
    Don

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    No. 1 Y Depot was a holding unit headquartered in Halifax, with detachments in several large Canadian cities, including Montreal and Toronto. It was more an address than a place of residency. Airmen on the move would be assigned to this unit for pay and rations, but could be and would be physically located just about anywhere. On final graduation from their last BCATP School one could be assigned to this unit, but still in residency at the last School until travel was arranged (usually by train), and then on the books of Y Depot while on the train, while in a hotel or barracks on the east coast waiting for a ship, and on board the ship taking them to Europe. It was common to have one or two weeks leave before leaving for Europe, and one would be on Y Depot books during this time. As a result, at any given time there were "serving members" of Y Depot spread all over the country.

    A quick Google search shows that the present HMCS Peregrine is on the site of an old Y Depot facility, and another Y Depot facility was at Pier 21, but I suspect they had addresses throughout the Halifax area. Another Interne tsource reports 4000 people on strength at No. 1 Y Depot at one time, so they must have been spread around quite a bit.

    Prior to August 1941 the unit was known as M Depot. Late in the war it merged with other admin units to become No. 501 Personnel Holding Unit, and eventually No. 1 Release Centre before it closed in September 1945.
    Last edited by Bill Walker; 7th February 2012 at 16:08. Reason: added HMCS Peregrine info

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    I know from my experience researching No.34 OTU, Pennfield Ridge airmen, upon completion of their respective course, were posted to No.1 "Y" Depot in Halifax. An example of this taken from No.34 OTU Station ORBs 09 April 1943: "No.8 Course graduated, and the pupils were posted to No.1 "Y" Depot, Halifax, to report there off embarkation leave on the 25th inst." Most service records I've looked show that the airmen would remain on the books at No.34 OTU until the end of the embarkation leave. After this time they would be on the books at No.1 "Y" Depot awaiting transportation overseas. Some would leave directly from Halifax whereas others would catch a train down to New York and sail from there.

    Regards,
    Christian

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    A further unit which should be mentioned in relation to 1 "Y" Depot is the Royal Air Force Trainee Pool (sometimes abbreviated to RAF T/P), apparently also located at Halifax, perhaps actually physically resident at the port, to which most EATS (also read BCATP) graduates were posted just prior to embarkation for the trans-Atlantic trip to the UK (or wherever directed). Thus they would not be on strength of Y Depot for the actual voyage. I do not know exactly when RAF T/P made its appearance but it was probably sometime in 1942/43. It is also probable that the graduates would cease to be attached to the RCAF w.e.f. from the date of their posting to RAF T/P and be attached to the RAF from this point onwards.
    David D

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    For at least part of the war the RAF had its own manning depot, M Depot, at Moncton. I have often seen this quoted as the unit of RAF instructors in transit within North America. I'm not sure if this was the same unit as the RCAF M Depot. The various Y Depots (there appears to also have been a No. 2 and a No. 3) were for RCAF personnel.

    From my reading about RCAF organization at this time, a "Depot" was usually a larger logistics command organization, in charge of widely distributed facilities and small detachments. There were also E Depots (equipment) and R Depots (repair).

    I recently found an article written by a western graduate who says he was posted to No. 1 Y Depot, but ony visited it for a few hours. He travelled to Halifax by train, got off at Y Depot, was issued with a helmet and a gas mask, and then boarded another train for New York City. He sailed to the UK from there. This suggests a Y Depot unit at a train terminal.

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    You see numerous mentions in the Station ORBS for No.34 OTU for RAF Officers being posted in or posted out through No.31 P.D. in Moncton.

    Also I had the widow of an airmen who trained at No.2 ANS, Pennfield Ridge recall that after leaving Pennfield Ridge they stayed in Halifax for a week - she in a rooming house and her husband "bedded down at the Y Depot".

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    Default No 1 (Y) unit

    Bill, I'm writing a piece about a crew member of HK594's Wireless Operator Charlie Hill by the name of Walt Watson who was posted to No.1 (Y) at Halifax from 3/8/43 to 25/8/43, whereupon he is given as RAFTP before Embakation Canada 26/8/44 and Disembarkation UK on the 1st of September 43.
    I've read your description of te status on the No. 1 (Y) unit and find it most precise. May I quote your piece, credit given of course?

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    Jake,

    I would be honoured to be quoted in your work.

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    Many thanks Bill, I appreciate that.
    I'm still hoping to find out why Walt Watson was photographed at what is said to have been Valley Forge during the time he was on the books of No1(Y) Unit.
    I posted elsewhere asking for information but thus far we've not really been able to detrmine the reason why he and Bill Morris were snapped there, if indeed the location is Valley Forge.

    My email address is unionmills at virginmedia dot com and if you get in touch I can email you the shot. Replace the at with the @ and dot with the .
    I tried posting the photo but I'm not allowed to do so.

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    Don't remember if I posted this before Jake, but I have found several instances were aircrew graduates took a bit of a holiday on the train ride from their last School to the east coast before sailing to the UK. Some of them were on the books of one of the manning depots during this tour.

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