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Thread: British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Canada

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    Default British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Canada

    Can anyone help with information on which locations in Canada would be the most easily accessible for potential recruits crossing over from the New York/New Jersey areas of the USA. Would they be recruited within the USA or would they have to cross into Canada?

    Finally are there any publicly available lists of recruits for these training centres - particularly for pilots?

    Many thanks

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    Hi,
    I have a a photo of the graduating class of Course 58, 4 SFTS Saskatoon June-October 1942. It has in its ranks 5 members who came from the USA. I don't have a lot of detail on them but if you would like to contact me off board on harleyDOT158ATbigpondDOTcom replace the DOT and AT with the usual I'll be happy to share anything I have with you.

    Regards,

    John.

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    From New York an American could cross into Ontario or Quebec, at several crossings that had been established and in regular use since the early 1800s. If we knew what American city he started from, we could give a more specific answer. New Jersey doesn't share a border with Canada, from there an American would most likely pass through New York. As to where the recruiting occurred, it depends on the dates. Prior to Pearl Harbor the RCAF recruited in the US, under several thin disguises (Google The Clayton Knight Committee for example). Americans also crossed the border on their own to join up in Canada, throughout the war.

    Most of the Canadian population is spread out along the border with the US, and most Canadian cities of any size had several busy border crossings nearby. All the Canadian towns and cities had recruiting offices within a few months of the start of the war, and an American could catch a regular train or bus to any of the border cities to join up. It is hard to give a more specific answer without more information.

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    Hello Bill,

    The man I am researching was from North Arlington, Bergen County, NJ. He was killed on active service on 20th August 1942 in his second week with an active squadron but he came via 6 OTU in England so he probably started there at the beginning of July 1942.

    I am trying to find out whether he crossed into Canada and trained there or came directly to England. He was American born but from a Polish family who arrived in the USA in 1911. I cannot find any trace of him prior to his time with 6 OTU but he was a pilot so his training would have taken a significant amount of time and he probably left the USA before Pearl Harbor or at that time as a knee jerk reaction, he may have wanted to commit himself to the Polish rather than US forces.

    Thanks for your help

    Neville Bougourd

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    Hello John,

    Thanks for your kind offer but the man I am investigating was killed on active service in August 1942 and was already a fully qualified pilot by that time so he could not have been in your photograph.

    Many thanks
    Neville Bougourd

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    What about Service Flying Training at Camp Borden, Ontario?

    Have you seen this site? http://rcafcampborden.blogspot.co.uk/

    There are nominal rolls of most of the course.

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

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    I think your man would have first visited a recruiting centre, at such as Toronto or Montreal.

    There may also be a possibility that he trained in the USA at one of the UK Refresher Schools, having first attended an interview at one of the clandestine recruiting centres held in such as a big hotel in New York.

    I cannot locate the book at present, there there is one written by a Greek pilot who describes the process and the training quite well. I think his name was Pisano and he eventually transferred to the USAAF.

    It might help if we knew the name of your subject. I seem to recall there is a researcher who has done some research on the Americans that passed through No.6 OTU.
    Freshman

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    Hello Freshman,

    The American pilot was named Grzegorz Piotr Gramiak but he was also known as Gregory and even George.; He trained as a pilot and came to England where he went through 6 OTU (unless there was another 6 OTU in Canada) and transferred to 304 (Polish) Squadron. He was killed in a flying accident on 20th August 1942. He was second generation Polish and was born in North Arlington, New Jersey.

    His younger brother Viktor served in the USAAF and was killed in the Netherlands in 1945.

    Regards
    Neville

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    Thanks Steve,

    It will take some time to go through this and the associated sites but it will be time well spent!

    Regards
    Neville

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    Do you know if Gramiak was RAF or RCAF? We may find service records once we know where to look.

    6 OTU, RCAF didn't form until about 1944, so his 6 OTU was probably in the UK. He still could have been RCAF and attended an RAF OTU.

    If he went on active flying in July 1942 he probably enlisted (RAF or RCAF) no later than late 1940 or early 1941 - unless he had some flight training prior to enlisting. Americans with prior flight training who enlisted in Canada early in the war usually wound up as staff pilots at Canadian schools. Your man could have spent time in Canada as a civilian staff pilot, before enlisting. In that case he could have enlisted as early as late 1939.

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