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Thread: Why was South Africa not part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Default Why was South Africa not part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

    Hi all

    The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), was a joint military aircrew training program created by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, during the Second World War. Negotiations regarding joint training, between the four governments concerned, took place in Ottawa during the first few months of the war. On 17 December 1939, they signed the Air Training Agreement often referred to as the "Riverdale Agreement", after the UK representative at the negotiations, Lord Riverdale. It was responsible for training nearly half the pilots, navigators, bomb aimers, air gunners, wireless operators and flight engineers who served with the Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) during the war.


    South Africa did not enter into the Empire Air Training Scheme, however on 1 August 1940, a Joint Air Training Scheme was adopted. The scheme trained a total of 33,347 aircrews by thirty six Air Schools by 1945.



    Fatboy Coxy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts


    I suspect this was because of the distinct (if not peculiar, at least at this distance) political position of the Union with respect to the Empire. It is worth remembering that initially the Union was only committed to fighting the Axis on the African continent, and special arrangements had to be reached to extend this to Italy.

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