View Full Version : No.31 EFTS, De Winton, Alberta

20th March 2015, 17:58
Excerpts from unit diary, posted for the amusement of Forum members:

“This unit has been informed that the song ‘Captains of the Clouds’ is not the official RCAF song. Simultaneously, a record was received from AFHQ, Ottawa, entitled ‘Captains of the Clouds’ and described as the official RCAF song. This unit would be glad to have the position explained.” (9 July 1942).

“An interesting arrival at this unit is No.104693 Pilot Officer J. Stehlik of Czechoslovakia. P/O Stehlik who holds the Croix de Guerre and the Medal Militaire, is an ex-operational pilot posted to Canada solely to instruct his fellow countrymen.” (17 July 1942).

“This unit now appears to be a veritable International Brigade. The different nationalities are Belgian, Dutch, Danish, French, Czechoslovakian and Polish, to say nothing of British and Canadian. All these varied tongues can be heard daily throughout the camp and some interesting conversations are the result. In this connection, some of these pupils have some interesting stories to tell of their escape from unoccupied and Hun occupied territory. One of the Dutchmen, when asked how he made his escape from Holland, replied in broken English, ‘A Nazi plane land near our house. My friend, he can fly - and me, I have a gun.’” (22 July 1942)

“Pilot Office F.S. Evatt (Aus 403572), this unit’s first Australian instructor, reported for duty today. His Royal Australian Air Force uniform would normally arouse a certain amount of interested comment on account of its smartness, but this unit is so overrun with uniforms of every style and colour from many parts of Europe, that at first glance one might be excused for confusing it with one or two of the others. He has proved himself an efficient pilot and is very popular.” (5 August 1942).

“Advice has been received that W/C J. Anbrus, head of the Czechoslovakia Military Mission in this country will visit this station on 22nd to present the Czechoslovakia Honourary Wings to S/L R.E. Watts, AFC and F/L R.F. Eastwood, the award having been made by General S. Ingr, Czechoslovakian Minister of National Defence, London. In preparation for this presentation, a full Station parade was held at 1700 hours and as when the Station church parade was held in January, it was found that while the NCOs and airmen leave a lot to be desired in their drill and marching, the Officers, particularly the recently commissioned instructors, had no knowledge whatsoever of Officer’s drill and therefore another parade was held on Monday morning.” (19 February 1943),

21st March 2015, 06:43
Hi Hugh,
many thanks for interesting post! Apart from the info about Czechs I like the Dutch story:)


P.S. I suppose there is a typo in the origial document - our head o Military Mission in Canada was 81883 W/Cdr Jan Ambruz.