Bill Hillman's Monthly Military Tribute
2017.02 Edition
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The flying instructors of the BCATP must be counted among the unsung heroes of the war.
Chosen from the best pilots available, often restless and ambitious for action on the fighting front,
most them keenly felt the frustration of their work.

The Flying Instructors' Lament

Poem from the book Aerodrome of Democracy by F. J. Hatch

Flying Instructors
A Letter from CATPM President John McNarry
Re: An Interesting Article in the Ottawa Citizen

Second World War veteran fights for recognition for wartime trainers
Ottawa Citizen ~ December 22, 2016

I agree that the Flying instructors didn't get the recognition they deserve. Neither did a lot of the young trainees we lost. 
Here is a quote from "The Plan" by James N. Williams ISBN 0-920002-29-3:

"I got my Wings; I got my gongs; I sort of got my bellyful of war after I had done my training, as many of the other fellows did. But these other lads got nothing except death. And it really doesn't matter whether you are pranged in a Tiger Moth over Neepawa or in a Halifax over Berlin-you're just as dead. And these young fellows were just as courageous, just as young and just as prepared to go and do those big and glorious deeds as those who got to do them, but they never got the chance and they got none of the rewards"

 "Behind the Glory" is another good book on the "Plan" Author Ted Barris ISBN 0-88762-212-7
Also "Aerodrome of Democracy" by F.J.Hatch Queens Printers ISBN 0-660-11443-7. Out of Print but available on line 
This source of "The Flying Instructors Lament"

My uncle Edgar McNarry signed up early and was an instructor in the "Plan" So was an uncle by marriage Ed Wilson who stayed in the RCAF post war. They both had over 4000 hours in Harvards!

Many pilots in the conflict ended their tours with under 1000 hours. Frank McManus was an instructor and former CATPM  director who managed to get overseas and flew Typhoons.

Others served in many unrecognized branches of the services such as the "Radar Mechanics" who engineered maintained and operated all types of top secret  RDF sets both land based and in aircraft. They were sworn to secrecy until 1996. Fifty years of no recognition and silence. My father was one of them; "What did you do in the war Daddy?" "Put corks in Nazi guns" 

Brandon Manitoba has the only museum in Canada solely dedicated to preserving the artifacts and telling the story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada.

We have Six buildings from the "Plan."  Hangar 1 is a National Historic Site. We also have aircraft and MT vehicles some of which still run and fly. The displays and archives have over 20,000 artifacts relating to the BCATP.

We also have a Memorial Wall which is 300' long composed of 54 4'x5' black granite panels with the names and age of passing of the 18,039 who lost their lives in WWII, The Memorial also has the names of those in the RAF, RAAF and RZAF who lost their lives in or near Canada during that conflict. It is a stunning Memorial in scope, overseen by a heroic scale bronze of an airman in training. Reading the figure 19,000 lost in text isn't the same as walking the length of the memorial. . . .

John McNarry
President CATPM



A Preview of our Upcoming Series:
An Article from Pearce Alberta

Shared by Greg Sigurdson
010/150 Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum

Canada 150 Vignette
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Stations
Pearce Alberta

We found an interesting account of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan activity in Pearce Alberta on a great website --
It has a selection of excerpts from the daily reports written for the various schools that were located there during World War II. It is the story of a BCATP school where no one seemed sure about what its purpose should be.

Pearce first played host to No. 36 Elementary Flying Training School which opened on March 30 1942. It was open for 137 days to the Royal Air Force which used de Havilland Tiger Moth and Boeing Stearman aircraft for flying training. For all of the Canadian wartime training, the Stearman was used only by three RAF elementary schools, all located in Alberta.  On May 31 1942, the school had 69 Stearman and 14 Tiger Moth aircraft.

In anticipation of opening, the school became home for 32 officers and 304 airmen, all RAF, who arrived on March 17 1942. On arrival, personnel were given the opportunity to exchange a maximum of 10 British pounds to Canadian dollars. They were also allowed pay advances in the amount of  $50 for officers, $25 for Warrant Officers, $15 for Flight Sergeants and Sergeants and $10 for Corporals and below. Students did arrive with the officers and airmen in March and another 90 students arrived from Moncton New Brunswick in early April. 

The short-lived station magazine for No. 36 EFTS was ``The Elevator.

There were three fatalities as a result of one mid-air collision at No. 36 EFTS. After operating for four short months, the school was relocated on July 14 1942 to another RAF school due to the high winds at Pearce which students could not cope with in light aircraft. 

No. 3 Air Observer School succeeded No. 36 EFTS at Pearce on September 12 1942. It was open for 267 days.  The school, under the command of the Royal Canadian Air Force, was operated by a private company known as Prairie Flying Training Ltd. which provided staff pilots and ground crew for the RCAF. Instruction was provided by RCAF staff. The first 43 trainees arrived with 12 staff and six officers on September 12 1943 for one Bomb Aimer and two Navigation Courses. By December 31 1942, the school was home to 14 RCAF staff officers, 2 RCAF WD officers, 2 nursing sisters, 69 RCAF staff airmen, along with 83 trainees of which 68 were RCAF, 11 were RAF, 2 were Royal Australian Air Force and 2 were Royal New Zealand Air Force trainees. 

On January 22 1943, a Wings Parade was given to honour Course 65 which graduated 10 RCAF, 11 RAF, 2 RNZAF and 2 RAAF Air Bomber grads. There were no wash outs. On April 15 1943 another Wings Parade was given in honour of the  Course 66 Navigators of which 25 were Royal Australian airmen and 1 was from the RCAF.  There was one wash-out. All of the graduates were posted to No. 1 Y Depot in Halifax Nova Scotia. 

No. 3 AOS was originally located in Regina Saskatchewan. With the move to Pearce, Regina was reclassified as No. 3 AOS Detachment. Pearce did not have the facilities that other Air Observer Schools had and could not accommodate a full complement of students. As such, Regina continued to train a portion of the classes.

As of December 31 1942, No. 3 AOS in Pearce operated a total of 19 Avro Anson, 2 Cessna Crane and 1 Stinson aircraft. 

Open for less than one year, the writing was on the wall again for the school in Pearce. On April 3 1943, two  courses were moved to the Regina detachment leaving only one at Pearce. The last course to graduate at Pearce was in April 1943. By the time No. 3 AOS closed down in Pearce on June 6 1943, all of its personnel had been dispersed to other schools and No. 3 AOS Regina Detachment closed when three remaining courses graduated.

Pearce finished out the war as No. 2 Flying Instructor School which had been moved from Vulcan Alberta on April 26 1943. It was in operation for 646 days and closed on January 31 1945. 

Pearce Stearman from the  Glenbow Archives


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Dedication of Memorial Wall
Music by Crocus Choir
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JANUARY: Photos ~ RCN Hong Kong Journal ~ Station Mag

Previous 2016 Issues:
Vets Home for Xmas Plus The Japan Homefront
Photo Story: WWII Remembered
Canadian Women in WWII
RCAF Flyers wrote Olympic history
Imperial War Museums Memories
Lancaster Cockpit and Crew Stations ~ Pearl Harbor Mastermind
BCATP Bases and Aircraft ~ Battle of Britain ~ War Brides
RCAF and WWII Polish Resistance ~ F/L Donald Hillman ~ WWI Camp Hughes
RCAF Women Honoured
1. Lest We Forget: Family Tribute
2. Then and Now ~ Wearing the Poppy
A Wartime Christmas

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