List of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan facilities in Canada
|British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada|
North American Yale from No. 1 SFTS
|Branch||Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Air Force
|Role||Aircrew and groundcrew training|
|Part of||British Commonwealth Air Training Plan|
|Engagements||World War II|
This article contains a List of Facilities of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) in Canada. The BCATP was a major program for training Allied air crews during World War II that was administered by the Government of Canada, and commanded by the Royal Canadian Air Force with the assistance of a board of representatives from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Schools and facilities were set up at 231 locations across Canada. Many of these facilities were airfields. In December 1939 the Canadian government identified 24 existing airfields that could be used leaving 80 new ones to be built. Classroom facilities with residences were commandeered from Universities, Colleges, and other provincial institutions. Basic training facilities were commandeered from private schools and municipal governments. These "borrowed" facilities were augmented with new construction as required.[note 1]
- 1 Planning and operation of facilities
- 2 Manning Depots
- 3 Aircrew training facilities
- 3.1 Initial Training Schools
- 3.2 Elementary Flying Training Schools
- 3.3 Service Flying Training Schools
- 3.4 Air Observer Schools
- 3.5 Bombing and Gunnery Schools
- 3.6 Air Navigation Schools
- 3.7 Wireless Schools
- 3.8 Naval Air Gunner School
- 3.9 Flight Engineers' School
- 3.10 General Reconnaissance Schools
- 3.11 Operational Training Units
- 3.12 Central Flying School
- 3.13 Central Navigation School
- 3.14 Instrument Navigation School
- 3.15 Flying Instructor Schools
- 3.16 Relief landing fields
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Planning and operation of facilities
There were four phases to the acquisition, construction, and operation of BCATP facilities:
- the beginning as specified in the Riverdale Agreement of 17 December 1939
- an expansion as a result of the move of RAF facilities to Canada starting in July 1940[note 2]
- an expansion as a result of the Ottawa conference of May and June 1942
- closures as a result of the decision to begin winding down in November 1943 and terminate the plan on 29 March 1945
BCATP activities were managed through four Training Commands. Each command was responsible for activities in a region of Canada:
- No. 4 Regina, Saskatchewan, covered most of Saskatchewan, all of Alberta and British Columbia: moved to Calgary, Alberta in October 1941
Recruits began their military careers at a Manning Depot where they learned to bathe, shave, shine boots, polish buttons, maintain their uniforms, and otherwise behave in the required manner. There were two hours of physical education every day and instruction in marching, rifle drill, foot drill, saluting, and other routines.
Remedial high school education was offered to bring 17 and 18 year old recruits up to the RCAF academic level. There was also a standard aptitude test — the RCAF Classification Test.
After 4 or 5 weeks a selection committee decided whether the recruit would be trained for aircrew or groundcrew. Aircrew "Wireless Air Gunner" candidates went directly to a Wireless School. "Air Observer" and "Pilot" candidates went to an Initial Training School.
Recruits were often assigned "tarmac duty" to keep busy. Some were sent to factories to count nuts and bolts, some were sent to flying schools and other RCAF facilities to guard things, clean things, paint things, and polish things. Tarmac duty could last several months or more.
The No. 1 Manning Depot in Toronto was the Coliseum Building on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds and it accommodated up to 5,000 personnel.
No. 1 Toronto, Ontario
No. 3 Edmonton, Alberta
No. 4 Quebec City, Quebec
No. 5 Lachine, Quebec
Aircrew training facilities
Initial Training Schools
Pilot and Air Observer candidates began their 26 or 28 week training program with four weeks at an Initial Training School (ITS). They studied theoretical subjects and were subjected to a variety of tests. Theoretical studies included navigation, theory of flight, meteorology, duties of an officer, air force administration, algebra, and trigonometry. Tests included an interview with a psychiatrist, the 4 hour long M2 physical examination, a session in a decompression chamber, and a "test flight" in a Link Trainer as well as academics. At the end of the course the postings were announced. Occasionally candidates were re-routed to the Wireless Air Gunner stream at the end of ITS.
No. 3 Sacred Heart College, Victoriaville, Quebec
Elementary Flying Training Schools
An Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) gave a recruit 50 hours of basic flying instruction on a simple trainer like the De Havilland Tiger Moth, Fleet Finch, or Fairchild Cornell over 8 weeks. Elementary schools were operated by civilian flying clubs under contract to the RCAF and most of the instructors were civilians. For example, No. 12 EFTS Goderich was run by the Kitchener-Waterloo Flying Club and the County of Huron Flying Club. The next step for a pilot was the Service Flying Training School.
No. 1 Malton, Ontario (Moth)
No. 2 Fort William, Ontario (Moth)
No. 3 London, Ontario (Finch)
No. 4 Windsor Mills, Quebec (Finch and Moth)
No. 6 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (Moth and Cornell)
No. 7 Windsor, Ontario (Finch)
No. 9 St. Catharines, Ontario (Moth)
No. 11 Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec (Finch and Cornell)
No. 12 Goderich, Ontario (Finch)
No. 13 St. Eugene, Ontario(Finch)
No. 14 Portage la Prairie, Manitoba (Moth and Finch)
No. 15 Regina, Saskatchewan (Moth and Cornell)
No. 16 Edmonton, Alberta (Moth and Finch)
No. 17 Stanley, Nova Scotia (Finch and Moth)
No. 19 Virden, Manitoba (Moth and Cornell)
No. 20 Oshawa, Ontario (Moth)
No. 21 Chatham, New Brunswick (Finch)
No. 22 L'Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec (Finch)
No. 24 Abbotsford, British Columbia (Cornell)
No. 25 Assiniboia, Saskatchewan — originally No. 34 RAF (Cornell)
No. 26 Neepawa, Manitoba — originally No. 35 RAF (Moth)
No. 31 DeWinton, Alberta — taken over by the Toronto Flying Club. (Moth, Stearman and Cornell)
No. 32 Bowden, Alberta (Moth, Stearman and Cornell)
No. 33 Caron, Saskatchewan (Cornell)
No. 36 Pearce, Alberta (Moth and Stearman)
Service Flying Training Schools
Graduates of the EFTS "learn-to-fly" program went on a Service Flying Training School (SFTS) for 16 weeks. For the first 8 weeks the student was part of an intermediate training squadron; for the next 6 weeks an advanced training squadron and for the final 2 weeks training was completed at a Bombing & Gunnery School. The Service schools were military establishments run by the RCAF or the RAF.
There were two different types of Service Flying Training Schools. Recruits in the fighter pilot stream went to an SFTS like No. 14 Aylmer where they trained in the North American Harvard or North American Yale. Recruits in the bomber, coastal or transport pilot stream went to an SFTS like No. 5 Brantford where they learned multi-engine technique in an Airspeed Oxford, Avro Anson or Cessna Crane.
- No. 1 Camp Borden, Ontario (Harvard and Yale)
- No. 2 Uplands, Ontario (Harvard and Yale)
- No. 3 Calgary, Alberta (Anson and Crane)
- No. 4 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Anson and Crane)
- No. 5 Brantford, Ontario (Anson)
- No. 6 Dunnville, Ontario (Harvard and Yale)
- No. 7 Fort MacLeod, Alberta (Anson)
- No. 8 Moncton, New Brunswick (Anson)
- No. 9 Summerside, Prince Edward Island, moved to Centralia, Ontario (Anson and Harvard)
- No. 10 Dauphin, Manitoba (Harvard)
- No. 11 Yorkton, Saskatchewan (Harvard, Crane and Anson)
- No. 12 Brandon, Manitoba (Crane and Anson)
- No. 13 St. Hubert, Quebec, moved to North Battleford, Saskatchewan (Harvard and Anson)
- No. 14 Aylmer, Ontario (Anson, Harvard, Yale, and Supermarine Walrus)
- No. 15 Claresholm, Alberta (Anson)
- No. 16 Hagersville, Ontario (Anson and Harvard)
- No. 17 Souris, Manitoba (Anson and Harvard)
- No. 18 Gimli, Manitoba (Anson and Harvard)
- No. 19 Vulcan, Alberta (Anson)
- No. 31 Kingston, Ontario (Battle and Harvard)
- No. 32 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (Oxford)
- No. 33 Carberry, Manitoba (Anson)
- No. 34 Medicine Hat, Alberta (Harvard and Oxford)
- No. 35 North Battleford, Saskatchewan (Oxford)
- No. 36 Penhold, Alberta (Oxford)
- No. 37 Calgary, Alberta (Oxford, Harvard and Anson)
- No. 38 Estevan, Saskatchewan (Anson)
- No. 39 Swift Current, Saskatchewan (Oxford)
- No. 41 Weyburn, Saskatchewan (Anson and Harvard)
Air Observer Schools
Air Observers were what we could call "navigators" today. For recruits in this stream, the training path after ITS was 8 weeks at an Air Observer School (AOS), 1 month at a Bombing & Gunnery School, and finally 1 month at a Navigation School. The Air Observer schools were operated by civilians under contract to the RCAF. For example, Nos. 7, 8, and 9 were run by CP Airlines. However, the instructors were RCAF. The basic navigation techniques throughout the war years were dead reckoning and visual pilotage, and the tools were the aeronautical chart, magnetic compass, watch, trip log, pencil, Douglas protractor, and Dalton Navigational Computer. Recruits also studied Aerial photography. They trained in the Avro Anson.
No. 1 Malton, Ontario (Anson)
No. 2 Edmonton, Alberta (Anson)
No. 4 London, Ontario (Anson)
No. 5 Winnipeg, Manitoba (Anson)
No. 6 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (Anson)
No. 7 Portage La Prairie, Manitoba (Anson)
No. 8 L'Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec (Anson)
No. 9 Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec (Anson)
No. 10 Chatham, New Brunswick (Anson)
Bombing and Gunnery Schools
The Bombing and Gunnery School (B&GS) offered instruction in the techniques of bomb aiming and machine gunning to Air Observers, Bomb Aimers, and Wireless Air Gunners. These schools required large areas to accommodate their bombing and gunnery ranges, and were often located near water.[note 5]
No. 1 Jarvis, Ontario (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
No. 2 Mossbank, Saskatchewan (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
No. 3 Macdonald, Manitoba (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
No. 4 Fingal, Ontario (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
No. 5 Dafoe, Saskatchewan (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
No. 6 Mountain View, Ontario (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
No. 7 Paulson, Manitoba (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
No. 8 Lethbridge, Alberta (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
No. 9 Mont-Joli, Quebec (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
No. 10 Mount Pleasant, Prince Edward Island (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
No. 31 Picton, Ontario (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke and Lysander)
Nos. 1 & 2 Air Navigation Schools offered 4 week courses in astronavigation and were the last step for Air Observers. The RAF schools, Nos. 31, 32, and 33, provided the same training as Air Observer Schools.
No. 2 Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Anson)
No. 31 Port Albert, Ontario (Anson)
No. 33 Hamilton, Ontario (Anson)
Students in the "Wireless Air Gunner" (WAG) stream spent 24 weeks at a Wireless School learning the theory and application of wireless communications. This included signalling with lights and flags as well as radio. Their "WAG" training was completed with 4 weeks at a Bombing & Gunnery School.
No. 4 Guelph, Ontario (Norseman, Moth, and Yale)
No. 1 Yarmouth, Nova Scotia (Swordfish)
Flight Engineers' School
The flight engineer was the member of a heavy bomber aircrew responsible for monitoring the fuel, electrical systems and the engines. He also controlled the throttle settings and was the pilot's "assistant". Flight engineers were not co-pilots but they had some flying training and were expected to be able to take over the controls in the event the pilot was killed or disabled.
No. 1 Aylmer, Ontario (Halifax)
General Reconnaissance Schools
The General Reconnaissance School trained pilots and air observers in the techniques required for ocean patrol. It was the equivalent to an Operational Ttraining Unit (OTU), and last stop before aircrew were assigned to operations. The topics included DR Navigation, Astro Navigation, Compasses and Instruments, Meteorology, Signals, Reconnaissance, Coding, Ship Recognition, Aerial Photography, and Visual Signals. Flight Lieutenant (F/L) R. E. MacBride from No. 162 (BR) Squadron RCAF trained at No. 1 GR.
Aircrew spent 9 weeks at a General Reconnaissance School.
No. 1 Summerside, Prince Edward Island (Anson)
No. 31 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Anson)
Operational Training Units
The Operational Training Unit (OTU) was the last stop for aircrew in training. Students spent 8 – 14 weeks learning to fly operational aircraft (Hawker Hurricane or Fairey Swordfish, e.g.). The instructors had experience in actual operations, and often were posted to OTUs after their operational tour.
No. 1 Bagotville, Quebec (Hurricane)
No. 31 Debert, Nova Scotia redesignated No. 7 OTU (Hudson, Mosquito))
No. 34 Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Ventura)
No. 36 Greenwood, Nova Scotia redesignated No. 8 OTU (Hudson, Mosquito)
Central Flying School
The Central Flying School was located at Trenton, Ontario.
The Central Navigation School was located at Rivers, Manitoba (Anson).
The Instrument Navigation School was located near Deseronto, Ontario.
Flying Instructor Schools
No. 1 Trenton, Ontario
No. 3 Arnprior, Ontario (various)
Relief landing fields
Every principal airfield (e.g. EFTS or SFTS) had one or two relief airfields located within 10–15 km. The No. 1 Relief Airfield is called "R1" in RCAF Station diaries. Some of the relief fields were paved, some were just grass, and some had hangars, barracks, and maintenance facilities. For example, students at No. 14 SFTS Aylmer moved to their R1 at Yarmouth Centre for the last four weeks of their training (radio, bombing,and gunnery).
- Airdrie, Alberta — R1 for No. 3 SFTS Calgary
- Burtch, Ontario — R1 for No. 5 SFTS Brantford and principal field for No. 4 Wireless School Guelph. 
- Buttress, Saskatchewan— R1 for No. 32 SFTS Moose Jaw
- Carp, Ontario — R1 for No. 2 SFTS Ottawa
- Chicoutimi, Quebec — R1 for No. 1 OTU Bagotville
- Edenvale, Ontario — R1 for No. 1 SFTS Camp Borden
- Gananoque — R1 for No. 31 SFTS Kingston
- Grand Bend, Ontario — R1 for No. 9 SFTS Centralia
- Granum, Alberta — R1 for No. 7 SFTS Fort MacLeod
- Hamlin, Saskatchewan — R1 for No. 35 SFTS North Battleford
- Innisfail, Alberta — R1 for No. 36 SFTS Penhold
- Langley, British Columbia — Relief for No. 18 EFTS Boundary Bay
- St. Thomas, Ontario — R1 for No. 14 SFTS Aylmer and No. 4 B&GS Fingal
- Tillsonburg, Ontario — R2 for No. 14 SFTS Aylmer
- Welland, Ontario — R1 for No. 6 SFTS Dunnville
- List of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan facilities in Australia
- List of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan facilities in South Africa
- List of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan facilities in Southern Rhodesia
- Flags of Canada
- Royal Canadian Air Force Ensign
- For example, Wireless Schools required a shooting range. At No. 4 WS in Guelph, an "armament building" was constructed on the Ontario Agricultural College grounds.
- After the Fall of France the British government decided to move RAF assets out of the United Kingdom to Canada together with their RAF personnel. The first unit to move was No. 7 Service Flying Training School from Peterborough, England which sailed for Canada on 29 August 1940. No. 7 re-opened on 7 October 1940 at Kingston, Ontario as No. 31 SFTS. All the RAF schools moved to Canada were given numbers with "31" or above to distinguish them from the original BCATP schools. Starting in 1942 some of the RAF schools were "Canadianized" and taken over by the RCAF. An example of this is the Elementary Flying Training School at De Winton, Alberta. It began as a transplanted RAF school run by RAF personnel. It opened on 18 June 1941 as No. 31 EFTS. On 13 July 1942 it was taken over by the Toronto Flying Club under contract to the RCAF. In the body of the article RAF schools are marked with an RAF ensign.
- Headquarters was at Prudential House, 55 York St. in Toronto
- No. 6 was opened at the original site of Havergal College, 354 Jarvis St. in Toronto
- For example, the aeronautical chart for 1 B&GS Jarvis shows a 140 square mile main range over Lake Erie, and 3 or 4 small "target zones" on land near the shoreline. These ranges start at Grant Point and end at Turkey Point.
- Wikene, I. (1979). "Canso & Catalina In The R.C.A.F". In Wilkinson, Les. I'll Never Forget...Canadian Aviation In The Second World War. Willowdale, Ontario: Canadian Aviation Historical Society. pp. 47–54. ISBN 0-920610-00-5.
- Scherer, J. L. F/O RCAF (1941). "Canada's Part In The War". Flying Aces Magazine (New York: Magazine Publishers, Inc.) (April 1941): 4–8.
- Hatch, F. J. (1983). Aerodrome of Democracy: Canada and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan 1939–1945. Ottawa: Canadian Department of National Defence. ISBN 0-660-11443-7.
- McIntyre, M. (Mac) (1979). "The Aylmer Story 14 S.F.T.S.". In Wilkinson, Les. I'll Never Forget...Canadian Aviation In The Second World War. Willowdale, Ontario: Canadian Aviation Historical Society. pp. 67–86. ISBN 0-920610-00-5.
- Forsyth, Bruce (1998). "A Short History of Abandoned and Downsized Canadian Military Bases". Military Bruce Historical Writings by Bruce Forsyth. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
- Lougheed, E. C. (2002).No. 4 Wireless School At Guelph, 1941-1945. Archival and Special Collections, University of Guelph. RE1 UOG A1642.
- Ziegler, M. (1973). We Serve That Men May Fly. Hamilton, Ontario: R.C.A.F. (W.D.) Association.
- Dunmore, S. (1994). Wings for Victory. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2927-6.
- History of Moncton
- Stewart, G. (1979). "Night Intruder". In Wilkinson, Les. I'll Never Forget...Canadian Aviation In The Second World War. Willowdale, Ontario: Canadian Aviation Historical Society. pp. 38–43. ISBN 0-920610-00-5.
- Milberry, L. (2010). Aviation in Canada : evolution of an air force. Toronto: CANAV Books. ISBN 9780921022237.
- (Anon). "Un peu d'histoire". Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- (Anon). "History of SAIT - World War II Effort". Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- Suderman, Brenda. "If Walls Could Talk: The Human Story of 500 Shaftsbury Blvd.". Canadian Mennonite University. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- Canada Department of Mines and Resources, Surveys and Engineering Branch. Air Navigation Edition Toronto-Ottawa (Map). Cartography by Hydrographic and Map Service (9 March 1943 ed.).
- Anon (2009). "Abandoned Aerodromes". Canada Flight Supplement Effective 0901Z 12 MArch 2009 To 0901Z 7 May 2009. Ottawa: Nav Canada. p. A35.
- Canada Department of Mines and Resources, Surveys and Engineering Branch. Air Navigation Edition Toronto-Windsor (Map). Cartography by Hydrographic and Map Service (21 January 1944 ed.).
- Canada Department of Mines and Resources, Surveys and Engineering Branch. Air Navigation Edition Ottawa-Montreal (Map). Cartography by Hydrographic and Map Service (September 1942 ed.).
- Canada Department of Mines and Resources, Surveys and Engineering Branch. Air Navigation Edition Parent-Three Rivers (Map). Cartography by Hydrographic and Map Service (23 February 1944 ed.).
- Canada Department of Mines and Resources, Surveys and Engineering Branch. Air Navigation Edition Campbellton-Moncton (Map). Cartography by Hydrographic and Map Service (June 1942 ed.).