RCAF Station Aylmer

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RCAF Station Aylmer
Malahide, Ontario
Near Aylmer, Ontario in Canada
RCAF Station Aylmer Jacobs.jpg
Control Tower in 1941
RCAF Station Aylmer is located in Ontario
RCAF Station Aylmer
RCAF Station Aylmer
CoordinatesCoordinates: 42°48′23″N 80°56′39″W / 42.806358°N 80.944262°W / 42.806358; -80.944262
Site information
OperatorRoyal Canadian Air Force
Controlled byNo. 1 Training Command
Site history
Built1940-1941
In use1941–1961
FateClosed, now operated as the Ontario Police College
Garrison information
Past
commanders
G/C Norman Irwin - 1941
W/C Lew Ingram - 1943
GarrisonNo. 14 Service Flying Training School
No. 1 Flight Engineers School
Women's Division Service Police School
RCAF Station Aylmer
RoleBritish Commonwealth Air Training Plan
Aircrew and groundcrew training
Station MagazineThe Aylmer Airman
Aircraft flown
TrainerNorth American Harvard
North American Yale
Avro Anson

RCAF Station Aylmer was a Royal Canadian Air Force airfield that was built between late 1940 and June 1941 northeast of Aylmer, Ontario.[1][2][3] It was one of many built across Canada under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during World War II.

The first school at the airfield was No. 14 Service Flying Training School (SFTS). RCAF staff began arriving at the station before construction was finished. First to arrive was a 17-man security party under Sgt. Les Oliver in late March. Squadron Leader T. Moreton, the first officer, arrived on 2 June 1941 to manage the new station's equipment. Wing Commander Norman Irwin arrived at Aylmer on 18 June 1941 on "Temporary Duty" and was appointed C.O. when the station was activated on 3 July 1941.

Opening ceremonies were held on 2 August 1941 with the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Albert Matthews and the Premier of Ontario Mitchell Hepburn on hand. The new station was open to the public that afternoon and guests were treated to an aerobatic display by the instructors.

Relief airfields were R1—Yarmouth Centre, Ontario and R2—Tillsonburg, Ontario. Pilots used North American Harvards and Avro Ansons as their advanced trainers. Some North American Yales arrived on 23 January 1942 and were mainly used for navigation exercises.[3] No. 14 SFTS moved to Kingston in August 1944.

RCAF Yale (W/T) Wireless Trainer

Other schools located at Aylmer include:

  • Women's Division Service Police School  (1942)
  • No. 1 Flight Engineers' School  (1 July 1944 – 31 March 1945).

Aerodrome information[edit]

The airfield was constructed in a typical BCATP wartime pattern, with six runways formed in an overlaid triangle. In approximately 1942 the aerodrome was listed at 42°49′N 80°57′W / 42.817°N 80.950°W / 42.817; -80.950 with a Var. 5 degrees W and elevation of 775 feet (236 m). Six runways were listed as follows: [4]

Runway Name Length Width Surface
4/22 2,600 feet (792 m) 100 feet (30 m) Hard surfaced
4/22 2,600 feet (792 m) 100 feet (30 m) Hard surfaced
9/27 2,600 feet (792 m) 100 feet (30 m) Hard surfaced
9/27 2,600 feet (792 m) 100 feet (30 m) Hard surfaced
15/33 2,600 feet (792 m) 100 feet (30 m) Hard surfaced
15/33 2,600 feet (792 m) 100 feet (30 m) Hard surfaced

Relief landing field – Yarmouth Center[edit]

The primary relief landing field (R1) for RCAF Station Aylmer was Yarmouth Center. The site was located east of the community of St. Thomas, Ontario. The Relief field was laid out in the standard triangular pattern. In approximately 1942 the aerodrome was listed as RCAF Aerodrome - St. Thomas, Ontario at 42°46′N 81°07′W / 42.767°N 81.117°W / 42.767; -81.117 with a Var. 5 degrees W and elevation of 760 feet (232 m). Three runways were listed as follows: [5]

Runway Name Length Width Surface
15/33 2,600 feet (792 m) 100 feet (30 m) Hard Surfaced
9/27 2,600 feet (792 m) 100 feet (30 m) Hard Surfaced
3/21 2,600 feet (792 m) 100 feet (30 m) Hard Surfaced

Relief landing field – Tillsonburg[edit]

The secondary Relief Landing Field (R2) for RCAF Station Aylmer was located north-west of the community of Tillsonburg. In approximately 1942 the aerodrome was listed at 42°55′30″N 80°45′00″W / 42.92500°N 80.75000°W / 42.92500; -80.75000 as a "Turf - All-way field - Under Construction" no elevation, variation, or runway specifications were listed.[6]

Postwar[edit]

  • Technical and Engineering School  (later redesignated No. 1 Technical Training School or TTS)  (April 1945 – May 1955)
  • Academic Training School (ATS)  (May 1949  – October 1950)
  • No. 2 Composite Training School  (No. 2 KTS)
  • No. 11 Examination Unit  (September 1951  – November 1952)
  • Aeronautical Engineering School  (June 1952 – November 1953)
  • GCA (Ground Control Approach) School  (1953 – 1957)
  • Fire-Fighting School  (1951 – 1961)
  • Support Services School  (1960)

No. 2 Manning Depot and No. 1 Personnel Selection Unit (PSU) were located at Aylmer from 1949 – 1950.

The station closed in 1961 and the Ontario Police College eventually took over the facilities.

All that remains from the RCAF days are 2 hangars, the deteriorating airfield and the taxi area, which is now used as part of the police vehicle driver training track. Outline of one of the former runways exists in what is now Alymer Wildlife Area.

A memorial to the former RCAF station sits at the entrance to the Ontario Police College property.

Remembrance[edit]

Twelve flying instructors and 26 students lost their lives training at No. 14 SFTS.[3]

RCAF Aylmer scenes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hatch, F. J. (1983).The Aerodrome of Democracy: Canada and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, 1939-1945. Ottawa: Directorate of History, Department of National Defence. ISBN 0660114437>
  2. ^ Military Bruce Historical Writings by Bruce Forsyth Archived 2013-10-23 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c McIntyre, M. (1979).I'll Never Forget...Canadian Aviation In The Second World War:The Aylmer Story 14 S.F.T.S. Willowdale:Canadian Aviation Historical Society. ISBN 0-920610-00-5
  4. ^ Staff writer (c. 1942). Pilots Handbook of Aerodromes and Seaplane Bases Vol. 1. Royal Canadian Air Force. p. 95.
  5. ^ Staff writer (c. 1942). Pilots Handbook of Aerodromes and Seaplane Bases Vol. 1. Royal Canadian Air Force. p. 164.
  6. ^ Staff writer (c. 1942). Pilots Handbook of Aerodromes and Seaplane Bases Vol. 1. Royal Canadian Air Force. p. 165(b).

External links[edit]