Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Way We Were ::: 1939 - 1945 ::: CANADA

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) came into effect on December 17, 1939 when Canadian PM MacKenzie King, The United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand agreed that Canada would host the greatest air training scheme ever ushered into existence.

“THE PLAN” trained aircrews from all over the Commonwealth to give Britain the aircrews she needed, at her most desperate hour.

So successful was the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan that eventually 131,553 air force personnel successfully graduated…in 8 different categories, providing trained aircrews for the RAF first, and then the Air Forces of Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The 360 schools that were established at 231 sites all across Canada so transformed the country that U.S. President Roosevelt called Canada, "The Aerodrome Of Democracy".

The LANCASTER bomber, shown flying above, was one of the aircraft these trainees learned to fly and bomb targets with.

But why Canada…for so great an undertaking?

1. Proximately to Britain (by air)
2. Suitable climate (no fog or rain interference)
3. She had the manpower
4. Safe distance from every theatre of WW II
5. Inexhaustible natural resources

MANY AMERICANS also trained at these BCATP schools. One school had so many Californians that the RCAF was nicknamed the “Royal Californian Air Force” by the locals!

And that was a country, called Canada…during WW II.

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