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Encyclopedia > British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
RCAF Harvards were used as a trainer aircraft by thousands of Commonwealth aviators from 1940 onwards. Harvard II from the BCATP Museum in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
RCAF Harvards were used as a trainer aircraft by thousands of Commonwealth aviators from 1940 onwards. Harvard II from the BCATP Museum in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, also known as the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, Empire Air Training Scheme, Empire Air Training Plan, Joint Air Training Scheme or more often simply "The Plan" or "The Scheme" was a massive air-training program involving the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Southern Rhodesia during World War II. Although South Africa did not officially participate, some British aircrews were also trained in South Africa, under a parallel agreement.[1] The plan remains the single largest aviation training program in history and was responsible for training nearly half the pilots, navigators, bomb aimers, gunners, wireless operators and flight engineers of the Commonwealth air forces during the Second World War. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 471 pixelsFull resolution (1147 × 675 pixel, file size: 73 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 471 pixelsFull resolution (1147 × 675 pixel, file size: 73 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... The RCAF Roundel is based on that of the British Royal Air Force with a maple leaf, a symbol of Canada in the centre. ... The T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft designed by North American Aviation, used to train fighter pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II. The T-6 is... Southern Rhodesia was the name of the British colony situated immediately to the north of South Africa, known today as Zimbabwe. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... For other uses, see Aviator (disambiguation). ... For the web browser of the same name, see Netscape Navigator A navigator is the person onboard a ship responsible for the navigation of the vessel. ... A bombardier, in the United States Army Air Forces and United States Air Force, or a bomb aimer, in the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces, was the crew member of a bomber responsible for assisting the navigator in guiding the plane to a bombing target and releasing... Gunner refers to a rank in the Royal Artillery, or can refer to anyone whose main job is to operate a gun. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... In aviation, a flight engineer (also referred to as systems operator ) is a member of the aircrew of an aircraft who is responsible for checking the aircraft before and after each flight, and for monitoring aircraft systems during flight. ... The Commonwealth of Nations as of 2006 Headquarters Marlborough House, London Leaders  -  Queen Elizabeth II  -  Secretary-General Don McKinnon (since 1999)  -  Ransford Smith Establishment  -  as British Commonwealth 1926   -  as the Commonwealth 1949  Membership 53 sovereign states Website thecommonwealth. ...


Students from many other countries attended schools under the plan, including Argentina, Belgium, Ceylon, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, Fiji, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa and the United States.

Contents

General description

The British Air Ministry set up the massive training program after participating countries signed an agreement in December 1939. The United Kingdom was a unsuitable location for air training, due to the possibility of enemy attack, the strain caused by wartime traffic at airfields and the unpredicatable climate, so the plan called for the Dominions to train the majority of personnel. The organizers initially planned to train nearly 50,000 air crews each year, for as long as necessary: 22,000 air crews from Britain, 13,000 from Canada, 11,000 from Australia and 3,300 from New Zealand. Under the agreement, air crews received elementary training in the various Commonwealth countries before travelling to Canada for advanced courses. The Air Ministry was formerly a department of the United Kingdom Government, established in 1918 with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the (then newly formed) Royal Air Force. ... A dominion, often Dominion, is the territory or the authority of a dominus (a lord or master). ...


Under Article XV of the training plan, graduates were supposed to be assigned to squadrons from their own air forces or with a specific national designation, which were under the operational control of the Royal Air Force (RAF).[2] Most of these squadrons were identified by special series of numbers: 400–443 Squadrons Royal Canadian Air Force, 450–467 Squadrons Royal Australian Air Force and 485–490 Squadrons Royal New Zealand Air Force. These were known as "Article XV squadrons." A few other prewar RCAF, RAAF and RNZAF units were also under RAF operational control, and Rhodesian squadrons were formed within the RAF. However, in practice — and technically in contravention of Article XV — most personnel from other air forces, while they were under RAF operational control, were assigned to British units.[3] The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ... The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) was the air force of Canada from 1924 until 1968 when the three branches of the Canadian military were merged into the Canadian Forces. ... The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is the Air Force branch of the Australian Defence Force. ... The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) is the air force arm of the New Zealand Defence Force. ...


Canada

Canada was chosen as the primary location for "The Plan" due to ample supplies of fuel, wide open spaces suitable for flight and navigation training, industrial facilities for the production of trainer aircraft, parts and supplies, the lack of any threat from Luftwaffe and Japanese fighter planes and its relative proximity to both the European and Pacific theatres. This or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for attacking other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed to attack ground targets, primarily by dropping bombs. ... Animation of the WWII European Theatre. ... Combatants China (from 1937) United States (1941) U.K. (1941) Australia (from 1941) Free France (1941) Netherlands (1941) New Zealand (1941) Canada (1941) Soviet Union (1945) Japan (from 1937)  Germany (1941) Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Franklin D. Roosevelt Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Fumimaro Konoe Hideki Tojo Kuniaki Koiso Kantaro Suzuki...


Because of its prominence in the plan, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to Canada as "the Aerodrome of Democracy", a play on his earlier description of the United States as "the Arsenal of Democracy." At its height, The Plan included 231 training sites, more than 10,000 aircraft and 100,000 military administrative personnel. Over 167,000 students, including over 50,000 pilots, trained in Canada under the program from May 1940 to March 1945. While the majority of those who successfully completed the program went on to serve in the RAF, over half (72,835) of the 131,553 graduates were Canadians. The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. ... FDR redirects here. ...


In late 1944, the Air Ministry announced the winding-up of the plan, since the Commonwealth air forces had long had a surplus of air crews.


For further information about Canadian training facilities, see List of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan facilities in Canada. This article contains a List of Facilities of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), a major program for training Allied air crews during World War II, operated schools and facilities in all nine Canadian provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador was not yet part of Canada). ...


Australia

The RAAF trained aircrew through the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan known in Australia as the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS), commonly known as the "Scheme." Elementary training was offered in Australia to a limited number of that country's youth, who would be granted short-term commissions in the RAF upon completion of their training.


Australia undertook to provide 28,000 aircrew over three years, which represented 36% of the total number of proposed aircrew. The first basic flying course started on 29 April 1940, when training began simultaneously in all participating countries. Prior to the Scheme, the RAAF had trained about 50 pilots per year. Within the Scheme, seven-ninths of the RAAF's intake were trained in Australia (all Elementary and some Advanced) with the remaining two-ninths trained in Canada (Advanced). The first Australian contingent embarked for Canada on 14 November 1940. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) schools were established across Australia to support EATS in Initial Training, Elementary Flying Training, Service Flying Training, Air Navigation, Air Observer, Bombing and Gunnery and Wireless Air Gunnery. April 29 is the 119th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (120th in leap years). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... November 14 is the 318th day of the year (319th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 47 days remaining. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


Following the outbreak of the Pacific War, the vast majority of Australian aircrews remained in the South West Pacific theatre. By 1944, Australia’s contribution to the scheme was wound back, at Britain’s instigation, and the scheme effectively ended in October 1944, although it was not formally suspended until 31 March 1945. By this time, more than 37,500 Australian aircrew graduated under the Empire Air Training Scheme. Some finished their training in Canada and Southern Rhodesia, but the great majority of them, over 27,300, completed their training in Australia. They included navigators, air gunners and 10,800 pilots. Of those pilots, 1515 graduated from 5 Service Flying Training School, Uranquinty. Combatants China (from 1937) United States (1941) U.K. (1941) Australia (from 1941) Free France (1941) Netherlands (1941) New Zealand (1941) Canada (1941) Soviet Union (1945) Japan (from 1937)  Germany (1941) Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Franklin D. Roosevelt Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Fumimaro Konoe Hideki Tojo Kuniaki Koiso Kantaro Suzuki... The South West Pacific was one of two theatres of World War II in the Pacific region, between 1942 and 1945. ... March 31 is the 90th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (91st in leap years), with 275 days remaining. ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday. ...


New Zealand

During the war, the RNZAF contributed 2,743 pilots who were fully trained in New Zealand and sent overseas to serve with the RAF in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Another 1521 pilots who completed their training in New Zealand were retained in the country, either as instructors, staff pilots or to man the operational squadrons formed in the latter half of the war. In 1940, before the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was fully developed, New Zealand also trained 183 observers and 395 air-gunners for the RAF. From 1943 onwards, the training of wireless operator/air-gunners and navigators was also carried on in New Zealand for Pacific operations.


In addition, some 2,910 pilots were trained to elementary standard and sent to Canada to continue their training and more than 2700 wireless operator/air-gunners, 1800 navigators, and 500 bomb aimers passed through the Initial Training Wing before proceeding to Canada. Of the 131,000 trainees who graduated in Canada under the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, New Zealanders formed 5.3%.


Southern Rhodesia

On the outbreak of war in September 1939, there were no facilities for air training on any scale in Rhodesia. Yet the country committed to training Rhodesian personnel for service in the Royal Air Force. The Rhodesian Air Training Group (RATG), operating 1940–1945, was set up as part of the overall Commonwealth Air Training Plan. No. 25 Elementary Flying Training School at Belvedere, Salisbury opened on 24 May 1940. The original programme of an Initial Training Wing and six Schools was increased to ten Flying Training Schools and Bombing, Navigation and Gunnery School, a school for the training of Flying Instructors as well as additional schools for Bomb Aimers, Navigators and Air Gunners. To relieve congestion at the Air Stations, six relief landing grounds for landing and take off instruction and two Air Firing and Bombing Ranges were established. Two aircraft and engine repair and overhaul depots were set up as well as the Central Maintenance Unit to deal with bulk stores for the whole group. May 24 is the 144th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (145th in leap years). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


Students for Rhodesia came from Britain principally, but also from Australia and South Africa in addition to the Rhodesian intake. There were also pupils from the Royal Hellenic Air Force in training. Over 7,600 pilots and 2,300 navigators were trained by the RATG during the war.


South Africa

Despite the prewar South Africa Air Force (SAAF) expansion plans, the start of the Second World War in 1939 caught the SAAF unprepared. New flying schools had been established at Pretoria, Germiston, Bloemfontein and Baragwanath, while a Training Command under Lt Col W.T.B. Tasker would oversee the SAAF’s overall training programme. With the establishment of the Joint Air Training Scheme (JATS) 38 South African-based air schools would be employed to train Royal Air Force, SAAF and other allied air and ground crews. Under this scheme, the SAAF, by September 1941, increased the total number of military aircraft to 1,709 while the personnel strength had grown to 31,204, including 956 pilots. During its five year existence, the JATS was ultimately to turn out a total of 33,347 aircrew, including 12,221 SAAF personnel.


United States

Prior to Pearl Harbor, training centres were made available for the RAF; by war's end, 16,000 RAF aircrew were trained in the United States.

Recreation of a BCATP base at the Western Development Museum, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada

Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 533 pixelsFull resolution (3456 × 2304 pixel, file size: 2. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 533 pixelsFull resolution (3456 × 2304 pixel, file size: 2. ...

Legacy

In Canada

As Canada was the main participant, the legacy of the plan there included a strong postwar aviation sector and many new or improved airports across the country, the majority of which are still in use. The classic BCATP airport consisted of three runways, each typically 2,500 feet (760 meters) in length, arranged in a triangle so that aircraft could always land (more-or-less) into the wind — that was critically important at a time when most light training aircraft (such as the Harvard) were taildraggers, which are difficult to land in strong cross-winds. The T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft designed by North American Aviation, used to train fighter pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II. The T-6 is... The Piper Super Cub is a popular taildragger aircraft. ...


That triangular runway outline is perfectly preserved at Gananoque Airport, but is still easily visible under later runway extensions at most Canadian BCATP airports, such as Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport, Boundary Bay Airport and Pendelton, Ontario airport. Later modifications have often resulted in one runway being lengthened to handle larger aircraft such as jets, and in less-used runways being closed or converted to taxiways. Gananoque Airport, (ICAO CNN8, IATA N/A), is located 4. ... Norman Rogers Airport (CYGK/YGK) is an airport located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. ... Boundary Bay Airport is located beside Boundary Bay in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, south of Vancouver and close to the U.S. border. ...


In 1959, Queen Elizabeth II unveiled The Ottawa Memorial, a monument erected in Ottawa, Canada to "(commemorate) by name, some 800 men and women who lost their lives while serving or training with the Air Forces of the Commonwealth in Canada, the West Indies and the United States and who have no known grave." Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of sixteen sovereign states, holding each crown and title equally. ... The Ottawa Memorial (Ottawa, Canada) The Ottawa Memorial is a monument located in Ottawa, Canada which commemorates by name some 800 men and women who lost their lives while serving or training with the Air Forces of the Commonweath in Canada, the West Indies and the United States and who... The Caribbean or the West Indies is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. ... A war grave is a place where war dead are buried. ...


The Commonwealth Air Training Plan (CATP) Museum is a non-profit, charitable organization in Brandon, Manitoba, founded and operated by volunteers. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and serves as a unique memorial to those airmen who trained and served, and especially those who died, while serving their country in the air war of 1939–1945. This is the only museum in the world dedicated solely to this goal, located in Manitoba where so much of the training was carried out. Brandon Manitoba, a city in southwestern Manitoba, Canada. ...


Other countries

The "Scheme" cost Australia about £100,000,000 for her commitments. In addition to the Empire Air Training Scheme, wartime demands had led to training for home requirements. The RAAF built air training and ground training schools, airfields and specialized schools that served the country well in wartime as well as postwar. All the service flying training schools were disbanded, except Uranquinty. The Uranquinty Base continued to provide refresher courses for qualified pilots and even briefly became a migrant centre in the late 1940s until it reopened as No 1 Basic Flying Training School between 1951 and 1959 when it finally closed.


A Memorial was dedicated to 5 Service Flying Training School RAAF, within the Empire Air Training Scheme at Uranquinty, 19 September 1999. September 19 is the 262nd day of the year (263rd in leap years). ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ...


See also

This article contains a List of Facilities of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), a major program for training Allied air crews during World War II, operated schools and facilities in all nine Canadian provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador was not yet part of Canada). ...

References

  1. ^ RAF Museum, "British Military Aviation in 1945 - Part 2" Access date: March 27, 2007.
  2. ^ "Empire Air Training Scheme." Australian War Memorial Encylopedia (AWM Encyclopedia), 1997-2007. [1] Access date: 24 March 2007.
  3. '^ Ibid.
  • Barris, Ted. Behind The Glory: The Plan the Won the Allied Air War. Markham, Ontario: Thomas Allen & Son Publishers, 2005. ISBN 0-88762-212-7.
  • Collins, Robert. The Long and the Short and the Tall: An Ordinary Airman's War. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1986. ISBN 0-88833-187-8.
  • Conrad, Peter C. Training for Victory: The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in the West. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1989. ISBN 0-88833-302-1.
  • Dunmore, Spencer. Wings For Victory. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1994. ISBN 0-77102-927-6.
  • Hatch, F.J. Aerodrome of Democracy: Canada and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan 1939-1945. Ottawa: Canadian Department of National Defence, 1983. ISBN 0-660-11443-7.
  • Long, Gavin. The Six Years War: A Concise History of Australia in the 1939–45 War. Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1973. ISBN 0-64299-375-0.

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (646 words)
The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was established.
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, an agreement of 17 December 1939 between Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, making Canada the focus of a British Empire-wide scheme to instruct aircrew.
Training began on 29 April 1940, but was hampered by a shortage of aircraft, instructors and completed airfields.
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - definition of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Encyclopedia (376 words)
The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, also known as the Empire Air Training Scheme, Empire Air Training Plan, Joint Air Training Scheme (JATS), or simply "The Plan", was a massive air-training program involving Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia during World War II.
It remains the largest single air training program in history and was responsible for training nearly half the pilots, navigators, bombadiers, air gunners, wireless operators and flight engineers of the Commonwealth air forces during WWII.
Because of its prominence in the Plan, Canada was referred to as "the Aerodrome of Democracy" by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a play on the United States being "the Arsenal of Democracy".
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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