EMM and the Royal Canadian Air Force
The Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F.) was formed in England in 1919, shortly after the First World War when aircraft had first been used in military operations. During the Second World War, Canada was the primary focal point of the British Commonwealth Air Training plan (B.C.A.T.P.). The Plan trained pilots, navigators, gunners, bomb aimers, flight engineers, other aircrew, ground crew and support staff for the Commonwealth Air Forces. The Elgin Military Museum is pleased to accept the records and stories of those who were born or lived for a time in our area while they trained as part of this bold plan.
Commonwealth Air Training Plan
Home to Three Training Operations during WW II
Elgin County was home to three of the training facilities: No. 1 Technical Training School (No. 1 T.T.S.) located south of St. Thomas; No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School (No. 4 B&G) located at Fingal; and No. 14 Service Flying Training School (No. 14 S.F.T.S.) at Aylmer in what is now the site of the Ontario Police College. Airmen from all over the Commonwealth trained here and the Elgin Military Museum is proud to maintain this connection.
'TTS' in the Local Lingo
No. 1 T.T.S. [Technical Training School] was the largest single establishment in the plan with over 5000 students and instructors. It was housed at the recently completed ( 1939 ) Ontario Psychiatric Hospital, which was one of the first sites offered for use to the B.C.A.T.P. Over 40, 000 students graduated from this school during WW II. It is interesting to note that despite its size, it does not get a mention in the Canadian War Museum display of Commonwealth Air Training facilities because it did not have a flight school on site.
No. 14 Service Flying Training School - Aylmer
No. 14 Service Flying Training School at Aylmer provided advanced training on single engine aircraft. Today, this facility is the Ontario Police College.
No. 4 Bomber & Gunnery School - Fingal
No. 4 Bomber and Gunnery School at Fingal trained bomb aimers and air gunners. Currently also on exhibit at the museum is a Training Gun Camera, which was used at Fingal to 'shoot' (take pictures) of targets out of a lens below the barrel of the "gun." - a much safer method of determining the accuracy of a shot fired for those above and below!