British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

A coast to coast venture

Training facilities and communities

The stunning initiative to train more than 131,000 Canadian and Allied aircrew during the Second World War was a truly pan-Canadian project. Airfields, schools, and other training establishments were built from scratch or improved from existing facilities. Every province – save Newfoundland and Labrador, which was not yet a province of Canada – was engaged.

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan resulted in nearly 200 training and support establishments located in almost 150 communities, including the following: 

Nova Scotia  |  New Brunswick  |  Prince Edward Island  |  Quebec  |  Ontario  |  Manitoba  | Saskatchewan  |  Alberta  |  British Columbia

 

Nova Scotia Training Facilities
LocationTraining Facility
Debert No. 31 Operational Training Unit, redesignated No. 7 Operational Training Unit
Greenwood No. 6 Operational Training Unit, formerly No. 32 Operational Training Unit (moved from Patricia Bay, B.C.)
Greenwood No. 36 Operational Training Unit, redesignated No. 8 Operational Training Unit
Halifax No. 1 Embarkation Depot
Stanley No. 17 Elementary Flying Training School
Yarmouth No. 1 Naval Air Gunners' School

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New Brunswick Training Facilities
LocationTraining Facility
Chatham No. 10 Air Observer School
Chatham No. 21 Elementary Flying Training School
Moncton No. 8 Service Flying Training School (moved to Weyburn)
Moncton No. 2 Embarkation Depot
Moncton No. 31 RAF Personnel Depot
Pennfield Ridge No. 34 Operational Training Unit
Pennfield Ridge No. 2 Air Navigation School
Salisbury Relief Field 1 for No. 8 Service Flying Training School Moncton
Scoudouc Relief Field 1 for No. 8 Service Flying Training School Moncton

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Prince Edward Island Training Facilities
LocationTraining Facility
Charlottetown No. 31 General Reconnaissance School
Charlottetown No. 2 Air Navigation School
Mount Pleasant No. 10 Bombing and Gunnery School
Mount Pleasant Relief Field 1 for No. 9 Service Flying Training School Summerside
Summerside No. 9 Service Flying Training School (moved to Centralia)
Summerside No. 1 General Reconnaissance School
Wellington Relief Field 2 for No. 9 Service Flying Training School Summerside

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Quebec Training Facilities
LocationTraining Facility
Bagotville No. 1 Operational Training Unit
Cap-de-la-Madeleine No. 11 Elementary Flying Training School
St. Honoré Relief Field 1 for No. 1 Operational Training Unit Bagotville
Farnham Relief Field 1 for No. 13 Service Flying Training School St. Hubert
Lachine No. 5 Manning Depot
L'Ancienne-Lorette No. 8 Air Observer School
L'Ancienne-Lorette No. 22 Elementary Flying Training School
Maurice Relief Field 1 for No. 11 Elementary Flying Training School Cap-de-la-Madeleine
Mont-Joli No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School
Montreal No. 1 Wireless School (moved to Mount Hope, Ont)
Montreal No. 3 Training Command Headquarters
Montreal No. 12 Equipment Depot
Montreal School of Aero Engineering
Pontiac Relief Field 2 for No. 3 Flying Instructor School, Arnprior, Ontario
Quebec No. 4 Manning Depot
St-Hubert No. 13 Service Flying Training School (moved to North Battleford)
St-Jean No. 9 Air Observer School
St-Jean No. 9 Repair Depot
Victoriaville No. 3 Initial Training School
Windsor Mills No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School

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Ontario Training Facilities
LocationTraining Facility
Alliston Relief Field 2 for No. 1 Service Flying Training School Camp Borden
Antrim Relief Field 1 for No. 3 Flying Instructor School, Arnprior, Ontario
Arnprior No. 3 Flying Instructor School
Aylmer No. 14 Service Flying Training School (moved to Kingston)
Aylmer No. 1 Flight Engineers School
Belleville No. 5 Initial Training School
Borden No. 1 Service Flying Training School
Brantford No. 5 Service Flying Training School
Burtch Relief Field 1 for No. 5 Service Flying Training School Brantford and principal field for No. 4 Wireless School Guelph.
 Carp Relief Field 1 for No. 2 Service Flying Training School Ottawa
 Centralia No. 9 Service Flying Training School
 Clinton No. 31 Radio Direction Finding (RADAR) School
 Deseronto Instrument Flying School
 Dufferin Relief Field for No. 16 Service Flying Training School Hagersville
 Dunnville No. 6 Service Flying Training School
 Edenvale Relief Field 1 for No. 1 Service Flying Training School Camp Borden
 Edwards Relief Field 2 for No. 2 Service Flying Training School Ottawa
 Fingal No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School
Gananoque Relief Field 1 for No. 31 Service Flying Training School Kingston
Goderich No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School
Goderich South Relief Field 1 for No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School Goderich
Grand Bend Relief Field 1 for No. 9 Service Flying Training School Centralia
Guelph No. 4 Wireless School
Guelph School of Cookery
Hagersville No. 16 Service Flying Training School
Hamilton No. 33 Air Navigation School

Hamilton
(Mount Hope)

No. 1 Wireless School (moved from Montreal)

Hamilton
(Mount Hope)

No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School (moved to Pendleton)
Hawkesbury Relief Field 1 for No. 13 Elementary Flying Training School St. Eugene
Jarvis No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School
Kingston No. 14 Service Flying Training School (moved from Aylmer, Que.)
Kingston No. 31 Service Flying Training School
Kohler (Cayuga) Relief Field 1 for No. 16 Service Flying Training School Hagersville
Leaside No. 1 Radio Direction Finding (RADAR) School
Limoges Relief Field 1 for No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School Pendleton
London No. 4 Air Observer School
London No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School
Malton No. 1 Air Observer School
Malton No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School
Malton AID Inspector School
Mountain View Air Armament School
Mountain View No. 6 Bombing and Gunnery School
Oshawa No. 20 Elementary Flying Training School
Ottawa No. 17 Equipment Depot
Ottawa No. 18 Repair Depot
Ottawa (Rockcliffe) No. 7 Manning Depot (Women's Division)
Ottawa (Uplands)           No. 2 Service Flying Training School
Pendleton No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School (moved from Mount Hope)
Picton No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School
Port Albert No. 31 Air Navigation School
Sandhurst Relief Field 2 for No. 31 Service Flying Training School Kingston
St. Catharines No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School
St. Eugene No. 13 Elementary Flying Training School
St. Joseph Relief Field 2 for No. 9 Service Flying Training School Centralia
St. Thomas Relief Field 1 for No. 14 Service Flying Training School Aylmer and No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School Fingal
Thunder Bay
(Fort William)
No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School
Tillsonburg Relief Field 2 for No. 14 Service Flying Training School Aylmer and No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School Fingal
Toronto No. 1 Manning Depot
Toronto No. 6 Manning Depot (Women's Division)
Toronto No. 1 Initial Training School
Toronto No. 6 Initial Training School
Toronto No. 1 Equipment Depot
Toronto 2 Composite Training School
Toronto School of Aviation Medicine
Trenton Central Flying School
Trenton No. 1 Flying Instructor School
Trenton No. 1 Air Navigation School (moved to Rivers and redesignated Central Navigation School)
Trenton No. 6 Repair Depot
Trenton 1 Composite Training School
Welland Relief Field 1 for No. 6 Service Flying Training School Dunnville
Whitby Relief Field 1 for No. 20 Elementary Flying Training School Oshawa
Willoughby Relief Field 1 for No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School St. Catharines
Windsor No. 7 Elementary Flying Training School

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Manitoba Training Facilities

Location

 Training Facility

Brandon No. 12 Service Flying Training School
Brandon No. 2 Manning Depot (moved to Swift Current, Sask.)
Carberry No. 33 Service Flying Training School
Chater Relief Field 1 for No. 12 Service Flying Training School Brandon
Dauphin No. 10 Service Flying Training School
Douglas Relief Field 2 for No. 12 Service Flying Training School Brandon
Elgin Relief Field 2 for No. 17 Service Flying Training School Souris
Gimli No. 18 Service Flying Training School
Hartney Relief Field 1 for No. 17 Service Flying Training School Souris
MacDonald No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School
Neepawa No. 35 Elementary Flying Training School
Oberon Relief Field 2 for No. 33 Service Flying Training School Carberry
Paulson No. 7 Bombing and Gunnery School
Petrel Relief Field 1 for No. 33 Service Flying Training School Carberry
Portage La Prairie No. 7 Air Observer School
Portage La Prairie No. 14 Elementary Flying Training School
Rivers Central Navigation School (moved from Trenton, Ont., where it was No. 1 Air Navigation School)
Souris No. 17 Service Flying Training School
Virden No. 19 Elementary Flying Training School
Winnipeg No. 3 Wireless School
Winnipeg No. 5 Air Observer School
Winnipeg No. 2 Training Command Headquarters
Winnipeg No. 7 Equipment Depot
Winnipeg No. 8 Repair Depot

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Saskatchewan Training Facilities

Location

Training Facility

Assiniboia No. 34 Elementary Flying Training School
Battleford No. 13 Service Flying School (moved from St-Hubert)
Boharm Relief Field 1 for No. 32 Service Flying Training School Moose Jaw
Brada Relief Field 2 for No. 35 Service Flying Training School North Battleford
Buttress Relief Field 1 for No. 32 Service Flying Training School Moose Jaw
Caron No. 33 Elementary Flying Training School
Dafoe No. 5 Bombing and Gunnery School
Davidson No. 23 Elementary Flying Training School (moved to Yorkton)
Estevan No. 38 Service Flying Training School
Hamlin Relief Field 1 for No. 35 Service Flying Training School North Battleford
Moose Jaw No. 32 Service Flying Training School
Mossbank No. 2 Bombing and Gunnery School
North Battleford No. 35 Service Flying Training School
Osler Relief Field 2 for No. 4 Service Flying Training School Saskatoon
Prince Albert No. 6 Air Observer School
Prince Albert No. 6 Elementary Flying Training School
Regina No. 3 Air Observer School (moved to Pearce, Alta.)
Regina No. 15 Elementary Flying Training School
Regina No. 4 Training Command Headquarters (moved to Calgary in 1941)
Regina No. 2 Initial Training School
Rhein Relief Field 2 for No. 11 Service Flying Training School Yorkton
Saskatoon No. 4 Service Flying Training School
Saskatoon No. 7 Initial Training School
St. Aldwyn Relief Field 1 for No. 39 Service Flying Training School Swift Current
Sturdee Relief Field 1 for No. 11 Service Flying Training School Yorkton
Swift Current No. 39 Service Flying Training School
Swift Current No. 2 Manning Depot (moved from Brandon)
Vanscoy Relief Field 1 for No. 4 Service Flying Training School Saskatoon
Weyburn No. 8 Service Flying Training School (moved from Moncton)
Weyburn No. 41 Service Flying Training School
Wymark Relief Field 2 for No. 39 Service Flying Training School Swift Current
Yorkton No. 11 Service Flying Training School
Yorkton No. 23 Elementary Flying Training School (moved from Davidson)

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Alberta Training Facilities
LocationTraining Facility
Airdrie Relief Field 1 for No. 3 Service Flying Training School Calgary
Blackfalds Relief Field 2 for No. 36 Service Flying Training School Penhold
Bowden No. 32 Elementary Flying Training School
Calgary No. 3 Service Flying Training School
Calgary No. 37 Service Flying Training School
Calgary No. 2 Wireless School
Calgary No. 4 Training Command Headquarters (moved from Regina in 1941)
Calgary No. 11 Equipment Depot
Calgary No. 10 Repair Depot
Claresholm No. 15 Service Flying Training School
DeWinton No. 31 Elementary Flying Training School
Edmonton No. 2 Air Observer School
Edmonton No. 16 Elementary Flying Training School
Edmonton No. 3 Manning Depot
Edmonton No. 4 Initial Training School
Fort MacLeod No. 7 Service Flying Training School
Granum Relief field for No. 7 Service Flying Training School at Fort MacLeod and No. 2 Flying Instructor School at Pearce
High River No. 5 Elementary Training school (moved from Lethbridge)
Innisfail Relief Field 1 for No. 36 Service Flying Training School Penhold
Inverlake Relief Field 2 for No. 3 Service Flying Training School Calgary
Lethbridge No. 8 Bombing and Gunnery School
Lethbridge No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School (moved to High River)
Medicine Hat No. 34 Service Flying Training School
Pearce No. 2 Flying Instructor School (moved from Vulcan)
Pearce No. 3 Air Observer School (moved from Regina, Sask)
Pearce No. 36 Elementary Flying Training School
Penhold No. 36 Service Flying Training School
Vulcan No. 2 Flying Instructor School (moved to Pearce)
Vulcan No. 19 Service Flying Training School

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British Columbia Training Facilities
LocationTraining Facility
Abbotsford No. 5 Operational Training Unit (and at Boundary Bay)
Abbotsford No. 24 Elementary Flying Training School
Boundary Bay   No. 5 Operational Training Unit (and at Abbotsford)
Boundary Bay   No. 8 Elementary Flying Training School (moved from Vancouver)
Boundary Bay   No. 18 Elementary Flying Training School
Comox No. 6 (formerly No. 32) Operational Training Unit (formerly No. 32 Operational Training Unit; moved to Greenwood)
Langley Relief Field 1 for No. 18 Elementary Flying Training School Boundary Bay
Patricia Bay No. 3 Operational Training Unit
Patricia Bay No. 32 Operational Training Unit (moved to Comox, B.C., and redesignated No. 6 Operational Training Unit, then moved to Greenwood, N.S.)
Vancouver No. 8 Elementary Flying Training School (moved to Boundary Bay)

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Summary

Total number of units/schools/fields/etc: 147 units/schools + 49 relief fields – 196 total 
Total number of communities – 146 

Specialist Schools - 3
Flying Instructor's Schools - 3
Service Flying Training Schools - 29
General Reconnaissance Schools - 2
Operational Training Units - 7
Wireless Schools 4
Bombing and Gunnery Schools - 11
Naval Air Gunner's School - 1
Flight Engineers' School - 1
Air Navigation Schools - 6
Air Observer Schools - 10 (civilian operated)
Elementary Flying Training Schools - 30 (civilian operated)
Training Command Headquarters - 4 (ground establishment/support unit)
Manning Depots - 7 (ground establishment/support unit)
Initial Training Schools - 7 (ground establishment/support unit)
Radio Direction Finding (RADAR) Schools - 2 (ground establishment/support unit)
Equipment Depots - 5 (ground establishment/support unit)
Repair Depots - 5 (ground establishment/support unit)

Principle source: F.J. Hatch, Aerodrome of Democracy: Canada and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan 1939-1945 with additional information from RCAF associate historian Chris Charland.