Behind the Glory: Canada's Role in the Allied Air War
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In this 60th anniversary edition is Ted Barris' telling of the unique story of Canada's largest World War II expenditure - $1.75 billion in a Commonwealth-wide training scheme, based in Canada that supplied the Allied air war with nearly a quarter of a million qualified airmen. Within its five-year life-span, the BCATP supplied a continuous flow of battle-ready pilots, navigators, wireless radio operators, air gunners, flight engineers, riggers and fitters or more commonly known as ground crew, principally for the RCAF and RAF as well as the USAAF. While the story of so many men graduating from the most impressive air training scheme in history is compelling enough, Ted Barris offers the untold story of the instructors - the men behind the glory - who taught those airmen the vital air force trades that ensure Allied victory over Europe, North Africa and the Pacific. In Winston Churchill's words, the BCATP proved "the decisive factor" in winning the Second World War. This 60th anniversary edition arrives as Canada continues to celebrate 2005 as the Year of the Veteran. Ted Barris interviewed more than 200 instructors and using their anecdotes and viewpoints he recounts the story of the flyers who coped with the dangers of training missions and the frustration of fighting the war thousands of miles away from the front without losing their enthusiasm for flying.
. . with its schedules”: Norman Ward, ed., The Memoirs of Chubby Power, A Party Politician (Toronto: Macmillan, 1966), p. 209. “Canada’s Open Secret”: The Saturday Evening Post, February 1, 1941. “the RCAF’s biggest promotional scheme”: A.W. O’Brien, “Inside Story of RCAF Film Epic,” Montreal Standard, March 7, 1942. “the effect on the sick man”: ibid. “Warners had also demonstrated their sympathies”: Rudy Mauro, “The Making of Captains of the Clouds, Part I,” Canadian Aviation Historical
samples of uniforms, badges, and buttons. In the midst of his scavenging expedition, Clark asked Chief of Air Staff Lloyd Breadner to collect pictures of control towers, instructors’ quarters, an airmen’s Christmas dinner, and recruiting posters for use in the film. Finally he asked Breadner to borrow portraits of Canadian war aces Barker, Collishaw, and McLeod, adding, “Rob them from Billy Bishop’s office if necessary.” By this time Honorary Air Marshal Billy Bishop was deeply involved in
the day’s shoot skidded off a steep road and three crew members were injured. Things went off the rails in front of the camera too. Various pilots at the controls of Jimmy Cagney’s Norseman had problems negotiating pontoon landings on Trout Lake; one sequence required nine landing attempts before the camera got an acceptable take. On another set-down the Norseman suffered so much pontoon and elevator damage that a replacement aircraft had to be flown up from Toronto. On the ground, Jimmy Cagney
North American Aviation of Inglewood, California, and later from Noorduyn Aviation at Cartierville near Montreal. With the help of thousands of fitters and riggers including George Barrett, Harvards gained a wide reputation for durability and serviceability. Eventually, there would be 100 Harvards stationed at No. 6 SFTS Dunnville, each with its distinctive “trainer yellow” fuselage, perspex coupe top canopy, black anti-glare nose cowling, retractable undercarriage, and characteristic engine
away. After about an hour, I went up to the flight desk and asked, ‘Sir, is Pilot Officer Caskie back yet?’ “‘No, no, just go and sit down.’ An hour and a half went by. No sign of Caskie. Two hours . . . I knew there was trouble. “It turned out that the three of them were up near Guelph, over a village called Crieff. There was a low-flying area up there and they had come down, belting along at about 160 knots, and when the aircraft pulled out, the starboard wing just folded. They went straight