9. “The Tie that Binds”

by Peter C. Conrad

The servicemen and women of the Air Training Plan were quickly integrated into the activities of the towns and cities near the schools. Despite the strains that resulted because of a housing shortage and wartime restrictions, good will prevailed on both sides. The aim of the RCAF was to have a full range of cultural and recreational activities within the training schools and within the host communities to promote high levels of morale and therefore better discipline in the schools.

The men on the stations interacted daily with the communities of Saskatchewan when traveling through and using the services found in these communities. The relations between the stations and the local civilians resulted from a need within the host communities and a directed effort from within the headquarters of the RCAF in Ottawa. The aim of the Royal Canadian Air Force policy was to have a full range of cultural and recreational activities within the training schools and with the host communities to promote high levels of morale and therefore better discipline in the schools.

G.M. Coil, Inspector General of the Royal Canadian Air Force explained the RCAF policy on September 1940, in the Report on R.C.A.F. Recreational Activities:

“In peace our Units and Stations are sited relatively close to settled centres where men can find recreation and diversions from the daily duty and thus [keep] their minds in a healthy state. Under war conditions many of the Stations have had to be sited many miles from a settlements of any size and at most of these Stations there is no suitable means of transportation to enable the men to reach the neighbouring towns. Under such conditions unless a substitute is provided the men will become dull and it is only a matter of time before propaganda of one kind or another take hold and undermine discipline and morale–both qualities required in their highest form in any Air Force organization. Discontented personnel can unconsciously lower the productive capacity of a Unit so that its output in quality and quantity is far below requirements. Further, the morale of the pupils turned out from such a school can be seriously lowered.”1

This call for recreational activities within the stations was to increase morale among those airmen and airwomen.

Croil went on in his memorandum to point out that the staff on the Air Force Training Schools could not expect to receive the same number of transfers as those in the other services. The air force staff involved in the training plan had to “… look upon the condition they find as something more or less permanent and likely to be their lot for an indefinite period …” Therefore, life had to be made as accommodating as possible at the stations. Promotion of a recreational program throughout the air training schools was necessary to achieve that.2

Simple Interaction with a local community was not in itself enough. Both internal and external forms or recreation were needed according to Croil. His comments went on to state that,

“There are several ways in which these troubles [of poor morale] can be corrected or alleviated. One is to promote the necessary transportation to a nearby town. It may be fully used after the novelty is worn off but the fact that it is possible to get away for a few hours when desired removed that feeling of utter helplessness, which magnifies every grievance. If provision is made at frequent intervals for local entertainment either by organizing entertainment parties within the Unit, or providing them from without, a new topic of conversation is introduced which in itself is a tonic.”3
The memorandum suggested the use of instructional film projectors on the stations for recreational films. Libraries and other forms of general recreation were to be encouraged. The main thrust of this call for recreation by Croil was to maintain a high level of morale and discipline among the personnel.4

Flying Officer C.L. Weldon, a colleague of Croil who was active at RCAF headquarters in Ottawa, answered this general memorandum by Croil. Weldon’s memorandum went on to describe in more detail what the proposed recreational plans of Croil would require. The basic facilities set out in this report were an auditorium, a lighted open-air rink, and a library. The auditorium required a stage and a standard thirty-five millimetre movie projector. The projectors had to be new because the standard instructional projectors were sixteen millimetre. Weldon pointed out that, “This type of projector is recommended in order that films currently shown at ‘second run’ theatres could be secured and shown.” These films would be, “fit least one entertainment per week.”5

The stage that Weldon called for would be used by entertainment organizations that would be expected to provide shows once a month. Weldon hoped that, “… the majority of the personnel of this organization should be female entertainers in order to maintain the interest of the airmen.” Further, “Boxing and wrestling put on by ‘outsiders’ might also be provided once a month in the same manner as the above entertainment.”6

Other than Weldon’s mention of the stage being for wrestling and boxing, the only other mention of sports was a call for a lit hockey rink. This rink would allow recreational skating as well as an “inter-service” hockey league. These facilities appeared relatively inexpensive to construct in the Canadian winters and would provide a central form of recreation. Although Weldon’s comments about recreation were more specific about what was needed for recreational activities on the stations, it was obvious that he and Croil had little idea of the significance of sports in the recreational priorities of the air training schools. Weldon placed as much emphasis on the establishment of the libraries as on the sporting events; later history revealed that the libraries were insignificant to the majority of servicemen involved with the air training stations.7

Weldon indicated the need for routine transportation of personnel of the air training units to and from nearby towns. He also called for the routine transfer of permanent staff from schools within the plan to increase morale. Weldon concluded by suggesting that a branch of recreation experts be established to administer these matters.8

The reply to the reports by Croil and Weldon came on September 24, 1940 from Group Captain Heaks, the Canadian Air Liaison Officer in London, who agreed with the need for recreational activities on the air training stations. Heaks suggested that an educational and recreational officer be appointed at each station to coordinate such activities with Auxiliary Services.9

The ideas in the Report on R.C.A.F. Recreational Activities became a guide for the later recreational activities on the stations. A local committee established on all air training stations across Canada directly administered activities.

The Report on R.C.A.F. Recreational Activities was important because it demonstrated that the RCAF was very concerned about the relations between the stations and the host communities. The success of the air schools was very closely tied to the cooperation of the host communities. Recreational activities appeared to be an effective way of achieving good public relations.

Civilians in the host communities had to fulfill their own needs as well. The Yorkton Enterprise reported on December 2, 1941, that a civilian group in aid of the Enterprise Empty Stocking Fund, to supply needy children with Christmas gifts, staged a Christmas concert at the Roxy theatre. It was also noted that, “The Canora Symphony under the baton of Egon Grams provided the backbone of the entertainment and when one considers how many of their orchestra they have lost through enlistments they presented a very fine show indeed and were full measure for the applause they received.”10 Orchestras, bands, and dramatic groups were ending their activities because many of the men and women who had been involved were no longer available. The airmen and airwomen were warmly welcomed when they pursued these activities in the communities.

A Club to Host the Airmen and Airwomen

A natural outcome of the interaction with the air schools was the establishment in many communities of hostess clubs and recreation rooms for the air force personnel. The towns located a place for the hostess rooms, as the Souris Plaindealer reported in 1942: “The managing board of the United Church in Souris has unanimously agreed to donate one of its church basements for the use of the airmen of the Souris Service Flying Training School No. 44 as a club room, when it opens this summer. The announcement was made by Wm. Coltman, chairman of the club room committee at a well-attended meeting of the recently organized Souris and District War Service organization on Thursday evening last. He moved that offer be accepted.”11

Even cities as large as Winnipeg worked to established hostess centres for airmen. The Winnipeg Tribune reported that: “Facilities for card games, checkers and other games which require little space to be played will be provided, as well as magazines, newspapers and overseas’ papers for RAF men who have been sent to Canada to train.”12

[Photograph Missing]

A group of instructors at Portage la Prairie relax on an Avro Anson aircraft. This particular aircraft was not airworthy and was used for ground, instruction. (PAM, Gingras, Charles J. 41)

[Photograph Missing]

A view of the Yorkton hostess club, in 1941, set up by local women to offer airmen and airwomen an establishment in the town to visit. (RA 7168[2])

The amount of interaction between host communities and air stations varied across the Prairies. In general terms, the closer the station was to the host community, the higher the level of involvement. This was made clear in the Daily Diary of the Dafoe bombing and gunnery school: “This being a somewhat isolated station, the social and recreation facilities have been developed to a very high degree within the station itself. In fact, it becomes very hard to find an evening that is not occupied with some social or recreational activity on the Station.”13

[Photograph Missing]

Men and women of the air force relax with some piano playing and ping-pong at Yorkton. (RA 7112[3])

The schools of the Air Training Plan that were the most isolated and therefore had the highest level of internal activity and a minimum of interaction with the nearest communities were the bombing and gunnery schools. This was seen throughout the different facilities. For example, libraries were established for the use of the servicemen on the base although they were never a centre of activity. The Mossbank bombing and gunnery school boasted on April 9, 1941, of already attaining “a library of 1,017 books and [the use of] over 50,000 magazines since opening last September.” The entry in the Daily Diary went on to claim that “over 1,000 sheets of writing paper and envelopes are used daily and about $35 worth of stamps are sold daily.”14 These claims may have been exaggerated, but the library filled an important role. In Neepawa, the library was a place “where students can read and write in quiet and comfort. All stationery and envelopes are supplied free of charge. The library contains 1,400 fiction and nonfiction books, as well as an average of one hundred magazines per week distributed. Eighty-five reference books as well as the educational courses provided are given to help RAF students in their course.”15

In some towns, such as Yorkton, Swift Current, and Assiniboia, library facilities were provided in the community through the local hostess clubs. In Swift Current, for example, appeals were made for material for the reading rooms at the service flying training school and the library in the hostess club. The libraries in the hostess clubs provided easier access to books than the local public libraries.

[Photograph Missing]

Here is an example of a library provided for service personnel. (PMR 81-235)

Parties

Parties were arranged to encourage interaction between air personnel and civilians in the communities. There were three kinds of parties: the small internal event for station personnel and, at times, small groups of civilians; the graduation event; and the external public relations event.

The first had a recreational value for the airmen on the stations. The internal gatherings were often a simple “party held in the officers’ mess” or one of the other messes. These parties were often reported as events, which included a “programme of singsong, stories, games, and moving pictures.”

Graduation parties, which were sometimes held in the nearby communities, were celebrations for the graduates and often ended with a formal dinner. One example occurred when the elementary flying training school in Regina held a dinner at the Hotel Saskatchewan on September 30, 1943. The graduates and their instructors gathered at the hotel for a few short speeches and a rousing send off of the trainees to the next school. The air observer school in Prince Albert routinely held its graduating dinners at the P.A. Cafe in the city. In many other cases, though, the dinners were held on the station.16

[Photograph Missing]

Even with the stress of training huge numbers of aircrew for the war, there was time to relax. At Yorkton, the crew enjoys an informal party. (RB 3570)

The most common type of gathering was to open the station to the public for a party, which usually ended with a dance or a film. The Claresholm air school paper, Windy Wings, reported: “The Men’s Club monthly Airmen’s party held in the IOOF Hall Friday night … drew the largest number of Airmen ever yet to avail themselves of this hospitality. . .. Karl Johnson’s Swing Band went over big for dancing, and the boys really enjoyed the singsong. In fact the transportation outfit provided by the airport just about gave up hope of getting the boys out of the hall in time. … The success of this evening has encouraged the wavering committee to continue this form of hospitality.”17

[Photograph Missing]

The Legion hut at Yorkton provided a place for service personnel to relax. (R-A 7102)

Silver Screens

Added to large events like carnivals and fairs were the routine screening of films at the air training schools. The Mossbank bombing and gunnery school reported the acquisition of a movie projector, as “all to the good as there is real need for better entertainment at this station, being it is that we are somewhat isolated.” With the installation of the projecting equipment, films became a regular recreational event. The North Battleford elementary flying training school reported, “The movie show continues to operate five nights in each week.” Other schools, like the Dafoe bombing school, had six evenings of film entertainment a week.18

Some of the popular Hollywood films that were seen by the air personnel at the schools were What’s Buzzing Cousin, the Walt Disney production, Fantasia, Assignment to Brittany, The Heat’s On, The Man From Down Under, The Rains Came, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and The Desert Song starring Dennis Morgan and Irene Manning. War movies like A Yank in the RAF and The Valiant Lady, which starred Ginger Rogers and James Stewart, were also popular selections.

[Photograph Missing]

Members of the cast of an RCAF production of “Why Am I Always Joe?” at Yorkton belt out a song. (RA 7134[5])

To the Stage

Stage productions on the stations, which reflected the abilities and interests of those who were involved in them, were useful in drawing schools and communities closer together. The productions ranged from amateur to “professional.” Claresholm’s Windy Wings reported a production on April 1, 1943: “Station talent was paraded for the approval of the personnel of No. 15 SFTS … acts which included vocal numbers, monologues, clown acts, hillbilly tear-jerkers and a quiz contest…. A cosmopolitan crowd, the artists were made up by RCAF, RAF and RAAF personnel. Prize winners of the evening were the Three Hillbillies from Rattle Snake Gulch.”19

The Penhold Log reported a more “professional” production in August 1944: “Probably the last and perhaps the best of Penhold’s stage shows was presented to enthusiastic audiences in the Recreation Hall…. This revue included the old favorites, notably the Atkinson-Ridley-Murga-troyd team, and at the same time disclosed such abounding new talent …”20

Other stations such as the elementary flying school at Davidson reported stage productions that included vaudeville, singing, dancing, jokes, and skits. Dramatic groups on the stations also presented plays, often. These groups were active in producing plays for both station personnel and the public events.21

[Photograph Missing]

Members of the fast-moving comedy, “The Mad Hatter’s Review,” from the Medicine Hat service flying school. (PMR 81-150)

There were several agencies within the armed services that provided dramatic productions at the air training stations. The RCAF had its own shows, which toured the stations. These shows, like the local ones, included a variety of entertainment. Interested personnel formed groups in their free time, traveling to nearby air schools to stage their performances. One such event was reported in The Neepawa Press: “ ‘Paulson on Parade’ is the name of a hit show produced by the personnel of No. 7 B & G School Paulson. … It is a fast moving revue with excellent singing, dancing, music, and variety comedy is exceptionally good…. [the] Paulson swing band, under direction of Cpl. Hopburn, plays some smart numbers, and accompanies the show throughout the performance.”22 The air force shows included plays, skits, dancing, singing, and “swing time” band sessions. The War Auxiliary Services provided other stage shows. All these stage shows were held internally at the schools with few if any civilians in the audience.

Beyond the internal armed services stage shows, there were large numbers of shows staged by civilians at the stations. The Davidson elementary flying school reported a typical civilian group of entertainers on March 10, 1944: “A dramatic group from the University of Saskatchewan arrived from Saskatoon in the evening and put on the play ‘The Male Animal’ in the Recreation Hall. The play, a comedy, was a sensational hit, and the acting was extraordinarily well done.” Another show reported at the bombing and gunnery school at Mossbank included entertainers from Moose Jaw and the local radio station CHAB.23

The stage shows presented to the host communities by the airmen and airwomen had a greater impact on public relations as demonstrated by the large number of prairie papers that gave prominent coverage to the events. The Yorirton Enterprise showed the community’s enthusiasm and participation in its report about one stage show held on October 9,1941: “Yorktonites turned out in full force Sunday evening to welcome the RCAF boys to the Roxy Theatre on Yorkton’s Broadway. From a per capita point of view New York never gave warmer welcome to a cast on opening night on the Great White Way than Yorkton gave the airmen and it can also be said that no New York cast ever surprised or pleased their patrons more than ‘the lads in greyish-blue.’ Almost every seat in the vast auditorium was taken.” This same kind of enthusiasm and numbers in attendance continued until the air training schools closed.24

The Swing Bands Came to Town

The Royal Canadian Air Force had a policy of having bands at all the air training stations. This often meant that the local schools provided bands to communities that had no band of their own. Swing sessions, concerts, Christmas music festivals, and community fund-raising events were often centred on the performance of one of the RCAF or RAF bands during the war period.

A typical event that one of the air force bands was involved in was reported by The North Battleford Optimist: “Mr. Colburn gave the entire proceeds of the dance attendance and checkroom takings, which is greatly appreciated by the North Battleford Red Cross Society, which must keep ‘going on’ to raise funds for the Red Cross … Snappy music was supplied by the Blue Aces orchestra, by permission of Group Captain A. P. Bett.”25

The statement in The Estevan Mercury that “the station orchestra, whose good work is much in evidence on so many occasions at our dances, socials, concerts, etc., continues to move from one success to another,” applied to the majority of Air Force bands in the West during the war years.26

The Yorkton service school had a close relationship with the community, beginning with the creation of the station band. The city of Yorkton had the instruments and the air training school had the desire to form a band. The Yorkton Enterprise explained the event: “Mayor Peaker recently visited No. 11 Service Flying Training School and learned, among other things, that the boys of the RCAF wish to start a band. The city has a number of band instruments out on loan and those who have these are asked to return them to the city office.”27 This early cooperation was followed by a continued enthusiasm among Yorkton residents for the public performances given by the RCAF band at the Roxy theatre. The same cooperation was reported in the Winnipeg Tribune: “Brass instruments for the organization of a band at the Royal Air Force Flying Training School at Carberry were presented to officers of the school at noon today on the floor of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange. The instruments, 16 in all, were purchased with donations made by a number of Exchange members.”28

[Photograph Missing]

The Yorkton air school band on parade. In the background is the Roxy theatre where the band often played for the locals. (RA 7120 [2])

Swing Time Dances

The same kind of cooperation that was seen in other areas of social interaction was also evident in regular dances. Even at the isolated bombing and gunnery schools, a significant effort was made to bring women to the dances. A Diary entry for May 1, 1942, at the Dafoe station stated that, “the seventh Airmen’s Dance was held in the Recreation Hall tonight with the usual large attendance present. Young ladies from the surrounding towns of Dafoe, Watson, Melfort, and Humboldt were brought to the station by private cars, and a very happy time was had by all. Music was supplied by the station orchestra.”29

The Diary commented: “The Wet canteen is always closed on the nights of Airmen’s Dance and soft drinks and other refreshments were served in the Small Canteen.” This cautionary note, along with the statement that there was extensive participation by local women, was often repeated in the Daily Diaries of the air force training stations and local newspapers.30

The Souris Plaindealer reported that the local service school “held its opening dance of the year and swung into the seasonal mood with a Spring Frolic in the Drill Hall at the Souris airport last Friday. Over 1,000 were in attendance. Guests, officers and airmen crowded the occasion to swing to the music of the Brandon Manning Depot orchestra and the programme was spotlighted with an intermission floor show by members of the Souris Commando troupe.”31

[Photograph Missing]

Airmen and members of the Women’s Division dance at the Yorkton school. (RA 7130 [3])

Across the Prairies, news of the war crackled through the radios between tunes by Glenn Miller’s swing band and the soothing songs of Vera Lynn; while it was reported at Portage la Prairie that “about 1,000 employees sat down to a banquet in No. 4 hangar. Dancing and refreshments were enjoyed by all on the Station. A most successful party. Actually 1,200 sat down to dinner, including many wives of staff members. The dance was held in the new drill hall, in the greatest comfort yet, Camp Shilo orchestra playing for the dancing.”32

There were also a number of touring bands that provided swing sessions on the air stations. One of the most popular Canadian bands to tour the air training schools, was Mart Kenny and His Western Gentlemen. Don O’Hearn, an airframe mechanic during the war, remembered some concerts by “Les Brown, Guy Lombardo and other well known bands that came through. There was a lot of entertainment.”33

Dorothy Minor recalled that, in Claresholm, Alberta, “Jitney dances” were held every night. “We loved them,” she said. “Nobody had to pay at the door. The boys would buy tickets—10 cents. The dance floor was roped off after each dance, and another ticket was needed for the next dance. Needless to say, we girls were very popular. We danced with boys from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and all across Canada and a few [from the] U.S. who had come north to join the RCAF. I loved to dance, and I loved every minute of the dances—not even minding that my mother and dad were waiting outside to drive me home.”34

Alexandria (Macdonald) Miller, the Canadian bride of a British airman, remembered that “Partners were no problem—the men outnumbered the girls ten to one, so even the … widows came off their rocking chairs to join the dance circuit and had a ball doing it—even though the gossips were kept busy…. We learnt a lot from the fraternization with the British RAF. We were basically country bred kids [who] had not traveled far from home, while these [were] boys and men from a different country, [with] different ways and customs. Most had experienced war and the effects of war, whereas, for us, war was a word that meant ration books and watching for names on the ‘Missing in Action’ list but not the devastating thing that these boys had experienced.”35

Pilot Bill Minor recalled that, “the dances at Lethbridge were really something, I tell you. All these married girls would take their rings off and come to the dances when their old man was overseas. There was a lot of that. A lot of them knew each other for only a week or two, then got married. Then the old fella would have to go overseas.”36

Romance

Local girls danced and laughed with the air trainees and air force personnel at social events. Local men and women played ball, hockey, and bingo with them. From the interaction of large numbers of air personnel with residents of the host communities came the marriage of local women to airmen. The obvious result of the marriage of local girls to airmen from Britain, Australia, or New Zealand was that one spouse would eventually have to leave his or her own country to join the other. Some Canadians, like Mrs. Miller, traveled to England to live with their husbands. Canadian women traveled to Australia, New Zealand, and other countries of the Commonwealth. On the other side, there were also many foreign airmen who liked the Canadian Prairies so much that they returned after their service in the war.

Weddings of airmen and airwomen were common. The Daily Diary of the service flying training school at North Battleford reported on April 29, 1944, the wedding of Airwoman M. W. Overend to Leading Air Craftman H. J. Plant. The entry in the Diary went on to comment that “Plant is an under training pilot from Herberton, Australia, and Overend is a member of the Station Accounts Section. The marriage took place at the Roman Catholic Rectory. … A reception was afterwards held at the Odd Fellow’s Hall. The happy couple are honeymooning in Saskatoon.”37

Dorothy and Ken Currie were another couple brought together by the war. Dorothy was a member of the Women’s Division working as a telephone operator at Yorkton, where Ken was a flying instructor.38

The concluding report of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Supervisory Board stated: “In many cases, airmen formed permanent ties with Canada, which will remain through succeeding generations. More than 3,750 members of the RAF, RAAF, RNZAF, and Allied nationals under RAF quotas married Canadian girls.”39

The Familiar Purr of Engines

The RCAF policy of integrating air personnel into the surrounding communities was very successful. This may have been a significant factor in the enthusiasm the people in the West had for the air force. The communities felt they were united with the air force in the war effort. As one air gunner, Phil Ellison, recalled, “The general feeling was that we had to get the people trained and this war won.”40

[Photograph Missing]

Here the airwomen on parade at Yorkton. (RA 7121[2])

The acceptance of the Air Training Plan in towns and cities across the Prairies was suggested by the high level of enlistment by local men and women into the RCAF. Statistics compiled by Greenhous and Hillmer, two historians from the Department of National Defence, demonstrate that prairie men enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force at a proportionately higher rate than men from any other region in Canada. The rate for Saskatchewan was only slightly below 50 percent of the number that had enlisted in the Canadian army. The province of Manitoba showed a rate of over 47 percent, while Alberta was over 43 percent.

When Greenhous and Hillmer gathered the statistics for enlistments across Canada, they found that RCAF was even more popular among the women of the western provinces. Saskatchewan was the only province in Canada that had more women enlisted in the Women’s Division of the air force than in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. Alberta women’s rate was nearly 91 percent. In Manitoba, the rate was 69 percent. The two historians concluded: “This last result seems most significant when it is remembered that recruiting for both women’s services only began in the summer of 1941, when the Air Training Plan operation in the province was getting into top gear.”41

A. S. Edger, an aircraft instrument repairman, recalled one attraction for many prairie boys to enlist was that the Training Plan “gave a lot of the fellas a chance to get off the farm where they sat for ten years just eking out a living. They saw some of the world.”42

For those local boys who were too young to enlist, there was a growing cadet movement. Interest among local residents as well as widespread support for the cadet movement was evident in many of the air training schools. In July 1941, The Rivers Gazette noted the local enthusiasm for the air cadet movement: “Enquiries are coming into headquarters evidencing the enthusiasm of boys all across Canada in our cadet movement. ‘It is this keen interest of the boys that has been responsible for the development of the scheme,’ stated Flight Lieutenant Frost. ‘The League is patterned after a proven organization, the Air Cadet Defence Corps of the United Kingdom, which was started before the war. Through this organization there are now 190,000 boys taking aviation training in Great Britain.’”43

The Swift Current Sun printed a retrospective article when the local school closed in March 1944 that illustrated both the economic benefits the air school had brought the community and the good will that was evident between the community and the air personnel:

“There is no doubt the air school in Swift Current brought a lot of money directly and indirectly to the community: it helped to make business flourish in an already war-inflationary upsurge in which producers all round made more money and therefore had more to spend. It would be sheer hypocrisy to disguise the fact that people wanted the school to continue, for one thing, because it was good business. On the other hand the thousands of men from various parts of the Empire—who came and went as the courses were trained and graduated—brought something to Swift Current in the nature of “the tie that binds.”44

The close relations described in the Sun came about because the RCAF directed local stations to participate in recreational activities of the local communities to help with the morale of the air personnel. The communities, for their part, were suffering from a loss of people because of enlistment and wartime migration. The needs of the communities and the training schools were complementary to each other.

The acceptance of the Air Training schools was indicated in an editorial in The Weyburn Review. “People in Weyburn who a few months ago found it difficult to sleep because of the unfamiliar drone of training planes overhead, are like the child accustomed to being rocked to sleep—they now find it difficult to get to sleep without the familiar purr of engines in the sky.”45

Tie that Binds”

1. NAC, Records of the RCAF, RG 24, Vol. 5176-1-271, Memorandum of G.M. Croil, Report on RCAF Recreational Activities, Sept. 16, 1940, paragraph 2.

2. Ibid., paragraph 3.

3. Ibid., paragraphs 4-5.

4. Ibid., paragraphs 6-10. Croil did admit at the end of his memorandum that, “the idea is not new. The Auxiliary Service under Brigadier Foster was organized to provide for similar duties for the three fighting services. The activities although more domestic heart of this problem. It is suggested that in addition to the Auxiliary Services an organization of Air Force personnel is required whose duties it will be to organize and follow these matters closely and to be the medium through which the Auxiliary Services can be brought more closely in touch without requirements.

5. Ibid., Memorandum of C. L. Weldon, Sept. 20, 1940.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid., Memorandum of F. U. Heaks, Sept. 24, 1940.

10. Yorkton Enterprise, Dec. 2, 1941.

11. Souris Plaindealer, May 6, 1942.

12. Winnipeg Tribune, Jan. 11, 1941.

13. Dafoe No. 5 B&GS, Diary, Aug. 16, 1942.

14. Mossbank No. 2 B&GS, Diary, April 9, 1941.

15. The Neepawa Press, April 1, 1943.

16. Prince Albert No. 6 AOS, Diary, June 21, 1941; Dafoe No. 5 B&GS, Diary, May 16, 1942; Regina No. 15 EFTS, Diary, Sept. 30, 1943.

17. . Claresholm, Windy Wings, May 1, 1943, p. 17.

18. Mossbank No. 2 B&GS, Diary, May 22, 1941; North Battleford No. 13 SFTS, Diary, Appendix “C”, Dec. 1944; Dafoe No. 5 B&GS, Diary, Jan. 31, 1943.

19. Claresholm, Windy Wings, April 1, 1942, p. 11.

20. The Penhold Log, Aug. 1944, p. 13.

21. Davidson No. 23 EFTS, Diary, March 16, 1944; Dafoe No. 5 B&GS, Diary, Feb. 2, 1942.

22. The Neepawa Press, April 9, 1942.

23. Davidson No. 23 EFTS, Diary, March 10, 1944; Mossbank No. 2 B&GS, Diary, Feb. 11, 1942.

24. The Yorkton Enterprise, Oct. 9, 1941.

25. North Battleford Optimist, May 6, 1943.

26. The Estevan Mercury, April 1, 1943.

27. The Yorkton Enterprise, May 1, 1941.

28. The Winnipeg Tribune, Jan. 25, 1941.

29 Dafoe No. 5 B&GS, Diary, May 1, 1941.

30. Ibid.

31. Souris Plaindealer, May 12, 1943.

32. The Record of No. 7 A.O.S. R.C.A.F. Portage la Prairie, Man. 1941-45.

33. Interview: Don O’Hearn with the author, June 27, 1988.

34. Letter: Dorothy Minor to the author, Feb. 26, 1987

35. Letter: Alexandria (Macdonald) Miller to Brereton Greenhous and Norman Hillmer, July 10, 1980. Copy supplied by Mrs. Miller to author.

36. Interview: Bill Minor with the author, Oct. 3, 1987.

37. North Battleford No. 13 SFTS, Diary, April 29, 1944.

38. Interview Dorothy and Ken Currie with the author, June 8, 1989.

39. Final Report of the Chief of Air Staff to the Members of the Supervisory Board: British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, April 16, 1945, p. 27.

40. Interview: Phil Ellison with the author, June 7, 1989.

41. Greenhous and Hillmer, p. 143.

42. Interview: A. S. Edger with author, Aug. 4, 1988.

43. Rivers, The Gazette, July 10, 1941.

44. Swift Current Sun March 14, 1944.

45. The Weyburn Review, June 18, 1942.

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About peterconrad2014

I am a writer with experience in writing short stories, articles, non-fiction books, the novel, on line course content, journalism, and encyclopaedia articles. Never accepting limitations, I have had successes in diverse writing approaches. I am a storyteller, teacher, and artist.
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