002/150 Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Canada 150 Vignette
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Stations
No. 33 Elementary Flying Training School - Caron Saskatchewan
No. 33 Elementary Flying School was a British Commonwealth Air Training Plan facility opened to train Royal Air Force personnel as air crew in Caron Saskatchewan. It was located 25 kilometers west of Moose Jaw Saskatchewan on what is now the Trans-Canada Highway. It was open between January 5 1942 and January 14 1944 for a total of 739 days. The cost to open the school was $1,169,319.70 ($16.7 million in 2016 dollars) and had an initial personnel compliment of 335 and 56 De Havilland Tiger Moth aircraft. By April 1942, staff and student numbers had risen to 700 and training was going full tilt with the Tiger Moths putting in 275 flying hours per day. In January 1943, 100 Fairchild Cornell aircraft took the place of the Tiger Moths.
Of the 1837 pilots who competed elementary training at Caron, 1833 were from the Royal Air Force, three were Royal Canadian Air Force and one was Royal Australian Air Force. Pilots averaged 50 flying hours over the eight weeks of their training. Ten airmen were killed while training at Caron and are buried in the local cemetery.
The current population of Caronport is 919. Before the BCATP came to town… there was no town. Caron is a municipality and Caronport, now the largest village in Saskatchewan was born when locals combined the words Caron and Airport.
Briercrest College and Seminary, along with the associated Caronport High School, became the heart and soul of the community in 1946 when school founder, Mr. Sinclair Whittaker, purchased No. 33 SFTS from crown assets. With modifications to the station’s barracks and other buildings, the RAF school became an instant home for the college, seminary and high school which served the community well. A number of highly modified BCATP buildings remain while the last RAF dormitory was demolished in 2005. Runways were used for time by CFB Moose Jaw as a relief field but no longer function as such. Portions of the taxiways have been used to access mobile home lots.
RAF humour at Caron