Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignettes – 017 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Stations
No. 17 Service Flying Training School – Souris Manitoba

The two types of aircraft at No. 17 SFTS is interesting as well. Nine of the 41 SFTS schools had single-engine and twin-engine aircraft – mostly Harvards and Ansons. The rest of the service schools had one or the other.  We speculate that the nine schools offered dual purpose training. F.J. Hatch in his book ``Aerodrome of Democracy’’ notes that single-engine Harvard aircraft were obtained for advanced training for fighter pilots while twin-engine Anson aircraft were used to train pilots and observers for bombing and coastal operations.

The speculation in the above two paragraphs is a sure sign that information about this school is limited. We may never find absolute answers but we certainly welcome comment on Facebook or by email at airmuseu@inetlink.ca .

One other item in this vignette begs comment. One of the photographs shows RCAF personnel working on a Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft while two others can be seen across the apron in front of a hangar. In discussion with a museum member very knowledgeable in World War II RCAF operations, we were told that Hurricanes were stationed on a number of BCATP schools for defense of our country from the infamous Japanese ``Fire Balloon’’ bombs or `Fu-Go.’ These first inter-continental weapons consisted of hydrogen balloons carrying incendiary or anti-personnel bombs. They were launched in Japan and were carried by jet-stream winds to drop on targets in Canada and the USA. Of the 9000 Fu-Gos launched, an estimated 900 actually landed on mainland North American soil. We’ve not heard if any made it to Manitoba or if any Hurricanes shot one down.     

No. 17 SFTS is now the location of the Souris Glenwood Industrial Air Park. None of the SFTS buildings remain. One turf runway and one asphalt runway are available to aircraft.

Our next vignette will feature the story of Don Rollins, a RCAF veteran and former Aero-Engine Mechanic who served at No. 17 SFTS Souris Manitoba. It is an interesting history giving great insights into the duties and adventures of a ground-crew member. 

Seventy years after operations wound up for most of the schools of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, current information about those schools runs the gamut from copious amounts available for some to hardly anything at all for others. No. 17 Service Flying Training School, Souris Manitoba, falls into the second category, however, we found an abundance of photographs from that place at that time and feel that presenting a Vignette for No. 17 SFTS is a useful exercise.

No. 17 Service Flying Training School opened for business on March 3 1943, providing training to the Common-wealth Air Forces for 753 days. It closed on March 30 1945. It fell under the administration of the Royal Canadian Air Force which also provided the training. No. 17 utilized North American Harvard and Avro Anson aircraft for training.

The school had seven hangars and the standard three-runway airfield. The period air photo seems to indicate a rather small infrastructure supporting the school. There appears to be only four large h-huts likely for housing trainees and 10 other various sized and configured buildings. No. 19 SFTS Vulcan Alberta had seven hangars and five large h-huts. No. 5 Bombing & Gunnery had seven and seven while No. 12 SFTS had five and eight. Each h-hut barracks housed approximately 300 students at a time.

No. 17 SFTS Souris Manitoba

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