lines at the RCAF stations at High River, Claresholm, De Winton, and other locations. The crews slept in tents and my job was driving and looking after MacGregor's 1928 Ford one-ton truck. At this time a local fellow Dallas Schmidt, home on leave from the RCAF, stopped at my father's garage. I was impressed to see him in his officer's uniform. That dapper uniform and his enviable war record probably increased my desire to join up. Dallas Schmidt received two Distinguished Flying Crosses and was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant while flying Beaufighters during the Defence of Malta. I was in the process of finishing my grade 12 education when, early in 1942, an RCAF recruiting group came to Wetaskiwin and set up a desk in the Driard Hotel. Curiosity and my desire to learn how to fly prompted me to visit the recruiting officer. I was told that I could enlist in the "Pilots and Observers" category, and if I passed the required tests I would be selected for training as a Pilot or Observer. The recruiting officer was quite persuasive and before I left the hotel I had enlisted.
On 15 April 1942 I was called to Edmonton to start training at RCAF No. 3 Manning Depot. I was assigned living quarters in a barracks which housed about fifty airmen, and we slept in two-tier bunks. Except for a few technicians we all started with the rank of AC2 [Aircraftsman second class]. We were issued uniforms, mess kits, sewing kits called "housewives," brass button polishers, shoe shiners, and other gear. We received medical and dental checkups. inoculations, physical training, marching drill, and lessons in airmanship. Each airman made
his own bed, polished his buttons, badges and shoes and the entire group received periodic inspections. Everything had to be kept neat and clean, strict discipline was enforced and every man did his stint on guard duty.
When a group of about forty Australian airmen arrived at the Manning Depot they decided to take in some Edmonton city night life, even though they did not have permission to leave the base. They elected to leave the base when I was on guard duty, and when I was near the farthest end of my beat they made a hole in the fence big enough for a man to crawl through. When I turned around at the end of my beat I saw a long lineup of men in their dark blue Australian uniforms, in single file, crawling hurriedly through the hole in the fence. I was carrying a .303 Enfield rifle with fixed bayonet, but no ammunition was allowed for anyone on guard duty. Being quite confident that I would not be able to stop these Australians, I began running towards them, mostly running on the spot, waving my rifle and shouting "Halt in the name of the King." They did not pay any attention to me and when I arrived at the hole in the fence the last Australian was a few feet too far away for me to reach him with the bayonet. Someone else was on guard duty when the Australians returned [probably during the early hours the next morning]. I heard no more about it so I presumed they got back without incident.
During passes I would hop on my 1928 Harley Davidson motorcycle and head for Wetaskiwin, where I spent most of the time building a Model T Ford race car from parts at my father's auto wreckage. The category "Pilots and Observers" was discontinued and all airmen in that category were remustered to "Aircrew." This meant that any airman could be selected for training as a pilot, navigator, bomb aimer, wireless air gunner or air gunner. On 19 July 1942, I was posted to No.7 Initial Training School at Saskatoon. There were 42 airmen in Course #58 and we received classes and tests in mathematics, wireless, navigation, meteorology, armament, anti-gas measures, airmanship, drill, administration, and aircraft recognition. White cloth flashes were placed in the front of our wedge caps to signify that we were aircrew trainees. My Link trainer instructor was a Flying Officer Elder. I passed the Link trainer portion of the course with the grade of 89 per cent which, I was told, was the highest mark in the class. After the final exams each graduate was interviewed individually by the selection committee which, after considering the airman 's abilities, decided which members of air crew should receive training. I wanted to be a pilot and was pleased to be selected for pilot training
All graduates of the course were promoted to LAC [Leading Aircraftsman] and were given cloth propellers which were sewn on the sleeves of their clothing to indicate their rank. Squadron Leader Fred McCall of Calgary, the famous First World War ace, was one of the officials in the picture when the class photograph was taken. Thirteen of the aircrew in this class were killed on active service.
The graduates were authorized to have a pass the following weekend in early October. The Model T Ford races were being held in Edmonton on Thanksgiving day, 12 October. I had my car entered in the races, and consequently I made an arrangement with the Station Warrant Officer by which I would stay on the station the weekend of 3 October and would receive my pass the following weekend. I was put to work in the station hospital and spent the entire weekend doing undesirable jobs, mostly cleaning washrooms and toilets. I did what I was told to do, I did a good job and I did not complain about anything. When the following weekend arrived I was told all passes were cancelled. Considering that it had taken nearly all of my leave periods during the past five months to complete the assembly of the race car, that it was painted with RCAF lettering and roundels on both sides, that the Edmonton and other newspapers had published write-ups and photographs promoting me and my car in the races, that I had been promised leave to attend the races, and that I had already paid the consideration by working the previous weekend in the hospital, I believed I was entitled to leave to attend the races. When I left the station that weekend without a pass I was considered to be AWL [away without leave]. I proudly raced my car and won second prize in the second race. When I returned to Saskatoon, Squadon Leader Bawlf, the Chief Ground Instructor, announced to other classes that I had gone AWL and was therefore washed out of aircrew. I believe this announcement was to emphasize to other students the consequences before they considered going AWL. As I was now ground crew I was put to work in the camp kitchen where I washed dishes, pots and pans, dished out meals in the mess hall, and scrubbed tables and floors . Once again I did what I was told to do, I did a good job and I did not complain about anything. After two weeks of kitchen duty I was called into the office of Wing Commander Russell, the Commanding Officer. He told me that I was being put back into aircrew and was being sent to No. 6 Elementary Flying Training School at Prince Albert for pilot training. It appeared he had received good reports of my work and discipline while I was on kitchen duty; however, he never asked me why I had gone AWL and I believe he never was fully aware of the reasons.
On 25 October I was posted to EFTS, where I was one of 45 students in Course #67. We were issued flying suits and other items needed for our flying training and ground classes. My first flight in a Tiger Moth biplane was on 28 October; my first solo flight was on 9 November, after receiving eight hours and 45 minutes of dual-flying training. Most of the flying instructors were civilians, and during flights they talked to the students through speaking tubes called Gosports.
On 23 November I was given a 30-hour check by Ernie Boffa, a well known bush pilot who was the Assistant Chief Flying Instructor. During the test I was required to do various manoeuvres, including slow rolls, blind flying [flying by instruments while under a hood], practice forced landings, cross-wind landings, steep turns, tail spins, side slipping, and other exercises. While practising aerobatics during a solo flight on 28 November, an oil line ruptured and I flew back to base with oil spraying on the windscreen. I flew 29 different Tiger Moths at EFTS; my last flight there was on 18 December by which time I had logged 73 hours and 25 minutes flying time on Tiger Moths. In my log book endorsement in the space allocated for "Instructor's remarks on pupil's weakness" was written "no particular faults." My flying grade was 74 per cent, and my assessment was "above average." At least 14 pupils from Course 67 were "washed out," which means their pilot training was terminated. Ten of the students in this course were killed on active service overseas.
Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette – 028 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
A World War II Memory
Stan Reynolds - Pilot - Part 1 of 3
U.S. officials who sent an army truck to pick up the remains of the Airacobra.
On 10 January 1943 I was posted to No.4 Service Flying Training School at Saskatoon, where I was placed in Course #72 with 61 other student pilots. We were learning to fly twin-engine Cessna Cranes, and my flying instructor was Pilot Officer Macintyre. My first solo in a Crane was on 24 January, after receiving eight hours and 40 minutes dual-training. During a solo flight on 7 April the fuel pump quit in the starboard engine. I flew back to base on one engine and made a successful single engine landing. My last flight in a Crane was 22 April, by which date I had logged 166 hours and 40 minutes twin-engine day-and-night flying time. By then I also had logged 35 hours in the Link trainer, not including my Link time at ITS. At least 14 pupils in Course 72 were washed out. Not every pilot received his wings on the parade square. A day or two before this important occasion I was stricken with appendicitis and taken to the base hospital where I received an appendectomy. As I was not allowed to leave the hospital bed, my pilot wings were pinned on my pyjamas by an officiating officer from high command. In attendance were my instructor, other graduating pilots from my course, the doctor and nurse, various officials from the base and my very proud father. This was one of the most thrilling experiences in my air force career. I had graduated from SFTS flying twin-engine Cessna Cranes, and was now a full-fledged pilot. In my log book endorsement in the space allocated for "Instructors remarks on pupil's weakness" was written "High average student, should do well in all future flying." I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Fifteen of the students in this class were killed -on active service overseas.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that Stan Reynolds was a legend in the museum and aviation community in Canada. After his Royal Canadian Air Force Service in World War II, Stan returned to his home in Wetaskiwin Alberta and grew a very successful automobile and farm machinery business. His words in the story indicate that he acquired the `collector bug’ early in his life. He amassed a huge collection of vintage automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, stationary engines, tractors, agricultural implements, aircraft and industrial equipment of which 1500 items were donated as a start to the Reynolds-Alberta museum in Wetaskiwin Alberta. Among other honours, he was inducted in the Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009 and named to the Order of Canada in 1999.
Stan Reynolds died in February of 2012 at the age of 88 years and his wife Hallie, passed away in August 2012 at the age of 85 years.
After completing my elementary training in December, I went home on leave. A U.S. pilot flying a Bell Airacobra fighter experienced engine trouble during a flight to Alaska, baled out and the plane crashed nose first into the ground near Wetaskiwin. Personnel from the US air base at Namao picked up all the parts they could locate, but they left the engine which was buried about 17 feet down in the ground. I took it upon myself to dig out the Allison V 12 engine, the 37 mm cannon that was buried under the engine, live ammunition, propeller, and other gear. When I was digging out the engine a spectator standing nearby threw a cigarette into the hole, causing an explosion of the gas fumes. I came out of the hole so fast I don't know whether I jumped out or was blown out. Not knowing of any useful purpose for the articles, my father notified U.S. officials
Pilot student Stan Reynolds at No. 6 EFTS, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, December1942.The Tiger Moth is equipped with skis. A Gosport hearing-tube needed for in-flight conversation between instructor and student hangs from his helmet.
In December 2000, the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum received this air force history from Stan Reynolds. It is one chapter out of a book commissioned by the Alberta Department of Culture commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of hostilities in World War II. The book is ``For King and Country – Albertans in the Second World War’’ and Stan’s chapter was in the Albertans Overseas section. Stan entitled his chapter: ``From Air Training to the Defence of Britain: One Pilot's View From Tiger Moths to Mosquitoes.’’ It is a fascinating story but much too long for one Canada 150 Vignette so we have split it into three Vignettes -- Training in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, Training Overseas in an Operational Training Unit and Air Operations Overseas.
Part 1 – Training in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
The Reynolds family of Wetaskiwin has always been interested in aviation. My father, Edward A [Ted] Reynolds, was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. My older brother, Byron E. [Bud] Reynolds, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940, and completed a Tour of Operations as a flight engineer on Catalina flying boats. My younger brother, Allan B. [Bert] Reynolds, joined the RCAF in 1943, and served overseas as an air-frame mechanic on Dakotas [C-47s] with 437 Squadron. When I was sixteen years old I joined the Edmonton Fusiliers and trained with E Company at Wetaskiwin during periods that did not conflict with school hours. The two weeks' training at Sarcee Camp in Calgary during the summer months
was a great experience, with sleeping in tents and target practice with Ross rifles. In 1941 I was hired as a truck driver for MacGregor Telephone & Power Construction Co. of Edmonton during the time they were installing power