Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette – 034 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan School
No. 6 Elementary Flying Training School
No. 6 Air Obsever School
Prince Albert Saskatchewan
School and one month at Navigation School, all successfully completed, would graduate as an Air Observer.
At Prince Albert today, one hangar and the parachute packing building remain while a number of commercial buildings have sprung up around the old school. The city of Prince Albert renamed No. 6 EFTS and AOS Glass Field in honor of Floyd Glass, a local man with a long history as a pilot including time as a pilot instructor during World War II, General Manager of the Saskatchewan Government Airways and creator of Athabaska Airways which still operates in Saskatchewan today as Transwest Air. Mr. Glass died in 2000.
There were a total of 17 fatalities at the two schools – 13 at the Elementary School and four, including a civilian instructor, at the Air Observer School. A large plaque at the airport commemorates the schools and those who died while in wartime training.
Jack (John Irwin) Moore was a student of No. 6 Air Observer School. He went on to be a Warrant Officer Navigator/Bomber with a crew in a Hudson aircraft based near Oman on the Arabian Sea. The crew was killed when their aircraft crashed while on convoy duty on July 10 1943. The Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum holds a wealth of Jack’s artifacts and archival materials donated by his family. Included in the collection are over 100 letters to and from Jack and his family. We present four letters sent by Jack to his mother when he was in training at No. 6 AOS. They do not contain any state secrets but give a poignant representation of what might be going through the mind of a young man in training and also, insights into life for a Air Observer in training. Jack’s father, a veteran of World War I, re-enlisted, in the RCAF as a Flight Sergeant and was stationed at No. 2 Manning Depot in Brandon Manitoba for the duration of World War II. Two of the letters are shown as photographs - all four letters have been transcribed to make it eaiser for viewers to read.
Prince Albert Saskatchewan was the home to two BCATP schools which were concurrently open. No. 6 Elementary Flying Training School was open between July 22 1940 and November 15 1944 for 1577 days while No. 6 Air Observer School was open between March 17 1941 and September 11 1942 for 543 days. Both were run by civilian contractors - the North Saskatchewan Training School (Saskatchewan Flying Club) and the Prince Albert Observers School. The Royal Canadian Air Force provided instructional staff to the two schools, Of the 2467 pilots trained at No. 6 EFTS, 1981 were RCAF and 475 were RAF airmen with 11 airmen from other countries. A total of 615 airmen trained as Air Observers at No. 6 AOS.
Air Observer Students, having completed Initial Training School, proceeded to an Air Observer School which together with one month at Bombing & Gunnery
Click photo to enlarge
No. 6 A.O.S.
Prince Albert Saskatchewan
I arrived here okay and I sure like the place. The country around here is just like the country around Clear Lake (Manitoba) and it is not as hot up here as it was in Brandon so I don’t think it will be to bad studying. I hope everyone at home is all well. Has Dad heard any more about his Flight Sergeant? The food here is grand , it is a civilian school and we are treated like princes. I hope you will write Lorie soon so I can get some smokes before payday. We are about 7 miles from the town of Prince Albert and we are allowed to go to town once every 3 weeks so I guess that is why we are treated so nicely. This is really a swell course and I think I will like it very much. Bill likes it very much too. I forgot to bring those addresses which Mr. Paine gave me so I wish you would send them. How is Shirely (brother) behaving himself. Have you heard from Len Parker yet? Well I will close now with lots of love to all.
Your loving son Jack.
No. 6 A.O.S. Prince Albert
I hope everyone at home is all well. I have been studying my head off and this is really a tough course. I have had ten flights since I have been here and I like it very much. Our papers did not arrive at the station for this pay day so they advanced us $10 until they do come. I met Jim Cameron who works here as a mechanic and he wants me to go down to Saskatoon for my 48 hour leave. I would not have time to get to Brandon so I think I will go. I guess Dad is in the Air Force now, I hope he likes it. The country around here is very beautiful it is much like the scenery around Clear Lake. We have a picture show here twice a week which breaks the monotony of study a little, we get 48 hour passes every 3 weeks which is not very much. I will be able to send you some money as soon as my check comes. I will close for now with lots of love to all.
Your living son,
P.S. – Best regards to the Moores.
No. 6 AOS
Prince Albert Sask.
I am very sorry I have not replied to your letter sooner but it arrived just when I was into my mid term exam. The work is quite difficult and I have been doing considerable studying. I passed my mid term exams with an average of 79. The highest average was 84. I stood 4th in the class, there were 10 fellows failed and were washed out. I hope that everyone is now in the best of health. I was very sorry to hear Dad had been sick. I bought a real good clarinette for $63.50 and it left me a little short of cash for this payday but I will be able to send you some money towards the end of the month. Had Dad heard anything about his Flight Sergeant yet. How are all the folks in Brandon? The clarinette I bought is a Bettany Cadet, and they gave me a swell case & everything. Ask Mr. Neil if he thinks it is a good one. I am sending you enough money to cover postage and I would like you to send some of my transpositions so that I can practice them. We make about 4 flights a week and each flight is usually about 600 miles so we cover considerable territory. We have not been down to Brandon yet but I think we may get a chance after we finish this course. Where did Dal Harris go to, I have not heard from him for some time. I met one of the fellows that was washed out at Elementary Flying at Portage (Manitoba) who was on the gunner’s class when I was in the senior class. He had 45 hours. He got his discharge and is now making $350 a month flying Ansons. How is Shirley getting along at school? Well I will have to close for now and get back to my studies. Lots of love to all.
Your loving son,
P.S. – I will not get any leave on this course but we will when we get to Bombing & Gunnery.
P.P. S. – I have started smoking a pipe (it saves money)
#6 A.O.S. R.C.A.F.
Prince Albert Sask,
I hope everyone is all well at home. I am feeling fine. We start writing our final in about a week and I have been studying quite hard. I will be able to send you $20 this payday and 20 more next payday for the car. Bill Conibear is in the best of health and we are both doing fine in our studies. I was glad to get Peter’s address and I will write him a letter. I hope that we will be getting leave in about 3 weeks when we finish the course. I hope Dad is feeling fine. There isn’t very much to say as I haven’t been doing anything but studying for the last two weeks. I was glad to hear Shirley was feeling fine. I will close now with lots of love to all.
Your loving son,
At the close of every letter, Jack Moore included many xxxxxs (hugs) and ooooos (kisses) to his family and, jokingly to his little brother, a number of `pig kisses.’