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British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

Station Reports -- No. 10 SFTS Dauphin Manitoba​​
 063 - #10 Service Flying Training School, Dauphin, Manitoba.

We previously saw an example of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan’s Harry Hayward’s work in our Canada 150 Vignette No. 019 where we used information from his Station Report project to reveal a special day at No. 7 Bombing and Gunnery School in Paulson Manitoba. He continues his good work interpreting British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Station Reports gleaned from microfilmed official Royal Canadian Air Force reports. Harry is currently working on the reports for No. 10 Service Flying Training School in Dauphin Manitoba.

We present a portion his work – a couple of months in 1941 which deals with the opening of that school and the subsequent difficulties connected to the opening -- staffing, the weather and essential base facilities. Although the writer of the reports is unknown to us, he was definitely a literate man using some fancy words in a type of report that generally isn’t flowery and injecting witty remarks which humanizes the situations he describes. Enjoy Vignette No. 63 – No. 10 SFTS Station Reports – Dauphin Manitoba.

15-2-41 Officer made shift for breakfast and lunch by means of a hot plate in the batmen's room. Sewage disposal plant and sewer system not yet completed. Will probably be end of February before these services ready for use. Only water available for washing and cooking must be hauled in tanks. Sanitary "conveniences" (?) of the most primitive outdoor type.

16-2-41 Several unofficial complaints of chilblains, account outside "sanitary" conveniences and temperature 22 degrees below zero, and not conducive to comfort under such circumstances.

20-2-41 Water and sewage systems still not available for use.

22-2-41 Still no sanitary facilities available. Large airmen's Mess put into service, and airmen vacated Sergeant's Mess which was being used temporarily.

24-2-41 Heat turned on in No. 5 hanger and Command H. Q. notified ready to receive aircraft. Furniture for Officers' Quarters beginning Three stenographers, 
​Avro Anson aircraft flying near No. 10 SFTS Dauphin Manitoba
Celia Brown was one of the timekeepers at No. 10 Service Flying Training School,
L-R LAC Grant Schleich, Long Island, NY. USA, LAC Chuck Robinson, Windsor, Ont., LAC Jack McNary KIA, LAC Donald L. Murray, Lyleton, MB." Graduates at Dauphin, MB.
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​​grade one, Civil Service, taken on strength. These are the only available stenogs-Civil Service- available in Dauphin. Organization of Orderly Room badly hampered by lack of clerks, only two service clerks posted this unit at this time.

25-2-41 Start made in getting canteen into operation.

27-2-41 One hundred tables and four hundred chairs supplied by breweries for use in wet canteens, also refrigerators for canteens, officers' and sergeants messes. Twenty-five second hand commodes, equipped with fume pipes, arrived - - " a feeble effort to relieve the discomforts of the medieval backhouses at 30 below zero.
Authority brought back by C. O. to have additional female orderly room help from non-civil service stenogs available. Choice of experienced help very limited.

28-2-41 One more Orderly Room clerk reported for duty. Still no clerks available for Squadron Orderly Room. D. A. P. S. wired urgently to post at least three experienced N.C.O. clerks.

Feb. 28 Training not yet commenced.

March 1 1941 Water turned on in barrack blocks one to four inclusive for washing and showers only.

March 2 Canteens-wet and dry- opened for first time at 1600 hours, with a small initial stock. Purchases, as far as possible, being made from local business firms.

March 7 Eleven women stenographers now taken on strength. Squadron Orderly Room personnel extremely limited, no N.C.O. clerks available. Water for washing purposes turned on in the Officers Mess.

March 8 Slight thaw set in bringing thick gumbo mud in its wake. Crew set to work making scrapers for entrance to buildings.

March 10 Shower baths at last available in the Officers Quarters. Toilet facilities still of the most primitive type as sewage disposal plant not yet completed.

March 11 Received 20 additional parachutes, making a total of 30. Lack of chutes has contributed to delay in getting flying instruction under way.

March 12 Water turned on in G.I.S.- - for washing purposes only. Routine normal otherwise, although still a great shortage of General Duties personnel. Must employ ex-war veterans as messman, batmen and possibly as hanger G.D's.

March 14 Water turned on in Barrack Blocks Nos. 5,6 and 7. Outside toilets still "the mode". Sanitary engineers arrived to check on sewage disposal plant. All fervently hope they'll give it an "O.K". Primitive backhouses very discomforting.

March 17 Services of the fire engine had to be called in to aid pumps at the sewage disposal plant. Although the plant only handling waste water from the showers, and practically no sewage, regular pumps proved inadequate to handle the discharge alone.

March18 Backhouses abandoned and nobody has any regrets. Toilets in barrack blocks cannot be used yet.

March 19 Three civilians taken on as messmen due to shortage of G.D's for kitchen help.

March 25 Number of ex-service men taken on as civilian messmen, thus relieving, to some extent, the serious shortage of General Duties personnel.

March 27 Thawing and muddy during the day. Additional civilians-veterans- engaged for duties in kitchens.

March 28 Thawing all day. The mud is terrific,- - ankle deep and as affectionate as a love-sick sweetheart. Walking is agony, it clings so. In D.R.O. of this date was the gladsome news that the toilets in the Barrack Blocks may be used for the first tine Sunday, March 30. No more outdoor backhouses. It is hoped the sewage disposal plant keeps on disposing.

March 29 Weather fine and warm. Snow disappearing- - mud appearing. Runways covered with slush by early afternoon.

March 30 Flaps on five Harvards damaged due to slush on runways. Repairs delayed due to lack of material. Photographic section inoperative due to lack of equipment and supplies. Diffusion plate on enlarging camera broken when received. No films or printing paper received and only part of chemical ingredients for developers and fixing bath.

April2 C.O’s inspection showed Barrack Block 4 in very dirty condition and empty beer bottles found in the block. Whole block confined to camp for 7 days.

April 5 Dauphin Little Theatre Association put on the first show in the Recreation Hall. Quite successful and enjoyable. About 60 girls from Dauphin came out for the dance which followed. Mud terrible, and walking in it even more terrible. However, all seemed to enjoy themselves in spite of the gritty floor.

April 6 It is just one month since flying training started and already this Unit is 13 days ahead of schedule with course No. 22.

April 7 Caterpillar tractors around this camp have come to be known as "Tugs", Half their time seems to be spent in towing bogged trucks out of the deep, gooey mud. "Plugstreet" is the nickname now given to the road from the Administration Building to the Officers' Mess. Trucks using this road all day long have churned it into an affectionate morass that recalls the muddy mess of Flanders. Bogged cars, floundering officers struggling through knee deep squish, and occasionally sitting down in it, are typical scenes.

April8 Mud gets thicker and deeper. Walking on the "roads" becoming a perilous undertaking.

April 10 W & B (Works & Building) Section procured several carloads of cinders in an effort to make muddy roads passable. That's about all the roads are at present.

April 11 W & B crews busy trying to keep bottom from dropping out of camp roads. All truck traffic banned, except for absolute emergencies. Tractor and stoneboat used for camp hauling.

April 12 All traffic on camp roads stopped except big tractor hauling stoneboat. Station Photographic Section still inoperative, No film or paper supplied yet, although specially indented for. Cannot use enlarging camera because of broken diffusion plate. Replacement asked for a month ago. Pictures of crash had to be taken with a private camera.

April 13 Roads awful because of mud which is knee deep in places.

April14 Disappearing snow has revealed piles of debris all over the camp, left by the builders. Fatigue parties busy all day in an effort to get things shipshape for tomorrow's official opening ceremony. Terrific task because of the mud. Nearly impossible to keep buildings clean for five minutes at a time. Movies shown for the first time in the Recreation Hall.

April 15 Weather C.A.V.U. Today this station was officially opened, with appropriate ceremonies, by Air Commodore A.B. Shearer, A.O.C. No. 2 Training Command. About 2500 residents of Dauphin attended. The A.O.C. arrived by plane at 1115 hours, accompanied by F/O McLennan, personal aide. Opening ceremonies commenced at 1430 hours when the A.O.C. cut the ribbon which opened the path for a Harvard flown by S/L R.E. DuPont in an exhibition of aerobatics. The A.O.C. told of the development of the Joint Air Training Plan and the part #10 S.F.T.S. will play. Prior to the opening ceremony the A.O.C. inspected a guard of R.C.A.F. personnel and a company of the Dauphin Veterans Guard. Afterwards the civilian visitors were shown over the station. From 1600 to 1800 hours a number of invited guests were entertained at tea in the Officers' Mess. In the evening an informal dance was held in the Officers' Mess. The band of No. 2 T.C. played during the afternoon, and the orchestral section for the dance in the Mess. Visiting aircraft were Beechcraft B.M.U. with A.O.C, Boeing with band and Lockheed with the visiting flight from Trenton. The new fireplace in the Officers' Mess was used for the first time, the A.O.C. lighting the first fire.

April 23 Shortage of tail wheel tires reported reducing the number of serviceable aircraft.

April 25 Sun and wind drying up the mud. Compactors and graders busy on the roads.

May 1/41 Harvard 3025 crashed in a forced landing. Makes twelfth accident since station opened.

May 4 S/L G. Sellers of No. 11 S.F.T.S., Yorkton, Sask. landed with 7 other machines at 1330 hours. He informed the C.O. there had been a collision in mid-air near Lake Audy. Tail Section cut off one plane which crashed. Other plane landed here with prop and wing damaged. Search party organized and found wreckage in two sections 2 miles apart. Pilot of 11 S.F.T.S., dead.

May 6 Weather turned raw and cold. Fires have been out since April 30 on instructions from Command. Quarters and offices cold and damp. Even sheets on the beds were damp, but still no warmth in buildings. Temperature down to 49 degrees at 2030 hours. Several makeshift hot water bottles cane to light as personnel tried to keep warm in bed.

May 7 Heating units in station buildings turned on again at 0900 hours after temperature had dropped during the night to 38.5 degrees. A little more comfortable now that the heat has been turned on again in the buildings.

May 8 Spring is in the air, and the urge to beautify in the ascendant. Appears to be keen gardening competition on among hangar crews and occupants of barrack blocks as to who will have the neatest and most colorful gardens in their respective areas.

May 10 A civilian employee working on the field, ducked and fell on an axe he was carrying, cutting a gash in his arm when a Harvard swerved off runway.

May 12 Weather clear. Flying all day. Six tail wheels blown out today.

May 13/41 Mr. Tinline and Mr. Good of Brandon Experimental Farm here to arrange for seeding of the grounds.

May 14 Getting colder again. Overcoats needed in offices and hot water bottles in bed. Heat shut off and buildings like refrigerators. Temperature down to 38. Everybody shivering. (Sniffling noses are the order of the day). Heat turned on again at 0900 hours.

May 16 Four Chesterfield sets for various Messes donated by T. Eaton Co. Branch at Dauphin. It was decided to purchase others for the Canteen and Library from Canteen profits. Shortage of tail wheels. Seems very difficult getting equipment depot to part with them. Six ordered by LPO from Toronto and delivered from manufacturer in two days Six only were received from the depot on Demand No. B 57 which demanded 80.

May 17 Wing tips are "getting it in the neck" these days. Another damaged on Harvard 3773, tried to land too high up.

May 18 Five new Harvards flown in from Winnipeg, No seat harness or identification lights in then, so cannot be used for either day or night flying. Some use, however- -at least their tail wheel tires are being used to make other aircraft serviceable which were short of such part.

May 23 Two accidents today. Nobody hurt. Must be a lot of spare horse shoes around, everyone seems to be so lucky. Student pilot in Harvard 3783, low flying in Fisher River area–46 miles north. Struck a backhouse in the Stony Creek school grounds with his port wing. Aileron and 7 feet at outer end of wing torn off. Backhouse disintegrated. Pilot managed to fly back to the aerodrome minus aileron and half of wing. Made a perfect landing. Two charges laid against him of low flying and endangering life, under A.F.A. Sec. 39A (1) (e) and one under A.F.A, Sec. 11.

May 24 Student pilot was killed when his plane, Harvard 2943, spiralled into the ground at 2330 hours while on solo night flying practice from the relief field. The aircraft hit the ground about two miles northwest of the field. There was an explosion and the plane burst into flames. Bolton was killed instantly and the body badly burned. "A" Category crash. Saturday routine normal otherwise.

May 27 Overcast skies and cold. Short funeral service held by F/L Littlewood, station chaplain. Six Leading Aircraftsmen acted as pallbearers and escorted body to the train for shipment to Toronto. His Honor, R.F. McWilliams, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, visited the Station this afternoon accompanied by prominent local citizens. Toured Station and were guests at tea in the Officers' Mess.

May 28 Course 22, the first from this school to graduate, received their wings today. The presentation was made by the Commanding Officer, Wing Commander A.H. Wilson. The ceremony was held in the Drill Hall and was attended by friends and relatives of the graduates. As he pinned the wings on the breasts of the recipients, the C.O. addressed a few complimentary remarks to each. Afterwards he addressed the class as a whole. Presentation of wings should really be regarded as the beginning of their careers as pilots, he said, and exhorted them to keep open minds and continue to learn. Following the presentation the parade marched past in column of route, the C.O. taking the salute.
LAC Daniels wired the C.O. from Centerville, Kansas: "Sir, will arrive a few days late" for course 29. Very nice of Mr. Daniels. Course 29 reported today for training.

May 30 Pay Parade held for all ranks. Normal routine otherwise. Clocks turned back one hour new Station time.

June 13 Course 25 Examination List posted. Forty-nine passed, two failed. Two fatalities in this course. Seven pupils washed out during the course.

June 16/41 51 New Zealand Trainees reported for Course 31.

June 21 Course 25 graduated and received their wings today. Group Captain D.W.F. Bonham-Carter made the presentation, addressing a few words of congratulation to the graduates individually as he pinned the wings on their breasts. At the conclusion of the ceremony the Group Captain addressed the class as a whole. He exhorted them to be cautious and not to take unnecessary risks but not to hesitate to take whatever risk arose in their line of duty. He wished them Godspeed and good luck. Thirty-two of the graduates were posted overseas and seventeen to C.F.S. Trenton for further training as instructors.

June 23 One of the cross beams in Hangar 4 reported cracked. Shored up.

June 24 The afternoon at which the Court Martial sentence of a Sgt. Pilot was promulgated. Five squadrons were drawn up in a hollow square on the parade ground while the sentence was read by F/O J. Sinclair, station adjutant. The Sgt. was severely reprimanded and awarded $75.00 deductions of pay.   Today a carload of lumber for duckboards arrived. Very ducky. The material was ordered during the gumbo period in the spring for immediate use. Anyhow, it will be handy next spring to alleviate wallowing conditions.

June 25 Ice cream dispenser installed in canteen. Pop sales increasing by leaps and sounds with hot weather. Canteen committee voted to donate sum equivalent to 1% of gross sales monthly to R.C.A.F. Benevolent Fund, but reserved right to discontinue the donation at any future tine. Routine normal.

June 26 Weather C.A.V.U. and hot as the hobs of Hell.

June 27 Pay parade held today.

June 28 NZ student. made three take-offs with flat tail wheel tire. Came in and announced he couldn't savvy lack of control on the ground.

July 1, 1941. Dominion Day; everybody working.

July 2 Rainy weather last week, which stopped flying, led to two cars of gasoline being cancelled today--too much in stock and on the way. Having difficulty in keeping things running due to lack of General Duties. Now 132 short of establishment. Records say little hope of posting any yet. Supply of suitable civilian replacements also diminishing. Enlisting "Old Sweats" as G.D's one solution. Mosquitos have raised Hell with comfort at night in Airmen's Barrack Blocks. During the recent hot spell somebody busted the fly screens to get more air at night. Result "Skeeters" blitzkrieged the sleepers. Some brainy wag conceived the idea of a smudge pot. Used the disinfectant footbath, with rags and paper in the middle of the room. Smoke beat both Skeeters and sleepers. The latter soon abandoned the Barrack and slept on the grass- -despite even more Skeeters.

July 3, 1941 Shipment of five more cars of gasoline cancelled because of recent bad weather. Storage tanks full.

July 4 Weather dull and muggy. This Unit's first case for detention barracks came up today. AC2 under going detention, refused to appear for detention drill. He was awarded a further 21 days detention in Fort Osborne jail.

July 6, 1941 Group Capt. Izatt and S/L Gilkison of the R.N.Z.A.F. arrived and spent the afternoon inspecting R.N.Z.A.F. personnel in training here. Fifty-Two R.N.Z.A.F. trainees for Course 33 reported for duty.

July 8 Arrival of reinforcing steel ended delay in construction of W.&.B. section. Had been held up for three weeks.

July 9, 1941 Two more students washed out as pilots.

July 10 A fire occurred outside heater room of Barrack No. 2. Apparently started from hot ashes removed from the jacket heater. Damage estimated at $10.00. Fire department did good work in immediately quenching it.

July 11 Landscaping of grounds about finished. The job now is to coax the grass to grow. Seeding was late, resulting in poor germination- - of pukka grass- -but loads of mustard.
Mr. Brickenden of Department of Health, Ottawa, visited the school. He complained of odor from sewage disposal plant being carried off in open ditch. Odor not exactly rose-perfumed, but no provision made in station plans for costly disposal field.

July 12, 1941 Station and interviewed a number of civilian employees with a view to their enlistment.

July 14 New course, No. 33, commenced instruction.

July 15 F/O Fisher to Neepawa to survey new school site. Pay parade held today.

July 16 Canteen staff reported canteen broken into during the night. Door jimmied. About 10 packages cigarettes and $12.60 cash stolen. Investigation in progress.

July 17 At last we have received a few more General Duties personnel, 14 of them. That brings us up to a strength of 89 G.D.s as against an establishment of 229. Some job stretching 14 new men to meet all the demands.

July 18 Canteen staff completely changed. Continual shortages reported; showing up particularly after month-end stocktaking. Clean sweep of canteen staff may be solution to the problem. Stocktaking carried out this morning, before new staff took over.

July 19 Weather C.A.V.U. Hotter ‘n Hell. F/L Huff from Command H.Q. checking on fire hazards. Remarked on shortage of regular fire crew, but can't do much about it with the huge shortage of General Duties personnel.

July 21, 1941 The hot devils are dancing on the hobs of hell again. Blistering heat with promise of later electric storm. Visibility unlimited. High wind sprang up-and a hot one, regular sirocco - about 1600 hours.

July 22 Weather partly cloudy. Visibility unlimited. At 0105 hours, during night flying exercises, Harvard 3019 had a forced landing. Pilot unhurt, aircraft damaged- -wings, centre section and flaps; undercarriage wiped off. Engine conked in taking off when aircraft about 30 feet off ground. Aircraft narrowly missed boundary marker poles at end of flightway, tore out fence pole, just cleared surface of No. 10 Highway; wheels torn off on lip of 10 foot ditch on west side of Highway. Aircraft skidded on its belly to a stop in a field 50 yards west of Highway, Cause fuel failure gasoline tap not turned to full "on" position. Ten civilian employees of W.&.B. section to Winnipeg for enlistment. Word received here they were being posted elsewhere instead of being returned here. These men have been employed against position on establishment since construction of station first started.

July 23 Flying Officer Fisher, W.&.B. officer, contacted C.W.O., Winnipeg, re confusion regarding enlistment and posting of W. & B, civilian personnel at this Unit.

July 14 Ten of Works and Buildings civilian staff enlisted and reported for duty,

July 27 Heavy rain during the night necessitated use of the fire engine to assist pumps at sewage disposal plant in handling heavy runoff.

July 28, 1941 T. Eaton representative visited the station and inspected linoleum laid in the various school buildings.

July 30 Relaying of linoleum in hospital completed by T. Eaton Co. Routine normal otherwise.

 July 31, 1941 Works & Buildings section moved into their new quarters. W.&.B. personnel busy picking up crashes for #7 B. & G. School as well as this Unit. Former apparently has no crane equipment. Maintenance section appears to have solved the problem of grabbing brake bands on Harvards.
"Finnegan is "off again" for the seventh time. "Finnegan" is the mythical trumpeter this Unit hopes to get sometime - and hopes to be able to keep him. This Unit is entitled to two trumpeters. Has only had one since station opened. D.A.P.S. was asked- -last March- -to post us a second. D.A.P.S. did so, but cancelled the posting next day. On six additional occasions the same procedure- -posting and immediate cancellation- - has happened. So, its "off again, on again, gone again, Finnegan". Trumpeters must be more precious than gold.

The image of Celia Brown was obtained from the Historica Canada web site. She was one  of the timekeepers at No. 10 Service Flying Training School in Dauphin Manitoba. To learn more about Celia and her World War II experience and hear her audio file, go to the Memory Project at: