This article from the Moose Jaw Times Herald dated January 15, 1941, is significant for two reasons. It is the first ‘official’ reference to the aircrew training program as the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). Previous articles referred to the program by several names but now it was officially noted as the BCATP. The boys received their ‘wings’ but training continued – usually at Operational Training Units (OTU) overseas, with some OTU flights participating in actual raids.
The second significant fact is the incredible casualty rate. Of the Saskatchewan boys listed in this graduation article, 50% died.
Here is the article:
Moose Jaw Times Herald
Wednesday, January 15, 1941
Fliers Get Wings at Camp Borden
Camp Borden, Ontario January 15, 1941 – (CP) – Another group of fliers, trained under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, are ready to take their places beside Canadian pilots fighting in the front line of the battle of Britain.
Members of class Number 7 in the training plan, they received their wings here last night. Most were leading aircraftsmen, one of whom, Bradley Smith of Yonkers, New York, was formerly a commercial pilot flying out of La Guardia Field, New York.
Among those receiving wings were: Robert McHarvey Taylor, Calgary; John Hutton Stevenson, Calgary; Robert Douglas Bowen, Edmonton; Jack Arthur Amos, Prince Albert; Gordon Williard Thompson, Vancouver; Ronald Harold Gridey, Scollard, Alberta; John Felix McGrath, North Battleford, Saskatchewan.
Alvin Wilbert Reimer, Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan; Robert Harold Boettger, Saskatoon; Frederick Edsall Clarke, Calgary; Herbert Peter Peters, Edmonton; Weir Clayton Klassen, Lilac, Saskatchewan’ Dlifford Leonard Horncastle, Edmonton; George Charles Henry Jackson, Edmonton; Patrick Maurice Michael Maloney, Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan; Guy Alexander Chestnut, Moosominn, Saskatchewan; Earl Wallace Mason, Elrose, Saskatchewan.
Lloyd Woodward Powell, Edmonton; Arthur Henson Somers, Yorkton, Saskatchewan; Gordon Charles Waldners, Ponoka, Alberta; Bruce Franklin Whitson, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.
Stanley Lewis Thompson, Davidson, Saskatchewan; Kenneth Nixon Laing, Weyburn, Saskatchewan and Harry Vernon Boyle, Saskatoon
Jack Arthur Amos, Prince Albert
John Felix McGrath, North Battleford, Saskatchewan – KIA 19420721
Alvin Wilbert Reimer, Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan – DoW 19420112 (Died of Wounds)
Robert Harold Boettger, Saskatoon
Weir Clayton Klassen, Lilac, Saskatchewan’
Patrick Maurice Michael Maloney, Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan
Guy Alexander Chestnut, Moosominn, Saskatchewan – KIA 19410611
Earl Wallace Mason, Elrose, Saskatchewan – KIFA 19410915 (Killed in Flying Accident
Arthur Henson Somers, Yorkton, Saskatchewan
Stanley Lewis Thompson, Davidson, Saskatchewan – KIA 19411027
Kenneth Nixon Laing, Weyburn, Saskatchewan
Harry Verey Boyle, Saskatoon KIA 19440817
Total Saskatchewan airmen = 12
Total Saskatchewan airmen who died = 6
Rate = 50%
submitted by Richard Dowson of Moose Jaw