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Wings Over Claresholm: RCAF No. 15 Service Flying Training School in World War II

Stories from the WWII British Commonwealth Air Training Plan's Royal Canadian Air Force No. 15 Service Flying Training School, Claresholm, AB 1941 - 1945

How did a small town in Alberta make an impact the Second World War?

At the beginning of World War II, Allied military leaders recognized the need for extensive air support in battle. They needed this support to combat the rise in Axis powers across Europe and North Africa.

On December 17, 1939, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was created – a plan to prepare thousands of Allied aircrew from around the world to help in the fight for freedom.

In slightly over a year the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) reached awe-inspiring proportions. “The Plan” included multiple countries around the world and trained thousands of military personnel.

Canada joined Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia and South Africa in the Air Training Plan. It became the largest training program of its kind in history, and it remains so to this day.

Canada’s Role in the Plan

Canada offered Allied forces the perfect place to train. Moreover, Canada’s expansive terrain allowed troops to train under virtually all environmental conditions.

Canada was also far from the danger of enemy guns and surveillance. That’s where towns like Claresholm, and so many others across the country, come into this compelling story of human ingenuity and collaboration on a massive, global scale.

Claresholm became one of 41 Service Flying Training Schools in Canada. This small farming community close to the Rocky Mountains became the place where servicemen completed their pilot training, graduated, and earned their coveted “wings.”

Discover the impact “The Plan” had on this rural Alberta town and learn how this incredible initiative helped change the course of WWII through the stories, photographs and videos in the Wings Over Claresholm Virtual Exhibit.

Start reading the story

Writers: Virginia Wishart, Arnold McAulay, Shadowlight Productions
Research: Shadowlight Productions, Ken Favrholdt
Editor: Virginia Wishart
French: Jean-François Schell
Videographer: Shadowlight Productions
Website: Virginia Wishart