Information of trainees in Banff please

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by 41SqnWRAF, May 31, 2011.

  1. 41SqnWRAF

    41SqnWRAF Junior Member

    Hello.

    I am trying to find out some information about two of my great uncles, my grandad's brother and my grandma's brother.

    All I know is their names, rough age and that they trained out in Banff, Alberta as pilots. I think they, or at least one of them, ended up flying Spitfire and he sadly did not survive being shot down in the war.

    I just wondered if anyone has or knows where to find information about what squadron they flew with, where they were based after training etc and where their graves may be. My grandma thinks her brother-in-law may have a grave in Northern France, is this possible?

    I am thinking of getting in touch with BBMF at RAF Coningsby, Lincs to see if they hold any information about my uncles.

    Thank you in advance for your time.
     
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    welcome to the forum

    if you could post names or any other info you have it will help forum members to assist you.
     
  3. 41SqnWRAF

    41SqnWRAF Junior Member

    Their names:
    Sgt Norman Yates. He trained in Banff, he was on LAC in training.
    And I think
    Hugh Mitchell. Definitely correct surname.

    They would both be around 89-90 years old now if they were still alive.

    I think they would have both been from around Stockport/ manchester area.

    Hope these details help.

    Thank you
     
  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    WRAF -
    I very much doubt that there were many flying lessons held at Banff in Alberta as the town is surrounded by many very high mountains - more likely they MIGHT have held classroom lectures there in the School of Fine Arts - if it was in extistence in those days. OR the odd week-end there as it is a beautiful area !

    Flying lessons would have been held in the Southern sections of Alberta - Saskatchewan and Manitoba - also known as the Prairies - with not one high hill to bump into - which was the main reason for having flying schools there.

    The only flying School in B.C. was at Victoria -Patricia Bay at sea level as the whole of B.C. is mountainous and as I type this I look out to Mount Cheam which is 7500 ft high in the Cascade range with a nominal height of 6000 Ft or nearly twice that of your Ben Nevis and Snowden.....
     
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    a few names below to start with


    Flight Sergeant NORMAN YATES

    1530599, 254 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    who died
    on 28 January 1944

    Remembered with honour
    HAMBURG CEMETERY
    CWGC :: Certificate

    Sergeant HUGH MITCHELL

    525420, 214 Sqdn., Royal Air Force
    who died age 25
    on 01 April 1942
    Son of James and Mary A. Mitchell, of Carnlough, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
    Remembered with honour
    MIDDELKERKE COMMUNAL CEMETERY
    CWGC :: Certificate

    for service records see link below
    service records raf
     
  6. 41SqnWRAF

    41SqnWRAF Junior Member

    Ok. Thank you for that info.

    The reason I say Banff is because I have just come back from honeymoon in banff and now come across photos of Norman when he was training in canada and a lot of photos were in Banff, some in Calgary and plenty more if the aircraft he flew. They were all in uniform, but I suppose that was normal at the time.
    There was a bi-plane. A two seater aircraft, sat side by side. This was all with him as an LAC (I guess the ranks are the same as current, 2 props) then final photos of him as a sgt on a train asleep.
    Thank you
     
  7. 41SqnWRAF

    41SqnWRAF Junior Member

    Wow! CL1. That looks great.
    I will have to check with my mum about my grandmas parents, but that looks quite promising.
    Thank you so much
     
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Wraf -
    Since you have just returned from Banff you will then appreciate the difficulties in learning to fly anywhere near that area - The International Airport of Calgary while still at a height of 3500 ft is actually in the Foothills of the Rocky mountains and the ground lowers from there to Claresholm - Taber - High River - Brooks and Lethbridge and the rest of the Prairies to the East where much of your wheat grows.
    Cheers
    where much flying lessons were undertaken
     
  9. 41SqnWRAF

    41SqnWRAF Junior Member

    Tom,
    Appologies for not knowing the full details about a relative I only found out existed 2 days ago and died around 50 years before I was born.
    I can only go off the little I've been told and the few annotated photos I found on Sunday.
    Yes, I understand that flying around the Rockies will not be an easy ride, I just thought I'd start my research with the only definite facts I know.
    Thank you for your information.
     
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    wraf-
    no need of apologies as you can only go with what you have - this is understandable - all I am trying to say here is that Banff is not the place where flying lessons could take place but rather more to the South of Calgary - so it might be a false track and time and effort might be better spent in looking at say - Brooks where much training was done with week-end passes spent in Calgary or Banff even Lake Louise which I am sure you visited to have lunch in the Poppy Room
    Cheers
     
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Given what Tom has said,I would say that the BCATP airfield was RAF De Winton which is a short distance, south of Calgary.

    De Winton was No 31 EFTS (Elementary Flying Training School) and was the first RAF flying training school to open but its students had to wait until De Winton was opened in June 1941.Until then they were fed and watered at RCAF Calgary No 37 SFTS Service (Flying Training School ) which was also under construction but had accomodation available.

    The other RAF flying training schools were RAF Bowden, No 32 EFTS and RAF Penhold, No 36 SFTS which were well north of Calgary.May be too great a distance to socialise in Calgary.Still it is possible that students would spend organised social time in Calgary.

    Regarding rank.The rank of LAC was allocated to Pilot students who had been selected for flying training in this role.The rank of LAC was allocated after the students had satisfactorily passed their intial training in the UK.Pilots after passing out with their wings, were allocated the rank of Temporary Sergeant.

    Can you post the photograph of the aircraft referenced?.

    Service records would reveal the unit postings to and fro.

    An added point.Determination of a pilot's future on graduating,whether he was destined to be a fighter pilot or bomber pilot,was determined by his flying instructor based on the pilot's overall flying suitability and capability.No doubt, those destined to fly transport aircraft would be selected from those not selected as fighter pilots.Next stop, usually, was the OTU back in the UK for B.C pilots.

    Per Astra Ad Astra.
     
  12. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Harry -
    exactly my point as the two schools at Bowden and Penfold are closer to Edmonton- which is surrounded by very flat wheatfields- and oil pumps at Leduc - all the way to Fort St. John and can be disconcerting as driving from Calgary to Edmonton some 200 miles is faster than driving from Edmonton to Calgary - simple reason - Calgary is at 3500ft whereas Edmonton is down at 1600ft - and the Rockies veer away towards Jasper - thus I would have to suggest to WRAF that she should concentrate on those stations to the South of Calgary, inasmuch as he was spending his free time in both Calgary and Banff.
    Cheers
     
  13. 41SqnWRAF

    41SqnWRAF Junior Member

    Thank you everyone.
    You've given me so much information to work with.
    I will have to look in to getting the photos on here. Next time I'm over the NW visiting my family I'll take some photos or get my mum/dad to email someto me.
    Thank you again :D
     
  14. 41SqnWRAF

    41SqnWRAF Junior Member

    Hi.
    Just a bit of an update.
    It looks like you're right Harry, I think he was at 31 EFTS as there are references to the sqn and to De Winton. Was this for fighter training then? or bombers?
    I think me and my mum will be taking a trip to Kew to have a look through the records. We think we may have his service number now either 1530599 or the 3 as an 8.
    When I get the chance I will post the photos of my uncle on here for you to have a look at.
    It will be a month or so, once my husband is home.
    Thank you again for all your help and time. It means a lot that you can help me find out about my family. Glad you are all so knowledgable :)
     
  15. martin14

    martin14 Senior Member

    Hi.
    Just a bit of an update.
    It looks like you're right Harry, I think he was at 31 EFTS as there are references to the sqn and to De Winton. Was this for fighter training then? or bombers?
    I think me and my mum will be taking a trip to Kew to have a look through the records. We think we may have his service number now either 1530599 or the 3 as an 8.
    When I get the chance I will post the photos of my uncle on here for you to have a look at.
    It will be a month or so, once my husband is home.
    Thank you again for all your help and time. It means a lot that you can help me find out about my family. Glad you are all so knowledgable :)


    An Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) gave a recruit 50 hours of basic aviation instruction on a simple trainer like the Moth or Finch. Pilots who showed promise went on to advanced training at a Service Flying Training School. Others went on to different specialties, such as wireless, navigation or bombing and gunnery.

    but SFTS would also train both single engine and multi engine pilots,
    so it may have been too early in the training for that separation.

    Any idea of other schools he may have gone to ?

    List of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan facilities in Canada - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  16. Roxy

    Roxy Senior Member

  17. Roxy

    Roxy Senior Member

  18. 41SqnWRAF

    41SqnWRAF Junior Member

    And 214 Sqn:

    No. 214 (FMS) Squadron RAF - Home

    Roxy

    Thanks Roxy. Unfortunately, the Hugh Mitchell at 214sqn couldn't be my G.uncle as he was not killed in action. That is strange that there was two Hugh Mitchell's around the same age that fought in the war.

    My other G.uncle on 254sqn is a great find though. I'm going to keep trying to find out the rest of his postings as there could possibly be something in between 31 efts in canada and getting to 254sqn in UK.

    Also, can't find Norman Yates's death anywhere, I was told he was shot down but cannot find any record of this.

    Thanks again for info
     
  19. sparkles

    sparkles Junior Member

    I saw that you were able to help someone regarding training in Banff during WW2. My father Ronald Desmond Seacombe was there at this time, and would really appreciate any help in finding out more.

    I did get his service records (mislaid) which show he was not very active in the war, so I wonder why he was out in Calgary if he was a pen pusher?

    Thanks for any help - his date of birth was 1916
     
  20. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Sparkles
    It was not only active trainees who went out to Canada to learn to fly but "pen pushers" also - to keep the records and others to keep up their discipline as opposed to Canadian forces having to do it..
    Cheers
     

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