hide You are viewing an archived web page collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:05:45 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia




Aerodrome: An airfield or airport.

Aldis lamp: A device used to transmit Morse code between airplanes or between the airplane and the ground, as radio transmission technology did not yet exist.

Allies: Led by Britain (and the Commonwealth countries), U.S.S.R., U.S.A., Allies were the countries that fought against Germany, Italy and Japan during World War II.

Air Observer School: An Air Observer School was where navigators received the bulk of their training. Air bombers also attended AOS, but for a shorter period.

AOS: An Air Observer School.

Axis: Composed principally of Germany, Italy and Japan, the Axis fought against the Allies during World War II.


B&GS: Bombing and Gunnery School.

Bombing and Gunnery School: A school that existed in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan to train men to become air bombers or air gunners, it included air firing practice.

BCATP: British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

Brylcreme: Hair care product used to slick back hair, making it look shiny.


Canadian liquor laws: one of the primary obstacles facing new recruits were these funny laws, which included: sexually segregated drinking areas; a drinking age of 21; a ban on drinking while standing up; strict liquor rations; those purchasing liquor had to go straight from their point of purchase to wherever they were drinking, without detour.

Catalina: called ‘flying boats’ these were used in anti-submarine operations.

Civilian: A person who is not employed by the military.

Coastal Command: British command whose job it was to protect Eastern Atlantic waters; composed of groups from the Royal Navy in conjunction with groups from the Royal Air Force (some of which contained Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons).


Dakota: American designed and built, the Dakota, strong and stable, was perfectly suited for transport operations; it was, however, slow and had poor defences.

Dieppe Raid: An experimental amphibious assault on the coast of France undertaken by the Allies after pressure from Stalin to open a second front in 1942. Six thousand troops landed at Dieppe, including 5,000 Canadians. There were 4,000 casualties.


EFTS: Elementary Flying Training School.

Elementary Flying Training School: A school designed for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan to give future pilots rudimentary flying training.


Flak/Flack: Anti-aircraft fire.

FIS: Flying Instructors School.

Flying Instructors School: A British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) school that trained pilots on how to instruct other pilots. This was to ensure enough instructors were available to perpetuate the BCATP. Also known as the "Western University for the Air".


Going Solo: An air crew trainee had to go solo by the 12th hour of elementary flying or he would be ‘washed out’, would have to stop pilot training and remuster within a different trade.

Ground School: As opposed to air crew training schools; after Manning Depot, recruits went either here or to air training school; here they learned trades, such as mechanics, in order to keep aircraft and air fields operational.


Incendiary Balloons: Sent by the Japanese in late 1944 to early 1945, they were meant to create forest fires; it being winter, and thus a terrible time to start forest fires, the campaign failed and was abandoned.

Instrument Flying: A flying technique in which the pilot depends solely on instruments within the aircraft in order to navigate.

Initial Training School: A British Commonwealth Air Training Plan school that existed to determine which aircrew designation would be best suited to each recruit, while providing an introduction to Royal Canadian Air Force life.

ITS: Initial Training School.


Kapok: Silky material used to make items like life preservers.


Lieutenant General William Slim: Commander of the Fourteenth Army, which drove the Japanese back through Burma. He revolutionized the campaign in Burma by the way in which he supplied the army by air.

Lobbying: An attempt to influence legislators' decisions.

Luftwaffe: The Luftwaffe is Germany’s Air Force and was formed in 1935.


Mae West: an inflatable life jacket in the form of a collar extending down the chest; named after an actress known for her full figure.

Manning Depot: A British Commonwealth Air Training Plan institution designed to introduce men to Royal Canadian Air Force training procedures while they wait for room in Initial Training School.

MD: Manning Depot.

Me 109, Me 110: types of Messerschmitt aircraft, German fighter planes.


Night Flying: Learning to fly in low visibility conditions amongst the enemy.


Operational Training Unit: The step in British Commonwealth Air Training Plan that allowed airmen to train in an operational environment to prepare them for war. There were seven Operational Training Units in Canada during the BCATP. Located in the Eastern and Western Air Commands, airmen would be posted to an OTU to gain experience on operation before being posted to a battle squadron. Occasionally required to fly operational patrols, Canadian OTU's were held as less important than those located in Great Britain, where most BCATP graduates received their operational training.

OTU: Operational Training Unit.


Political Patronage: The practice of granting favours in exchange for political support.


Remuster: When a trainee or a serviceperson changed category or trade. Trainees could be forced to remuster if, for instance, they failed to fly solo after 12 hours of flying time. Or, they could request to remuster—many groundcrew, for example, asked to remuster to aircrew positions.


Service Flying Training School: A British Commonwealth Air Training Plan school designed to further a pilot's training, including advanced flying techniques such as night and instrument flying.

Serviceability: The capability to serve. This was a critical factor in the air war, as lower serviceability rates indicated fewer available aircraft; keeping serviceability high was a key role of air force ground crew.

Squadron: The basic military aviation unit; several squadrons could be put together to form a ‘wing’; and many more squadrons put together could form a ‘group’.

SFTS: Service Flying Training School.


Topographical Maps: A map that details the surface features of its area covered.


U-boats: German submarines which terrorized convoys in the Atlantic going between Britain and North America.


Wag: Wireless Air Gunner.

Wireless School: A British Commonwealth Air Training Plan school designed to train men to become adept at all things concerning radio communications, both in the air and on the ground.

Wolfpack: Refers to a tactic in which teams of U-boats attacked convoys, rather than single U-boats. Introduced in order to overcome the limited speeds and maneuverability the U-boats could achieve while underwater.

WS: Wireless School.

Back Top


The Alberta Online Encyclopedia Heritage Community Foundation Canada's Digital Collections Royal Canadian Air Force

Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on Alberta’s contribution to World War II, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved