hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:39:13 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 The information on this web page may be out of date.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
Wings Over Alberta

Home>> Canada's Air War >> The Plan>> Impact


Dennis Wagner, Royal Canadian Air Force, RetiredWinston Churchill once described the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) as "one of the major factors, and possibly the decisive factor in the war". It is difficult to gauge the impact of the BCATP on the events of World War II, however, and the eventual Allied victory. Almost half of all Commonwealth air crew spent part of their training in the BCATP; the Plan graduated a total of 131,553 aircrew over the course of the war. One third of the sorties conducted by the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command, which helped loosen Hitler’s grip on Europe, were conducted by those trained through the BCATP. Other graduates protected the lifeline over the Atlantic, which sustained Britain throughout the war. The Plan undoubtedly contributed in countless ways to the war effort. Many died for it; over 17,000 aircrew from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) alone were killed, and almost 900 recruits died during training.

Former No. 19 Service FlyingTraining School and No. 2 Flying Instructor SchoolRoyal Canadian Air Force Station, Fort Macleod, AlbertaWhile many of the training sites were quickly abandoned and forgotten, or put to other, non-military uses, the BCATP nevertheless had lasting influence in Canada. The Plan served to strengthen Canada’s status as a sovereign nation. It was a responsibility of an unprecedented level, requiring a great organizational and logistical capacity, and costing over $2.2 billion, with Canada’s share accounting for 72 percent of the cost. It allowed for the development of a stronger, permanent, national Royal Canadian Air Force.

Back Top

The Alberta Online EncyclopediaHeritage Community FoundationCanada's Digital CollectionsRoyal 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