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Homefront

The word Homefront here does not mean your frontyard at home. During World War II Canada was considered a Homefront. Many soldiers from all over the world came here to train before being sent to the Front, which was in Europe. Divisions that trained in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) during World War II consisted of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division (RCAFWD), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). Recruits from American or from occupied Europe also trained as part of the Plan.
The training program was difficult. Trainees learned a number of skills including photography, navigation, bombing, reconnaissance (information gathering) and meteorology (weather patterns). Recruits to the RCAF Women’s Division learned nursing, parachute packing, and aero engine maintenance. Flight training itself included maneuvers like taking off, turning and landing, but quickly moved on to aerobatics (tricks), including dives, rollovers and spins. Many would-be pilots found this to be a dangerous experience—injury and death from crashes happened regularly.
Although most recruits dreamed of becoming pilots, most would be trained in other jobs becoming observers, wireless operators, air gunners, navigators, bomb aimers and flight engineers.
While training was difficult, life wasn’t all about work. In their free time, the airmen and women discovered much that Alberta had to offer, including local hospitality.

Pearce Station

Pearce Station