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Wings Over Alberta


Douglas Warren 
on the BCATP

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Douglas Warren on the British Commonwealth 
Air Training Plan (BCATP)

Douglas "Duke" WarrenAlthough many aircrew trainees were shifted between provinces during training, my twin Bruce and I completed all of ours in Alberta. Namely, RCAF No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) High River, RCAF No. 3 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) Calgary for a brief period of twin engine service flying and RAF No. 34 SFTS Medicine Hat for single engine service flying and where we were awarded the coveted "Wings."

The success of the BCATP in Alberta, and Canada overall, was largely due to the dedication of the instructors, all ground support staff, ground crews, both service and civilian. In addition, thanks also to the many citizens who supported the war effort, although were not directly involved with the Plan.

The hospitality of Albertans was well known before the war and this hospitality carried on during hostilities. The reception of those airmen taking training in Alberta was such that the time spent in Alberta was never forgotten. Over the years, I have met many men whose eyes light up at the mention of Alberta, and they all have a tale to tell of the friendly wonderful Albertans. One Cockney kept us in stitches laughing about his adventures at a friendly farm near Medicine Hat. The tale ended with the words, "And that was the only time in my life I have ever been on a 'orse!'"

This work concerning the BCATP activity in Alberta is important and recommended reading for every one. However, it is especially important for the young Albertans growing up, in order that they learn of the dramatic history of Alberta during WWII. The training of aircrew of many nations, as well as Canadians in our country, was without a doubt a very major contribution to the defeat of the enemy.

My identical twin, Bruce, and I were fortunate to fly on fighter operations together, and very lucky to have completed and survived two tours of operations. We were the only twins in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to do this. I like to think part of the reason was our upbringing as Alberta farm boys, and the fine training we received by the dedicated instructors and support staff serving in Alberta.

We, along with countless other airmen, give thanks for our training and treatment received in Alberta.

Douglas (Duke) Warren DFC
Wing Commander (Retired)
Royal Canadian Air Force 1941-1965
Canadian Forces 1965–1973
Reserve 1973–1983

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