R.C.A.F. Training Course, October 11, 1940. Scott Studio fonds, TTS-2/173
At the beginning of the war, the R.C.A.F. had fewer than 1500 fully trained tradesmen and facilities were needed to train the large numbers of recruits. The No.1 Technical Training School in St. Thomas, Ontario was established in 1939 and was the only facility of its kind in Ontario during the war. It became the main source of ground crew, some fifty thousand in all, who were trained for active wartime service. A large proportion of these trained crews were sent to work at other British Commonwealth Air Training Plan fields.
The No. 1 Technical Training School was located at the Ontario Psychiatric Hospital complex in St. Thomas and was equipped to handle more than 2000 students at a time. They offered six-month courses for aircraft electricians and aero-engineers, airframe and instrument mechanics and specialized training for fabric and sheet metal workers. When the war ended in 1945 the school was closed and the complex returned to the Ontario Department of Health.
Click on the images below to view photos of life at the No.1 Technical Training School. As you will see, there were ways for the recruits to occupy themselves away from the classroom including a tug-of-war team and boxing club. The “Aircraftman” was a monthly publication produced for the school.