Two photographs showing officers and trainees assembled on the parade ground at the RCAF No. 1 Technical Training School, St. Thomas, ca. 1940. Several structures on the site, originally constructed in 1938-1939 for use as the St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital, are visible in the background, including the water tower.
The Canadian government decided on a site west of Fingal in Southwold Township to establish the No. 4 Bombing & Gunnery School for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Eventually, No. 4 B&GS consisted of the main station at Fingal; bombing ranges at Dutton, Melbourne, Frome and Tempo; a Marine Section at Port Stanley; and bombing and gunnery ranges on Lake Erie. No. 4 B&GS operated from November 25, 1940 to February 17, 1945, during which time over 6,000 non-pilot aircrew members, from many countries in the British Empire, graduated from the School.
Barracks were also constructed for the purposes of a German Prisoner of War camp which operated from November 1944 until November 1946.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of "The Fingal Observer" and "The Royal Canadian Air Force Observer" which were monthly newspapers (news bulletins) put out by the Fingal Bombing and Gunnery School during the Second World War, as well as four publications likely used as reference tools. A facsimile of a postmark from the P.O.W. camp and related notes is also included in the fonds.
File 1: "The Fingal Observer"- Vol.1, No. 1- February 15, 1941
File 2: "The Fingal Observer"- Vol.1, No. 2- March 15, 1941
File 3: "The Fingal Observer"- No.3 - April 15, 1941 (original and photocopy)
File 4: "The Fingal Observer"- Vol.1, No.5- June 15, 1941
File 5: "The Fingal Observer"- Vol.1, No.6- July 15, 1941
File 6: "The Fingal Observer"- Vol.1, No.7- August 15, 1941
File 7: "The Fingal Observer"- Vol.1, No.7- September 15, 1941
File 8: "The Fingal Observer"- No. 9- October 15, 1941 (p. 3-4 missing)- Acc. 99-11
File 9: "The Fingal Observer"- No.10- November 15, 1941.
File 10: "The Fingal Observer"- No.11- December 15, 1941.
File 11: "The Fingal Observer"- No.12- January 15, 1942.
File 12: "The Fingal Observer"- No.13- February 15, 1942.
File 13: "The Fingal Observer"- No.14- March 15, 1942.
File 14: "The Fingal Observer"- No.15- April 15, 1942.
File 15: "The Fingal Observer" - No. 16- May 15, 1942.
File 16: "The Fingal Observer"- No.17- June 15, 1942.
File 17: "The Royal Canadian Air Force Observer"- Vol.2, No.18- July 1942.
File 18: "The Royal Canadian Air Force Observer"- Vol.2, No.19- August 1942.
File 19: "The Royal Canadian Air Force Observer"- Vol.3., No.20- September 1942 (2 copies.)
File 20: "The Royal Canadian Air Force Observer"- Vol.2, No.21- October 1942.
File 21: "The Fingal Observer"- Vol.3, No.25- April 1943.
File 22: "The Fingal Observer"- Vol.3, No.26- May 1943 (2 copies.)
File 23: "The Fingal Observer"- Vol.3, No.27- June 1943 (2 copies.)
File 24: "Fingal Observer" - July 1943.
File 25: "Fingal Observer"- August 1943.
File 26: "Fingal Observer"- October 1943.
File 27: "Fingal Observer"- November 1943 (2 copies).
The only facility of its kind in Ontario during the Second World War, No. 1 Technical Training School, St. Thomas was established by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1939 to produce skilled ground crews for active wartime service. The Ontario Department of Health granted the RCAF permission to use the recently-built Ontario Psychiatric Hospital for wartime purposes. It was operated in compliance with Canada's commitment to establish air training facilities in sites removed from the theatre of war. Equipped to handle more than 2000 students at a time, the school offered six month course for aircraft electricians and aero-engine, airframe and instrument mechanics in addition to specialized training for fabric and sheet metal workers. When the war ended in 1945 the school was closed and the complex was returned to the Ontario Department of Health. (Source: Ontario Heritage Foundation Historical Plaque).
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of editions of "The Aircraftman", a monthly publication produced for the school, including the following editions: August, September, October, November and December 1940, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, August,October and December 1941; January, September and December 1942; February (2 copies); March, April, and December 1943; and June and December 1944.
Fonds also consists of a publication entitled "St. Thomas Gets Its Wings" produced in April 1941 by the St. Thomas Times-Journal. This publication profiles the area and the importance of the school.
Fonds furthermore consists of an undated edition of "The Intava World" magazine with contemporary profiles of airplanes and equipment published in England, and a photographic overview of the school and residence simply entitled "Royal Canadian Air Force, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada" which is undated but was likely produced shortly after the school's opening.
Fonds contains a collection of photographs collected by Iris Vincent (nee Moyes), who compiled the images into a photograph album during her time working at the training school as a secretary. Includes photographs of individuals who worked at or attended the school, as well as photographs of events.
Fonds contains medical records of RCAF personnel stationed at the Technical Training School during the Second World War. Records were created, collected and maintained by Dr. Joseph Mowat Janes. Arranged alphabetically. Access to these files is restricted due to privacy legislation.
booklet inside envelope- "RCAF Technical Training School"- photos of daily life for the airmen at the school.
programme: "Airmen's Christmas and New Year's Dinners: 1943-1944".
booklet: "Nominal Roll, 91st Overseas Battalion. The Great War, 1914-1918".
programme: "Graduation Ceremony and Presentation of Wings to Air Bombers and Air Navigators of No.4 Air Observer School, RCAF. By Wing Commander W.R. Kingsland- April 21, 1944". (R6_S5_Sh2_B3_F10a.pdf)