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.
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).
Fonds contains notebooks and textbooks used by Earl A. Rawlins during his time at the RCAF Technical Training School in St. Thomas, Ontario, circa 1939-1945. The notebooks contain handwritten notes and diagrams.
John Emerson Meyer was born in Zurich, Ontario, ca. 1919, the son of Frederic (or Frederick) Bower (or Bauer) Meyer, an Evangelical minister, and his wife Alice Hooey Meyer. The Meyer family subsequently relocated to New Hamburg, Ontario, where they were living when John married Margaret Eva Pletch of Sebringville, Ontario, July 5, 1941. John Emerson Meyer joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 and attained the rank of Flight Sergeant, serving as a member of R.A.F. Squadron 76, stationed in England. On June 25, 1942, Meyer and his entire crew were shot down and killed during a bombing raid on Bremen, Germany. No trace of their remains or their aircraft was ever found. Meyer is memorialized at the Second World War Memorial in Runnymede, England. Meyer was posthumously awarded the Memorial Cross GRVI (also known as the Silver Cross) along with several other military service medals. Margaret Pletch Meyer was born near Sebringville, Ontario on September 7, 1917. She worked as a high school teacher in New Hamburg, Ontario. In August, 1944, she married George Hosie, the Principal at her school. Margaret Pletch Meyer Hosie died in London, Ontario on her 88th birthday, September 7, 2005.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of various records relating to John Emerson Meyer, killed on active duty as a bomber pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, June 1942, including photographs, correspondence and his R.C.A.F. pilot's flying log book.
The Dutton/Dunwich branch of the Canadian Red Cross was formed on October 27, 1939 as the community mobilized for the Second World War. The organizational meeting was sponsored by the Dutton’s Women’s Institute. The first president was Bill Hollingshead and the first campaign manager, R.E. Fraser. Mrs. Hilda Crawford was in charge of the workroom committee and remained in this position until the committee was disbanded in 1960. During the war years approximately $4,000.00 was raised per year to cover such items as socks, sweaters, blankets, pyjamas, hospital gowns, pneumonia jackets and quilts. In 1943 blood drives began under the auspices of the Independent Order of Oddfellows and continued until after the war, when they were disbanded. They started up again in 1960 and were conducted at various locations through the community annually. The Red Cross Room on Main Street had wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and canes for loan for short periods of time. This branch supports the Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety programs, held in summer at the local pool. The Bobier Convalescent Home has two Red Cross volunteers who spread cheer weekly. The Emergency Services Committee helped out those in the community who had been victims of fire.The Red Cross has been at work in this community, helping to aleve human suffering whenever and wherever they can for many years.
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of the administrative records of the Dutton and Dunwich Branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society, and are divided into the following series:
-Minutes, 1939-1946; 1982-1986
-Financial records, 1941-1968
-Miscellaneous records, ca. 1970-ca. 2000
This fonds would be of interest to researchers studying the origin and development of the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross Dutton/Dunwich Branch in particular, the lives of Second World War Servicemen and service organizations in Canada and Ontario in general.
McNeill Funeral Service was established by John A. McNeill in Dutton, Ontario in 1922. The business was located at 193 Shackleton Street and provided funeral and ambulance services to Dutton and surrounding area, including Southwold, Dunwich and Aldborough Townships. Mr. McNeill passed away in 1952. The business subsequently became the Arn Funeral Home.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of four volumes of funeral ledgers from 1931 to 1947. Entries include information on residence, age of death, marital status, maiden name (if applicable), birth place, parents, cause of death and burial details. On occassion, invoices or notes are attached depending upon the services provided. Entries are in chronological order with an alphabetical index at the beginning of each ledger.
Fonds also consists of seven photographs of Mr. McNeill, the funeral home and vehicles. Two photographs depict a ceremony for the "Unknown Airman" at Fairview Cemetery in Dunwich Township. This was a funeral and memorial service conducted for the body of an unidentified airman who perished while training at Fingal. He was never identified. A complete description of the ceremony and circumstances can be obtained in the August 26th, 1943 edition of the Dutton Advance.
Fonds furthermore consists of the publication "A Tribute to Valour" published in December, 1945 at Dutton. As the dedication states: "The Citizens of the Township of Dunwich and the Village of Dutton present this Book as a Tribute to the Valour of their Sons and Daughters who served in World War II, 1939-1945." The publication provides biographies of those who served or died during the war.