EMPIRE AIR TRAINING SCHEME (EATS)
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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Due to a shortage of pilots, observers, wireless operators and gunners, the Dominions of the Commonwealth agreed to establish a co-ordinate scheme to train 28,000 air crew each year to help England fight the war in Europe. It was known as the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS). The Dominions would supply the trained aircrew and the mother country would provide the aircraft.

Minister for Air, J.V. Fairbairn and Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, Wing Commander George Jones attended a meeting in Ottawa, Canada in 1939 to finalise the arrangements for the Empire Air Training Scheme. Fifty flying schools were established. Each of the Dominions would carry out their own Elementary Flying Training and the advanced Service Training would be mostly conducted in Canada due to its proximity to British aircraft factories and the war in Europe. The Dominions would generally have first choice of their graduates but the great majority were expected to fight in Europe for the Royal Air Force.

Australia signed two agreements on 17 December 1939, one with the UK regarding carrying out training in Australia and the second was between, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK regarding training in Canada. The two agreements were set to expire on 31 March 1943, but were both renegotiated and extended.

Under the scheme, the UK was to recruit and train four-ninths of the RAF's annual aircrew requirements. The remaining five-ninths was to be apportioned across the Dominions as follows:-

The Royal Australian Air Force trained 27,899 men through the Empire Air Training Scheme. Prior to the scheme the RAAF had trained about 50 pilots per year. Seven-ninths of the RAAF's intake were trained in Australia (all Elementary and some Advanced) with the remaining two-ninths trained in Canada (Advanced). The RAAF had to provide airfields, aircraft, instructors etc to allow this all to happen. 


From Ian Jenkins

An embroidery depicting a RAAF aircrew recruiting poster
from WW2, clearly refers to the Empire Air Training Scheme
and the recruitment of
aircrew trainees.

Schools established included:-

Some of the EATS Units are as follows:-

Queensland

12 EFTS Bundaberg
8 SFTS Bundaberg
3 WAGS Maryborough
3 ITS Sandgate
 3 SFTS Amberley
2 EFTS Archerfield

 

New South Wales

1 BAGS Evans Head
6 EFTS Tamworth
5 EFTS Narromine
1 ANS Parkes
2 WAGS Parkes
CFS Camden
2 ITS Bradfield Park
4 EFTS Mascot
1 AOS Cootamundra
2 SFTS Wagga
5 SFTS Uranquinty
8 EFTS Narrandera
10 EFTS Temora
7 SFTS Deniliquin

 

Victoria

11 EFTS Benalla
2 ANS  Nhill
1 OTU Nhill
1 WAGS Ballarat
2 AOS Mt. Gambier
GRS Laverton
3 EFTS Essendon
1 SFTS Point Cook
1 ITS Somers

 

Tasmania

7 EFTS Western Junction

 

South Australia

2 Bags Port Pirie
6 SFTS Mallala
1 EFTS Parafield
4 ITS Victor Harbour

 

Western Australia

5 ITS Pearce
9 EFTS Cunderdin
4 SFTS Geraldton

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Ian Jenkins for his assistance with this home page.

 

REFERENCE BOOK

"The Royal Australian Air Force"
by Alan Stephens

 

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Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2003

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