Americans in the RCAF and RAF

Item set


Americans in the RCAF and RAF


A collection of documents, objects and photographs of Americans who enlisted in the RAF or RCAF during World War II.

American interest in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) was clear in 1940-1941 with the number of young recruits that came from the USA to join the RCAF. Although there were no restrictions on recruiting American citizens living in Canada the recruiting of American nationals in the USA to fight in foreign wars was a violation of the Neutrality Act.
Recruiting of Americans was achieved through the Clayton Knight Committee, a somewhat secret organization established by World War I fighter ace Air Marshal William Avery Bishop and his American friend Clayton Knight.
There were a number of opportunities for Americans with flying experience. If they wished to remain civilians they could work at elementary flying schools or as civilian staff pilots at training schools. If joining the air force they became flying instructors at service flying schools or staff pilots at bombing and gunnery schools. Those with airline experience were offered more lucrative positions with Royal Air Force Ferry Command (RAFFC) flying bombers across the Atlantic.
Under the auspices of the Dominion Aeronautical Association in 1941, American recruits continued to be sent to training schools as staff pilots as well as raw recruits for the RCAF, and as a recruiting agent for the RAF, sent overseas to fly with the Royal Air Force.




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