The Australian government had joined with other countries of the Dominon to contribute to the training of aircrew for the RAF. The Canadian government called it the British Commonweath Air Training Plan. The Australian version was named the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS).
EATS, provided the basic training and the future airmen would complete their advanced training in Canada. The information available on the EATS training plan is confusing and often contradictory. The date of when the final contingent was sent to Canada
is normally stated as when the war in the Pacific began. This may have been after December 7th or some time close to that date.
Also what exactly "basic" training included is not clearly laid out. What could be considered basic is the "boot camp" phase known in Canada as a Manning Depot.
I would assume that the recruits being sent to Canada had been already screened for which aircrew Trade they were suitable for, prior to leaving for Canada.
The date of the first contingent embarking to Canada is noted as November 14th 1940. With more that followed. A total of 10,000 RAAF airmen were trained in Canada among them was Francis Allan.
A Series of Long Voyages
The first part of the long journey from Australia to Middleton St. George, England began at the Port of Sydney. The voyage of some 20,000 nautical miles to the Port of Vancouver would take over 30 days.
Second part of future pilot Allan's odyssey was by rail to where ever his Elementary Flight Training School was located. EFTS students few a variety of different aircraft depending on which EFTS they attended. The Tiger Moth was an aircraft which seemed to be everywhere.
A number of pilot hopefuls would "wash out" while here and were then posted to Navigation, Bomb Aiming or Wireless schools.
The successful student pilots then moved on to a Service Flight Training School. Here the students flew the Harvard. As one pilot said in his diary, it was like going from a bicycle to a racing car. The noisy Harvard it its bright yellow colours was the main trainer at all SFTS.
Being "washed out" was not the only ending for some Pilots in training. Accidents took there toll, and funeral parades showed the dangers of what may lay ahead.
Based only on the photograph of him sporting his new Pilot's wings taken in Montreal Quebec the SFTS school LAC Allan may have attended was
Number 13 Service Flying Training School located in St. Hubert which is close to Montreal.
At the completion of his SFTS course a Wings Parade was held to honor the new Pilots. There was a promotion to the rank of Sargeant for all the successful airmen.
After a week's Leave he would have been sent by train again , this time to "Y" Depot, Halifax Nova Scotia to begin the voyage across the dangerous waters of the Atlantic.
After a sea voyage of a week or more, aboard an over crowed troop ship he would finally arrive in Britain. A wartime Britain of black outs, air raids and rationing.
More Training and 419 Squadron
One of his most important duties with his new rank was to form a crew. This would be accomplished at one of the Operational Training Units in Britain. Here he would select five men he would form into a working combat unit. For six to eight weeks, they would all learn to work together. Most likely on a Wellington twin engine bomber.
All his training led up to the next step with a posting to No.1659 Heavy Conversion Unit. Sgt. Allan and his crew would now educate themselves on the workings of the larger four engine bomber, in this case a Halifax. His crew would now include two new members. An additional Air Gunner and the Flight Engineer, who would help him control the bigger airship.
The now seven man crew would over the next five or so weeks develop a relationship with their new aircraft.
At times the RAF drew from the HCU bases to perform designated tasks which stepped away from the normal HCU exercises. Trips to the enemy coast to drop leaflets known by the code name of "Nickel" raids were common. The chance to be a part of a main raid occurred when the RAF wanted to help divert enemy fighters from the real target. Large numbers of HCU aircraft flew with the main bomber streams, then at some set point the HCU bombers broke off in a different direction causing the enemy to split up its fighter defences.
Flying with the HCU units was not always safe, accidents, dropping Nickels or "Windows" often brought down HCU aircraft.
After successful completion of his duties at HCU, he and his crew were posted to 419 Squadron RCAF at Middleton St. George.
Just a few days after their July 19th 1943 arrival, Sgt. Allan would begin the final series of training requirements before taking command of own his crew on operational sorties.
Every new pilot to the squadron had to complete two "2nd pilot" operations over targets with an experienced crew. Sgt. Allan's trips were the night of July 24/25 and the following night July 25/26.
The first operation of the Allan crew was on the night of July 27/28. A rather quick introduction to the air war. From arrival on the 19th to an op. on 27th.
In all he and his crew took part in twelve operations before being brought down on the night of September 6th 1943.