The training system which brought Howard Sells civilian to Sgt. Sells was one of the best systems devised. The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan developed the talents and skills of those who passed through the series of courses and training bases to a level of excellence unsurpassed. Men came from all over the Commonwealth and the United States to be trained in all the different trades offered by the air force. The life of an Aero Mechanic or any of the ground crew trades is a hardy one. The ground crew work was performed in the open, in any weather. And there was no time clock. Work went on until the job was completed. Knowing full well that the life of their aircraft's flying crew depended on them.
Howard Sells joined near the beginning of the war, looking to both serve and learn a skilled trade. Following his enlistment at a Recruiting Center in Regina he moved on to one of the seven Manning Depots setup to train the recruits in basics of military life. On completion of his course he was posted to RCAF Debert on the North coast of Nova Scotia were he served as part of the guard detachment.
Finally being posted to RCAF Station St. Thomas where he was taught the skills he sought, that of an Aero-Mechanic. At the completion of this months long training course he was then sent to RCAF Trenton to develop his skills on the different aircraft engines. His last posting in Canada working in a service repair depot, left him wanting more then the assembly line style work it offered. Requesting overseas duties brought him eventually to No. 419 squadron after the journey across the Atlantic and his experiences in Britain. I will leave that part of the story to Mr.Sells himself in the accompanying video.
Howard Sells had other home grown skills, playing hockey, which allowed him to have a chance to play with the award winning 1944 Rossmen. With team mates NHL stars and Hall Of Famers, LAC Bobby Bauer and P/O Milt Schmidt, part of the Boston Bruins famous "Kraut Line"