‘If we do not win the battle of training, we

shall win no other battle in the air.’

Captain Harold Balfour, the British Under-Secretary for Air, made this statement in April 1943. He understood that training a vast amount of aircrew for a high attrition war was essential to an Allied victory, and that the key to winning the Battle of Training was the Empire Air Training Scheme.

 

Under the Empire Air Training Scheme, 37 576 Australian aircrew graduated from training in Australia, Canada, and Rhodesia. Over 300 were killed while in training and 9874 air crew were killed or listed as missing while on active duty. The Empire Air Training Scheme amounted to just 6.7 per cent of Australian service personnel serving overseas during World War II. However, the air crew losses amounted to almost 25 per cent of all the Australian fatalities during the war. This made serving in EATS among the most hazardous duties during the war.

 

‘The Empire has an Answer’ was researched using more than 35 000 articles, from 150 metropolitan, regional, and district newspapers, and what materialised was a story of one of, if not, the greatest training program the world has seen.

 

The book takes the reader on a journey through the conception and implementation of the scheme, following the path of various participants from recruitment, through basic training, flight training, and then into combat. Readers will empathise with individual accounts woven into the narrative to provide a first-hand experience of the triumphs and trials of typical airmen and airwomen.

 

The Empire Air Training Scheme is the little known, grand achievement, that every Australian should proudly acknowledge. This book will appeal to anyone interested in how ordinary men and women performed extraordinary feats in a time of need.

 

I thank Dr Tony Brady for his dedication to the topic and his extensive and meticulous research which is significant in terms of the integrity of the book.

 

Dr Ronald Charles Creffield Houghton DFC, Ld’H. President, Bomber Command Association in Australia

 

The author’s research, combined with individual personal narrative, brings the context of EATS to life.

 

Dr Ronald Charles Creffield Houghton DFC, Ld’H. President, Bomber Command Association in Australia

‚Äč

I also commend the Air Force for supporting the author, this project, and publishing this important work which collates the story of EATS.   It has an important place in Australia’s heritage, and more specifically to the history of the RAAF, Bomber Command, and to the EATS airmen and their families.

 

Dr Ronald Charles Creffield Houghton DFC, Ld’H. President, Bomber Command Association in Australia

  • Twitter
LinkedIn Button.JPG