(Click on an image
for a higher resolution view
including details of landmarks.)

12th Street
Nutana: 12th St., West from Clarence Ave.
5 September, 1941...

... By the end of August summer seemed like a fading memory. The prairie sky was gone, replaced by a sullen overcast that rolled and whipped along like a tattered, wind-driven blanket. Winter was coming.

Far above the city a small, bright shape appeared. Faintly, those on the ground could hear the drone of distant engines. Gradually it resolved into the shape of an aeroplane - a single winged, twin-engined affair painted a fantastic yellow, following the narrow ribbon of the South Saskatchewan River north and east into the City. Banking slightly the machine dipped low over the University, then turned again to cross the river and circle the downtown and Riversdale. Finally, after perhaps another lazy, low-level circle around downtown, it departed, vanishing over the cloud-swept southern horizon.

Once a novelty, overflights like this by the brightly-painted Avro Ansons of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan schools had become common by the fall of 1941. Most were from the No. 7 Service Flying Training School at the Saskatoon Airport. Some - such as this flight, late on a Friday afternoon - were from other schools around the province; in this case the No. 3 Air Observer School in Regina.

The result of an agreement between Canada and Great Britain, BCATP schools cropped up in towns across the prairies since the deal was signed by Prime Minister King. The first schools opened in April, 1940: 11 in Saskatchewan, six in Alberta and two in Manitoba. More were to follow. All were dedicated to the same purpose: turning fresh recruits from every country in the Commonwealth into pilots, navigators, gunners, bombardiers and wireless operators to feed the insatiable demands of war.

Usually relationships between the airmen and the locals were cheerful. Or at least, neutral. But "boys will be boys", as they say, and "incidents did sometimes occur" as in this first hand account, "Strafing in Saskatchewan" by Roy S. Young.

University I
University I: Varsity View, northeast to the University
University II
University II: Saskatchewan Crescent, University Bridge and College Drive
Downtown I
Downtown I: North across the River on 3rd Avenue
Riversdale, East into Downtown
Downtown Railyards
CN rail yards: Avenue C East to the River
Downtown II
Downtown II: South on 2nd Avenue
Downtown III
Downtown III: Spadina Crescent to the Bessborough
Downtown IV
Downtown IV: 21st Street from the CNR to the Bessborough

Return to the SCAA Virtual Exhibits page

© 2000, City of Saskatoon