Seventy-two years ago today, representatives of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand signed the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan agreement. This agreement committed the countries to training 50,000 airmen per annum until the conclusion of the Second World War—the goal was roughly 22,000 aircrew per year from Great Britain, 13,000 from Canada, 11,000 from Australia and 3,300 from New Zealand. Under the plan, the aircrews would receive introductory air training with their home air forces, then travel to Canada for advanced flight training. More than 130,000 Allied airmen—pilots, navigators, bombardiers, wireless operators, gunners and flight engineers—had received training in Canada by war’s end.
Here are some photos of BCATP activity drawn from LIFE magazine’s online archive: