Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette –  092 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

``Welcome to Carberry'' - No. 33 (RAF) SFTS
 The ``Welcome to Carberry’’ booklet was published by the Carberry News-Express in Carberry Manitoba, with support from local businesses and interested groups as a friendly orientation booklet for Royal Air Force airmen coming to this prairie town for training at No. 33 Service Flying Training School. It was also intended for those airmen readers to send copies home to loved ones to put them at ease that their son, husband or friend was in a place where they were safe and welcomed with open arms.

``Welcome to Carberry’’ presents an appealing story of this town, past and present, as well as a description of life on the Canadian prairies.

We offer the article within, ``Airmen Arrive at Carberry’’ for your consideration. We do have copies of this booklet in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum but have chosen to refer you to the  Wartime Canada website at View PDF:  Souvenir of Carberry.pdf – click on the link to see the book.

For our Canada 150 Vignette we offer the one article as mentioned, some photos copied from the booklet itself and more photos gleaned from the CATPM archive. Please enjoy.


It was early in the afternoon of a cold day in December, 1940 that the first R.A.F. (Royal Air Force) group, under the command of Wing Commander T.C. Dickens, detrained at the C.N.R. (Canadian Nation Railway) station in Carberry (Manitoba). The townspeople watched the party's movements with curiosity; this was their first contact with the Royal Air Force. The Mayor, Dr. Waugh, made himself known to the Commanding Officer and the relations between the Camp and Town were begun. Already a War Service Club had been prepared, and it was evident that the cafes and shops had made their plans against the day when the quiet life of Carberry was to be radically changed by the arrival of  a large number of Officers and Airmen fresh from the United Kingdom.

The Camp was not fully completed, but an excellent pioneer force of the R.C.A.F. (Royal Canadian Air Force) was obviously determined to drive rapidly ahead to this end. Nevertheless there were certain inconveniences resulting from an arrival before the time originally arranged for opening. The buildings, however, were strong and adequately heated and it was, in a sense, not unfortunate that there was a lack of aircraft at the outset, for plenty of fatigue parties were required for the apparently infinite number of jobs to be done.

With the approach of Christmas there came a most amazing demonstration of hospitality - and not a single Airman who desired a real home away from home was at a loss. This hospitality was widespread. Airmen were scattered for the holiday over  a hundred miles. But it was the friendliness and generosity of Carberry that provided Christmas dinners, home-life, and  jollity for those who were unable to travel far.

It is not our intention to mention any particular names when  so many came to our aid and lasting friendships were quickly established.

New Year celebrations were a repetition of those at Christmas and the early days of organizing work combined with leisured discovery of Brandon and Winnipeg were great indeed. The personnel who made up the embryonic unit  in those cold  winter months can never forget the  warmth that emanated from  the  various Auxiliary Services and social  groups of these cities.

The arrival of the second and third groups and the flying instructors to the Station (which now possessed aircraft) brought about a new and refreshing feeling that the unit was now to enter upon its full duties as a Service Flying Training School, and early in 1941 the town of Carberry was confronted with the task of accustoming its ears to the roar of (aircraft) engines. This must have been a great hardship to some. Indeed there was one famous letter sent to the Station suggesting that some form of silencer should be fitted to the engines. There were also a few rather anxious enquiries as to how often, on the average, would houses be carried away by over-anxious pilots.

Group Captain H.E.  Walker. M.C., D.F.C. had now arrived from England to take over the duties of Station Commander, and the great task of  forging a finished organization. It was at one period of this spring that  Carberry and the Station were practically cut off from  each other  owing to the astonishing condition of the connecting road. This warm and friendly, happily placed on highway and railways, and, vitally to ``Britishers,’’ admirably decorated with trees, it became more and. more significant to the minds of the personnel as the home-town.
Yet another gesture placed the Agricultural Fair ground at the disposal of the Unit for its games, and rugger, soccer, softball, and cricket matches were played there. The effect of the quick change from the big cities of the United Kingdom to the prairie in midwinter was passing. Wives began to reach the town from Great Britain.
During the summer there were several visits of prominent persons to the Station which had now assumed a most pleasant appearance, thanks to a great deal of voluntary labour, the fine services of civilian labour, and valuable gifts of plants from various good-spirited sources.

These reached the culminating point in the gracious act of the Duke of Kent who flew to the Station where a Wings Parade was in progress. The people of Carberry had thus an opportunity of seeing and hearing His Royal Highness.

In the course of time, Group Captain H. C. Walker, who had lived for some months in Carberry was succeeded by Group Captain C. H. "The Old Order Changeth." Group Captain C.H. Brill (left) takes over from Group Captain H. C. Walker. October, 1941.

Brill who, at the moment of writing, continues to command the Unit. During his command the Station has forged yet further ahead. With the dignity of having its own crest, and with the steady accumulation of more flying records, for hours flown, more and more entertainment diversions, more and more personal and social contacts, and a steadily increasing feeling that more opportunities will be given for progress in the Service, No. 33 S.F.T.S. (Service Flying Training School) of the Royal Air Force has gradually achieved a reputation for being one of the happiest Stations in Canada.

Carberry will be present always in the memories of the visiting R.A.F. The Unit invites the town to share its motto: "Unity is Strength"!
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No. 33 SFTS Carberry Manitoba

No. 33 Service Flying Training School, a Royal Air Force School, opened in Carberry Manitoba on December 26 1940 and was open 1422 days until November 17 1945. It was then reconfigured as a RCAF Storage Depot until the early 1960s when it was sold to private businesses. The site now functions as a primary producer of French fries for McCain Foods Canada. A secondary plant producers starch from the factory’s waste water. Farmers purchased some of the hangars to be used for potato and machinery storage.

This storage depot may be best known as the last stop for many for th RCAF’s P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft which were sold to private buyers. The investory included Mustangs from Canada’s 402 City of Winnipeg Squadron, 403 City of Calgary Squadron and 443 City of New Westminster Squadron.