Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette – 120 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

​The Home Front - Joe Fossey, model builder

Katie McKay/Stephen Hayter
Commonwealth Ai r Training Plan Museum
Box 3, Group 520, R.R #5
Brandon MB R7A 5Y5

Good morning from Barrie,
305 Duckworth St.
Barrie Ontario
Canada L4M 3X5
October 4, 2000

I read with interest, your request for history information on C.A.T.P. in Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame "Flyer" Autumn 2000
issue . We have visited the Wetaskiwin museum several times.

As a young boy. I grew up with a successful interest in building and flying model aircraft. In 1942-43 I was in Grade 8 attending public school in East York (East Toronto) and 14 years of age. All boys were required to take a Manual Training course in woodworking to improve their life skills. Girls were required to attend Home Economics classes for the same reason.

Manual training classes across the country at 
that time were organized to help the war effort by making many hundreds of scale model aircraft of all types and countries for aircraft identification programs in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Our school was assigned the Bristol Beaufighter Mk.I as the aircraft type to be produced. If memory serves me correct the approximate 16 inch wingspan solid basswood model would be in 1/20 scale.

Our manual training instructor Mr. McClellan was a splendid teacher and a wonderful craftsman. I remember to this day the lessons learned to make the best quality models possible. All components had to pass a rigid multi template inspection before assembly was permitted and then painted flat black in colour before shipped for Air Force final inspection and acceptance.

As result o f my previous model building experience, this was an easy and fun assignment for me. I built at least 4 complete models while helping some classmate friends to finish theirs. In C.A.T.P. training , the models were flashed down a wire and Aircrew members were given only one second to identify the aircraft as friend or foe. This was critical to their survival.

In May 1943, successful students received a certificate from R.C.A.F. for recognition of Wartime Service. (copy enclosed) I still have mine framed in my study as a treasured memento.

From there we went to Air Cadets, but that’s another story.

Joe Fossey