Print this Post

Camp Borden and the RCAF

Written by 16 Wing Borden, 1998.
Used with permission.
Camp Borden and the RCAF
Military aviation in Borden goes back to early 1917 when a series of “temporary” hangars and aviation facilities were built to support the training of aviators for the Royal Flying Corps. After the Great War, Camp Borden became the central point around which military aviation would develop in Canada. In 1919, an Imperial Gift of over one-hundred war surplus aircraft found their way to Canada, most of them going to Borden to provide the nucleus of a national Air Force. Following the creation of the Canadian Air Force in 1920, Camp Borden was once again selected as the main training centre for aviation. During the Twenties, Camp Borden saw the birth of the Royal Canadian Air Force and claimed many firsts including the graduation of the first RCAF pilots in 1924. Camp Borden was also home to the first RCAF aerobatics team, the Siskins, in the early 1930’s.

At the opening of World War II, the implementation of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) resulted in the relocation of air and ground training to several new stations across the country. In Borden, No. 1 Service Flying Training School (1 SFTS) continued to provide aircrew training to RCAF pilots as well as other Allied countries.

The end of the BCATP and the downsizing of post-war RCAF meant the closing of No. 1 SFTS and the re-opening in Borden of No. 2 Technical Training School. By 1958, most aircraft maintainer training had returned to Borden. On February 1, 1968, the Unification of Canada’s armed forces marked the end of the RCAF. Since that day, various Air Trade schools in Borden have provided basic technical training for most occupations of the Air Operations Branch of the Canadian Forces. Today, the members of 16 Wing take pride in preserving such a long tradition of excellence in training Canada’s Air Force.

Eighty years after their construction, many of the Royal Flying Corp’s “temporary” hangars still stand. They are the only remaining witnesses of the many great moments in the history of Camp Borden, the birthplace of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Read the book CAMP BORDEN – BIRTHPLACE OF THE RCAF 1917-1999, edited by Master Warrant Officer Norm Marion, published by 16 Wing Borden, ISBN 0-9684862-0-7, 198 pages, available from 16 Wing HQ, Bldg A-142, CFB Borden, PO Box 1000 Stn Main, Borden, Ontario, L0M 1CO, Attn: Lieutenant (N) Pat Cornect, $25 payable to 16 Wing History Book, or visit 16 Wing Borden at – http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/16-wing/index.page.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/camp-borden-and-the-rcaf/


  1. Jim Davies

    Hello Bruce.
    As I am currently writing a family history of sorts, it was indeed timely to come across your web site today. My great-grandfather Frank Davies of Springside, SK was an aerial nav instructor with the RFC during the Great War. As well, one of his sons made the ultimate sacrifice one month before the end of hostilities in Holland in WW2. With the passing of my parents and many other ‘witnesses to history’ it’ has come down to me to not have these materials and the stories lost to history. Fortunately, I find it fascinating!

    My father Lt.Col. Floyd Davies, RCA had a long career with the artillery including postings in Germany (where I was born in ’59), Kingston (Staff College), Ottawa, Petawawa (twice each) and command of 3RCHA in Shilo, MB ’73-’75. A stint in the Middle East in ’77 and with Militia (Prairie), Winnipeg rounded out his military career.

    I found your site while researching an interesting interior shot of a classroom/hangar from the time. As well as photos of Frank and compatriots in uniform I recently confirmed the location (and significance) of a group shot taken in front of the Old Victoria College which still stands at U of Toronto.

    My contact info is attached, of course. Thank you for your efforts, Sir!
    Jim Davies, Yorkton, SK,

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site and for sharing your story. If you wish to share any of your photos, please send them to bruce@militarybruce.com



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>