In the spring of 1942, Tony Stubbs, a 28 year old accountancy student with the firm of Helliwell MacLachlan in Vancouver, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and entered the BCATP. Approximately 130,000 Canadians, Britons, Australians, and New Zealanders were trained as air crew under the plan, including about 25,000 Canadians who, like Tony, earned their pilot’s wings.
After going through boot camp at the Edmonton Manning Depot, Tony was sent to the RCAF base at Claresholm, Alberta to await posting to an Initial Training School. This came in August 1942 when he was assigned to ITS #7 in Saskatoon. The curriculum included plenty of PT, fatigues, lectures, and a bit of time in a flight simulator. He completed the classroom work with a 94.7% average on the final exams and was sent to the Elementary Flight Training School in Prince Albert, where he logged his first 50 hours of flying time with civilian instructors.
In February 1943, Tony joined the Service Flight Training School in Saskatoon, where the curriculum consisted of 8 weeks in an Intermediate Training Squadron, 6 weeks in an Advanced Training Squadron, and 2 weeks of Bombing And Gunnery School. By June, a newly-commissioned P/O, he was at the General Reconnaissance School in Summerside, PEI, where air crew received their final training for operations over water.
After waiting for several weeks at a base in Halifax, Tony finally shipped out from Taunton, Mass. for England in October 1943, about a year and a half after joining up.
Tony grew up on a fruit ranch in Okanagan Mission near Kelowna, B. C. and most of the letters are addressed to his mother Kathleen. His father Robin, his sister Mary, and his brother Archie were all back at the Ranch as well. His brother Dick was a radio technician in the RCAF and participated in radar operations when they were still top secret. Another recurring character is Tony’s boyhood friend Peter Mallam, serving with the B. C. Regiment. Doug McGrath also turns up often. Doug served in the RCAF until unification.