d_day 60th Anniversary: The Archives of Ontario Remembers the Home Front - Military Recruitment and Training in Ontario - Page Banner

Canadian Army Training - Title Banner

Most of the basic training of soldiers who enlisted in Ontario took place close to home, like Camp Borden northwest of Toronto, before they were shipped overseas.

The training program illustrated early in the war would have seemed tame to the Canadian troops who attacked the German fortifications at Juno Beach in 1944. They had spent the intervening years in training, and experiences like the Dieppe Raid in 1942 transformed raw recruits into experienced soldiers.

The video clips below illustrate the Canadian Officer Training Corps (C.O.T.C.) exercises on the Ontario Agricultural College Campus in Guelph, [ca. 1941].

Ministry of Agriculture and Food Motion Picture Films - Video Clip
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
motion picture films.
16mm, black and white, silent.
RG 16-35-0-3

Click below to view this clip.
For Windows Media Player 224K 474K 1.5Mb
For Quicktime Player 840K 1.6Mb 2.7Mb
For Real Player 543K 1.7Mb 2.9Mb
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Motion Picture Films - Video Clip
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
motion picture films
16mm, black and white, silent.
RG 16-35-0-3

Click below to view this clip.
For Windows Media Player 277K 594K 1.61Mb
For Quicktime Player 907K 1.71Mb 3.0Mb
For Real Player 581K 1.85Mb 3.08Mb
Photo: Soldiers doing exerices in the water during training, Camp Borden, 1941
Click to see a larger image (178K)

Soldiers doing exercise in the water
during training, Camp Borden, 1941
Gordon W. Powley fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 5-1-0-199-13
Archives of Ontario, I0002859

Photo: Soldiers doing exercises with a tank during commando training, Camp Borden, 1941
Click to see a larger image (115K)

Soldiers doing exercises with a universal carrier
during training, Camp Borden, 1941
Gordon W. Powley fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 5-1-0-199-15
Archives of Ontario, I0002860

Photo: Soldier running a ramp during training exercise, [ca. 1945]
Click to see a larger image (107K)

Soldier running a ramp during training
exercise at Camp Borden, [ca. 1945]
Gordon W. Powley fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 5-1-0-87-10
Archives of Ontario, I0011306

Photo: Soldier jumping from obstacle during training [ca. 1945]
Click to see a larger image (65K)

Soldier jumping from obstacle during
training at Camp Borden, [ca. 1945]
Gordon W. Powley fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 5-1-0-87-19
Archives of Ontario, I0011314

Photo: Soldiers during training [pointing bayonets], [ca. 1945]
Click to see a larger image (114K)

Soldiers training at Camp Borden, [ca. 1945]
Gordon W. Powley fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 5-1-0-87-20
Archives of Ontario, I0011315

Photo: Sniping school at Camp Borden [guy with rifle], May 1941
Click to see a larger image (181K)

Sniping school at Camp Borden, May 1941
Herbert Nott fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 109-2-0-18
Archives of Ontario, I0008796

Photo: Soldiers at sniping school, Camp Borden, May 1941
Click to see a larger image (156K)

Soldiers at sniping school, Camp Borden, May 1941
Herbert Nott fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C109-2-0-18
Archives of Ontario, I0008792

Photo: Soldiers during training Sniping school at Camp Borden [guy with rifle], May 1941
Click to see a larger image (126K)

Soldiers at sniping school, Camp Borden, May 1941
Herbert Nott fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 109-2-0-18
Archives of Ontario, I0008794

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Title Banner

The Service Flight Training Schools (S.F.T.S.) were part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which graduated more than 120,000 pilots, aircrew and ground crew for the Canadian, British, Australian and New Zealand Air Forces between 1940 and 1945.

Camp Borden and No. 14 S.F.T.S. Aylmer were among the 31 air training facilities located in Ontario, with a total of 96 across Canada. The training school at Aylmer provided advanced flight instruction in single seater fighter aircraft between 1941 and 1943. Harvards, as depicted in four of the video clips, were used for flight training at No. 14 S.F.T.S. Aylmer. Norman Irwin of Whitby, Ontario, who shot the 16mm amateur footage of training activities, served as Commanding Officer at Aylmer from June 1941 to July 1943.

Aussie's Forced Landing - Video Clip
Aussie's forced landing
G. Norman Irwin films
16mm, colour, silent
Reference Code: C 92-1-0-55
Archives of Ontario

Click below to view this clip.
For Windows Media Player 225K 475K 1.52Mb
For Quicktime Player 841K 1.58Mb 2.72Mb
For Real Player 544K 1.73Mb 2.89Mb


Aussies Take Up Skating and Sculpturing - Video Clip
Aussies take up skating & sculpturing
G. Norman Irwin films
16mm, colour, silent
Reference Code: C 92-1-0-55
Archives of Ontario

Click below to view this clip.
For Windows Media Player 188K 400K 1.29Mb
For Quicktime Player 716K 1.35Mb
For Real Player 453K 1.46Mb 2.40Mb


New Zealand Graduates Do War Dance - Video Clip
New Zealand graduates do War Dance
G. Norman Irwin films
16mm, colour, silent
Reference Code: C 92-1-0-55
Archives of Ontario

Click below to view this clip.
For Windows Media Player 243K 521K 1.68Mb
For Quicktime Player 936K 1.76Mb 3.03Mb
For Real Player 597K 1.91Mb 3.17Mb


Chief Instructor W/C Overbury [in a Harvard] - Video Clip
Chief Instructor W/C Overbury [in a Harvard]
G. Norman Irwin films
16mm, colour, silent
Reference Code: C 92-1-0-55
Archives of Ontario

Click below to view this clip.
For Windows Media Player 180K 376K 1.20Mb
For Quicktime Player 641K 1.21Mb 2.06Mb
For Real Player 445K 1.41Mb 2.31Mb


F/L Freddie Green [flying a Harvard] - Video Clip

F/L Freddie Green [flying a Harvard]
G. Norman Irwin films
16mm, colour, silent
Reference Code: C 92-1-0-55
Archives of Ontario



Click below to view this clip.
For Windows Media Player 369K 795K 2.56Mb
For Quicktime Player 1.43Mb 2.71Mb 4.65Mb
For Real Player 890K 2.90Mb 4.75Mb


Air Marshall William Avery (Billy) Bishop (World War One Flying Ace) presents pilots with wings, May 14, 1943 - Video Clip

Air Marshall William Avery (Billy) Bishop
(World War One flying ace) presents pilots
with wings, May 14, 1943
G. Norman Irwin films
16mm, colour, silent
Reference Code: C 92-1-0-55
Archives of Ontario

Click below to view this clip.
For Windows Media Player 263K 556K 1.81Mb
For Quicktime Player 999K 1.88Mb 3.23Mb
For Real Player 648K 2.09Mb 3.47Mb


Shots of Harvard at Aylmer - Video Clip
Shots of Harvard at Aylmer
G. Norman Irwin films
16mm, colour, silent
Reference Code: C 92-1-0-55
Archives of Ontario

Click below to view this clip.
For Windows Media Player 106K 228K 746K
For Quicktime Player 406K 764K 1.30Mb
For Real Player 267K 846K 1.39Mb


Shots of Handley Page Hampden Bomber at Aylmer - Video Clip
Shots of Handley Page Hampden
Bomber at Aylmer
G. Norman Irwin films
16mm, colour, silent
Reference Code: C 92-1-0-55
Archives of Ontario

Click below to view this clip.
For Windows Media Player 208K 442K 1.44MB
For Quicktime Player 794K 1.49Mb 2.57Mb
For Real Player 499K 1.62Mb 2.65Mb


Foreign Troops Training in Ontario - Title Banner

Although most of Europe was occupied by Germany by 1941, many individuals escaped and served in national formations organized in Britain.


Photo: Airmen in cockpit, Little Norway, November 1940

Soldiers, sailors and airmen from Norway, Holland, and other countries were sent to Canada for training and in some cases, served in units attached to the Canadian Army after the invasion of Europe began.

Click to see a larger image (49K)
Airmen in cockpit, Little Norway, November 1940
Herbert Nott fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 109-2-0-18, neg. 18-10-40H
Archives of Ontario, I0008979

Photo: Little Norway, Royal Norwegian Air Force, November 1940

Little Norway was a training facility operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force, first at the Island Airport at Toronto and later in the war in Muskoka.

Click to see a larger image (105K)
Little Norway, Royal Norwegian
Air Force, November 1940
Herbert Nott fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 109-2-0-18
Archives of Ontario, I0008981

The Dutch language Free Holland poster behind the crokinole players is a good illustration of the incentive motivating most of the foreign nationals training in Canada during the build up to the invasion of western Europe.

Photo: Dutch troops [soldiers running], April 1941
Click to see a larger image (81K)

Dutch soldiers charging, April 1941
Herbert Nott fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 109-2-0-18, neg. 18-4-23H
Archives of Ontario, I0008964

Photo: Dutch troops [playing board game; Dutch war poster in background], April 1941
Click to see a larger image (79K)

Dutch troops playing crokinole; Dutch war
poster in background, April 1941
Herbert Nott fonds
Black and white negative
Reference Code: C 109-2-0-18, neg. 18-4-19H
Archives of Ontario, I0008960