No. 1 Engineering School RAAF

From Our Contribution

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Possibly a contingent of RAAF trade trainees at Melbourne Showgrounds in 1940.
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Brief History

No. 1 Engineering School was formed on I Mar 1940 at the Melbourne showgrounds at Ascot Vale and later overflowed into Flemington racecourse. The School grew quickly and by December, 205 courses had commenced, with 2,600 trainees and 700 airmen and airwomen and 40 officers on staff. Training on Wirraway aircraft commenced in March 1941 and included RNZAF personnel. Courses started in April included those for cooks, drivers and intelligence officers. A milestone was reached in September when the total number of personnel completing training passed 10,000.

There were an increasing number of airwomen under training, especially as wireless telegraphists. This resulted in female officers being posted in during March and by September there were 500 airwomen under training. By August 1942, 20,000 trainees had graduated, and in December 270 WAAAF telegraphists took part in a passing out parade. New courses commenced in 1943 included electrician instruments, instrument maker and fabric worker, reflecting the difficulty of recruiting personnel in specialist trades. Training for naval personnel on Allison c11 Engines commenced, as well as for WAAAFs as trainee flight mechanics. During 1943 over 12,000 tradesmen and women completed courses. Courses commenced in diesel mechanics for United States Army personnel in January 1944, and basic fitters courses for Netherlands East Indies (NEI) personnel in Apr 1944. The first WAAAF fl1ght mechanics graduated 1n April and two more courses commenced, a pattern which continued all year. By November 1944 50,000 trainees had graduated from the School. This heavy workload continued into 1945, and as fewer suitable candidates enlisted, some courses had high failure rates, not helped by a shortage of textbooks.

With the approaching defeat of the Japanese, Japanese language course commenced in August 1945. With the Japanese surrender courses and training quickly came to a halt. From November, mass discharge of personnel commenced, and the removal of assets to the new training hub at Wagga Wagga began.



          13 Jun - 28 Aug 1944 - Junior NCO Course