No. 2 Service Flight Training School RAAF
From Our Contribution
No. 2 SFTS, c. September 1940: three Ansons (foreground) with a Wirraway (middle right) and three Tiger Moths (rear)
The two Ansons that collided safely on the ground
No. 2 Service Flying Training School (2 SFT5) was formed at Forrest Hill near Wagga Wagga, New South Wales on 1 Jul 1940, opening training with 42 Empire Air Training Scheme trainees on the No. I (Anson) Course. Early training began in the midst of base construction. During the second month of training a crash involving an Avro Anson killed both the trainee pilot and the instructor. At the end of September, No. 2 course arrived for CAC Wirraway training.
Training proceeded at a brisk pace, and by September 1940 it was necessary to divide the school into Initial and Advanced Squadrons. The last two weeks of the training course were spent at No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at Evans Head. An unusual air collision between two Avro Anson aircraft made the front page of newspapers worldwide. The two second pilots parachuted to safety while the pilot of the lower Anson, who was slightly injured, struggled to escape. Meanwhile, the pilot of the upper aircraft found that the engines of the lower aircraft provided him with enough power to turn the two combined aircraft away from the nearby township of Brocklesby, and after the pilot of the lower aircraft parachuted to safety, he attempted a wheels up landing in which he was successful.
In February 1941 an Intermediate Squadron became necessary. Trainees who successfully passed through this Squadron received their wings before entering Advanced Training Squadrons. No. 9 course was typical of those passing out before Japan entered the War - 47 of 50 trainees passed out, 15 as officers, and 32 as sergeants. Thirty pilots were sent to the RAF and 13 remained with the RAAF.
Between February and August 1941 the Ansons were removed from the base, follow1ng the Air Board's decision to separate single engine and twin-engine aircraft training. The number of Wirraways then peaked at 96. Following Japan's entry into the war the base prepared defensive infrastructure, and the flying instructors worked on personnel to form two Reserve Squadrons. In January 1942 WAAAF personnel began to arrive at the station. By the end of February, they numbered one officer and 67 airwomen. Meanwhile, No. 17 Course was the last to complete its train1ng wholly at 2 SFTS, as orders were received that divided the aircraft, the instructional and maintenance staff. and the Junior courses between No. 5 Service Flying Training School at Uranquinty, and No. 7 Service Flying Training School at Deniliquin. During its existence, 2 SFTS trained more than 600 trainees, of whom more than 550 graduated as pilots. No. 5 Aircraft Depot was formed at the base on 23 Mar 1942 and the rest of the 2 SFTS personnel left on 3 April 1942.
Three Instructors and four trainees lost their lives in training Accidents.
- Alfred Ensor Hand 1 Mar - 6 Apr 1942
Primary source of information - Units of the Royal Australian Airforce - A Concise History - Vol 8 Training Units