In this 60th anniversary edition is Ted Barris' telling of the unique story of Canada's largest World War II expenditure -- $1.75 billion in a Commonwealth-wide training scheme, based in Canada that supplied the Allied air war with nearly a quarter of a million qualified airmen. Within its five-year life-span, the BCATP supplied a continuous flow of battle-ready pilots, navigators, wireless radio operators, air gunners, flight engineers, riggers and fitters or more commonly known as ground crew, principally for the RCAF and RAF as well as the USAAF.
While the story of so many men graduating from the most impressive air training scheme in history is compelling enough, Ted Barris offers the untold story of the instructors -- the men behind the glory -- who taught those airmen the vital air force trades that ensure Allied victory over Europe, North Africa and the Pacific. In Winston Churchill's words, the BCATP proved "the decisive factor" in winning the Second World War. This 60th anniversary edition arrives as Canada continues to celebrate 2005 as the Year of the Veteran. Ted Barris interviewed more than 200 instructors and using their anecdotes and viewpoints he recounts the story of the flyers who coped with the dangers of training missions and the frustration of fighting the war thousands of miles away from the front without losing their enthusiasm for flying.