No.34 Operational Training Unit (OTU) (1942-1944)

Pennfield Ridge Air Station
No.34 Operational Training Unit (OTU)
June 1, 1942-May 19, 1944 (RAF)

     "Secret Organization Order No.54", dated 9 April, 1942, states: "It has been ascertained that the first echelon of No.34 Operational Training Unit, consisting of approximately 55 Officers and 700 airmen will arrive at the port of disembarkation in Canada the 20th of April, 1942."  The original intention was to establish No.34 OTU at RCAF Station, Yarmouth, NS, but it was later decided to move this Unit to Pennfield Ridge on a "temporary" bases. 

   The "Daily Dairy of No.34 Operational Training Unit" (Yarmouth) contains the following entry: "The first echelon of No.34 OPERATIONAL TRAINING UNIT under the command of GROUP CAPTAIN A.C. EVANS-EVANS sailed from GOUROCK, SCOTLAND in R.A.F. Transport "M/S BATORY" p.m. 8th April, 1942, and docked, after a comfortable and uneventful voyage, at HALIFAX, N.S. p.m. 16th April, 1942. We then entrained over-night arriving at YARMOUTH, N.S. a.m. 17th April, 1942, the Officers being quartered in the Officer's Mess of the R.C.A.F. Station as guests and the senior N.C.O.'s and Airmen in our own portion of the Station."  The journal entries show that the Unit was established at Yarmouth from 18 April 1942 until 27 May 1942. 

    The move from Yarmouth was completed in three separate stages: 1)  The advance party, consisting of 3 Officers and 29 personnel, on 18 May 1942; 2) the main party, consisting of approximately 25 Officers and 440 personnel, on 27 May and 3) N.C.O.'s and Airmen at present attached to No.31 O.T.U. Debert also on 27 May. The final journal entry for Yarmouth contains the following notation: "No.34 O.T.U. moved to PENNFIELD RIDGE, N.B. via DIGBY and ST. JOHN by rail and boat, the moved being effectively completed by 2300 hours on the same day."

    "Secret Organization Order No.95", dated 31 August, 1942, states: "The original plan to have No.34 Operational Training Unit operate temporarily at Pennfield Ridge, N.B., its present location, and subsequently move to Yarmouth, N.S., had been revised. Pennfield Ridge, N.B. is now to be the permanent location for No.34 Operational Training Unit."

    "Secret Organization Order No.189", dated 17 April, 1944, states: "No.34 OTU, Pennfield Ridge, N.B. is to become inactive effective 30 Apr./44 and is to disband effective 19 May/44." All training, upon graduation of trainees on 30 April, was ceased. All personnel, except maintaining sufficient personnel to hand over buildings and equipment of the Unit to the Commanding Officer of RCAF Station, Pennfield Ridge, was to take place between 30 April and 19 May. 

    The "Daily Dairy of No.34 Operational Training Unit" (Pennfield Ridge) contains the following entry for 19 May, 1944: "At 2359 hours R.A.F. Station Pennfield Ridge closed downed, and R.C.A.F. has taken over.

SOURCE: Operational Records Books No.34 OTU/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number: C-12364 (copy in archival holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society.")   

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