In 1943 the Royal Air Force recognised that training a vast amount of aircrew for a high attrition war was essential to an Allied victory, and that the key to winning the ‘battle of training’ was the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS).
37,576 Australian aircrew graduated from the EATS. Over 300 were killed whilst training for war and 9874 aircrew were killed or listed as missing while on active duty. Those who fought under this scheme during World War II amounted to just 6.7 per cent of Australian service personnel serving overseas yet the aircrew losses amounted to almost 25 per cent of all the Australian fatalities during the war. This made serving in EATS among the most hazardous duties of the war.
The Empire has an Answer was researched using more than 35 000 articles, from 150 metropolitan, regional, and district newspapers, and what materialised was a story of one of, if not, the greatest training programs the world has seen.
Follow the journey from the conception and implementation of the scheme, through recruitment and basic training, flight training, and then into combat. The individual accounts woven into the narrative provide a first-hand experience of the triumphs and trials of typical airmen and airwomen who performed extraordinary feats in a time of great need.
The significant achievements and success of the Empire Air Training Scheme has for the most part been overlooked in our history, until now.