Archie Londry was born on a farm near Minnedosa Manitoba. Living on the farm he attended Grades 1 through 8 at a small one-room schoolhouse near his home. He finished Grades nine and ten by correspondence at home. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 at the RCAF Recruiting Centre in Winnipeg. As the minimum education standard for those wishing to join the RCAF, Archie completed his Grade 11 under the War Emergency Training Plan (WETP). Under the WETP, recruits who had a deficiency in their education but were otherwise suitable for a trade were sent to upgrade their education at one of more than 20 participating universities and technical schools. Archie received his basic air force training over a period of six weeks at No. 3 Manning Depot in Edmonton Alberta. This was followed by six weeks of training at No. 2 Initial Training School in Regina Saskatchewan. At this school, recruits received the ground school training which allowed them to take to the sky in more advanced training. Included were basic courses in navigation, theory of flight, meteorology, duties of an officer, air force administration, algebra, and trigonometry. Students at the ITS got a taste of flying with experience in the Link Trainer – a World War II version of a flight simulator. The Link Trainer provided a good indication of a student’s ability to fly an actual aircraft. It was responsible for changing the career path of many students who dreamed of being a pilot. Other Tests included an interview with a psychiatrist, the four hour long M2 physical examination, a session in a decompression chamber.
Leading Aircraftman Londry demonstrated he had the ability to pilot an aircraft and was sent to No. 19 Elementary Flying School in Virden Manitoba where student pilots spent half of the training day flying and the other half taking more ground school. Archie soloed his Tiger Moth aircraft after eight hours of flying time. Having won his wings at Virden, Archie was sent to No. 10 Service Flying Training School in Dauphin Manitoba where he trained on twin-engined Cessna Crane aircraft once again with the training split half and half between ground and flying training. After three months of training, Archie graduated as a pilot. His parents attended the graduation ceremony.
A common practice in the RCAF was to take the best students from the SFTS school and make them instructors in other schools. Archie became an instructor and was posted to No. 12 SFTS in Brandon Manitoba. He was told it was to be an assignment which would last between one to three years. Here he taught student pilots in Cessna Crane and Avro Anson aircraft. He was given four students to teach with six hours flying a day to a limit of 100 hours per month. Most of the graduates went on to flying multi-engine bombers.
Archie Londry was a life member of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, was President of the Board for many years and before his passing in 2019 was successful is creating the RCAF WWII Memorial on the museum site.
Archie’s Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, October 23rd, 11am in the Minnedosa Conference Centre.
“ Per ardua ad astra”
(Post contributed by CATPM Director, Stephen Hayter)