The RCEME Technicians
I joined RCEME at the Winnipeg Manning Depot on 7 July 1964. I was sent by CN rail to Kingston for basic training with the Signal Corps, in Vimy Barracks, for 16 weeks! Information was scarce…but eventually we were told we were going to the School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering in Borden to be trained as aircraft technicians. As luck would have it, we were to be trained as Instrument Electrical Technicians or “551s”.
– CWO (Ret’d) BJ Bradley
The technicians who kept the Army's fleet of airplanes and helicopters flying were trained at the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre at RCAF Station Rivers. In 1956, RCEME began training officers, maintenance supervisors and technicians on the Cessna L-19 Bird Dog and the Hiller CH-112 Nomad purchased in 1961, which resulted in the introduction of the helicopter technician trade.
The following year, nine CH-112 helicopters were sent to Germany along with a full complement of qualified maintenance personnel including Aircraft, Instrument-Electrical, Metals and Radio technicians. In total, one officer and 48 technicians made up 4 Field Workshop’s Aircraft Maintenance Platoon.
In only a few years, RCEME trained maintenance personnel to support Army aircraft in Canada and in Germany. By July 1962, RCEME’s aviation training programme had achieved these impressive milestones:
- 6 Qualified RCEME Pilots (and 2 more undergoing training in 1962)
- 14 Qualified Aircraft Maintenance Officers
- 246 Trained Artificers and Technicians
- 11 Technicians undergoing training in the U.S.
- 55 Technicians selected for training in 1962/63
- 312 Sr Technicians and Technicians would be trained by end 1963