The History of Port Albert: No. 31 ANS

The locally published book History of Port Albert suggests it’s of the Lake Huron shoreline community interest. But as indicated by the image on the cover with the words “Air Navigation School” and “Royal Air Force” the focus is limited to the period of the Second World War when the community welcomed airmen in training. These were the days of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

From the middle of October 1940 to 17 February 1945 when the base closed a total of about 1,200  navigators from allied countries descended on Port Albert.

The book details the development of the base, the training, the community during the war and its subsequent remembrance of the period. There are many illustrations including photos — one included the father of a friend as a member of a football team.

Page 60 lists airmen killed while stationed at Port Albert, 12 with no known grave. Of the 35 named 33 can be identified in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database. Flight Sergeant R Brown and Leading Aircraftsman C T Jones could not be recognized. There were spelling differences in others. Byers, instead of Buyers, Chantler not Chandler,  Chilvers not Chivers, Dawes not Daws, Hughes not Hughs.

Anyone researching someone who trained at, or served in a civilian capacity at No 31 ANS, will find lots of interesting background in writing a family history.


The Daily Diary for the accident that killed Flight Sergeant R Brown has the notation against his name “Fighting French.” The diary also shows the number of Free French at Port Arthur number 2 at the start of the month and 1 at the end.  It’s strange to have someone named Brown as French — possibly another spelling problem.

C T Jones is actually C T James!

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