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Royal New Zealand Air Force



From 1942 onwards an increasing proportion of recruits for the RNZAF came from the Air Training Corps. The first proposal to form an Air Cadet Corps had come from the Governor-General, Lord Galway, in August 1940. Early in 1941 a review was made of the manpower position in relation to aircrew requirements, and it appeared that by the end of 1942 difficulty would be experienced in obtaining the necessary number of recruits. The formation of a cadet corps appeared to be the solution for future aircrew requirements. Authority was given by War Cabinet in February 1941 to proceed with the formation of an Air Cadet Training Corps, which was to be opened for enlistment to boys between the ages of 16 ½ and 18 years.

The name of the organisation was finally standardised as the Air Training Corps. The first five squadrons were formed in Wellington and Auckland in September, and the following month the first South Island squadron was formed.

The Corps contained three types of units—town units, school units and country units. In March 1942 the age limits were extended. In town units boys of from 16 to 18 years could enrol, and in school units cadets could be accepted provided they reached the age of 15 during the school year. The purpose in the change of ages of entry was to extend the enlistments in the Corps, as it was anticipated that large numbers would be required at a later date. In some town and country areas, owing to the small numbers of applicants, it was not possible to form units and in these areas cadets were enrolled and trained by correspondence courses. By April 1942, 140 cadets had applied for service with the RNZAF and the first 100 were mobilised in June.