No. 19 E.F.T.S. Virden, Manitoba – 26 August, 1941

How this research began?

I am trying to collate details of my father, Jack R Owens (senior) who graduated from Course 33, No. 19 E.F.T.S. RCAF Virden Manitoba in August 1941.
Can you provide any details please or perhaps suggest further points of contact?
He was an American citizen and went on to transfer to the US Army Air Force in 1942 I believe.

Any info you might have would be greatly appreciated. I am resident in the UK.

Thank you
Jack Owens Jr

A quick reply and then…

Hello Pierre,

Thank you for your very prompt response which I was not expecting!

Yes, I would be happy for you to post something on the Facebook pages you mention.  I myself am not on Facebook but can be reached on this e mail address.

Perhaps I should provide a little more background.   My father was killed on active service in a USAF plane crash in Wiesbaden Germany in 1957 when I was 9  and in later years I  made various attempts to collate details of his war time service without too much success.  Recently I received some letters and other memorabilia from a cousin in the US and so I thought I would try again starting with the 26th August 1941 Graduation Banquet Programme for Course 33 number 19 EFTS.  R.C.A.F. Virden Manitoba.

My father was one of the US volunteers in WW2 and travelled up from his home in Texas (or Louisiana?) to join the RCAF.   I believe after graduation from Virden he would have joined an active RCAF squadron as I also have a wings patch but no detail of a squadron.  My belief is that he would have served on bombers in the UK and was required to transfer to the US Army Air force upon entry of the US in to the war sometime after 1942.   A search I originally made of US squadrons of that era threw up the name Lt Jack R Owens and listed various sorties over Germany but it seems there was another pilot with the same name and middle initial  so I cannot confirm that the information related to my father,.  To compound difficulties, there was a fire back in the 1950’s or 60’s in the main records depository in the US and it seems some of his information may have been destroyed. Tracking his movements from the RCAF may make things clearer if I can collate things with dates and squadrons that way.

There was a suggestion that he won the DFC from the RAF but I cannot find confirmation of this.  A letter sent to my Grandmother in Texas from London during the war by a friend serving in the American army mentioned that he had bumped in to my father in London whilst on leave and made mention of an award and this may have been a source of confusion.   He certainly won a US Air Force DFC during active service in the Korean War and I have the citation and medal which confirms this.

I have left it rather late to resume enquiries after the false trails but would like to try and clarify things now and perhaps the RCAF trail will help establish a clearer picture on which to go on.

Any information of your contacts can provide would be gratefully received.

I attach a scan of the above mentioned Banquet Programme which lists names of graduates on the course which may be of interest.

Thank you for your help

Kind regards,

Jack Owens Jr


Graduating Banquet 26 August 1941

Graduating Banquet 26 August 1941 programme

Graduating Banquet 26 August 1941 menu


Graduating Banquet 26 August 1941 graduating class

58 names…

How to search for one who had graduated on August 26, 1941?

To be continued…