Boys for a Man’s Job

Today’s Poster is a classic theme, recruitment.


It’s unusual mainly in conflating the juvenile (school age) Air Training Corps (now the Australian Air Force Cadets, AAFC) experience with training for an air force trade with the Royal Australian Air Force. (RAAF). Formed in 1941, as the war started to tell on Australia’s peacetime resources, “The Corps had two objectives. The primary short-term aim was to train young men between 16 and 18 to join the wartime RAAF. The second, long-term objective (to come into force after the 1939-1945 War), was to encourage young men to increase their knowledge of air matters and in particular the RAAF, instil a sense of discipline, and provide elementary training in air-related technical matters. This objective indicates recognition of a continuing post-war role for the Corps..”

As the Corps’ website notes above, and here: “the Air Training Corps (ATC) – provided pre-entry training for air and ground crews to the RAAF during WWII. In February 1941, the War Cabinet approved the formation of a cadet corps (known as the Air Training Corps or ATC) as part of the RAAF Reserve. … Although staffed by a small nucleus of RAAF personnel, most of ATC’s instructors were unpaid volunteers, many of whom had been pilots in WWI. By 31 October 1943, 12,000 cadets were training. Although this number declined to 7,557 when the Pacific War ended in August 1945, by then just under 12,000 former members had gone on to enlist in the wartime RAAF.”

The poster shows a dynamically presented set of aircraft (a Short Sunderland, Supermarine Spitfires, a de Havilland Mosquito and Bristol Beaufighter) above a group of boys working on a Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah radial engine (as used on the Airspeed Oxford and the Avro Anson) on an airfield in the foreground. As in other recruitment posters, notably the British trade example mentioned here earlier, the opportunity for travel, ‘spanning the globe’ is made explicit with a world in the background, Australia to one side with Africa and India prominent. Then, of course, it was for boys only – while women were breaking ground in Australian military service in the war, girls were yet to be included. All the types mentioned were operated by the RAAF, While the aircraft are clearly identifiable, they are somewhat adapted from reality by the artist, and it is unusual that none of them are shown with camouflage or markings – highlighting their structure, perhaps, but unusual in de-emphasising the nationalistic element.

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

From the Australian War Memorial website here.

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