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Royal New Zealand Air Force



The system of pre-entry instruction by classes or correspondence, which had been begun in the early months of the war, continued until March 1942. It was then superseded by a course of instruction in Aerodrome Defence Units. These units, whose formation was the result of defence needs, provided an organisation in which aircrew could be grouped prior to beginning their training, and in page 59 which they received their pre-entry education. Correspondence courses and classes were, however, continued for ATC cadets who were unable to join town or school squadrons.

Between the end of May and the beginning of October, Aerodrome Defence Units were formed on some nineteen stations with established strengths of 100, 150 or 200, according to the size of the station. The trainees spent about half their time in general service training, which was a prerequisite of their subsequent aircrew training and at the same time helped to fit them for defending aerodromes against possible attack. The other half was spent in educational training to bring them up to the standard necessary for entry into the Initial Training Wing—or, in the case of electrical and wireless personnel, into the Electrical and Wireless School.

Conditions in ADUs varied considerably according to the geographical layout of the stations and their particular defence needs. The units were housed in hutted camps, in some cases a mile or more from the parent station, as at Tauranga, in others close at hand as at Wigram. On some stations complete days were devoted to purely military training, varied by complete days of educational work. In most cases, however, one half of each day was allotted to each aspect of training. Education accounted for approximately fifteen to twenty hours a week, and the time was divided by the Senior Education Officer of the unit into periods for instruction in mathematics, physics, elementary navigation and signals.

In order to standardise educational training recruits for different categories were, as far as possible, grouped on different stations. Electrical and wireless trainees were posted to the ADUs at Wigram and Harewood, prospective wireless operator/air-gunners went to Hobsonville and Ohakea, observers to Omaka and Whenuapai, and pilots to the other ADUs. An exception to this rule was that intakes from the Air Training Corps of all categories were grouped together. After November, when distinction was no longer made in the various categories of aircrew recruits, it became unnecessary to differentiate between them except in the case of electrical and wireless trainees.

By the end of 1942 the course of the war in the Pacific had changed for the better and New Zealand was no longer in immediate danger of attack. The ADUs then became unnecessary as defence forces. However, they provided a useful organisation for educational training and were retained, with the emphasis on their work becoming increasingly educational. In March 1943 their titles were changed and they became known as Ground Training Squadrons.