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Smaller National Groups

Burma Volunteer Air Force
In June 1940 the Government of Burma established the Burma Volunteer Air Unit (changed in March 1941 to Burma Volunteer Air Force) as a flying training school. Early activities after war was declared included coastal and ‘black out’ reconnaissance, communications and light transport duties. The unit had 11 De Havilland Tiger Moths, two North American Yales and three other aircraft.

As British forces retreated the BVAF followed and provided what service they could. By the end of March 1942, the BVAF had retreated into India where they lost their independence and name, being reconstituted as No. 221 Group communication Flight and finally AHQ Bengal Communications Squadron. After the war the BVAF was briefly re-formed before the creation of the Burma Air Forces upon independence in 1948.

Ceylon Air Defence Corps
This organisation began with such high hopes. The Air Council approved its formation in January 1944, with the intention of replacing 20% of United Kingdom airmen on the island with 3000 Ceylonese. Half would be tradesmen and aircraft hands; the others would undertake domestic duties. In May 1945, before formal recruitment had begun, the Governor of Ceylon recommended the abandoning of the plan, as the danger of Japanese attacks had passed. The Air Council agreed with the decision.

Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps-Air Arm
Originally recruited in 1930 as the Flying Section of the Corps it was soon renamed. During the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941 Air Arm personnel fought on the ground alongside the Defence Corps’ No.1 Company, as there was no opportunity for flying operations with the light aircraft available to them.

Malayan Volunteer Air Force
In 1936 the British formed the Straits Settlements Volunteer Air Force and equipped it with Hawker Audax biplanes. In 1940 the name was changed and it operated a number of De Havilland Tiger Moths, Leopard Moths and Rapides in the communication and light transport role. Although the remains of the force, which at its height numbered 350 men, escaped from Malaya and Singapore after the Japanese invasion, the fall of Sumatra saw the MVAF overwhelmed.

Mauritius Volunteer Air Force (Marine Craft Section)
Although approved in 1943 it was not until the spring of 1945 that this small force recruited personnel from the population of the island to help with flying boat operations.

Special Technical Corps
Introduced in Malay in August 1940 as the Asiatic Technical Corps, the plan was to recruit locals for service with the Royal Air Force. When Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, many of the personnel dispersed to their homes. Others followed the RAF to Java where they were captured and interned.