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9.9 Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) Cases


Last amended: 28 July 2022

What was the Empire Air Training Scheme Agreement?

The Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) (also known as the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan) was operated by the British Government until mid-1944. The scheme was devised as a way for Britain to meet her need for air crews in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Under its terms, the British Government accepted liability for compensation for any veteran, whose death or incapacity resulted from service, while attached to the RAF.      

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Scope and purpose of the agreement

The agreement applies only to veterans who embarked from Australia before 1 July 1944 for attachment to the RAF. It provides for payment by the British Government to the Australian Government of compensation on the same basis as if the deceased or incapacitated Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) veteran had been a member of the RAF. Payment is made as though he or his dependant(s) was eligible for pension, but not other benefits, under the British law. The payments made are in recognition of the fact that the British Government agreed to accept liability for compensation for death or disability due to RAF service. The primary liability lies with Australia because of the statutory rights of the veterans and their dependants under the VEA.

Supplementary benefits

If the British liability exceeds the total for Australian Disability Compensation Payment, the excess, although paid to the Australian Government, is passed on to the veteran or dependant as a 'supplementary benefit'. The Supplementary Benefit will vary with the rate of exchange, statutory increases and British General Increases.      

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In general terms there are no allowances paid in EATS cases.

Commencement of British Government's liability

The commencement of the British Government's liability is as follows:

  • In respect of fully trained aircrews and ground personnel who proceeded from Australia for service with the RAF, as from the date of embarkation at the Australian port,
  • In respect of personnel trained in Canada or Rhodesia, from the date of embarkation at the Canadian or Rhodesian port for service with the RAF.
Cessation of British Government's liability

The date of cessation of attachment to the RAF and of liability under the agreement, in relation to a veteran who returned to Australia, is the day preceding the date of disembarkation by the veteran in Australia.

Composite assessment war widow

A composite assessment war widow is a war widow who receives both a war widow's pension from DVA and an overseas pension which is similar in nature to the war widow's pension paid by DVA. In this circumstance, the war widow's pension paid by DVA is reduced on a dollar for dollar basis by the overseas pension.

Composite assessment war widows may include an EATS war widow, being the widow of an Empire Training Scheme airman. These war widows are paid a war widow's pension by Great Britain. Where an EATS war widow is also eligible for a war widow's pension from DVA, the DVA payment is similarly reduced dollar for dollar by the overseas pension.

See Also




History Library - Campaigns - Bomber Command

P1/C2/S6/Bomber Command


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Eligibility for Disability Compensation Payment

Chapter 4.1


More → (go back)