Ian Rae joined the RAF in 1942, straight from school. After the usual processing through Aircrew Reception Centre at St John’s Wood, a Holding Camp under canvas at Ludlow, Shropshire, Initial Training Wing at Torquay, Grading School at Fairoaks, yet another Holding unit at Heaton Park, Manchester, he finally found his name on the right list and shortly afterwards was on the SS Queen Elizabeth, bound for Canada.
On arrival at Bowden, Alberta, which housed 32 Elementary Flying Training School, he began flying training in earnest on April 6th 1943, moving on to 37 Service Flying Training School at Calgary in June.
Ian Rae received his wings on the 17th September and was posted back to England with a temporary attachment to 15 E.F.T.S, Kingston, Carlisle before joining 10 Flying Instructor School at Woodley near Reading, where he graduated as a Qualified Flying Instructor in April 1944. He was then posted back to 15 E.F.T.S. where he was stationed until June 1945, when he was posted to a new unit at Cranwell – 19 F.T.S – on Harvards.
Demobilised in August 1946, Ian Rae did not fly again until he joined the R.A.F.V.R. in August 1952, flying from 11 R.F.S., Perth until the V.R. was disbanded and he was placed on the Non-Flying List.