Evolved from the BT-9 trainer, the AT-6 (AT for “advanced trainer”, later shortened to just T-6) was a high-performance trainer with more power and retractable landing gear. The T-6 became the main advanced trainer for all of the U.S. services and the British Commonwealth during World War II, with production continuing after the war and amounting to 15,495 aircraft. Besides North American Aviation, the plane was build under license by Canadian Car & Foundry in Fort William, Ontario, now part of the city of Thunder Bay.
T-6s used by the British, whether built in the U.S. or Canada, were named “Harvards” after Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pursuant to British practice of naming American-designed trainers after American colleges. The Navy designated their T-6s as SNJs.
T-6s enjoyed a long period of postwar service in the U.S., Canada and many other countries. Dozens of countries in every part of the world operated T-6s, with the last ones being retired from use as military trainers only in the 1990s.
The CAM’s Harvard Mark IV, C-FVIJ, purchased in the fall of 2014 from a private owner, was built in 1952 at Canadian Car and Foundry in Fort William, ON, one of 270 built for the RCAF. The aircraft was taken on strength by the RCAF with serial number 20382 and is still painted in its original air force colours and markings.