Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
1 Canadian Air Group, Canadian Forces Europe

1 Canadian Air Group (1 CAG),

Canadian Forces Europe (CFE)

Data current to 20 August 2019.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4948820)

Canadair CL-13 Mk. 6 formation, RCAF Sky Lancers, 1955. 

 

Canadian Forces Europe (CFE) was the Canadian Forces military contribution to NATO in Europe during the Cold War.  The CF stood alongside its other NATO allies in being prepared to counter the military activities of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies.

CFE consisted of two formations in West Germany, Canadian Forces Base Lahr with 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1957-1993), and No. 1 Air Division RCAF at Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen, which later became 1 Canadian Air Group.  Both formations closed in the early 1990s with the end of the Cold War.

Royal Canadian Air Force elements in CFE

To meet NATO's air defence commitments during the Cold War, No. 1 Air Division RCAF was established in Europe in the early 1950s with four Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) 

 (DND Archives Photo, PC-2144)

Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk. 6 (Serial No. 23757), one of 390 Sabre Mk. 6 (the last version, with Avro Orenda 14 engines) that served with the RCAF.  This Sabre wears the camouflage developed for all RCAF European-based operational aircraft.  The photo was taken while the aircraft belonged to No. 1 Overseas Ferry Unit (OFU) based at St. Hubert, Quebec, which was formed in 1953 to ferry Sabres and T-33s across the North Atlantic.

No. 1 Air Division, RCAF (1952-1967)

The division traces its origins to the activation of Headquarters No. 1 Air Division, Royal Canadian Air Force in Paris, France on 1 October 1952.  No. 1 Air Division headquarters was relocated to Metz, France in April 1953.  No. 1 Air Division was established to meet Canada's NATO air defence commitments in Europe.  It consisted of four wings of of three fighter squadrons each for a total of twelve squadrons located at four bases in France and West Germany.  These included RCAF Station Marville, No. 1 (F) Wing, and RCAF Station Grostenquin, No. 2 (F) Wing in France, RCAF Station Zweibrücken, No. 3 (F) Wing, and RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen, No. 4 (F) Wing in West Germany.

 (DND Photo)

No. 1 (F) Wing was initially located at RCAF Station North Luffenham, England, until October 1954 when it was moved to Marville.  These wings were part of a group of NATO bases which included American and French installations, all of which came under the jurisdiction of NATO's Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force (4 ATAF) which, in turn, was commanded by Allied Forces Central Europe (AAFCE).  Components located in Metz included Air Division Headquarters, an air traffic control centre, a telecommunications centre, a combat operations centre, and a support unit.

 

1 Air RCAF badge.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

1 Canadian Air Division formation flight, Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12797) with Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B (Serial No. 18444), of No. 423 Squadron, Canadair CT-133 Silver Star (Serial No. 585), and Canadair CL-13 Sabre (Serial No. 586), of No. 430 Squadron, 2 (F) Wing, Grostenquin.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter flypast, No. 1 (F) Wing, Marville, France in 1965.

The four fighter wings were part of a group of bases which also included American and French installations, all of which came under the jurisdiction of NATO's Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force (4 ATAF) which, in turn, was commanded by Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE).  Components located in Metz included Air Division Headquarters, an air traffic control centre, a telecommunications centre, a combat operations centre, and a support unit.

 (Jim Bauman Photo)

The L'Ouvrage d'Ars housed the Combat Operations Center (COC).

Initially the 1 Air Division RCAF fighter squadrons flew Canadair CL-13 Sabres, but in November 1956 one squadron of each wing was upgraded with the Canadian-designed and built Avro CF-100 Canuck all-weather fighter.  These were supplied by Canada at the explicit request of SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe) to help fill a shortage of all-weather and night fighter aircraft.  By the early 1960s, four such squadrons of CF-100s had been fused with the eight remaining Sabre squadrons to give the RCAF an around-the-clock fighter defence and bomber escort role.

 (DND Archives Photo, PL-134327)

Château de Mercy, Metz, France, where 1 Air Division was headquartered. 

A large organization with six individual units must, of necessity, have a headquarters. Until 1953, this headquarters was in Paris. However, it soon became apparent that Paris was not easily accessible to the various units on the Continent.  The Château de Mercy in the Metz area filled this particular requirement more satisfactorily and 1 Air Division Headquarters was located there.  1 Air Division Headquarters was situated about three miles southeast of Metz, France.  Metz, with a population of about 100,000 inhabitants at that time, was one of the major cities in the Department of Moselle.  It is situated on the principal road and rail lines enroute from Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg to Switzerland and Italy.  There are many interesting historical sights in this 2,000-year-old city.  61 AC&W Squadron was also located in Metz.

 (RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19102), coded VC-AMN.  This was the first production Sabre from by Canadair.  It was first used by No. 410 "Cougar" (F) Squadron at RCAF Station St. Hubert, Quebec.  No. 410 Squadron moved to No. 1 (Fighter) Wing, Marville, France in 1952.  Canadian squadrons overseas during the Cold War from 1952 forward, were initially equipped with Canadair CL-13 Sabre day fighters. 

In 1956, one squadron of each wing was replaced by the all-weather Avro CF-100 Canuck.

(RCAF Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18383), No. 423 Squadron, 3 (F) Wing, Zweibrücken in flight.

In 1962, the Sabre squadrons were replaced by the (nuclear) strike/reconnaissance Canadair CF-104 Starfighter.

 (RCAF Photo courtesy of Bernie Lind)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter, RCAF (Serial No. 12868) equipped with a Vinten Vicom camera recce pod, in flight over Germany, Sep 1964.

Wings and Squadrons of the RCAF and CAF in Europe (1952-1993)

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

No. 410 and No. 441 Squadron Sabre Mk. 2s start to accumulate on the deck of the HMCS Magnificent at Norfolk Virginia, prior to being ferried across the Atlantic to Glasgow, Scotland in October 1951.  No. 410 Squadron arrived at North Luffenham in November 1951.  The personnel of No. 441 Squadron arrived by ocean liner in February 1952.  In May–June 1952, No. 410 Squadron flew to Europe from RCAF Station Uplands via Bagotville, Goose Bay, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland, in an exercise known as "Operation Leapfrog".

(RCAF Photo courtesy of Bob Jackson)

RCAF Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2s from Uplands, Ontario, en route to Bagotville, Quebec, 1952.

 (RCAF Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 19114) on the flight line, preparing to fly to Europe in May–June 1952.  No. 439 Squadron flew from RCAF Station Uplands via Bagotville, Goose Bay, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland, in an exercise known as “Operation Leapfrog”. 

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19174), No. 439 Squadron, Keflavik, Iceland, June 1952.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2, No. 439 Squadron, BW-1, Greenland.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584682)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19187), No. 439 Squadron, 20 June 1952.

 (DND Archives Photo, PL-62570)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19355), No. 2 (Fighter) Wing at Grostenquin, France.  Two squadrons have landed and the crowd is waiting for the arrival of the third. 

The first Cold War base to open on the European continent was 2 (Fighter) Wing at Grostenquin, France, in October 1952.  Following the pattern of Leap Frog One, the Wing, involving three squadrons, safely flew its own planes across the Atlantic en masse.  The second RCAF base to open on the continental was at Zweibrücken, Germany, in March 1953, where 3 (Fighter) Wing landed after a successful trans-Atlantic Flight.  4 (Fighter) Wing, consisting of three Canadair CL-13 Sabre Squadrons, arrived at Baden-Soellingen, Germany, in September 1953 to complete the planned Canadian 12-squadron contribution to NATO.  The final move was made early in 1955 when 1 (Fighter) Wing moved from North Luffenham to Marville in France.

1 (Fighter) Wing, Marville, France

1 (Fighter) Wing, 1954-1967, was located near the town of Marville, about 60 miles northwest of Metz, France.  Marville is within an hour’s drive of both Verdun, at that time a city of 13,000 inhabitants, and Luxembourg, a city of some 35,000, which is the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.  The base itself was constructed in 1954 and the Wing, formerly situated in England, was re-located in early 1955.

 (DND Photo)

1 (F) Wing, Marville, France, aerial view ca 1950s.

 (DND Photo)

1 (F) Wing, Marville, France, airfield on approach, aerial view ca 1960s.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12747) and (Serial No. 12737), in formation with Vinten Vicom camera recce pods, 1 (F) Wing, 1 Air Division RCAF from Marville, France, 1965.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12758), with a Vinten Vicom camera recce pod, 1 (F) Wing, Marville, Aug 1966.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12781), Recce camera pod, 1 (F) Wing, Marville, France, 1965.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12850), with a Vinten Vicom camera recce pod, 1 (F) Wing, Marville, France, 1967.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12859), formation over 1 (F) Wing, Marville, France, ca 1967.

 (Gary Watson Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12859), RCAF Station Lahr.  Lahr had once served as the site of a German Airship hangar until 191.  It was occupied by the French Air Force from the early 1950s to 1967.   Canada established a presence at Lahr during the late 1960s with the RCAF as part of CFE.  On unification, 1 Feb 1968 the base was renamed CFB Lahr.  CFB Lahr maintained an important defence installation for NATO until the fall of the Berlin Wall in the fall of 1989, and reunification of Germany eliminated the role for permanent deployment of the Canadian Forces in western Europe.  The closure of CF bases in Germany and redeployment was announced in the 1990 budget.  CFB Baden-Soellingen closed its airfield on March 31, 1993, and most units had departed by that summer. The base remained as a detachment of CFB Lahr until it was permanently closed 31 December 1993.  The last unit to leave CFB Lahr was 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group on August 31, 1993. CFB Lahr was officially decommissioned and closed a year later on 31 August 1994.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12758), NATO formation,with German Air Force F-104, USAF McDonnell F-4 Phantom II, RAF Hawker Hunter, French Republic F-84F Thunderstreak and Italian F-104, ca 1969.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12845), profile and (Serial No. 12887) inverted, ca 1965, RCAF Station Cold Lake, Alberta, ca 1965.  Both aircraft later served with 1 (F) Wing.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 104714), 1 CAG, with open maintenance pane, 12 Feb 1976.

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410 Squadron 

410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron, nicknamed the "Cougars", is currently located at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.  The squadron was formed during the Second World War as an RCAF squadron under the RAF, at RAF Ayr, near Prestwick, Scotland.  No. 410 Squadron was the third RCAF night fighter squadron to be formed and was equipped with the Boulton Paul Defiant.  In May 1942 these were replaced by the Bristol Beaufighter.  The first official sortie of No. 410 Squadron was from RAF Drem, East Lothian, Scotland, on the night of 4 June 1942, when twelve Bristol Beaufort crews took off.   In October 1944, the Squadron was re-equipped with de Havilland Mosquito Mk. IIs, with which the first victory for the squadron was claimed/.  It went on to become the top-scoring night fighter squadron in the RAF Second Tactical Air Force during the period between D-Day and VE-Day.

No. 410 Squadron supported the Allied forces during the Normandy Landings and the Battle of the Bulge, flew nightly patrols during this time and many of its pilots gained ace status.  Two members of No. 410 Squadron, Flight Lieutenant (F/L) Currie and Flying Officer (F/O) Rose, were the first members of the RCAF to see the German V-2 rocket in flight.  The squadron flew 2,972 sorties and accumulated 28,150 hours of flight time.  By the end of the war, members of the squadron had claimed 75 34  75 34 enemy aircraft destroyed, 2 probably destroyed, and 9 damaged.  Operational losses included 17 aircraft and personnel losses included 32 aircrew, of whom 10 were killed, 20 presumed dead, and two were made prisoners of war.  Non-operational casualties included 14 aircraft lost and 30 personnel, of whom 29 were killed, 1 injured.

The Squadron moved through a series of RAF bases, but by 5 April 1945 the Cougars were back at RAF Amiens-Glisy.  The final move of the war occurred on 9 June 1945, when the squadron relocated to RAF Gilze-Rijen in the Netherlands.  The squadron was disbanded in June 1945.

No. 410 Squadron was reactivated on 1 December 1946 as an Air Defence squadron flying de Havilland Vampire F.3 aircraft, and was re-formed from a defence role into that of a fighter role at St. Hubert near Montreal, Quebec on 1 December 1948.  From May 1949 to August 1951, the Blue Devils aerobatics team formed, to demonstrate the abilities of the new Vampire aircraft at formation flying.  The squadron later converted to the Canadair CL-13 Sabre and was deployed to Europe, initially flying from RCAF Station North Luffenham in the UK, and then at RCAF Station Marville (No. 1 (Fighter) Wing) in France.  The squadron had been the first regular force fighter unit to fly the Vampire aircraft and was the first to fly the Sabre and the first to join No. 1 (Fighter) Wing of No. 1 Air Division in Europe.

When No. 445 All Weather (Fighter) [AW(F)] Squadron arrived from Canada, however, No. 410 Squadron was deactivated at Marville on 1 October 1956 and reactivated as an all-weather fighter squadron at Uplands near Ottawa, Ontario on 1 November of that year, flying Avro CF-100 Canucks.  When the CF-100s were removed from service in 1961, the McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo interceptor was introduced for North American air defence.  No. 410 Squadron converted to these aircraft and the squadron continued to fly Voodoos until defence cuts led to the squadron being deactivated on 31 March 1964.

In 1968, No. 3 OTU (Operating Training Unit) based at CFB Bagotville was tasked with training pilots and navigators for the three operational RCAF Voodoo squadrons.  It was later renamed No. 410 Squadron. No. 410 Squadron moved to CFB Cold Lake, Alberta in 1982, changing aircraft to become the training unit for Canada's then new McDonnell CF-188 Hornet fighter.  Currently, No. 410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron trains between 20 and 22 pilots a year on the Hornet, more than any other RCAF squadron.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 5 (Serial No. 18605), 410 Squadron. 

(RCAF Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk.4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18321), 1 (F) Wing, Marville landing.

Image result for 439 Squadron

439 Squadron 

No. 439 Squadron was formed as No. 123 (Army Co-operation) Squadron in early 1942 for army training operations in eastern Canada during the Second World War.  It was  being renumbered No. 439 Squadron RCAF in late 1943 when it transferred to England.  The squadron briefly flew Hawker Hurricane fighters before receiving the Hawker Typhoon.  It flew ground attack missions with the Second Tactical Air Force (2nd TAF) in support of the Allied advance in northwestern Europe from mid-1944 to the end of the war in May 1945.

Disbanded shortly after the end of the Second World War, the squadron was reformed in 1951, operating the Canadair CL-13 Sabre from England and France until 1963, when it was disbanded.  It was quickly reformed as 439 Reconnaissance/Attack Squadron, operating the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter.  After moving to Germany in 1967, 439 Squadron underwent several redesignations before assuming a ground attack mission at CFB Baden-Soellingen as 439 Tactical Fighter Squadron.  After converting to the McDonnell CF-199 Hornet fighter in the mid-1980s, the squadron participated in the Gulf War.  It assumed its current title in 1993, operating the Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter.

 (DND Archives Photo, PC-81)

Canadair CL-13 Sabres, No. 439 Squadron, lined up on the tarmac at Uplands in Ottawa.

 (RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre (Serial No. 19188), No. 439 Squadron.

 (RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 19198), 439 Squadron, 1 (F) Wing, Marville, France, May 1954.

No. 410 and 441 Squadrons left North Luffenham in 1954 for temporary bases in Germany (410 Squadron was relocated to Baden-Soellingen and 441 to Zweibrücken).  They finally arrived at the completed Marville base in 1955.  No. 439 Squadron flew directly from North Luffenham to Marville in 1955.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19162), behind three Sabre jet pilots from No. 441 (Silver Fox) Squadron based with No. 1 Fighter Wing at RCAF Station North Luffenham, England, at their English base before leaving for No. 3 Fighter Wing at Zweibrücken, Germany, where the Squadron was temporarily housed until the new field at Marville, France, was completed.  Left to right: Flying Officer H.A. Davidson, of Toronto; Flying Officer D.D. Bergie, Trenton, Ontario; Flying Officer H.D. Klein, of Agassiz, British Columbia.  Flying Officer H.A. Davidson was killed 2 May 1957 after an unsuccessful low-level ejection attempt during a forced landing at Marville.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6 (Serial No. 23469), No. 439 Squadron.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of Gerry McCully)

(RCAF Photo courtesy of Gerry McCully)

RCAF Canadair CL-13 Sabres from No. 439 Squadron, 1 (F) Wing, ca. 1958.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6, RCAF (Serial No. 23513), (Serial No. 23606), (Serial No. 23587) plus one, in formation with Sabres from No. 439 Squadron in flight.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of Bill Bristow)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6, RCAF (Serial No. 23512), No. 439 Squadron.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of Bernie Lind)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6, RCAF (Serial No. 23604), No. 439 Squadron.

 (DND Photo)

Wing Commander John P. Bell, commanding officer of No. 439 Squadron, sits in the cockpit of his Canadair CL-13 Sabre with the squadron’s mascot “Fang”, 1 (F) Wing, Marville, France, 31 August 1962.

(RCAF Photo)

RCAF Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6 formation, 439 Squadron.

 (RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6, 439 Squadron on the flight line.

NATO bases in France, including Marville, were short-lived.  In 1963 the Government of France announced that all nuclear weapons in France were to be placed under French control.  This was unacceptable to the RCAF (and other NATO units stationed in France), so the two nuclear strike squadrons at No. 2 (F) Wing were hastily moved to Zweibrücken and Baden-Soellingen while remaining non-nuclear armed units in France were repositioned to Marville.  RCAF Station Grostenquin was closed in 1964.  Marville's two remaining squadrons converted to a strictly reconnaissance role.  In March 1966 the Government of France announced that it would be withdrawing its military forces from NATO and that NATO units based in France would have to leave or fall under French command.  In April 1967 Marville was closed and the RCAF moved 439 and 441 Squadrons to CFB Lahr (now Black Forest Airport), West Germany.

 (Aldo Bidini Photo)

Canadair CT-133 Silver Star (Serial No. 133579), No. 439 Squadron.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 104799), with a Vinten Vicom camera recce pod, CFB Lahr, ca 1970s

 (Mike Freer, Touchdown aviation Photo)

Canadair CF-104D Starfighter, CAF (Serial No. 104653), 439 Squadron based at CFB Baden-Soellingen, 12 Aug 1972.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 104733), 1970 AFCENT Meet, Spangdahlem, Germany.

 (John Davies - CYOW Airport Watch Photos)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 104838), 1 CAG, based at CFB Baden-Soellingen, painted in the Tiger Paint Scheme,m getting a quick turn around at Lahr's South Marg, 1977. 

 (Mike Freer, Touchdown aviation Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter, CAF (Serial No. 104733), 439 Squadron, 1 CAG, CFB Baden-Soellingen, 30 July 1976.

(Mike Freer, Touchdown aviation Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 104720), 439 Squadron, 1 CAG, based at CFB Baden-Soellingen.

 (Mike Freer, Touchdown aviation Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 104776), 1 CAG, based at CFB Baden-Soellingen.

 (Mike Freer, Touchdown aviation Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 104830), 1 CAG, based at CFB Baden-Soellingen.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CT-133 Silver Star (Serial No. 133094), based at CFB Baden-Soellingen.

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441 Squadron 

No. 125 (Fighter) Squadron was formed on 20 April 1942 at Sydney, Nova Scotia and flew Hawker Hurricanes as part of RCAF Eastern Air Command.  It was renumbered No. 441 Fighter Squadron when it transferred overseas to RAF Station Digby, Lincolnshire, England, on 8 February 1944.  The Squadron was posted to airfields in England, France, and Belgium throughout the Second World War, flying the Supermarine Spitfire.  When the squadron returned to England it was disbanded on 7 August 1945.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19127), No. 441 Squadron.

No. 1 (F) Wing, Canada's first NATO fighter wing, was initially located at North Luffenham, England since its French base was not ready.  The first of the wing's three fighter squadrons (all squadrons flying Canadair CL-13 Sabres), No. 410 Squadron, arrived at North Luffenham in November 1951.  The squadron and its aircraft, along with those of No. 441 Squadron, were ferried across the Atlantic to Glasgow, Scotland aboard HMCS Magnificent.  The personnel of 441 arrived by ocean liner in February 1952.  In May–June 1952, No. 439 Squadron flew from RCAF Station Uplands via Bagotville, Goose Bay, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland, in an exercise known as “Operation Leapfrog”.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19150), 441 Sqn, North Luffenham, England.  

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19274), No. 441 Squadron, North Luffenham.

 (DND Archives Photo, MV-6899-3)

441 Fighter Squadron aircrew, No. 1 (Fighter) Wing, Marville, France.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6 (Serial No. 23650), No. 441 Squadron, 4 (F) Baden-Soellingen, Germany.

No. 441 Squadron reformed at RCAF Station St. Hubert, Quebec, on 1 March 1951 and went to No. 1 (F) Wing, then located at RAF North Luffenham, in Rutland, England on 13 February 1952.  The squadron was temporarily situated at 3 (F) Wing Zweibrücken on 21 December 1954, before moving to their intended destination, RCAF Station Marville, France.  The Squadron was disbanded on 1 September 1963 at Marville and then reformed as No. 441 Squadron on 15 September 1963.  The Squadron then moved with No. 1 (F) Wing to CFB Lahr, Germany, in April 1967.  In 1971 the squadron moved to CFB Baden-Soellingen and changed its name to 441 Tactical Fighter Squadron.  They disbanded again in 1986 and then finally reformed at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, on 26 June 1986.

On 6 July 2006, No. 441 Squadron was once again disbanded.  The Squadron's crew amalgamated with 416 Tactical Fighter Squadron at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta, and re-formed as 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron.  The squadron's colours and battle honours were placed in Sydney, Nova Scotia, where it first operated.

(DND Photo via Mike Paradie)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5 (Serial No, 23017), No. 441 Squadron.

 (RCAF Photo courtesy of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

RCAF Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6, RCAF (Serial No. 23671) and other Sabres from 441 Squadron in formation.

 (DND Image Library Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18421), 441 Squadron.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12785), No. 441 Sqn.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12785), No. 441 Sqn.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 104785), checkerboard paint scheme, No. 441 Silver Fox Tactical Fighter Squadron, CFB Baden-Soellingen, Germany.

 (DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 104785), No. 441 Silver Fox Tactical Fighter Squadron, CFB Baden-Soellingen, Germany. 

No. 445 Squadron RCAF badge.jpg

445 Squadron 

No. 445 Squadron was formed in 1953 at CFB North Bay, Ontario, and equipped with the Avro CF-100 Canuck.  The Squadron was relocated to CFB Uplands, Ontario, shortly afterwards.  In 1956, 445 Squadron relocated to RCAF Station Marville in France becoming an All-weather Fighter Squadron.  The Squadron was disbanded in December 1962 when the CF-100s were retired by the RCAF.

 (DND Photo)

Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck (Serial No. 18359), No. 445 Squadron, being refuelled at 1 Fighter Wing in Marville, France ca 1960.

NATO identified a shortage in all-weather fighter/interceptor aircraft in 1955 and in 1956 the RCAF responded by providing the Air Division with four squadrons equipped with the Avro CF-100 Canuck.  This aircraft had all weather and night operation capabilities.  One Sabre squadron in each wing was replaced by a CF-100 squadron.  At Marville, 445 Squadron replaced 410 Squadron.  In 1962, the two remaining Sabre squadrons converted to Canadair CF-104 Starfighters, as did all the other Air Division Sabre squadrons.  The CF-104 supported Canada's new and controversial nuclear strike role since it could be equipped with nuclear weapons.  The Starfighter also had a reconnaissance role. 

 (RCAF Photo courtesy of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4A (Serial No. 18268), No. 445 Squadron flight line.  When four all-weather CF-100 squadrons entered service with Air Division in 1956, No. 416 Squadron was replaced by 423 Squadron at No. 2 (F) Wing flying the Canuck.

2 Wing

2 (Fighter) Wing, Grostenquin, France

2 (Fighter) Wing was located near the town of Grostenquin, approximately 35 miles southeast of Metz in the Department of Moselle.  The surrounding countryside is primarily agricultural, although there are coal mines scattered throughout the area.  The closest town is Faulquemont, with a then population of 4,000, situated seven miles from the the base.  It served as the railhead for 2 (F) Wing.  St. Avold, the largest of the surrounding towns and the location of the private married quarters (PMQs) for 2 (F) Wing, was approximately 11 miles from the station.

 (DND Photo)

2 (Fighter) Wing, Grostenquin, France, main gate.

 (DND Photo)

2 (Fighter) Wing, Grostenquin, France, airfield, oblique aerial view.

 (DND Photo)

2 (Fighter) Wing, Grostenquin, France, airfield, vertical aerial view.

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416 Squadron 

416 squadron was reformed in 1952 at RCAF Station Uplands in Ottawa, Ontario for operations in Europe as part of Canada's Cold War presence.  The squadron was located at RCAF Station Grostenquin, France.  By 1957, the squadron was relocated to Canada at RCAF Station St. Hubert near Montreal as an air defence squadron flying the Avro CF-100 Canuck all weather fighters.  In 1962, the CF-100s were replaced with the McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo and the squadron was moved to RCAF Station Chatham, New Brunswick, where they flew the interceptor until the end of 1984.  416 Squadron thus became the world's last front-line unit flying Voodoos.

In 1988 the squadron relocated to CFB Cold Lake, Alberta as a Tactical Fighter Squadron flying McDonnell CF-188 Hornet fighters and later merged with 441 Tactical Fighter Squadron to reform 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron in 2006.  The squadron's nickname was City of Oshawa, Lynx.

 (RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5, RCAF (Serial No. 19250), coded AS250, No. 416 Squadron at No. 2 (F) Wing, RCAF Station Grostenquin, France, 1953.  No. 416 Squadron RCAF was formed at RAF Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1941 as a fighter squadron for service during the Second World War and was based at various RAF stations in Scotland, England and continental Europe.  The squadron was disbanded in March 1946.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 19338), 2 (F) Wing, coded AS338, No. 416 Squadron at No. 2 (F) Wing, RCAF Station Grostenquin, France, 1953.

No. 2 (F) Wing's three squadrons also flew from Canada between 28 September 11 October 1952 during Operation Leapfrog II.  They were the first of the Canadian Air Division squadrons to arrive in mainland Europe, and the first RCAF squadrons to be based on the European mainland since March 1946.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5 (Serial No. 23125), No. 416 Squadron, Exercise Carte Blanche, June 1955.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 5 (Serial No. 18616), No. 416 Squadron.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 5 (Serial No. 18631), No. 416 Squadron, with a USAF Northrop F-89 Scorpion.  

When four all-weather CF-100 squadrons entered service with Air Division in 1956, No. 416 Squadron was replaced by 423 Squadron at No. 2 (F) Wing flying the Canuck. 

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421 Squadron 

421 Squadron was initially established at RAF Digby in the UK in April 1942, equipped with Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VA fighters/.  The squadron moving to RAF Fairwood Common in May 1942 and was re-equipped with the Spitfire Mk. VB.  The squadron's motto was Bellicum cecinere ("They have sounded the war trumpet"). Its badge was, in front of two tomahawks in saltire, a Red Indian Warrior.  The squadron flew on fighter operations in Great Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands under 'Fighter Command' and '2nd Tactical Air Force'.  It remained in Germany after the war with the 'British Air Forces of Occupation (Germany)'.

During 1942 the squadron was under 10 Group.  In January 1943 the squadron joined No. 127 (Canadian) Wing and moved to Redhill airfield.  Late in the spring of 1943 the squadron received Spitfire Mk. IXs and flew under the command of Wing Commander Johnnie Johnson.  In preparation for the Normandy landings, No. 127 Wing was assigned to RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force.  On June 16 the squadron and the other squadrons of 127 Wing were the first to be moved to Normandy and flew air superiority missions.  After the allied breakout and quick advance towards the Reich, 421 Squadron was based in Evere, Belgium by October 1944.  During December 1944 the squadron received the Spitfire Mk. XIV.  In 1945 the unit participated in the liberation of the Netherlands, before moving into Germany.  At the end of the war the unit had achieved over 90 aerial victories.

The squadron was disbanded shortly after the war ended, but was re-activated on 15 September 1949 at RCAF Station Chatham, New brunswick, flying de Havilland DH.100 Vampire jet fighters from bases in the UK and later flying Canadair CL-13 Sabres from Grostenquiin, France.  In 1962 it was equipped with Canadair CF-104 Starfighters and in 1967 the squadron moved to Zweibrücken, Germany, later moving to No. 4 (F) Wing, Baden-Soellingen.  During the early 1980s it was equipped with McDonnell CF-188 Hornet fighters.  At the end of the Cold War, the squadron was disbanded and its aircraft and personnel returned to Canada.

 (RCAF Photo)

RCAF Canadair CL-13 Sabres No. 1 Air Division RCAF, being refuelled during a NATO Air Firing Competition conducted by AAFCE.   Squadron emblems on the tails of these Sabres, left to right No. 439 Squadron, No. 434 Squadron, No. 430 Squadron, and No. 421 Squadron.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6 (Serial No. 23648), coded AX648, No. 421 Squadron, RCAF Station Grostenquin, France, 21 May 1957.

In the fall of 1962 the remaining Sabre squadrons of the Air Division, including Nos. 421 and 430 Squadrons at No. 2 (F) Wing, were re-equipped with the Starfighter.  Concurrently, CF-100s ceased operation in the Air Division and 423 Squadron was disbanded.

NATO bases in France, including Grostenquin, were short-lived.  In 1963 the Government of France announced that all nuclear weapons in France were to be placed under French control. This was unacceptable to the RCAF (and other NATO units stationed in France), so the two nuclear strike squadrons (421 and 430 Squadrons) at No. 2 (F) Wing were hastily relocated; 430 Squadron moved to 3 (F) Wing Zweibrücken and 421 Squadron moved to No. 4 (F) Wing, Baden-Soellingen.  No. 2 (F) Wing, RCAF Station Grostenquin closed in 1964.

After RCAF left France it was reorganized and consolidated with Canada's other two services.  No. 1 Air Division was replaced by No. 1 Canadian Air Group (1 CAG) with its headquarters at CFB Lahr.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6s of No. 421 Squadron, RCAF Station Grostenquin, France, 21 May 1957.

In the fall of 1963 the nuclear-capable 421 Squadron at No. 2 (F) Wing was moved to Baden-Soellingen and the similarly equipped 430 Squadron at No. 2 (F) Wing moved to Zweibrücken.  Remaining non-nuclear armed units in France were repositioned to RCAF Station Marville.

In March 1966, when the Government of France announced that it would be withdrawing its military forces from NATO and that current NATO units based in France must leave or fall under French military command, the RCAF looked for a new home in Western Europe for No. 1 (F) Wing and 1 Air Division Headquarters.  They settled on Base Aérienne 139 Lahr-Hugsweier which the Armée de l'Air was vacating as per the French government's announced withdrawal from NATO military integrated organisation.  RCAF personnel, aircraft and equipment were transferred to the new RCAF Station Lahr (now the Black Forest Airport) by March 1967 with dependents to follow later.

On 1 February 1968 the RCAF merged with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Canadian Army to form the unified Canadian Forces. RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen was renamed Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen, or CFB Baden-Soellingen.  As part of an effort to remove duplication and cut the defence budget following unification of the services, Zweibrücken was closed with its units consolidating at Lahr and Baden-Soellingen.

(DND Photo)

 (DND Photo)

(DND Photo, F/O Louis Le Compte)

Canadair CL-13 Mk. 6 Sabre, RCAF (Serial No. 23439) and other Sky Lancers in formation, 1 March 1956.   F/O J.D. (Dale) McLarty (team leader) 414 Squadron flying in 23483.  F/O J.H. (Jake)Adams (right wing) 444 Squadron flying in 23445.   F/O E.H. (Ed) Welters (left wing) 414 Squadron flying in 23524.  F/O F.K. (Fred) Axtell (slot) 422 Squadron flying in 23439.  F/O L.C. (Les) Price (team solo), 444 Squadron, flying the chase plane.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Mk. 6 Sabre, RCAF (Serial No. 23408), Sky Lancer ca 1955.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabres (Serial Nos. 23226, 23310, 23057, and 23159), Sky Lancers, 1955.

Pilots from all three Sabre squadrons at No. 2 (F) Wing flew with the aerobatic team, the Sky Lancers.  The team was formed in March 1955 and performed throughout Europe until October 1955.  The following year the team was based at No. 4 (F) Wing.  In 1956, No. 4 (F) Wing at Baden-Soellingen, Germany provided the members of the Sky Lancers.  On 2 March 1956, while practicing their routine over the Rhine valley, the Sky Lancers crashed near the Vosges mountains south west of Strasbourg killing four of the five team members.  This accident put an end to RCAF aerobatic teams for several years.

 (RuthAS Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter, CAF (Serial No. 104795), No. 421 Squadron, at RAF Greenham Common in 1973.

No. 423 Squadron RCAF badge.jpg

423 Squadron

No. 423 Squadron RCAF was formed in 1942 at Oban, Argyll, Scotland for General Reconnaissance duties. The Squadron later moved to RAF Castle Archdale, Northern Ireland where it flew Short Sunderland flying boat patrol bombers.  It changed to a transport role in 1945 and was disbanded later that year.  The Squadron was re-formed in 1953 at RCAF Station St. Hubert, flying the Avro CF-100 Canuck in a continental defence role.  The Squadron was transferred to RCAF Station Grostenquin in 1957 where it replaced No. 416 Squadron, which which flew Canadair CL-13 Sabres.  The squadron was again disbanded in 1962 when the RCAF's CF-100s were removed from service.  In 1974, it was re-formed again as No. 423 Anti-Submarine Squadron.  In 1995 its name was changed to 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron.  It flew Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King helicopters in support of Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) warships during the 1991 Gulf War and in the Arabian Sea after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.  It has been operating Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopters since January 2018.

 (RCAF Photo)

Two RCAF Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4Bs of No. 423 Squadron in 1962.  CF-100 (Serial No. 18364) with F/O Saunders and F/O Maltais, breaking away from CF-100 (Serial No. 18330) with F/O Stannes and F/L Mack.  Photo was taken while the aircraft were participating in training at the Air Weapons (training) Unit at Decimomanu Sardinia.  These CF-100s were based at RCAF Station Grostenquin, No. 2 Fighter Wing, France.  Front-line CF-100s were used by the RCAF in Europe from 1956 to 1962.

(RCAF Photo)

Avro CF-100 Cancuk Mk.4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18364), 423 Squadron.

 (DND Image Library Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18383), 423 Squadron.

 (DND Image Library Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18406), 423 Squadron.

 (DND Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B (Serial No. 18353), No. 423 Squadron.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B (Serial No. 18409), No. 423 Squadron, being lifted by a crane. 

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430 Squadron 

No. 430 Squadron RCAF was formed during the Second World War as the "City of Sudbury" squadron in 1943.  Initially created as an army co-operation squadron, 430 Squaderon was redesignated as a fighter reconnaissance unit later that year.  The unit was stationed in England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, and flew photo reconnaissance missions in support of planning for the Normandy landings.  After D-Day, missions included before-and-after photography of attacks on V-1 flying bomb launch sites and support for ground forces.  430 Squadron was disbanded in Germany in August 1945.

In the Cold War period, the squadron was reformed in November 1951 at RCAF Station North Bay, Ontario, flying the Canadair CL-13 Sabre.  It was given the nickname Silver Falcon.  430 Fighter Squadron went to 2 (F) Wing RCAF Station Grostenquin, France, in September 1952. The squadron was located at Grostenquin until deactivation in September 1962.  430 Fighter Squadron was reactivated at 3 (F) Wing, Zweibrücken, Germany, in February 1963, and transitioned to the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter.  The squadron moved to No. 1 (F) Wing, Lahr, Germany, in February 1969 until it was disbanded in May 1970.

The unit reformed again in 1971 as a French-language CF tactical helicopter squadron at CFB Valcartier, Quebec, and known officially as 430e Escadron tactique d'hélicoptères.  There it operated the Bell CH-136 Kiowa helicopter, and the Bell CH-135 Twin Huey helicopter in support of 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group.  The unit transitioned to the Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter in 1994.

 (SPAADS Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre (Serial No. 23578), 430 Squadro, 3 (F) Wing.

(DND Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6s of No. 430 Squadron, on Zulu alert at RCAF Station Grostenquin, France, June 1960.  The squadrons originally based at Grostenquin were Nos. 416, 421 and 430. 

3 (Fighter) Wing, Zweibrücken, Germany

3 (Fighter) Wing was located near the town of Zweibrücken on the western-most border of Germany.  Zweibrücken, largely destroyed during the Second World War, was rebuilt into a then semi-modern city of 30,000 inhabitants.  It is located in the Rhineland-Palatinate, an area of rolling hills and forests, while on the plateau, about three miles southeast of the city, the site of the original RCAF air base overlooked the countryside.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre formation over the main gate at 3 (F) Wing Zweibrücken.  This author passed through this gate many times as a boy with his father, RCAF WO (Retired) Aage C. Skaarup when he was an LAC at 3 (F) Wing, RCAF Station Zweibrücken, Germany from 1959 to 1963.

Author's note: on Wednesday 10 Jun 1959, our family left Montreal’s Pier 42 after boarding the Greek Lines ship “Arcadia,” and along with many other RCAF families, sailed for LeHavre, France, where we arrived on 17 Jun 1959. On 18 Jun we boarded a coal fed locomotive to go to Paris, and then boarded another train for Homburg, Germany.  From there we drove to hour new home at Number 19 Zaberner Straßße, Zweibrücken, Germany, as my father prepared to serve at 3 (F) Wing.  After four years overseas, on 19 Jun 1963 we said goodbye to Zweibrücken, and took a bus to 1 (F) Wing, Marveille, France, stopping for lunch at 2 (F) Wing in Grostenquin en route.  On 20 Jun 1963, we boarded a Canadair CC-106 Yukon No. 22 and flew back to Canada.  This was my first flight, landing at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario. We spent the first of many later stops at the Yukon Lodge.  I was later very lucky to have been based at CFB Lahr from June 1981 to 2 Jul 83.  Good things happen quite unexpectedly sometimes, and after completing a lot of courses, training and postings, we found ourselves back in Germany again in June 1989.  Our last flight out of Lahr was on 28 Jun 1992, this time on a Boeing CC-137.  I was also able to visit Lahr while on leave from Bosnia-Herzegovina on 10 Sep 97.  The city is the same, but except for a few signs, the Canadian presence is missing, much like Zweibrücken.

 (LCol (ret’d) Syd Burrows Photo)

No. 1 RCAF Air Division aerobatic team, "the Fireballs", in 1954 at No. 3 Fighter Wing, Zweibrucken, Germany.  From left to right: S/L Chuck Keating (lead), F/O Rick Mace, F/O Syd Burrows and F/O Jack Frazer.

 (DND Photo)

3 (F) Alert crew, PR photo.

 (DND Photo)

An Avro CF-100 Canuck (Serial No. 18324), a pair of Canadair CL-13 Sabres and a Canadair CT-133 Silver Star, in formation over 3 (F) Wing.

 (DND Photo)

Zweibrucken, PMQ area, with Schonblick School in the centre, ca. 1955.

413 Squadron

413 Squadron was created as the third RCAF squadron attached to RAF Coastal Command.  It was equipped with Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boats.  The squadron gained fame for the actions of Squadron Leader Leonard Birchall, who detected a large Japanese task force approaching Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).  This allowed time for the defenders to prepare, and foiled what could have been a major blow to the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean.  The squadron was disbanded in February 1945.  It was reformed at RCAF Station Rockcliffe on 1 April 1947, and took over the duties of No. 13 (Photographic) Squadron.  It served in this role until 1 November 1950.  The squadron was reformed again on 1 August 1951, as a fighter squadron at RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec.  It was equipped with the Canadair CL-13 Sabre before deploying to Zweibrücken.  The squadron stood down on 7 April 1957, and was then reformed on 1 May 1957 operating the Avro CF-100 Canuck at Bagotville.  The squadron was again disbanded on 30 December 1961.  The squadron was reactivated at CFB Summerside, PEI on 8 July 1968, as a Transportation and Rescue Squadron.  With the closure of CFB Summerside, the squadron was relocated to CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia on 10 June 1991.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5 (Serial No. 23108).  Strapped in the cockpits of their Sabre aircraft Pilots of No. 413 Squadron are on two minute readiness awaiting the signal flares which will send them into the air to intercept 'enemy' raiders.  413 Squadron was on an exchange exercise with the Dutch Air Force, to test mobility and cross-servicing in the late 1960s.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19451), No. 413 Squadron formation climbing over 3 (F) Wing.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19138), No. 413 Squadron.

The three squadrons flying out of No. 3 (F) Wing, RCAF Station Zweibrücken, flew Canadair CL-13 Sabres and included No. 413, No. 427 and No. 434 Squadron.  All three arrived at Zweibrücken in March 1953.

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427 Squadron 

No. 427 Squadron was formed as a bomber squadron at Croft, England on 7 November 1942 and spent its wartime entirely in England as a part of No. 6 Group RCAF, RAF Bomber Command.  427 Squadron flew Vickers Wellington Mk. IIIs and Mk. Xs from its first operational mission on 14 December 1942, a minelaying sortie to the Frisian Islands, until May 1943 when it was relocated to Leeming, North Yorkshire.  The Squadron was re-equipped with Handley Page Halifax Mk. V aircraft, and then flew intensely until early 1944 when it replaced its inventory with Halifax Mk. III aircraft.  This fleet saw the greatest number of missions and in slightly more than a year's time they were then replaced by Avro Lancaster bombers prior to the end of the Second World War.  The Lancasters were used for Prisoner of War repatriation until the end of May 1946.  427 Squadron was stood down on 1 June 1946.

The squadron was reformed on 1 August 1952 at RCAF Station St. Hubert, Quebec, as 427 Fighter Squadron, flying Canadair CL-13 Sabres, and was transferred to No. 3 (Fighter) Wing at Zweibrücken, Germany, in March 1953.  The Squadron was selected as the first European RCAF squadron to receive the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter in the nuclear strike role.  The squadron was stood down from its day-fighter role on 15 December 1962 and reformed as 427 (Strike-Attack) Squadron two days later.  On 1 February 1968, unification integrated 427 Squadron into the new CF.  The squadron was again disbanded on 1 July 1970.  427 Squadron was reformed as 427 Tactical Helicopter Squadron at CFB Petawawa, Ontario, where it continues to serve.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19427), No. 427 Squadron, 3 (F) Wing, Zweibrücken, 1954.

(RCAF Photo, PC-196)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 19427), No. 427 Squadron, 13 Feb 1953.

Beginning in early 1962, the RCAF commenced training on the CF-104 at No. 6 Strike/Reconnaissance OTU  established at Cold Lake, Alberta in late 1961 and eventually redesignated No. 417 Squadron). In the same year they were also delivered to the squadrons in Europe.  One hundred and thirty nine were partially disassembled and flown in Lockheed CC-130 Hercules transport aircraft, to form eight squadrons -  six nuclear strike in Germany and two photo-reconnaissance in France.

No. 427 Squadron was the first to form, with initial deliveries to No. 3 (F) Wing at Zweibrücken, Germany in December of 1962.  No. 434 Squadron joined No. 427 Squadron in April of 1963.  No. 444 and No. 422 Squadrons were formed at No. 4 (F) Wing in Baden-Soellingen, Germany in May and July 1963.  No. 430 and No. 421 Squadrons initially proceeded to No. 2 (F) Wing at Grostonquin, France in September and December, in1963; however in February of 1964, just before France withdrew from NATO in 1966, No. 2 (F) Wing was disbanded, and its two CF-104 squadrons were transferred to other bases, with No. 421 Squadron moving to No. 4 (F) Wing and No. 430 Squadron moving to No. 3 (F) Wing.  The two photo-reconnaissance Squadrons, No. 441 and No. 439 were formed at No. 1 (F) Wing in Marville, France in January and March, 1964.  Marville was closed by March of 1967 and its two CF-104 squadrons moved to Lahr, Germany.  No. 434 and No. 444 Squadrons were disbanded in 1967-68, reducing CF-104 strength to four nuclear strike squadrons and two tactical reconnaissance squadrons.  In May of 1969, No. 3 (F) Wing at Zweibrücken was closed, and No. 427 Squadron was relocated to Baden-Soellingen and No. 430 to Lahr.

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434 Squadron 

No. 434 Squadron was first formed at RAF Tholthorpe in the UK, on 13 June 1943, flying the Handley Page Halifax Mk. V bomber.  On 13 August 1943 it flew its first operational sortie, a bombing raid across the Alps to Milan, Italy.  In May 1944 the unit received Halifax Mk. IIIs to replace its Mk. Vs.  The squadron was adopted by the Rotary Club of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and to show its connection to the city adopted the nickname "Bluenose Squadron", the common nickname for people from Nova Scotia and a tribute to the schooner Bluenose.  An image of the schooner appeared on the squadron badge.

The squadron moved to RAF Croft in December 1943 and re-equipped with Avro Lancaster Mk. Is and Mk. Xs in December 1944.  After VE Day, the squadron was earmarked for Tiger Force to carry on the war against Japan, but was never deployed to the Far East.  The unit was disbanded at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, on 5 September 1945.

During the Second World War, the unit flew 198 missions, including 179 bombing, 17 mine laying, one diversionary and one sea search.  This was made up of a total of 2,582 individual aircraft sorties, including 45 prisoner of war airlift sorties.  It flew 14,622 operational flying hours and dropped 10,358 tons of bombs plus 225 mines.  The squadron accounted for seven enemy aircraft destroyed along with two probable and four damaged.  434 Squadron suffered 75 aircraft lost, 484 aircrew operational casualties, including 34 killed, 313 presumed dead, 121 made prisoners and 16 who evaded capture and escaped.  The non-operational casualty total was eight killed, plus one member who died of natural causes.  Unit personnel received six bars to the DFC, 108 DFCs, six DFMs, one BEM and seven MiDs.

The squadron was reformed flying the Canadair CL-13 Sabre and stationed as part of 3 (F) Wing at RCAF Station Zweibrücken, Germany, on 7 March 1953, but was stood down on 16 June 1962.  It was re-activated on 8 April 1963 as a Canadair CF-104 Starfighter unit in the strike/attack role and disbanded again on 1 March 1967.  434 Operational Training Squadron formed at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta as the Canadair CF-116 Freedom Fighter operational training unit on 15 February 1968.  The squadron later gave up OTU duties to 419 Squadron and became an operational squadron, moving to CFB Bagotville, Quebec on 15 July 1982 later moving to CFB Chatham, New Brunswick, in July 1985.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre (Serial No. 23707), 434 Squadron.

The unit became 434 Composite Squadron and reformed at CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia, on 4 July 1992.  The name was changed to 434 Combat Support Squadron and the unit moved to CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia in mid-1995, flying the Canadair CC-144 Challenger and the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star in the electric warfare role.  The squadron was disbanded there in May 2000.  The squadron was reactivated in May 2018 at CFB Trenton, Ontario, as a test and evaluation unit.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6 (Serial No. 23466).  No. 434 Squadron deployed to 2 (F) Wing in the summer of 1962.  The runways at 3 (F) Wing were closed to prepare for the arrival of the Canadair CF-104 Starfighters.  The Sabres were flown from there to Preswick in the UK for disposal.

  (DND Photo via Dan Smith)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 18232), 434 Squadron.

 (DND Photo via Dan Smith)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (Serial No. 18439), 434 Squadron.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabres, 434 Squadron,  3 (F) Wing, Zweibrucken

No. 440 Squadron RCAF badge.jpg

440 Squadron

No. 440 Squadron RCAF was a formed on 5 October 1932 as No. 11 (Army Co-Operation) Squadron before being redesignated No. 111 (Coast Artillery Co-Operation) Squadron on 15 November 1937.  At the outbreak of the Second World War the squadron formed a detachment at Patricia Bay on Vancouver Island, before being redesignated No. 111 (Fighter) Squadron on 1 July 1940.  At this time the squadron flew the Westland Lysander.  It was disbanded on 1 February 1941 and then reformed on 3 November 1941 flying the Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk fighter The squadron and took part in air defence operations in Western Canada and in the Aleutian Islands Campaign under RCAF Western Command The squadron had the distinction of shooting down the only Japanese fighter by the RCAF home air force during the war.  From the new American base in Umnak, Alaska, flying the Curtis P-40K from American stock, 111 Squadron took part in several raids against the Japanese base at Kiska.  On 26 September 1942 the Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader K A Boomer, shot down an intercepting Nakajima A6M-2N Rufe fighter while leading four Canadian-manned P-40s involved in flak suppression.

The squadron moved to RAF Ayr in the UK, where it was redesignated No. 440 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron on 8 February 1944 as an Article XV squadron under the control of the Royal Air Force.   It was the third Canadian Typhoon equipped squadron of No. 143 Wing.  The squadron was equipped with the Hawker Hurricane for working up but changed to the Hawker Typhoon once they were delivered.

After a period of training the squadron began operations on 30 March 1944 with the Typhoons from RAF Hurnin the fighter bomber role.  Originally the Typhoons were fitted with 500-pound (230 kg) bombs but later were able to carry a 1,000-pound (450 kg) bomb under each wing The squadron supported and followed the allied armies through France, Netherlands and then into Germany.  Although the Canadian Typhoons operated mostly as dive bombers they also flew top cover to protect their aircraft from interception.  While bombing in the St. Vith area on 27 December 1944, 440 Squadron engaged three Messerschmitt Bf 109s, shooting down one of them, for the squadron's second aerial kill in the war.  The squadron was disbanded at Flensburg on 26 August 1945.

In 1953 the squadron was reformed at RCAF Station Bagotville and equipped with the Avro CF-100 Canuck.  From 1957 until 1962, when they were once again disbanded, the squadron, part of 3 (F) Wing, was stationed at Zweibrücken.

The squadron was reactivated a final time on 8 July 1968 at CFB Winnipeg, Manitoba, as No. 440 Communications and Rescue Squadron with Douglas CC-129 Dakotas and Piasecki H-21 helicopters and redesignated as 440 Transport and Rescue Squadron in October.  They later moved to CFB Namao, Alberta just outside Edmonton, where they operated de Havilland Canada CC-115 Buffalo and CC-138 Twin Otter transpofrts.  At the time, two of the Twin Otters were stationed in Yellowknife, NWT, and in 1994 after CFB Namao closed the squadron moved north to be redesignated No. 440 Transport Squadron in 1995.

(RCAF Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18331), No. 440 Squadron, 3 (F) Wing, Zweibrücken, in flight.  

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B (Serial No. 18421), No. 440 Squadron

(RCAF Photo)

RCAF Canadair CF-104 Starfighter formation, 1 (F) Wing, Lahr ca. 1970.  (Serial No. 12834) was lost in a Category A crash at Lahr, Germany on 27 April 1970.  The Starfighter's engine had multiple compressor stalls at altitude, probably due to FOD on take off.  Capt. D.R. Graham ejected.

In the fall of 1962 the Sabre squadrons of the Air Division, including those at No. 3 (F) Wing, began flying Starfighters.  No. 440 Squadron was disbanded in December 1962.  No. 430 Squadron moved to Zweibrücken from Grostenquin when No. 2 (F) Wing closed down in 1964.

After the RCAF left France in 1967 and later in Feb 1968 when the RCAF was reorganized and consolidated with Canada's other two services, No. 1 Air Division was replaced by No. 1 Canadian Air Group (1 CAG) with its headquarters at CFB Lahr, West Germany.

As an austerity measure, in 1968, No. 3 (F) Wing, Zweibrücken was closed and its two squadrons were moved to No. 1 (F) Wing in Lahr and No. 4 (F) Wing in Baden-Soellingen.  In 1969 the Canadian Forces in Europe were amalgamated into one command with two bases.  This resulted in the Canadian Army in northern Germany (Soest area) moving south to No. 1 (F) Wing and No. 4 (F) Wing.  No. 1 (F) Wing at CFB Lahr was closed and the Canadian Air Force in Europe was reduced in strength from six to three squadrons.  The remaining three squadrons were concentrated at CFB Baden-Soellingen, under 1 Canadian Air Group (1 CAG) effective on 29 June 1970. 

 (Steve Fitzgerald Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B (Serial No. 18393), 440 Squadron.  This aircrat entered service with the RCAF in May 1955. On 1st November 1957 whilst operating with No.4 Wing based at Baden-Soellingen it suffered a double engine failure but a successful dead-stick landing was carried out at Zweibrucken. It was retired from service in October 1962.

 (Alan Wilson Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B (Serial No. 18393), 440 Squadron.  This aircraft is on display in the Imperial War Museum, Duxford Airfield, Cambridgeshire, UK.

1 CAG continued until 1988, when Canada increased her commitment to NATO (three squadrons in the European theatre and two squadrons in Canada) and No. 1 Canadian Air Division stood-up again.  In 1975, some commands were dissolved (ADC, ATC, TC), and all air units were placed under a new environmental command called Air Command (AIRCOM).  With the fall of the Berlin Wall in Oct 1989 and the ensuing end of the Cold War, the government of Canada elected to withdraw the Canadian Forces elements stationed in Europe and closed CFB Lahr and CFB Baden-Soellingen in 1993.  No. 1 Canadian Air Division ceased flying operations on 1 January 1993.  In August 2011, Air Command reverted to its historic name of "Royal Canadian Air Force".

There are still more than 400 RCAF members plus their families living and working in various locations throughout Europe.  Canada's soldiers, sailors, air men and women serve in more than 10 different European nations, a handful of which reside in Stavanger, Norway and Izmir, Turkey, but with the majority in Germany, Belgium, Italy and The United Kingdom.  RCAF members in Europe continue to contribute daily to the operational effectiveness of the RCAF by furthering national interests within NATO and abroad.

(RCAF Photo)

RCAF Canadair CF-104 Starfighter on approach to land.

The RCAF left Zweibrücken on 27 August 1969 as an austerity measure following unification of the Canadian Armed Forces.  Its units consolidated at CFB Lahr and CFB Baden-Soellingen.  Upon the departure of the RCAF, control of the station was transferred to the United States Air Force Sixteenth Air Force, USAFE.

With the end of the Cold War, the USAF presence at Zweibrücken was gradually phased out.  The 26th TRW was inactivated on 31 July 1991, and Zweibrücken Air Base was closed. The facility was turned over to the German government civil authorities.  Flughafen Zweibrücken is used as a regional airport.

As an austerity measure, RCAF Station Zweibrücken was closed in 1969 and its two squadrons were moved to No. 1 (F) Wing and No. 4 (F) Wing.  In 1969 the Canadian Forces in Europe were amalgamated into one command and two bases.  The Canadian army in northern Germany (Soest area) began its relocation south to No. 1 (F) Wing and No. 4 (F) Wing.  This meant that No. 1 (F) Wing, Lahr shut down as the air force elements in Europe were reduced in strength from six to three squadrons and concentrated at Baden-Soellingen as 1 Canadian Air Group (CAG).

4 (Fighter) Wing, Baden Söllingen, Germany

No. 4 (F) Wing was located on the edge of the Black Forest in Germany near the Rhine River, about half an hour’s drive from the city of Baden-Baden.  This city is the foremost health and pleasure resort in central Europe.  Baden-Baden, the Black Forest and the local communities offered many diversions for personnel during off-duty hours.  Strasbourg, one of Europe’s major rail centres, is located approximately 40 miles southwest of the station, just across the border in France.

Construction of the airfield at Baden-Soellingen began in December 1951 at a location between the Black Forest and the Rhine River under the supervision of France's Air Force (Armée de l'Air).  The runway and associated facilities were completed by June 1952 and were intended to accommodate a brigade of the AA which arrived in August for the first operational use of the base.  At that point, support buildings were under advanced construction.

In early 1953, NATO headquarters determined that the base under construction at Pferdsfeld, which was originally planned to accommodate No. 4 (F) Wing, would not be ready for arriving squadrons and personnel later that summer.  It was decided that France's units would transfer to another base to temporarily vacate their airfield at Baden-Soellingen since this base was almost complete.

 (CF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12761), 4 (F) Wing, Baden-Soellingen, mounted on the back of a goose-neck flat bed 1964 Mack Superliner truck. This aircraft came to Europe in 1970 and flew at 4 (F) Wing until struck off strength 6 Mar 1986, when it was sold to Turkey.

 (CF Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12784), 1 CAG PR photo.

No. 414 Squadron RCAF badge.jpg

414 Squadron

On 13 August 1941, No. 414 Army Co-operation Squadron was formed at RAF Croydon, England, flying Westland Lysander and Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk aircraft.  On 28 June 1943 the squadron's name was changed to 414 Fighter Reconnaissance Squadron to reflect its role.  During the Second World War the squadron was based at numerous airfields in England and in continentental Europe flying Supermarine Spitfires and North American P-51 Mustang fighters.  During this period, the squadron provided photo reconnaissance, intelligence and ground attacks for both the Dieppe Raid and the allied Invasion of Europe.  It accounted for 29 enemy aircraft destroyed and 11 damaged, 76 locomotives and 12 naval vessels destroyed.  After the war ended, the squadron disbanded at Lüneburg, Germany on 7 August 1945.

On 1 April 1947, No. 414 Photographic Squadron was reformed at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario.  The squadron flew the Douglas CC-129 Dakoa to photograph 323,754 square miles (838,520 km2) of Canada's North.  When this task was completed it was disbanded on 1 November 1950.  On 1 November 1952, No. 414 Fighter Squadron was reformed at RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec.  The following summer on 24 August 1953 as part of "Leap Frog IV" the squadron moved to 4 (F) Wing, flying the Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 4.  On 14 July 1957 the squadron was disbanded to make room for the arrival of No. 419 Squadron flying the Avro CF-100 Canuck.

On 5 August 1957, the squadron was reformed at RCAF Station Norh Bay, Ontario, where it operated as an all-weather fighter squadron flying the CF-100 Canuck and the McDonnell CF-1-1 Voodoo until 30 June 1964 when it was disbanded once more.  The squadron was reformed on 15 September 1967 at RCAF Station St. Hubert, Quebec in its new role as an electronic warfare squadron flying the CF-100.  In August 1972 the squadron moved to CFB North Bay where it remained for the next twenty years flying the CF-100, Boeing CC-117 Globemaster and EF-101.  In 1992 the squadron was split into two parts with one part going to CFB Comox, BC as No. 414 Composite Squadron and the other part going to Greenwood, Nova Scotia, as 434 Composite Squadron.  In 1993 the squadron changed its name to No. 414 Combat Support Squadron when it was equipped with the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star.  The Squadron was disbanded in 2002 when its duties were contracted out to a civilian company.

On 7 December 2007 approval was received for the squadron to stand up again, this time as 414 EWS (Electronic Warfare Support) Squadron.  Flying from 3 Wing Bagotville, the squadron is based in Ottawa and is composed of military Electronic Warfare Officers who fulfill the combat support role, flying on civilian contracted aircraft.  The squadron was re-formed at Gatineau Airport, Quebec, on 20 January 2009 to operate the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet provided by Discovery Air Defence Services.

 (RuthAS Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 4 (Serial No. 19460), coded  AQ-460 of No. 414 Squadron, 1954.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 4 (Serial No. 19575), 414 Squadron.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5 (Serial No. 23063), 414 Squadron.

Sixty-two RCAF CL-13 Sabres of Nos. 414, 422, and 444 squadrons arrived at Baden-Soellingen on 4 September 1953.  Several months after the RCAF units arrived, NATO headquarters made the RCAF move to Baden-Soellingen permanently and the facility was named RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen.  Dependents followed beginning in the spring of 1954.  Personnel at RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen worked quickly to make the base fully operational and integrate into RCAF operations within NATO for the defence of Western Europe.

(RCAF Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18327), 4 (F) Wing, Baden-Soelligen.

The Sabres flown by 414 Squadron at Baden-Soellingen were replaced by Canucks flown by 419 Squadron in 1956.  The remaining Sabre squadrons of the Air Division were converted to Starfighters beginning in 1962.  The CF-100 squadrons were disbanded by 31 December 1962.  The Starfighter units changed the RCAF's original mission from fighter/interceptor to nuclear strike/reconnaissance.

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422 Squadron 

422 General Reconnaissance Squadron was initially formed at RAF Castle Archdale near Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, in April 1942.  It was a flying-boat squadron, flying Consolidated PBY Catalinas and Short Sunderlands to patrol the North Atlantic for German U-boats.  They were redesignated as a Transport Squadron in June 1945, and disbanded in September 1945.  The squadron was reformed at RCAF Station Uplands, near Ottawa in January 1953 as 422 Fighter Squadron.  The squadron went to 4 (Fighter)Wing based at RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen in August 1953.  It became part of the CAF in 1968.  The Squadron was based at 4 (F) Wing until its deactivation in July 1970.  The squadron was reactivated as 422 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in January 1977, and remained a helicopter squadron until it was disbanded again in August 1980.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre, 422 Squadron, RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen.

 (DND Archives Photo, PL-55764)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre, 422 Squadron, having its six .50 cal machine guns harmonized at night at RCAF Station Uplands in 1953.  The procedure ensures that all six machine-guns are aimed properly.

 (422 Potpouri Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5 (Serial No. 23043), coded TF043, No. 422 Squadron.

 (422 Potpouri Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6 (Serial No. 23392), coded TF392, No. 422 Squadron.

 (Ray Morrison Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5 (Serial No. 23718), No. 422 Squadron.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6 (Serial No. 23520), No. 422 Squadron, leaving the dispersal area for the last time.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6, No. 422 Squadron, leaving the dispersal area for the last time.

419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron badge.png

419 Squadron

No. 419 Bomber Squadron was formed at RAF Mildenhall, England in 1941 as part of No. 3 Group, Bomber Command.  The squadron moved to RAF Middleton St. George when it became part of No. 6 Bomber Group, Bomber Command, and remained in England until 1945.  The squadron operated Vickers Wellington and then Handley Page Halifax and finally Avro Lancaster bombers during this period.  It was the third RCAF bomber unit to be formed in England.  It started operations in January 1942, converting almost immediately to Wellington Mk. IIIs and moving north to Leeming as part of the new 6 Group in August 1942.  Here in November it was re-equipped with Halifax Mk. IIs, which it flew for the next 18 months on the night offensive against Germany.  After three quick moves it settled at Middleton St. George in November and stayed there for the rest of its service in Bomber Command.  In April 1944 the squadron began to convert to Avro Lancaster Mk. X which had been produced in Canada and flown across the Atlantic.  The squadron remained continuously on the offensive until 25 April 1945, when it flew its last sortie.  Squadron personnel flew a total of 4,325 operational sorties during the war from Mannheim to Nuremberg, Milan to Berlin, and Munich to Hanover, inflicting heavy damage on the enemy.  As a result of its wartime record, 419 Squadron became one of the most decorated units under the RCAF during the war.  Over a span of roughly three-and-a-quarter years it logged 400 operational missions (342 bombing missions, 53 mining excursions, 3 leaflet raids and 1 "spoof") involving 4,325 sorties.  One hundred and twenty nine aircraft were lost on these operations.  It flew back to Canada in June 1945 and was disbanded at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on 5 September 1945.

419 was reformed on 15 March 1955 as 419 All-Weather Fighter Squadron, and moved to the 4 (F) Wing shortly thereafter.  The squadron was equipped with the Avro CF-100 Canuck.  419 Squadron was disbanded 31 December 1962.  The unit was reformed at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta on 2 May 1975 as 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron.  During 1977, the squadron began to participate in tactical exercises in addition to its training role.  In April 1987, 419 Squadron paid its last official visit to 4 Wing, when four CF-5s and approximately 50 "Moose-persons" made the trans-Atlantic crossing to Baden-Soellingen using air-to-air refueling, as part of Exercise "Rhine-Moose".

It was disbanded in 1995 when the Canadair CF-116 Freedom Fighter was retired.  The squadron was reformed again at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, on 23 July 2000 to conduct advanced lead in fighter training for Canadian and NATO pilots using nine BAe Systems CT-155 Hawk trainers.

The name Moose, which is used in the squadron's emblem and motto, is derived from the nickname of the first commanding officer of the squadron, Wing Commander "Moose" Fulton. The tradition of squadron commanders bearing the nickname "Moose" was instituted after Fulton's death during operations. Squadron personnel are affectionately known as "moosemen". This tradition continues to this day.  Pilot Officer Andrew Charles Mynarski of 419 Squadron was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 12/13 June 1944 during a bombing mission over Europe. 

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Avro CF-100 Canuck, No. 419 Squadron, 4 (F) Wing. 

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444 Squadron 

444 Fighter Squadron was formed in March 1953 at CFB St. Hubert, Quebec, and moved to CFB Baden-Soellingen in Germany.  The Squadron was disbanded in 1967.  It was re-formed as 444 Tactical Helicopter Squadron at CFB Lahr, Germany in 1972 as part of CFE until 1991.  It stood up again at CFB Goose Bay, Labrador, in 1993.

444 Squadron flew the Canadair CL-13 Sabre from 1953 to 1962, the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter from 1962 to 1972, the Hiller CH-112 Nomad helicopter from 1961 to 1972, the Bell CH-136 Kiowa from 1972 to 1991, and the Bell CH-135 Twin Huey from 1993 to 1996.  444 Combat Support Squadron is currently equipped with three Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopters.  Its primary mission is to provide rapid response to local emergencies during flight operations and military exercises taking place at 5 Wing.  In its utility role the squadron carries out tasks such as range support, search and rescue, and assistance to civil authorities. 

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 4 (Serial No. 19702), 444 Sqn, A.J. Bauer at the controls.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre (Serial No. 23421), No. 444 Squadron, No. 4 (F) Wing, being serviced ca 1950s.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre (Serial No. 23455), No. 444 Squadron, No. 4 (F) Wing.

 (DND Photo via Fred Paradie)

Hiller CH-112 Nomad, RCAF (Serial No. 262).

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Bell CH-136 Kiowa (Serial No. 136224), 444 (TH) Squadron, 4 CMBG Lahr, flying past Hohenzollern Castle, 1992. 

 (Chris Charland Photo)

Bell CH-136 Kiowa (Serial No. 13623-) from No. 444 Cobra (TH) Squadron, Germany. 

 (Chris Charland Photo)

Bell CH-136 Kiowa from 444 'Cobra' (TH) Squadron with a pair of Aérospatiale Alouette III  helicopters over Germany.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler Photo)

Bell CH-136 Kiowa (Serial No. 136224), No. 444 Squadron, Lahr, 1992.  

Communications Squadron, Air Defence and Airfield Repair

There was communications squadron, and after 1987, an air defence battery in CFE.  A multi-force airfield repair unit was formed in the late 1980s to fix the runways if needed.

The cuts resulted in a drawback of the air force from 6 squadrons to 3 which were reorganized under the new 1 Canadian Air Group banner.

The ramp-up in defence spending during renewed Cold War tensions in the late 1970s and 1980s saw CFB Baden-Soellingen receive much-needed new infrastructure, including updated quarters for its personnel and their dependents.  The year 1984 saw squadrons at CFB Baden-Soellingen begin to re-equip with the McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet fighter with 1986 being the close-out year for the Starfighter on base.

End of an era

 (Richard Maher Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 104749) in formation with (Serial No. 104796) in Tiger meet colours and another CF-104, from 4 (F) Wing, ca 1970s.  

 (DND Archives Photo, ISC87-489) 

McDonnell CF-188 Hornet fighter flown by Captain Doug Stroud from 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron, CFB Baden-Soellingen, flying over Bavarian farmlands in Southern Germany, ca 1987.

1 Canadian Air Group remained until 1988 when Canada increased her commitment to NATO with three squadrons in theatre and two squadrons in Canada, and No. 1 Canadian Air Division stood-up again. 

In October 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and by the end of 1990 Germany had reunited, thawing Cold War tensions and removing the role for Canada's active units stationed in Western Europe under NATO command.

 (Patcard Photo)

McDonnell Douglas CF-188A Hornet, RCAF (Serial No. 188738).

In September 1990 it was announced that an augmented 409 Squadron, and an infantry company from the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, would deploy from CFB Baden-Soellingen to a base in Qatar as part of Operation Desert Shield along with some airfield security personnel.  In December it was announced that 439 Squadron would deploy from Baden-Soellingen to replace 409 in Qatar.  Aircraft from 439 Squadron were involved in air patrols and air-to-ground missions during Operation Desert Storm in January–February 1991, firing the first war shots by a Canadian military aircraft since the Korean War.

The last major deployment from CFB Baden-Soellingen occurred in April 1992, when infantry soldiers from November Company of The Royal Canadian Regiment were deployed to a United Nations peacekeeping mission in the disintegrating country of Yugoslavia.  November Company's deployment was the first of many that the Canadian Forces would undertake to the nation under the banner of United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR).  On the first night in Sira?, Croatia, November Company came under indirect mortar fire and was hit by 10-25 shells.  In July 1992, the company was re-located to Sector Sarajevo, and fell under the command of General Lewis MacKenzie.  November Company was ordered to break through to and seize Sarajevo International Airport for UNPROFOR to use for transporting food and supplies to civilians in the city.

The post-Cold War defence cuts of the early 1990s identified both CFB Baden-Soellingen and CFB Lahr for closure by 1994.  With the end of the Cold War, the Canadian government opted to withdraw its forces stationed in Europe.   The Air Division was reduced to three squadrons then to two and finally one, and ceased flying operations 1 January 1993.

 (Rob Schleiffert Photo)

No. 439 Squadron McDonnell CF-188 Hornet, CAF (Serial No. 188764), painted in Tiger Meet colours, taxies out of its hardened aircraft shelter at CFB Baden-Soellingen, 19 January 1993.  24 Hornets returned to Canada on this day, and all other local squadrons had left already.  439 squadron was disbanded in May 1993.

 (DND Archives, BAC92-459-14)

Reviewing officer Lieutenant-General David Huddleston, Commander of Air Command, salutes during the closing of No. 4 (Fighter) Wing, CFB Baden-Soellingen, in 1992.

The airfield at CFB Baden-Soellingen closed on 31 March 1993 and several of its squadrons were disbanded with the aircraft mothballed in Canada.  By summer 1993 most personnel had vacated CFB Baden-Soellingen with the base becoming a detachment of CFB Lahr, whose personnel had also largely vacated by 31 August 1993.  During the final months, Baden-Soellingen operated largely as a detachment of CFB Lahr and was permanently closed on 31 December 1993.  CFB Lahr would continue on until being officially closed 8 months later on 31 August 1994.  The Baden Airpark GmbH took over the area in 1995 and commercial flights started in 1997.

61 Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) Squadron 

 (C & E Museum Photo)

Type 80 Radar.  61 Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) Squadron was activated at Metz on 1 August 1955 to become the only radar unit in the RCAF located outside Canada.  The Canadian Ground Radar Interception site was given the nickname "Yellowjack".  It was the only long range radar unit in Europe capable of picking up targets flying at extremely high altitudes, with the best controllers hand picked from across the Canadian Pinetree Sites.

 (C & E Museum Photo)

61 Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) Squadron, Type 80 "Yellowjack radar".  This radar site was close to the Chateau de Mercy in Metz and it's role was to provide radar control for 1 Air Division, RCAF aircraft and for other NATO aircraft as operational situations demanded and to augment the early warning capability of other NATO radars.

 (C & E Museum Photo)

61 Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) Squadron, Type 80 "Yellowjack" radar.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo)

MS-14 Height-Finding Radar, 1955.

30 Air Materiel Base (30 AMB)

From 1952 to 1963 the RCAF operated the 30 Air Materiel Base (30 AMB), at RCAF Langar (RAF Langar) in Nottinghamshire.  RCAF Langar was Canada's last base in the UK and served as a primary supply station for No. 1 Air Division RCAF in Europe.

30 AMB was the first RCAF logistics system established outside Canada, and provided spares and supplies essential to the operation of the Division’s four main bases and headquarters establishment.  This unit retained important ties with Air Movement Command (AMC), as all provisioning of 30 AMB was handled through the Command’s Rockcliffe headquarters.  30 AMB was responisble for maintiaining the supply capability, delivery of the goods to the units overseas, arranging for the repair, overhaul and supervision equipment, and local purchase of items which it is not economical to have shipped from Canada.  30 AMB components included 312 Supply Depot, 314 Technical Services Unit, and a Movements Unit with 137 Transport Flight was attached.

The Supply Depot component stocked approximately 60,000 different items which were required from time to time to support the operations of the Air Division, as well as the air forces of such countries as Turkey and Greece, both of whom received Mutual Aid Sabres and Canadair CT-33 Silver Stars from Canada.  The stock control system used at 30 AMB made extensive use of IBM machines using punch cards.  The daily transactions of the Supply Depot were all transferred to a tape which was sent back to AMC headquarters, where duplicate records were kept.  AMC was responsible for keeping track of stock levels at 30 AMB and replenishing them when necessary.

312 SD handled medical stores and spares for mechanical equipment (automotive equipment, ground handling equipment, etc.).  In the case of the mobile equipment (ME) spares, this was a sizable task that required the warehousing of some 22,000 items, more than a third of all items stocked at the Depot.  In Canada, ME items stocked were usually kept to a bare minimum, because they were always easily available from a local source.  However in the UK. and on the Continent, there was no local source for this equipment, practically all of it being Canadian-made so spares had be kept on hand at the Supply Depot.  The medical unit attached to 312 stocked all drugs, surgical instruments and medical supplies used by the Air Division.  In Canada, this phase of supply was normally handled by the Army.

The Technical Services Unit had a number of varied tasks to perform, inspection being a major one.  All items received at the Supply Depot were visually inspected by TSU personnel for corrosion or shipping damage.  Further inspections were made periodically while the items were in storage and just before they are shipped out in response to a demand.  It was also the responsibility of this Unit to channel repairable items to UK contractors.  In addition, it gave technical advice where required and assisted in spares supply.

Repair and overhaul/maintenance contracts were let directly through the London office of the Department of Defence Production.  British firms under direct contract to the RCAF included Scottish Aviation (Sabre airframes), Field Aircraft Services (instruments), Airtech Ltd. (communications equipment), Fireproof Tanks (fuel tanks), Normalair (pressurization equipment).  The Orenda engines were handled by Brockworth Engineering.

Approximatley 25% of all goods moved to the Continent were flown out by transport aircraft, while the rest was delivered by train and boat.  By weight, the goods airlifted each month amounted to about 100,000 lbs.  All the airlift work was handled by 137 Transport Flight, which was attached to the 30 AMB Movements Unit, equipped with five Bristol freighters.  The Flight carried more than 100,000 lbs per month.  Three to five flights a week were made to the Continent, with each flight making the rounds of all the bases, dropping off spares and supplies in response to demands, and picking up repairables for return to 30 AMB.

Bristol Freighter

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Bristol Freighter Mk. 31M, RCAF (Serial No. 9699), No. 137 Transport Flight, ca 1960s.

Bristol 170 Freighter Mk. 31 (1), (Serial No. 9850), Mk. 31C (3), (Serial Nos. 9696-9698), Mk. 31M (2), (Serial Nos. 9699-9700), for a total of 6 of these aircraft that flew with the RCAF.

 (422 Potpourri Photo)

Bristol Freighter Mk. 31M, RCAF No. 137 Transport Flight.

 (DND Photo)

Bristol 170 Freighter and Douglas CC-129 Dakota over Europe.

 (Gunter Grondstein Photo)

Bristol 170 Freighter, Baden-Soellingen, 1964.

 (DND Photo)

Bristol 170A Freighter Mk. 31C, RCAF (Serial No. 9698).

 (Klaus Homberg Photo)

Bristol 170 Freighter Mk. 31M, RCAF (Serial No. 9699), coded GC-699. 

Air Weapons Unit

The Air Weapons Unit was located at the airfield of Decimomannu, Sardinia, approximately 12 mile north of Cagliari.  The two main cities on the Italian island of Sardinia are Cagliari (the capital) at the southern end of the island, with 140,000 inhabitants, and Sassari, at the northern end, with a population of 70,000.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CT-133 Silver Star, RCAF (Serial No. 21189), on the airfield at Decimomannu, Sardinia.

 (DND Photo)

Cpl Al Ewing places a radop target in its receptacle on a 4 Wing Canadair CT-133 Silver Star at the Air Weapons Unit in Decimomannu, Sardinia, September 1958.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6 (Serial No. 23457), No. 422 Squadron, Decimomannu, Sardinia.

(RCAF Photo)

RCAF Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6, with its .50 cal machine guns being serviced.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Avro CF-100 Canucks, No. 445 Squadron, lining the tarmac at Decimomannu, Sardinia.  The abundance of Sardinian sunshine ensured few interruptions in weapons practice which was confined to visual conditions.

 (DND Archives Photo, AW296-5)

The first Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12813), No. 3 (F) Wing, to arrive at Decimomannu, Sardinia, 6 May 1963.  Prior to this, Canadair CL-13 Sabres and Avro CF-100 Canucks were a common sight here as Canadian pilots, from NATO-assigned 1 Air Division bases in France and Germany, came to practice bombing or gunnery at the nearby Capo della Frasca ranges.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12799), No. 1 (F) Wing, over Decimomanu, Sardinia, ca 1960s.  

RCAF Crests.

Aircraft flown by the RCAF and CAF in Europe (1952-1993)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5s in formation over Europe, in RCAF camouflage pattern, ca 1950s.

The Canadair Sabre jet fighter was built by Canadair under licence from North American Aviation.  It was a variant of the North American F-86 Sabre and was produced until 1958.  It was primarily used by the RCAF it was until replaced with the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter in 1962.  Several other air forces also operated Canadian-built Sabres.

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 1 (1), (Serial No.19101), Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 (350), (Serial Nos. 19102-19199, 19201-19452), Mk. 3 (1), (Serial No. 19200), Mk. 4 (71), (Serial Nos. 19453-19463, 19491, 19575, 19579, 19582, 19584, 19585, 19590, 19597-19599, 19601, 19606, 19615-19617, 19619, 19624, 19627-19629, 19631, 19632, 19635-19637, 19639, 19642, 19643, 19647, 19649, 19650, 19652, 19653, 19655, 19657, 19659-19661, 19663-19665, 19667-19671, 19673-19675, 19677, 19679, 19680, 19682, 19684-19686, 19689, 19691, 19695, 19702), Mk. 5 (370), (Serial Nos. 23001-23370), CL-13B Mk. 6 (390), (Serial Nos. 23371-23760), plus one North American F-86A (Serial No. 49-1069), for a total of 1,184 of all Canadian Marks of the Sabre.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. VI (Serial No, 23414), Kinloss, Scotland, en route to CFE, ca 1950s.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk. 6 (Serial No. 23757), one of 390 Sabre Mk. 6 (the last version, with Avro Orenda 14 engines) that served with the RCAF.  This Sabre wears the camouflage developed for all RCAF European-based operational aircraft.  The photo was taken while the aircraft belonged to No. 1 Overseas Ferry Unit (OFU) based at St. Hubert, Quebec, which was formed in 1953 to ferry Sabres and T-33s across the North Atlantic.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk. 6 (Serial No. 23757), 

Avro CF-100 Canuck

(RCAF Photo courtesy of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

The Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck (affectionately known as the "Clunk") was a Canadian jet interceptor/fighter in service during the Cold War both in NATO bases in Europe and as part of NORAD.  The CF-100 was the only Canadian-designed fighter to enter mass production, serving primarily with the RCAF and the Canadian Armed Forces, and also in small numbers in Belgium.  For its day, the CF-100 featured a short takeoff run and high climb rate, making it well suited to its role as an interceptor.

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 1, (2 built), (Serial Nos. 18101-18102), Mk. 2, (10 built), (Serial Nos. 18103-18112), Mk. 3, (70 built), Serial Nos. 18113-18182), Mk. 4A, (137 built), (Serial Nos. 18183-18319), Mk. 4B, (144 built), (Serial Nos. 18320-18463), Mk. 5 (329 built), (Serial Nos. 18464-18792), for a total number of 692 built.

 (DND Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B (Serial No. 18426).

(RCAF Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk.4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18399).

 (DND Image Library Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18386).

 (DND Image Library Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B, RCAF, banking.

 (DND Image Library Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B, RCAF (Serial No. 18410).

 (DND Archives Photo, IL69-64-1)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter, RCAF (Serial No. 12870) assigned No. 1 Air Division, 3 (F) Wing, Zweibrücken, Germany, flying over Hohenzollern Castle, circa 1969. 

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter

The Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (683A, CF-111CL-90) was a modified version of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter supersonic fighter aircraft built under licence in Canada by Canadair.  It was primarily used as a ground attack aircraft, despite being designed as an interceptor.  It served with the RCAF and later the Canadian Armed Forces until it was replaced by the McDonnell Douglas CF-118 Hornet.

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (200), (Serial Nos. 12701-12900), CF-104D Mk. 1 (22), (Serial Nos. 12631-12652), Mk. 2 (16), (Serial Nos. 12653-12668), for a total of 38 two-seat variants, Lockheed F-104A Starfighter (1), (Serial No. 12700), for a total of 239 of all Marks.  The Serial Numbers changed from 12--- to 104-- in 1970.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter, RCAF (Serial No. 12770), later renumbered RCAF (Serial No. 104770).  This aircraft served with 4 (F) Wing in the 1960s.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter, RCAF (Serial No. 12770), later renumberd RCAF (Serial No. 104770).  This aircraft served with 4 (F) Wing in the 1960s.

The following article about the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter is from the Canadian Starfigher Association:

During the Korean War Kelly Johnson, chief designer of Lockheed, traveled to American Air Bases in South Korea and interviewed many American "F-86 Sabre" pilots, asking them what they desired most in their "ideal" fighter jets. The answer was the same from everyone: speed and altitude. Thus the concept for the F-104 "Starfighter" was born. Returning to the US, Kelly Johnson "Borrowed" some 460 Five inch rockets from the US army, modified them with different wing designs, remote control equipment and cameras to test and observe the effects. This type of testing was necessary since Kelly Johnson was determined to build the first Mach 2 jet fighter, but in the 1950s there was no air tunnel in the US that was capable of that speed.

The first flight of an F-104 took place in 1954 under the control of Lockheed test pilot Tony Le Vier. The USAF purchased 676 copies of the new fighter plane. Only approximately 300 flew with the USAF with the rest being supplied to other countries.

On 2 July 1959, after the cancellation of the Avro Arrow program, and after considering eight other aircraft including British, French, Italian and American, the CF-104 was selected by the Royal Canadian Air Force to replace the Sabre Mk.6 for use with the Air Division in Europe.  Its role would be Nuclear Strike and Photo Reconnaissance. Several years later  the role was changed to conventional attack.  (Aircraft considered in the competition included the McDonnell F4H Phantom II, the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, and the Grumman F11F-1F Super Tiger). 

However, since the Canadian government wanted equipment to be fitted that was specific to RCAF requirements, it opted to manufacture the aircraft under license in a Canadian factory rather than buy the aircraft outright from Lockheed. On August 14, it was announced that Canadair of Montreal had been selected to manufacture 200 aircraft for the RCAF under license from Lockheed. In addition, Canadair was to manufacture wings, tail assemblies, and rear fuselage sections for 66 Lockheed-built Starfighters that were destined for the West German Luftwaffe. The license production contract was signed on September 17, 1959. Lockheed sent F-104A-15-LO serial number 56-0770 to Canada to act as a pattern aircraft for CF-104 manufacture. It was later fitted with CF-104 fire control systems and flight control equipment and turned over to the RCAF, where it was assigned the serial number of 12700.

Canadair rolled it's first CF-104 (12701) out of the Cartierville plant on March 18, 1961 it was the first of 200 built for the RCAF. The first Canadair-constructed CF-104 (RCAF serial number 12701) was airlifted to Palmdale, California in the spring of 1961, where it made its first flight on May 26. The second CF-104 (12702) also made its first flight at Palmdale. The first two CF-104s to fly at Montreal were Nos. 12703 and 12704, which both took to the air on August 14, 1961.

Canadair built an additional 140 Starfighters for other NATO Nations. Enheat in Amherst, Nova Scotia built some components for the CF-104 program.

Between January 1962 and September 1963, twenty-two dual seat CF-104Ds built by Lockheed in Palmdale California, were accepted by Canada. Initially, most went to RCAF Station Cold Lake for use at 6 Strike/Reconnaissance Operational Training Unit to train instructors first and then squadron pilots. A further sixteen CF104Ds were accepted in November 1964.

The Canadian-built Starfighter was initially designated CF-111 by the RCAF and later changed to CF-104. They were designated CL-90 by the Canadair factory. This was changed to Canadian serial numbers 12701 through 12900. On May 18, 1970, they were reserialed as 104701 through 104900. The Lockheed-built F-104A pattern aircraft was reserialed from 12700 to 104700.

In parallel with the production of the Starfighter by Canadair, Orenda Engines, Ltd. acquired a license to build the General Electric J-79 engine that was to power it. The Canadian-built J79-OEL-7 rated at 10,000 lbs. static thrust (s.t.) dry and 15,800 lbs. s.t. with afterburning powered the CF-104

In Canadian service the CF-104 performed very well, it was loved by its pilots and was a powerful aircraft to fly. In the ground attack role the 104 could outrun any of its opponents; however, it was not a forgiving aircraft to fly at low level. During the CF-104 era 37 pilots lost their lives flying this aircraft. Unfortunately the CF-104, the fastest aircraft to serve in the RCAF, was not as manoeuvrable as many other types of aircraft. At low level, this lack of manoeuvrability could be dangerous if a pilot was not paying close attention. Canadian pilots excelled with the Starfighter, some being considered among the best pilots in NATO.

The CF-104 was fitted with equipment specialized for RCAF requirements. It was optimized for the nuclear strike role rather than being a multi-mission aircraft. The CF-104 was fitted with R-24A NASARR (North American Search and Range Radar) equipment that was "peaked" for the air-to-ground mode only. The main undercarriage members were fitted with longer-stroke liquid springs and carried larger tires than the F-10G of the U.S.A.F. The CF-104 had the ability to carry a ventral reconnaissance pod equipped with four Vinten Vicom cameras. The 20-mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon and its associated ammunition were initially omitted from the CF-104, and an additional fuel cell was fitted in their place.

The 200th and last CF-104 (No. 12900) was completed on 4 September 1963 and delivered to the RCAF on January 10, 1964. Many early production aircraft were modified to the standard of the last production machines. Following the delivery of the last CF-104, Canadair switched over to the manufacture of F-104Gs for delivery to NATO allies under the provisions of MAP.

In 1970, the Canadian government decided to reduce the strength of the Air Division to only three squadrons and to relinquish its nuclear strike role in favour of conventional attack.  1 Air Division was redesignated 1 Canadian Air Group. No. 422, No. 427, and No. 430 Squadrons were disbanded.  No. 439 and No. 441 Squadrons replaced all but No. 421 Squadron in No. 4 (F) Wing at Baden-Soellingen.  Of the remaining three squadrons, No. 421 and No. 441 were committed to converting to ground attack roles, leaving No. 439 Squadron to continue tactical reconnaissance missions.  No. 417 Squadron at CFB Cold Lake continued as a CF-104 Operational Training Unit.

CF-104 Air operations at Lahr ceased in 1970, when it became a Canadian Army base, but 1 Canadian Air Group Headquarters remained there, co-located with the Canadian Forces Europe Headquarters.  The airfield at Lahr remained operational for air transport operations as well as being a deployment base for the CF-104s from Baden-Soellingen.

By January of 1972, the CF-104s had all been converted from their nuclear and reconnaissance roles to that of conventional ground attack. A 20-mm Vulcan cannon was installed, and the fairing was removed from the cannon port.  Twin bomb ejector rack carriers and multi-tube rocket launchers were installed.

A number of former Canadian Forces single-seat CF-104 fighter-bombers and CF-104D two-seat trainers were transferred to Denmark and Norway after having been brought up to F-104G/TF-104G standards.

By 1983, all single-seat CF-104s had been modified with the Litton LW-33 digital intertial navigation/attack system, which replaced the original LN-3 analog inertial navigation system. The LW-33 was much more accurate and less expensive to maintain than was the earlier LN-3. In addition, the LW-33 had an attack function.

Beginning in 1983, the CF-104 Starfighters were replaced in Canadian Armed Forces service by McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornets. No. 441 Squadron phased out the last CF-104 on 1 March 1986.  Canada then offered Turkey an initial batch of 20 CF-104s; later increased to 52, including six CF-104Ds. Twenty of these were sent to MBB at Manching in Germany in March of 1986 for inspection before being transferred to Turkey. The remainder were broken down for spares.

About 110 CF-104/CF-104Ds were lost in accidents, out of 239 delivered - a loss rate of no less than 46 percent. However, it is only fair to point out that the Canadian CF-104s probably had the highest-flying time of any country operating the Starfighter. At the time of retirement, average airframe times were in the order of 6000 hours as compared to 2000 hours for the Luftwaffe.

In 1962, the Sabre squadrons were replaced with (nuclear) strike/reconnaissance Canadair CF-104 Starfighters.

Headquarters No. 1 Air Division located in Paris, France was activated on 1 October 1952, but relocated to Metz, France in April 1953.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter, RCAF (Serial No. 100862) with a Vinten Vicom camera recce pod.  This aircraft flew with No. 1 (F) Wing.  Originally the standard M-61 gun pod was replaced by a 120 US gallon (455 litres) fuel tank, but later in its CF career the aircraft was returned to a conventional strike role and the 20 mm cannon were reinstalled.

The following Canadian Armed Forces units operated the CF-104: 

Central Experimental and Proving Establishment/Aerospace Engineering and Test Establishment, Cold Lake, Alberta, 1962.

6 Strike-Recce OTU, reformed as No. 417 Operational Training Squadron, 1962-1983.

No. 421 (Red Indian) Squadron, No. 2 (F) Wing, Grostonquin and No. 4 (F) Wing, Baden-Soellingen Dec 1963 to Dec 1985

No. 422 (Tomahawk) Squadron, No. 4 (F) Wing, Baden-Soellingen, July 1963 to 1972.

No. 427 (Lion) Squadron, No. 3 (F) Wing, Zweibrücken and No. 4 (F) Wing, Baden-Soellingen, Oct 1962 to 1972.

No. 430 (Silver Falcon) Squadron, No. 2 (F) Wing, Grostonquin and Lahr, September 1963 to 1972.

No. 434 (Bluenose) Squadron, No. 3 (F) Wing, Zweibrücken, April 1963 to March 1967.

No. 439 (Sabre-Toothed Tiger) Squadron, No. 1 (F) Wing, Marville and No. 4 (F) Wing, Baden- Soellingen, March 1964 to March 1986.

No. 441 (Silver Fox) Squadron, No. 1 (F) Wing, Marville, and No. 4 (F) Wing, Baden-Soellingen, September 1963 to Feb 1986.

No. 444 (Cobra) Squadron, No. 4 (F) Wing, Baden-Soellingen, May 1963 to 1967.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter, RCAF (Serial No. 12703), drag chute deployed, No. 1 (F) Wing.

In 1959 Canada adopted a new and controversial nuclear strike role in accordance with NATO's doctrine of “limited nuclear warfare” and began re-equipping with the new Canadair CF-104 Starfighter that could handle the delivery of nuclear weapons.  This aircraft also had a reconnaissance role.

 (Klaas Folkersma Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12846), 1 (F) Wing ca 1960s.

Canadian Forces Europe, present day.

There are more than 400 Canadian Forces members with their families living and working in various locations throughout Europe.  CF soldiers, sailors, air men and women serve in more than 10 different European nations, including locations at Stavanger, Norway and Izmir, Turkey, but with the majority in Germany, Belgium, Italy and The United Kingdom.  All CF members in Europe are contributing daily to the operational effectiveness of the CF by furthering national interests within NATO and abroad.

Canadian Forces elements remain at Germany at HQ CENTAG, Heidelberg, HQ 4 ATAF, Ramstein Air Base, HQ AMF (L), Mannheim, and with the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force, E-3A Component, at Geilenkirchen Air Base.

 (Betz M Photo)

NATO Boeing E-3A Sentry, Geilenkirchen, Touch and Go, at Zweibrücken.   

The NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen is the Main Operating Base of the of the NATO Boeing E-3 Sentry Component, one of two operational elements of the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force.

 (Dammit Photo)

Nato Boeing E-3A Sentry, Geilenkirchen.

NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen is located in the Federal Republic of Germany, near the village of Teveren and six kilometers west of the town of Geilenkirchen.  The base is known to the local population as ‘Flugplatz Teveren’ and has an area of 620 hectares (1,500 acres).  Part of the base perimeter is adjacent to the German-Dutch border.  The base was originally built by the Royal Air Force after the Second World War, and operated as RAF Geilenkirchen from 1953 onwards.  Various RAF fighter squadrons were based there from 1953 until 1968. 

Flying operations at Geilenkirchen ended in January 1968 and the installation was handed over to the German Air Force in March 1968. In August of that year it became the home of the German Missile Wing 2, which was equipped with Pershing missiles and supported by the 85th US Army Field Artillery Detachment.  Following NATO's decision to establish the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force program and to make the base near Teveren the Main Operating Base (MOB) of the E-3A Component, a major construction program was started in 1980 to modify the operational and support facilities.

In January 1980 the first E-3A Component personnel started arriving at the base, and in October 1980 the NATO Defense Planning Committee (DPC) granted the E-3A Component the status of a NATO International Military Headquarters.  By the end of 1981, the German Pershing Wing had left the base and moved to Niederheid, north of Geilenkirchen, while the US 85th Field Artillery Detachment remained on base until July 1991 and was then de-activated.

E-3A Component flying operations began in February 1982 after delivery of the first E-3A aircraft.  Germany formally handed over the Main Operating Base to NATO on 31 March 1982.  The Component was officially activated on 28 June 1982 and reached Full Operational Capability by the end of 1988.

The E-3A Component is NATO's first operational flying unit with multinational manning.  The Component commander's position is of Brigadier General rank and is held alternately by Germany and the USA.  The Component's organizational structure comprises a Headquarters staff and five major functional elements (Operations Wing, Logistics Wing, Base Support Wing, Training Wing and Information Technology Wing).  Each Wing is commanded by a Colonel, each from a different NATO member nation, including Canada.

The Component's multinational, fully integrated workforce consists of more than 3,000 military and civilian personnel from 16 NATO member nations. This figure includes personnel assigned to support functions, such as the engineering support teams of the Bundeswehr Service Centre, National Support Unit personnel, and morale and welfare activities staff.

The Component operates fourteen Boeing E-3A AWACS aircraft.  All of these aircraft are registered in Luxembourg as part of that country's contribution to the NATO AWACS programme.  Canada had withdrawn its participation in 2014, but rejoined in 2019.  Normally, only a certain number of the E-3As are present at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen at any given time. The remainder are deployed to the Component's Forward Operating Bases in Greece, Italy, Turkey, and the Forward Operating Location in Norway, or to locations elsewhere. Each of these forward operating facilities is located on a national airbase. The Component has approximately thirty military and civilian assigned personnel at each site; these are NATO personnel, but all are from the respective host nation.

RCAF, present day.

In the summer of 1997, the functionally based groups (Air Transport Group, Fighter Group, Maritime, Air Reserve, and 10 Tactical Air Group) were dissolved, and 14 Training Group was absorbed within Air Command Headquarters.  1 Canadian Air Division was stood up in Winnipeg to exercise operational command of all CF air assets.  Today based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the division is also the headquarters for the Canadian NORAD Region (CANR), commands 11 of the RCAF's 13 wings, and oversees the monitoring of Canada's airspace in support of the nation's commitments to the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD).  The division is staffed by 600 regular and reserve force members.  In addition to military personnel the headquarters is also assisted by civilian personnel in the Operational Research and Analysis Directorate (ORAD).

Cheyenne Mountain Operations Centre.

The author had the privilege of serving with NORAD as an Intelligence Officer, and with US Space Command and US Northern Command working on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, Colorado from 1999 to 2003.

This aviation handbook is designed to be used as a quick reference to the classic military heritage aircraft that have been flown by members of the Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and the Canadian Forces. The interested reader will find useful information and a few technical details on most of the military aircraft that have been in service with active Canadian squadrons both at home and overseas. 100 selected photographs have been included to illustrate a few of the major examples in addition to the serial numbers assigned to Canadian service aircraft. For those who like to actually see the aircraft concerned, aviation museum locations, addresses and contact phone numbers have been included, along with a list of aircraft held in each museum's current inventory or on display as gate guardians throughout Canada and overseas. The aircraft presented in this edition are listed alphabetically by manufacturer, number and type. Although many of Canada's heritage warplanes have completely disappeared, a few have been carefully collected, restored and preserved, and some have even been restored to flying condition. This guide-book should help you to find and view Canada's Warplane survivors.

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4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4876348)

4 CMBG, 3 RCR M113 APCs on maneuvers, Fallex 82, Germany 14 Sep 1982.

Further defence cuts and consolidation saw the Canadian Army (then renamed to Force Mobile Command) units of 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group based in Soest area of northern West Germany moved to Canadian Forces Base Lahr.  However, a mechanized infantry battalion was stationed alongside the fighter squadrons at Baden-Soellingen:

1970-1977: 3rd Mechanized Commando, The Canadian Airborne Regiment

1977-1984: 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment

1984-1988: 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

1988-1993: 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment.

Capt H.A. Skaarup briefing SACEUR General John R. Galvin and LGen George R. Joulwan  & BGen J.J.M.R. Gaudreau, 4 CNBG HQ, G2 Section, Fallex 91.  The author served as an Intelligence Officer at HQ CFE from 1981 to 1983, and with 4 CMBG from 1989 to 1992.