Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Forces Base Chatham, New Brunswick

CFB Chatham, New Brunswick

Data current to 31 March 2019.

CFB Chatham from the air, June 1955.  (DND Photo)

RCAF Station Chatham, later Canadian Forces Base Chatham was located near the town of Chatham, now the Miramchi, in New Brunswick.  Chatham was chosen to be a Second World War airfield because it had a large average number of clear flying days per year.  It became an operational airfield under Eastern Air Command.

From 1941 to 1942 it served as the home base of No. 3 Training Command of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).  It was the home of No. 21 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) for pilots from mid 1941 to mid 1942 and for No. 10 Air Observer School (AOS) from mid 1941 to the end of the war, training both navigators and wireless operators.  The air observer school was run by a local civilian group headed by R.H. Biddy, an experienced bush pilot.  The BCATP trained a total of 131,553 air crew from around the world.

Lockheed Hudson, RCAF, 21 June 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3589741)

Because of U-boat activity in the Gulf of St Lawrence, RCAF Station Chatham became the home of No. 113 Bomber-Reconnaissance (BR) Squadron flying Lockheed Hudsons.  Between 9 September and 13 December 1942, these Hudsons served as a special Submarine Hunting Detachment.  On two occasions, Pilot Officer R.S. Keetley, flying Hudsons from RCAF Station Chatham, spotted U-boats in the Gulf.  From 13 April to 2 December 1943, No. 113 (BR) Squadron was joined by No. 119 (BR) Squadron, also flying Lockheed Hudsons.

de Havilland DH.100 Vampire, RCAF (Serial No. 17067).  (DND Photo)

Between 1949 and the 1950s the jet age came to RCAF Station Chatham in the form of de Havilland DH.100 Vampire fighter jets.

Main Hangar, No. 1(F) OTU with the base rescue Sikorsky H-5 Dragonfly (Serial No. 9603), hovering, Aug 1961.  (DND Photo)

 (JustSomePics Photo)

Sikorsky H-5 Dragonfly (Serial No. 9601), at the National Air Force Museum of Canada, CFB Trenton, Ontario.

The Vampires were followed by Canadair CL-13 Sabres, including these aircraft with the Operational Training Unit, CFB Chatham, New Brunswick.  (DND Photo)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre (Serial No. 23362), over RCAF Station Chatham.  (DND Photo, PL-108423)

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, Canadair Sabres flown by the famed Golden Hawks served here.  The photo shows the Golden Hawks flying Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 6s, in 1959.  (For additional photos of the Golden Hawks Sabres, see the separate paged dedicated to them on this web site)

 (DND Photo, ca 1974)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5 (Serial No. 23355), Golden Hawks, dedicated in 1986 as a gate guardian at the former CFB Chatham, New Brunswick.  This aircraft is now with the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

A year after the integration of the Canadian Forces in Feb 1968, the last Sabre was flown out of CFB Chatham on 19 Feb 1969.  (It is now on display at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Author Photo, 1978)

Between 1962 and 1984, McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo interceptors were flown at Chatham, by No. 416 All Weather Squadron.  The Voodoos remained in service at Chatham until 1984 when No. 416 Squadron was disbanded.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4014845)

McDonnell CF-101B Voodoo (Serial No. 17467), with a Douglas AIR-2 Genie rocket, CFB Chatham, New Brunswick.  The Genie was an unguided air-to-air rocket with a 1.5 kt W25 nuclear warhead.  RCAF Voodoos carried them from 1965 to 1968, and the Canadian Forces Air Command served with them from 1968 to 1984 during the Cold War.

 (DND Photo via Chris Charland)

McDonnell CF-101 (Serial No. 101009), CFB Bagotville-based 425 AW (F) Squadron fires an un-armed (no nuke) Douglas AIR-2A Genie.

During this period of the Cold War the CFB Chatham airfield had a US controlled storage facility for nuclear warheads.  One of No. 416 Squadron’s Voodoos is currently on display at the entrance to the Bangor Air National Guard Base in Bangor, Maine, painted in USAF colours.

 (RCAF Photo)

Vertol Canada H-44/CH-127 Workhorse, RCAF (Serial No. 9639), Base-Rescue Flight, CFB Chatham, New Brunswick, ca 1960s.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Bell CH-118 Iroquois (Serial No. 118110), in an early 1970's Rescue paint scheme.

From 1970 until 1985 Chatham had a Base Rescue Flight operating three Bell CH-118 Iroquois helicopters.  When the McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo interceptors were retired, the CH-118s were redeployed to CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.

 (Alain Rioux Photo)

Canadair CF-116 Freedom Fighter, 434 Squadron, CFB Chatham.

From 1984, No. 416 Squadron was replaced by No. 434 Tactical Fighter Squadron flying Canadair CF-116 Freedom Fighters.  13 June 1989 the air force presence on the base ended when No. 434 Squadron was disbanded.

ADATS, 4 (GS) Artillery Regiment, 5 CDSB Gagetown, New Brunswick.

In 1984, in an attempt to prevent the closing of the base, CFB Chatham became home to the Air Defence Artillery School and the operational 119 Air Defence Battery.  Government cutbacks in Defence spending led to a move to consolidate military training.  The artillery units were moved to CFB Gagetown (now 4 (GS) Artillery Regiment, 5 CDSB Gagetown), and CFB Chatham was closed in 1996.

Parts of the site of the former base have been operating as the Miramichi Municipal Airport since 1974.

 (Author Photo)

McDonnell CF-101B Voodoo, (Serial No. 101053), mounted on a pylon on the grounds of former CFB Chatham, now the Miramichi, New Brunswick.