Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 1: Westland Wapiti

Westland Wapiti

Data current to 6 April 2021.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3232304)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, RCAF (Serial No. 513), RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario c1938. 

The Westland Wapiti was a two-seat general-purpose military single-engined biplane of the 1920s.  It was designed and built by Westland Aircraft Works to replace the Airco DH.9A in RAF service.  The Wapiti was first flown in 1927 and entered service with the RAF in 1928.  It remained in production until 1932, with a total of 565 being built.  It equipped twenty squadrons of the RAF, both overseas (particularly in India and Iraq) and in the UK, remaining in RAF service until 1940.  It also served with the  Royal Australian Air Force, the RCAF, the Royal South African Air Force and with the Indian Air Force.  The Wapiti is named for the elk, one of the largest species of the deer family and one of the largest land mammals in North America and eastern Asia.  (Wikipedia)

RCAF No. 3, No. 10 and No. 100 Squadrons flew the Westland Wapiti.  The first Westland Wapiti Mk. II (Serial No. J9237), was taken on strength by the RCAF for winter trials on 17 March 1930.  The RCAF acquired a further 24 Wapiti Mk. IIA (Serial Nos. 508-513) and (Serial Nos. 527 -544), on 5 March 1936. 

No. 3 (Bomber) Squadron departed Calgary, Alberta for their new wartime station at Halifax, Nova Scotia immediately on 26 Aug 1939. after being alerted about impending hostilities.  Seven aircraft made the trip eastwards, (Serial Nos. 509, 510, 513, 532, 535, 542 and 545).  Three more Wapitis joined the flight from RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, (Serial Nos. 538, 541 and 544).  The Wapitis from Calgary made a number of stops which included North Bay, Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario and a refuelling stop at Megantic, Quebec.  Other more easterly stops included Millinocket, Maine and Moncton, New Brunswick.  The squadron was re-designated as No. 10 (BR) Squadron at Halifax on 5 Sep 1939.

No. 10 Squadron, RCAF, was formed as a bomber squadron  at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 5 September 1939.  Mobilized on 10 Sep 1939, it was redesignated No. 10 Bomber Reconnaissance (BR) Squadron on 31 Oct 1939.  As part of Eastern Air Command, the squadron flew Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA from Sep 1939 to May 1940, Douglas Digby Mk. I from April 1940 to April 1943, and Consolidated Liberator Mk. II, Mk. V and G.R. Mk. VI aircraft from April 1943 to Aug 1945, on East Coast anti-submarine duty.  The squadron was active for the duration of the Second World War.  While based on the East Coast of Canada and Newfoundland, it established an RCAF record for 22 attacks on U-boats and successfully sank three (U-520 on 30 Oct 1942, U-341 on 19 Sep 1943, and U-420 on 26 Oct 1943), garnering the unofficial title "North Atlantic Squadron."  

No. 10 (BR) Squadron was disbanded at Torbay, Newfoundland, on 15 Aug 1945.  During its service, the squadron lost seven aircraft and 25 aircrew, of whom 24 were killed or missing, 1 wounded, and had 27 non-operational fatalities, includingthree drowned and six non-fatal.  Members of the squadron earned 24 DFCs, 6 AFCs, 1 GM, 1 AFM, 3 BEMs and 33 MiDs.  (Samuel Kostenuk and John Griffin, RCAF Squadrons Histories and Aircraft, 1924-1968 (Samuel Stevens Hakkert & Company, Toronto & Sarasota, 1077), National Museums of Man, National Museums of Canada, pp. 31-32.

Westland Wapiti Mk. II (1), (Serial No. J9237), Mk. IIA (24), (Serial Nos. 508, 509, 510, 511, 512, 513, 527, 528, 529, 530, 531, 532, 533, 534, 535, 536, 537, 538, 539, 540, 541, 542, 543, 544), for a total of 25 aircraft.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3642446) 

Westland Wapiti Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. J.9237) on skis.

  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3642445) 

Westland Wapiti Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. J.9237) on skis.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3642443) 

Westland Wapiti Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. J.9237) on skis.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545909)

Westland Wapiti fuselage used for instruction. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo,  MIKAN No. 3203302)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, RCAF (Serial No. 509), No. 3 Squadron. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3256692)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, RCAF (Serial No. 544), (Serial No. 541), and (Serial No. 538), No. 3 (Bomber) Squadron, at Rockcliffe, Ontario, 30 Aug 1939.  These aircraft were en route to their war station at Halifax, Nova Scotia, from their former base at Calgary, Alberta. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583641)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, RCAF (Serial No. A43), RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, 8 Dec 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581156)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, RCAF (Serial No. 513), Trenton, Ontario. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581107)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, RCAF, pilot's hood open, 3 July 1937. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581105)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, port side pilot's hood open, 3 July 1937.  

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581106)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, pilot's hood, rear view, 3 July 1937.  

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545983)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, RCAF (Serial No. 510), No. 3 Squadron, 1938. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545901)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, RCAF (Serial No. 510), No. 3 Squadron, 1938. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3642469)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, RCAF (Serial No. 510), No. 3 Squadron, 31 Aug 1939. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 33581416)

Seven Wapitis of No. 3 Squadron, RCAF, after arrival at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 30 August 1939.

(RAF Photo)

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA floatplane, RAF (Serial No. 503).