Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
RCAF and Canadian aviation history 1909 - 1945

RCAF and Canadian aviation history

1909 - 1945

On 1 April 1924, the RCAF was established as a permanent component of Canada's defence force. In 2024, the RCAF will be celebrating 100 years of service to Canada.  Many aviation enthusiasts have contributed to this compilation of key events in Canada's aviation history.  Where there are conflicting dates for the events recorded, the yardstick being used here is Samuel Kostenuk and John Griffin's RCAF: Squadron Histories and Aircraft 1924-1968. Hardcover.  (Canadian War Museum Historical Publications No. 14, 1 Jan 1977)

Data current to 14 April 2021.

 

Key Dates in Canadian Aviation History

1909

23 Feb 1909.  J.A.D. McCurdy made the first successful aeroplane flight in Canada, piloting the Silver Dart for a distance of 3/4 of a kilometre over the ice-covered surface of Baddeck Bay in Nova Scotia.  The next day he flew for more than 7 km in a complete circle back to his starting point.  Both flights were recognized by the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom as the first successful powered, controlled, heavier-than-air flights by a British subject anywhere in the British Empire. 

The Silver Dart was the 4th production aeroplane of the Aerial Experimental Association (AEA) formed at Baddeck, Nova Scotia in Sep 1907 under the leadership of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell and his associates, Canadian Engineers J.A.D. McCurdy and R.W. Baldwin, American motorcycle racer and engine maker Glen Curtiss, and US Army Lt Thomas Selfridge.

02 Aug 1909.  During the annual militia training camp held at Camp Petawawa, Ontario, McCurdy made four demonstration flights with the Silver Dart in an attempt to interest the Department of Militia and Defence in the aeroplane as a weapon of war.  On the last flight of the day, the machine was wrecked in a heavy landing and a second machine, Baddeck No. 1, crashed a few days later.  Official witnesses were not impressed.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4732064)

Canadian Aerodrome Baddeck No. 1 with Frederick W. "Casey" Baldwin and John McCurdy, preparing for military trials at Camp Petawawa, Ontario.  Its first demonstration flight was made on 11 Aug 1909.

1914

04 Aug 1914.  Britain declares war on Germany, which also places Canada in a state of war; the First World War begins.

16 Sep 1914.  Colonel Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence, was responsible for assembling and despatching the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) for service overseas.  He asked the British Secretary of War about the need for aviators.  He was advised that Britain could accept six expert aviators immediately and more later.  Canada had none.  He approved the formation of the Canadian Aviation Corps (CAC).  The CAC personally authorized by Col Hughes was to consist of two officers and one mechanic.  He appointed Captain Ernest Lloyd Janney (16 Jun 1893, Galt, Ontario – 22 Apr 1941, Winnipeg, Manitoba), as "Provisional Commander of the CAC".  Capt Janney's deputy was Lieutenant William Frederick Nelson Sharpe (6 Dec 1892, Prescott, Ontario – 4 Feb 1915, Brighton, England) - pilot.  Sharpe later joined the RFC but was killed in a flying accident.  Staff Sergeant Harry A. Farr was the CAC's mechanic.  He left the CAC in 1915, and later joined the RFC in Feb 1917.

Col Hughes also approved the expenditure of a sum not to exceed $5,000 for the purchase of a suitable aeroplane.  Capt Janney located and purchased a biplane from the Burgess-Dunne Company in Marblehead, Massachusetts for that amount, and arranged for its delivery to Quebec City.

01 Oct 1914  The Burgess-Dunne biplane, Canada's first military aircraft arrived in Quebec City and was immediately loaded on the S.S. Athenia, one of 30 ships preparing to transport the CEF to Britain the following day.  The convoy docked at Plymouth on 17 Oct 1914 and the biplane, which had been heavily damaged in transit, was unloaded and trucked to the Canadian troop camp at Salisbury Plain.  Because none of the three CAC members was a qualified pilot, the Burgess-Dunne never flew.  The aircraft deteriorated in the wet English weather until it was written off.  By May 1915, the CAC had ceased to exist. 

The Burgess-Dunne floatplane, shown here on board the S.S. Athenia, was designed by Englishman J.W. Dunne and constructed by American boat-builder Stirling Burgess. The Burgess-Dunne's wing span was 47 feet and length was 26 feet from nose to rear floats on the wingtips. It was 11 feet, 6 inches high and had a single float mounted directly under the pilot and passenger seats. Normal cruising speed ranged from 60 to 65 miles per hour.

1915

04 Feb 1915.  Lieutenant William F. Sharpe becomes Canada’s first military aviation fatality when he is killed during a training flight at Shoreham, England.

20 May 1915.  The first flight took place at Long Branch, Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s first designated airfield.

1916

15 Dec 1916.  Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd. an aircraft manufacturing company located in Toronto, Ontario was formed/  The company built aircraft for the Royal Flying Corps Canada during the First World War.  The company was created when the Imperial Munitions Board bought the Curtiss (Canada) aircraft operation in Toronto (opened in 1916 as Toronto Curtiss Aeroplanes) at a 6-acre facility at 1244 Dufferin Street south of Dupont Avenue in April 1917 (Galleria Shopping Centre since 1972 and Wallace Emerson Community Centre).  Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd. manufactured the JN-4 (Can) Canuck (1200), the Felixstowe F5L flying boat (30), and the Avro 504.  The plant remained opened until after the Armistice and was sold to the Columbia Graphophone Company Ltd., in 1919.  After 1924 it was sold to Dodge Brothers Canada Limited as a car assembly plant till 1928.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3579881)

Avro 504N Wright TS Patrol AWS floatplane, RCAF (Serial No. G-CYGK), South March.

1917

13 Mar 1917.  The headquarters for Royal Flying Corps (RFC) Canada, established to train RFC personnel, stands up in Toronto.  Three days later the headquarters moved to Camp Borden, Ontario.

In 1917, the American, British, and Canadian Governments agreed to join forces for training.  Between April 1917 and January 1919, Camp Borden in Ontario hosted instruction on flying, wireless, air gunnery and photography, training 1,812 RFC Canada pilots and 72 for the United States.  Training also took place at several other Ontario locations.  Eventually Canadians made up nearly a third of RFC aircrew.

02 Apr 1917.  The RFC begins flight training at Camp Borden.  Air Stations were established in southern Ontario at the following locations: Camp Borden 1917-1918, Armour Heights Field 1917–1918 (pilot training, School of Special Flying to train instructors),  Leaside Aerodrome 1917–1918 (Artillery Cooperation School), Long Branch Aerodrome 1917–1918, Curtiss School of Aviation (flying-boat station with temporary wooden hangar on the beach at Hanlan’s Point on Toronto Island 1915–1918; main school, airstrip and metal hangar facilities at Long Branch), Camp Rathbun, Deseronto 1917–1918 (pilot training), Camp Mohawk (now Tyendinaga (Mohawk) Airport) 1917–1918 – located at the Tyendinaga Indian Reserve (now Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory) near Belleville 1917–1918 (pilot training), Hamilton (Armament School) 1917–1918, Beamsville Camp (School of Aerial Fighting) 1917–1918 - located at 4222 Saan Road in Beamsville, Ontario; hangar remains and property now used by Global Horticultural Incorporated.

 (DND Archives Photo, PL-113903)

Curtiss JN-4 Canuck.

Each station had five training squadrons equipped with the Canadian-built Curtiss JN-4 Canuck.

18 May 1917.  First flight of Canadian fighter pilot Raymond Collishaw's "B" Flight of Naval 10 would initially be composed entirely of Canadians, and would later be nicknamed the "Black Flight", owing to the flight's black (front) engine cowling and wheel covers (to contrast with the red and blue of Naval 10's "A" and "B" Flights, respectively).  In addition, the flight decided to give their machines names in large (3-inch) white letters on either side near the cockpit.  Ellis Vair Reid, of Toronto, Ontario flew Black Roger; John Edward Sharman, of Winnipeg, Manitoba flew Black Death; Gerald "Gerry" Ewart Nash, of Stoney Creek, Ontario flew Black Sheep; Marcus Alexander, of Toronto, flew Black Prince; and Collishaw chose Black Maria (a reference to a police van).  During their first two months they claimed a record 84 German aircraft destroyed or driven down.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA-2788).

Squadron Commander Raymond Collishaw in a Sopwith F.1 Camel aircraft, Allonville, France, 1918. 

Raymond Collishaw, CB, DSO & Bar, OBE, DSC, DFC, (22 November 1893 – 28 September 1976) was a distinguished Canadian fighter pilot, squadron leader and commanding officer who served in the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and later the Royal Air Force (RAF).  He was the highest scoring RNAS pilot and the second highest scoring Canadian pilot of the First World War.  He was noted as a great leader in the air, leading many of his own formations into battle.  After the Great War, he became a permanent commissioned officer in the RAF, seeing action against the Bolsheviks in 1919-20, and subsequently commanding various Air Service detachments.  During the Second World War, he commanded No. 204 Group (which later became the Desert Air Force) in North Africa, achieving great success against the numerically and technologically superior Italian Air Force.  He retired in 1943.

 (RAF Photo)

Capt Billy Bishop VC, with Nieuport 17 C.1 Scout, No 60 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps,  Filescamp, France, ca 1918.

11 Aug 1917.  King George V presents the Victoria Cross to Captain Billy Bishop; he is the first Canadian airman to receive the decoration.

1918

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN 3387943)

Armstrong-Whitworth F.K.8. 

27 Mar 1918.  While flying an Armstron-Whitworth F.K. 8, 2Lt Alan A. McLeod won the Victoria Cross for an action fought by him and his observer, Lt A.W. Hammond.  2Lt Alan A. McLeod VC grew up in Stonewall, Manitoba.  During an air battle at an altitude of 5,000', 2Lt McLeod and his Observer, Lt A.W. Hammond MC, were attacked by eight German Fokker Dr.1 Triplane fighters.  2Lt McLeod skilfully manoeuvred to enable his observer to engage and shoot down three of the attackers.  Wounded five times and with his aircraft on fire, 2Lt McLeod climbed out onto the left bottom-plane of his aircraft and proceeded to control his machine from the side of the fuselage.  By steeply side-slipping the aircraft he was able to keep the flames to one side, thus enabling the observer to continue firing until the ground was reached.  The observer had by now been wounded six times when the machine crashed in "no man's land," and 2Lt McLeod, not withstanding his own wounds, dragged him away from the burning wreckage at great personal risk from heavy machine-gun fire from enemy lines.  Wounded again by a bomb while engaged in this rescue, he persevered until he had placed Lt Hammond in comparative safety before falling himself from exhaustion and lack of blood.  He later died of influenza on 6 November 1919.  He was Canada's youngest VC winner, and the youngest winner of a VC for an air action.

01 Apr 1918.  The War Office's Royal Flying Corps (RFC), the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War was amalgamated with the Admiralty's Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) to form the independent Royal Air Force (RAF). During the early part of the war, the RFC supported the British Army by artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance.  This work gradually led RFC pilots into aerial battles with German pilots and later in the war included the strafing of enemy infantry and emplacements, the bombing of German military airfields and later the strategic bombing of German industrial and transport facilities.

 (Entity999)

Replica of Baron Manfred von Richthofen's Fokker Dr.I

21 Apr 1918.  Capt Roy Brown and Australian soldiers bring down Baron Manfred von Richthofen. 

30 Apr 1918.  The Canadian High Commissioner in London sends a memorandum to the government recommending the formation of a Canadian Air Force in England.  A study in July found some 13,000 Canadians were in the RAF, of whom 850 were on secondment from the Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

05 Aug 1918.  The Air Ministry authorized the formation of two Canadian squadrons in England, one fighter and one bomber.

05 Sep 1918.  The Royal Canadian Naval Air Service (RCNAS)i, Canada's 3rd air force formation, was established in response to the RCN's recommendation that defensive air patrols be established off Canada's Atlantic coast to protect shipping from German U-boats.  The war ended on 11 Nov, and the RCNAS was disbanded on 5 Dec 1918.

19 Sep 1918.  The Canadian Privy Council approved the formation of the Canadian Air Force (CAF) with two squadrons.  A Canadian Air Force Section, which later became the CAF Directorate of Air Services, was formed as a branch of the General Staff of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada.  LCol W.A. Bishop, VC, was the first commander of the CAF in England.

11 Nov 1918.  The Armistice ends the First World War.

20 Nov 1918.  The RFC Canada becomes the RAF Canada.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, AH-517, PA-172313 and MIKAN No. 3238907)

Sopwith F.1 Camel, Capt William George Barker, VC, DSO & Bar, MC & Two bars, two Italian Silver Medals for Military Valour, and the French Croix de guerre. He was also mentioned in despatches (MiD) three times.

22 Oct 1918.  William George "Billy" Barker was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on this day.  While returning his Sopwith Snipe to an aircraft depot, he crossed enemy lines at 21,000  feet above the Forêt de Mormal, France.  He attacked an enemy Rumpler two-seater which broke up, its crew escaping by parachute (the aircraft was of FAA 227, Observer Lt. Oskar Wattenburg killed).  By his own admission, he was careless and was bounced by a formation of Fokker D.VIIs of Jagdgruppe 12, consisting of Jasta 24 and Jasta 44.  In a descending battle against 15 or more enemy fighters.  The dogfight took place immediately above the lines of the Canadian Corps.  Severely wounded and bleeding profusely, Barker force-landed inside Allied lines, his life being saved by the men of an RAF Kite Balloon Section who transported him to a field dressing station.  The fuselage of his Snipe aircraft was recovered from the battlefield and is preserved at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.  At a hospital in Rouen, France, Barker clung to life until mid-Jan 1919, and then was transported back to England.  He was not fit enough to walk the necessary few paces for the VC investiture at Buckingham Palace until 1 Mar 1919.  Barker is officially credited with one captured, two (and seven shared) balloons destroyed, 33 (and two shared) aircraft destroyed, and five aircraft "out of control", the highest "destroyed" ratio for any RAF, RFC or RNAS pilot during the conflict.  The Overseas Military Forces of Canada recognized Barker as "holding the record for fighting decorations" awarded in the First World War.

In 1922 he rejoined the fledgling Canadian Air Force in the rank of Wing Commander, serving as the Station Commander of Camp Borden, Ontario from 1922 to 1924.  Barker was appointed acting director of the RCAF in early 1924 and he graduated from RAF Staff College, Andover, England in 1926.  While waiting to start RAF Staff College Course No. 4, Barker spent two weeks in Iraq with the RAF to learn more about the uses of airpower.  He formally reported on his findings to the Minister of National Defence, and informally to Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, of the US Air Service.  One of his achievements in the RCAF was the introduction of parachutes. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390995)

Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphins, Canadian Air Force, No. 1 and No. 2 Fighting Squadrons, Upper Heyford, UK, 1919. 

20 Nov 1918. No. 1 Squadron (No. 81 Squadron (Canadian), RAF) was formed as a scout (fighter) unit at Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England.  The squadron flew Sopwith Dolphin and S.E.5a aircraft on training until it was disbanded at Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, on 28 Jan 1920.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390895)

Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a. 

28 Nov 1918. No. 2 Squadron (No. 123 Squadron (Canadian), RAF) was formed as a day-bombing unit at Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England.  The squadron flew two-seater D.H.9as on training until it was disbanded at Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, on 5 Feb 1920.

(Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3523020)

de Havilland DH.9a, No. 2 Squadron (No. 123 Squadron (Canadian), RAF), with four pilots, Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England, 1919. 

05 Dec 1918.  Cabinet decides not to proceed with the RCNAS “on its present basis”, effectively ending the organization.  The last member of the RCNAS finishes his tour of duty on 10 Dec 1919.

The Canadian Air Force (CAF) was a contingent of two Canadian air force squadrons, one fighter and one bomber, authorized by the British Air Ministry in August 1918 during the close of the First World War.  The unit was independent from the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) the RAF.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3523023)

Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a, No. 1 Fighting Squadron, Canadian Air Force, Upper Hayford, UK, 1919, flown by Capt Albert Debrisay Carter, DSO & Bar, Belgian Croix de Guerre, from Moncton, New Brunswick.  He also flew the SPAD VII and Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin, and had 27 kills before he was shot down and captured.  He died while flying a captured German D.VII (Serial No. 84422/18), in England on 22 May 1919. 

In addition to the two squadrons, a CAF Directorate of Air Services was formed, which was a branch of the General Staff of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada.  The CAF's first commander, LCol W.A. Bishop, began setting up the squadrons in August 1918.  The two squadrons never fought during the war, which ended on 11 Nov 1918.  The squadrons were administered by No. 1 Wing CAF, which was formed in Mar 1919.  The RFC provided Royal Aircfraft Factory S.E.5A and Sopwith Dolphin fighters, at least three captured Fokker D.VII fighters, and Airco DH.9A bombers.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390430)

Fokker D.VII, 8493/18, No 1 & 2 Sqn, CAF, Upper Hayford, UK, 1919.

Both squadrons were stationed in England at Upper Heyford and later, Shoreham-by-Sea.  All aircraft, equipment and training facilities were provided by Britain.  Recruiting, pay and clothing, however, was a Canadian responsibility.

The British government cut funding for the squadrons in Jun 1919.  The Canadian government decided that a permanent peacetime air force was not needed and so both squadrons ceased operations: No. 1 Squadron on 28 Jan 1920, and No. 2 Squadron on 5 Feb 1920.  Aircraft and associated equipment were sent back to Canada.  The Directorate of Air Services was dissolved on 5 Aug 1920.  Greenhous, Brereton; Halliday, Hugh A. Canada's Air Forces, 1914–1999.  (Montreal: Editions Art Global and the Department of National Defence, 1999).

During the First World War it is estimated that more than 23,000 Canadians flew with the British air forces.  At the end of the war, some 20,500 Canadians, mainly pilots, observers or cadets, were on the RAF's strength of 281,165.  1,563 gave their lives.  Three earned the Victoria Cross.

1919

07 Jan 1919.  RAF Canada ends with the departure of personnel from Camp Borden and the disposal of the Camp’s equipment.

25 Mar 1919.  No. 1 Wing, (No. 1 Canadian Wing RAF), is formed at Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England to administer the CAF squadrons.  It began its duties on 1 Apr 1919 when it moved to Shoreham-by-Sea.  It was disbanded on 5 Feb 1920.

06 Jun 1919.  The Canadian government passed the Air Board Act, authorizing a 7-member board to regulate and control all aeronautics in Canada.  The Air Board was to form three divisions: a Civil Aviation Branch for the control of commercial and civil flying, a Civil Operatoins Branch in charge of all non-military flying operations, and a Canadian Air Force (CAF) primarily responsible for training, rather than defence.  The first Air Board was constituted by an Order-in-Council on 23 Jun 1919.  Four Felixstowe F.3 flying boats, 18 Curtiss HS-2L flying boats, 11 de Havilland DH.4 landplanes and three Avro Viper seaplanes were employed on forest fire patrols, anti-smuggling patrols, treaty money flights to First Nations and general communications and transport work.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3575578)

Felixstowe F.3 flying boat of the Canadian Air Board, 5 Sep 1921.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643587)

Curtiss HS-2L, G-CYDT, Canadian Air Board, Victoria Beach, Manitoba, 3 Aug 1921. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574032)

10 Jun 1919.  Handley Page V-1500, preparing for an Atlantic crossing, Harbour Grace, Newfoundland.

As the First World War ended in 1918, the Handley Page V/1500 bomber named ‘Atlantic’ had just entered operational service. To participate in the first non-stop trans-Atlantic aviation race, the ‘Atlantic’ was packed in crates and left Liverpool, England, aboard a ship on 2 May 1919. Upon arrival in Newfoundland on 10 May, reassembly of the ‘Atlantic’ began under the supervision of Col. Ernest W. Stedman on an airfield prepared in Harbour Grace.

During the first trial flight on 10 June, the crew discovered an overheating problem and realized that new radiators would have to be installed.  While awaiting their arrival by ship from England, the trans-Atlantic aviation race was won by British aviators, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown, who made the crossing in the Vickers Vimy biplane.  This aircraft later crashed at Parrsboro, New Brunswick on 5 July 1919.  It was repaired and flew on to New York on 9 Oct 1919.

1920

28 Jan 1920.  No. 1 Squadron, CAF, disbands.

05 Feb 1920.  No. 2 Squadron, CAF, disbands.

18 Feb 1920.  The second, but home-based CAF in Canada was authorized. 

23 Apr 1920.  Approval was granted to appoint six officers and men with temporary rank in the CAF.  The CAF was a non-permanent, non-professional organization tasked to provide biennial 28-day refresher training to former officers and airmen of the wartime RAF

31 Aug 1920.  A CAF Association was established , with branches in all provinces, to maintain a roster and select personnel for training.  The program began at Camp Borden using the hangars and other installations that had been erected by the RAF in Canada during the war, and the aircraft and other equipment that had been donated by the British and American governments.  By the end of 1922, when refresher training was suspended, 550 officers and 1,271 airmen had completed the course.  The CAF seconded trained personnel to the Air Board for its Civil Operations Branch.

1921

30 Nov 1921.  The CAF ensign, displaying the RAF roundel, is raised for the first time at Camp Borden.

1922

28 Jun 1922.  The National Defence Act (NDA), which finalizes the separation of the CAF from the civilian Air Force and makes it a permanent force, receives Royal Assent.

28 Nov 1922.  Officers in the CAF adopt Air Force rank titles and drop the use of Army ranks.

 (RCAF Photo)

Martinsyde F.6. Reg. No. G-CAEA.

A Martinsyde F.6 biplane was transferred to the Canadian Air Force in 1922 for test purposes.  The F.6 was powered by a single Hispano-Suiza 300 hp engine, which had a top speed of 235 kph/145 mph, faster than any other single-seat aircraft of the period.

1923

01 Jan 1923.  The NDA takes effect, creating the Department of National Defence. The Air Board ceases to exist, and the CAF, Department of Naval Service and Department of Militia and Defence now fall under the new Department of National Defence (DND).

15 Feb 1923.  King George V approves the prefix “Royal” for the CAF.

19 Mar 1923.  The RCAF adopts the blue-grey RAF uniform.

23 Apr 1923.  The CAF motto, Sic itur ad astra (Such is the pathway to the stars), is replaced by the new RCAF motto, Per ardua ad astra (Through adversity to the stars), which is borrowed from the RAF. The CAF does not make formal application to use the motto, however, until the summer of 1928.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643581)

Canadian Vickers Viking Mk. IV, RCAF Reg. No. G-CYEV, Victoria Beach, 1923.

Jun 1923.  Canadian Vickers ventured into aircraft manufacturing when it won a contract to supply Vickers Viking flying boats to the recently formed Canadian Air Force.  Between 1923 and 1944, Canadian Vickers produced over 400 aircraft, some of which were original Vickers' designs while the remainder were other manufacturers' designs built under license.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580999)

Canadian Vickers Vancouver, RCAF (Serial No. 903), No. 4 (Flying Boat) Squadron, 19 Aug 1936. 

Canadian Vickers aircraft designs included the Vancouver (6 built), Vanessa (one built), Varuna (8 built), Vedette (60 built), Velos (one built), Vigil (one built) and Vista (one built).  Aircraft built under license production included the Vickers Viking IV (6 built), Avro 504N (13 built) Avro 552 (14 built), Curtiss HS-3L (3 built), Fairchild FC-2 (11 built), Fokker Super Universal (15 built), Bellanca Pacemaker (6 built) Northrop Delta (3 Mk. I and 17 Mk. II - the first all-metal stressed-skin aircraft built in Canada), Supermarine Stranraer (40 built) and the Canadian Vickers PBV-1 Canso (30 built at Vickers, 282 built at the Cartierville/Canadair plant).  The company also built a Fairey F-IIIC and a Felixstowe F-III for transatlantic attempts, and did engineering work on a Buhl Airsedan for the Ontario Provincial Air Service.  It manufactured components of the Handley Page Hampden and carried out repairs on the R-100 Airship.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3349142)

British R-100 Airship visiting, St. Hubert, Quebec, Sep 1930.

1924

01 Apr 1924.  The CAF officially becomes the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and a permanent component of Canada’s defence force.

20 Dec 1924.  The first RCAF wings parade takes place at Camp Borden.

1925

01 Apr 1925.  No. 1 (Operations) Wing was formed at Winnipeg, Manitoba.  This wing was employed on civil government air operations, flying forestry patrols over Manitoba, Saskatchewan and western Ontario, until it was transferred to the non-military Directorate of Civil Government Air Operations on 1 Jul 1927.

01 Apr 1925.  No. 1 (Operations) Squadron was formed at Jericho Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia.  This squadron was employed on civil government air operations.  It flew West Coast forestry and fishery patrols until it was transferred  to the non-military Directorate of Civil Government Air Operations on 1 Jul 1927.

01 Apr 1925.  No. 2 (Operations) Squadron was formed at High River, Alberta.  This squadron was employed on civil government air operations.  It flew forestry patrols over Alberta until it was transferred  to the non-military Directorate of Civil Government Air Operations on 1 Jul 1927.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN 3388213)

Canadian Vickers Varuna I, RCAF Reg. No. G-CYGV, No. 3 (Operations) Squadron, Station Ottawa, Ontario, 1926.

01 Apr 1925.  No. 3 (Operations) Squadron was formed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  This squadron was employed on civil government air operations.  It flew forestry patrols over Ontario and Quebec and also operated a test and development centre for new aircraft and photographic equipment, until it was transferred  to the non-military Directorate of Civil Government Air Operations on 1 Jul 1927.

01 Apr 1925.  No. 4 (Operations) Squadron was formed at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  This squadron was employed on civil government air operations.  It flew customs preventative patrols on the East Coast until it was transferred  to the non-military Directorate of Civil Government Air Operations on 1 Jul 1927.

1927

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3256153)

Douglas MO-2BS Seaplane, RCAF Reg. No. G-CYZG, Ottawa Air Station, Ontario.

22 Aug 1927.  The RCAF’s single O-2BS was taken on strength.  It was converted to MO-2B standard and was equipped with a Pratt & Whitney 425 hp Wasp A radial engine.  It was converted at the same time to a silver colour scheme and carried Reg. No. G-CYZG.  The aircraft could carry an extra seat in this configuration it was then used for photographic survey work for the rest of its career with the RCAF until it was struck off strength on 8 January 1931.

1928

 (Aerofiles Photo)

Consolidated O-17 Courier Mk. VII (Serial No. 26).

Jun 1928.  The RCAF purchased three Consolidated O-17 Courier aircraft, two Mk. VII landplanes (Serial No. 24), and (Serial No. 25), and one Mk. VIII floatplane (Serial No. 26).

1929

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM1535-: CVA 99-2155)

Fairey IIIF Mk. IV G.P. floatplane (1), RCAF (Serial No. J9172), Jericho Beach, BC ca 1930.  This is the sole British-built Fairley III F to serve in Canada.  It was used for trials October 1929 to September 1930.

1930

12 Mar 1930.  William George "Billy" Barker, VC, DSO & Bar, MC & Two Bars, age 35, died in the crash of a Fairchild KR-21 biplane trainer during a demonstration flight for the RCAF at Air Station Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  At that time he was the President and general manager of Fairchild Aircraft in Montreal, Quebec.

 (Canadian Forces Photo)

1930.  Blackburn Lincock Mk. II.  In 1928 Blackburn designed and built a private venture lightweight biplane fighter powered by an Armstrong Siddeley Lynx IVC engine.  The Blackburn F.2 Lincock was of wooden construction and first appeared in May 1928.  It performed well in demonstrations but failed to gain any orders.  The Canadian government showed an interest in the design, and a metal construction variant (the Lincock II) was built.  It was tested in Canada at Camp Borden in 1930 where there was interest in using the Lincock as an advanced trainer, but the type was not ordered.  It was later used to perform public aerobatic displays in 1933 and 1934.  One survives in the Streetlife Museum Hull in the UK.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390687)

Hawker Tomtit, RCAF (Serial No. 140), Camp Borden, Ontario, ca 1932.

15 May 1930.  The RCAF took two Hawker Tomtits on strength.  They first served with No. 112 (Army Co-operation) Squadron (Auxiliary) at RCAF Station Winnipeg, Manitoba.  From there, Tomtit (Serial No. 140) shown here, served with No. 1 Air Armament School at RCAF Station Camp Borden, Ontario.  Both Tomtits were loaned to No. 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario from No. 7 (General Purpose) Squadron's Communications Flight at RCAF Station Ottawa.  They finally served with No. 12 (Communications) Flight which was formed at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario on 10 Sep 1939.  Both aircraft were struck off strength from the RCAF on 24 Jul 1943.

1932

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3642468)

Avro 621 Tutor, (Serial No. 188), flown by No. 110 (AC) Squadron, Ottawa, Ontario, 19 Sep 1939.

05 Oct 1932.  No. 10 (Army Co-Operation) Squadron (Auxiliary), Non Permanent Auxiliary Air Force (NPAAF) was formed at Toronto, Ontario.  It flew from the Trethewey Farm Airfield from 1934 to 1939.  On 15 Nov 1937, it was renumbered No. 110 "City of Toronto" (Army Co-operation) Squadron. NPAAF/AAAF.  On 10 Sep 1939, the squadron was mobilized.  On 1 Mar 1941, it was renumbered No. 400 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Odiham, Hants, England.  Aircraft flown by the squadron included the de Havilland DH.60 Moth, Fleet Fawn Mk. I, Avro 621 Tutor, Avro 626 Prefect, de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth, and the Westland Lysander Mk. II flown both in Canada and the UK.

 (DND Photo)

RCAF Curtiss Kittyhawk formation including (Serial No. AZ138) coded LZ-S, and LZ-G, LZ-E, LZ-V and (Serial No. AL166), coded LZ-O, No. 111 (F) Squadron over the Rockies, ca 1942.

05 Oct 1932. No. 11 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, a unit of the non-permanent active Air Force, was formed at Vancouver, British Columbia.  On 15 Nov 1937 it was renumbered and redesignated No. 111 (Coast Artillery Co-operation) Squadron.  On 10 Sep 1939 the squadron was mobilized.  In May 1940, it moved to Patricia Bay, Vancouver, British Columbia.  On 14 Jun 1940 it was redesignated as No. 111 (Fighter) Squadron.  It was disbanded on 1 Feb 1941. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PL-42817)

Hawker Typhoon Mk. IB, RCAF (Serial No. RB389), coded 18-P, "Pulverizer IV", No. 440 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron RCAF, with bomb load, Goch, Germany, ca. 1944.

On 1 Nov 1941, No. 111 (Fighter) Squadron was reformed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  It flew Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. I, P-40K and Mk. IV fighters on West Coast air defence, and from Jun 1942 to Aug 1943 it was part of the RCAF reinforcement to the USAAF in Alaska.  Selected as one of six home fighter units for service overseas, it was redesignated No. 440 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron at Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland on 8 Feb 1944.  The squadron flew Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV and Hawker Typhoon Mk. IB in the pre-invasion softening up of the German defences and, after D-Day, gave close support to Ground forces by dive-bombing and strafing enemy strongpoints, bridges, rail and road traffic.  The squadron was disbanded at Flensburg, Germany on 26 Aug 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583638)

Westland Lysander Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 436), No. 112 (Army Co-opertion) Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 15 May 1940. 

5 Oct 1932.  No. 12 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, a unit of the Non Permanent Active Air Force (NPAAF), was formed at Winnipeg, Manitoba.  On 15 Nov 1937 it was renumbered No. 112 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, NPAAF/AAAF.  On 10 Sep 1939 the squadron was mobilized and moved to Rockcliffe, Ontario where it trained on the Westland Lysander.  On 9 Dec 1940 it was redesignated No. 2 (Fighter) Squadron at Digby, Lincolnshire, England.  On 1 Mar 1941 it was renumbered No. 402 (Fighter) Squadron.  The aircraft flown included the Avro 621 Tutor, Avro 626 prefect, de Havilland DH. Moth, and the Westland Lysander Mk. II.

1933

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580999)

Canadian Vickers Vancouver, RCAF (Serial No. 903), No. 4 (Flying Boat) Squadron, 19 Aug 1936.

17 Feb 1933.  No. 4 (Flying Boat) Squadron was formed at Jericho Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia.  The squadron was employed on civil government operations, preventive patrols against illegal immigration, fishery and forestry patrols, and some aerial photography.  On 1 Jan 1938 it was redesignated as No. 4 General Reconnaissance (GR) Squadron.  On 10 Sep 1939 the squadron was mobilized.  On 31 Oct it was redesignated as a No. 4 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron.  It was engaged in West Coast anti-submarine duty until it was disbanded at Tofino, British Columbia, on 7 Aug 1945.  The squadron flew Canadian Vickers Vancouver Mk. II, Fairchild 71, Canadian Vickers Vedette, Supermarine Stranraer, Blackburn Shark Mk. III, Consolidated Canso A and Consolidated Catalina Mk. IV.

1934

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3642454)

Hawker Hart, RCAF (Serial No. K3012), with skis, 14 Apr 1937.

1937.  The RCAF Hawker Hart, flew three Hawker Hart two-seater biplane light bomber aircraft, (Serial No. K3752), later (Serial No. A82), (Serial No. K4757), later (Serial No. A92), and (Serial No. K3012), during cold weather testing in Canada in 1937.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545918)

Fairchild 71B, RCAF (Serial No. 647), previously (Serial No. 183), No. 5 (GR) Squadron, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 1938. 

16 Apr 1934.  No. 5 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron was formed at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  On 1 Dec 1937 it was redesignated No. 5 (Coastal Reconnaissance) Squadron. 

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadian Vickers Stranraer, RCAF (Serial No. 913) of No. 5 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, coded QN-B, RCAF Station Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, sometime between 1938 and 1941.  Note the lines under the QN-B code indicate this is an aircraft from a Canadian Home Defence Establishment Unit.

The squadron was mobilized on 10 Sep 1939 and redesignated No. 5 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadon on 31 Oct 1939.  It was disbanded at Gaspe, Quebec on 15 Jun 1945.  The squadron flew the Fairchild 71, the Canadian Vickers Stranraer, and the Consolidated Catalina Mk. I. 

 (Umeyou Photo)

Fairchild Bolingbroke Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9118), coded BK-V, No. 115 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, Patricia Bay, British Columbia, 1942.

01 Sep 1934.  No. 15 (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary) was formed at Montreal, Quebec.  On 15 Nov 1937 it was renumbered No. 115 Squadron.  In Sep 1939 the squadron was called out on voluntary full time duty, but was disbanded at Montreal and its personnel were absorbed by No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on 26 May 1940.  The squadron flew the de Havilland DH.60 Moth, Fleet Fawn Mk. I and Mk. II, North American Harvard Mk. I and the Fairey Battle Mk. I.  The unit was reformed on 1 Aug 1941 as No. 115 (Fighter) Squadron at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  The squadron flew the Fairchild (Bristol) Bolingbroke Mk. I and Mk. IV on West Coast Air defence, and in Apr 1942, moved to Annette Island as part of the RCAF reinforcement to the USAAF.  It was redesignated No. 115 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron on 22 Jun 1942, and retuned to southern British Columbia where it was re-equipped with the Lockheed Vega Ventura G.R. Mk. V and employed on anti-submarine duty until it was disbanded at Tofino on 23 Aug 1944.

 (RCAF Photo)

Canadian Car & Foundry G-23 Goblins, No. 118 (Fighter( Squadron, RCAF, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 1941. 

01 Sep 1934.  No. 18 (Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) was formed at Montreal, Quebec.  On 15 Nov 1937, it was renumbered No. 118 Squadron.  On 28 Oct 1939 it was redesignated No. 118 (Coast Artillery Co-operation) Squadron and moved to Saint John, New Brunswick.  It was equipped with the Armstrong Whitworth Atlas Mk. I, Blackburn Shark Mk. II and the Westland Lysander Mk. II.  On 8 Aug 1940 it was redesignated No. 8 (Fighter) Squadron.  It was disbanded on 27 Sep 1940.  On 8 Aug 1940, the unit was reformed as No. 118 (Fighter) Squadron at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  It was equipped with the Canadian Car and Foundry (Grumman) Goblin biplane fighter and moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in July 1940, serving as the only fighter unit then available for East Coast air defence.  In Nov 1941 it was re-equipped with Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. I fighters.  On 16 Jan 1942, two No. 118 (F) Squadron Kittyhawks machine-gunned a surfaced U-boat some 16 km east of Halifax.  F/O W.P. Roberts flying Kittyhawk (Serial No. AK851) fired six bursts and obtained a number of hits around the conning tower.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo)

Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk Mk. I, RCAF No. 118 Squadron (Auxiliary), Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 4 April 1942.  These aircraft  came to the Squadron in November 1941 and in June the unit was transferred to Annette Island, Alaska as part of the RCAF reinforcement to the USAAF.  The pilots make the 6,400 km trip by air, the first RCAF fighter unit to fly from coast to coast.

In Jun 1942 No. 118 (F) Squadron was transferred to Annette Island, Alaska, as part of the RCAF reinforcement to the USAAF.  In Oct 1943, the squadron was one of six chosen for overseas duty.   On 18 Nov 1943, No. 118 (F) Squadron was redesignated No. 438 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron at Digby, Lincolnshire, England, flying the Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV and the Hawker Typhoon Mk. II B.  It was disbanded at Flensburg, Germany on 26 Aug 1945.

1935

 (RCAF Photo)

Armstrong Whitworth Atlas Mk. IAC (Serial No. 409), Rockcliffe, Ontario, ca 1938.

01 Apr 1935. No. 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron was formed at Trenton, Ontario.  It was equipped with Armstrong Whitworth Atlas Mk. I fighters and Westland Lysander Mk. II aircraft.  On 10 Sep 1939 it was mobilized at Saint John, New Brunswick .  The squadron was disbanded at Rockcliffe, Ontario, on 16 Dec 1939.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4731278)

Hawker Audax on skis, RCAF, 20 Mar 1935.

1935.  The Hawker Audax was exported to Canada with one aircraft being used by the RCAF for trials and five ex-RAF aircraft supplied after 1939 as instructional airframes (Serial No. A77), (Serial No. A78), (Serial No. A79), (Serial No. A80), (Serial No. A81), and (Serial No. K3100).

 (No. 437 Squadron Archives Photo)

Fairchild Bolingbroke Mk. Is, No. 119 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, RCAF, Bolinbrokes, coded DM, in formation near Yarmouth Nova Scotia, 25 Aug 1941.

15 May 1935.  No. 19 (Bomber) Squadron was authorized, NPAAF, at Hamilton, Ontario.  On 15 Nov 1937 it was renumbered No. 119 (Bomber) Squadron, NPAAF/AAAF.  On 10 Sep 1939 it was mobilized.  On 31 Oct 1939 it was redesignated No. 119 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron.  It was disbanded at Sydney, Nova Scotia, on 14 Mar 1944.  The squadron flew the de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth, Fleet Fawn, Northrop Delta, Fairchild (Bristol) Bolingbroke Mk. I, Mk. IV, and Mk. IVW, and  Lockheed Hudson.

 (RCAF Photo)

Northrop Delta Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 670), No. 120 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron based at RCAF Station Patricia Bay.  The squadron, part of Northwest Air Command, was commanded by Wing Commander R.A. Delhaye DFC.

18 May 1935.  An aircraft belonging to the Consolidated Mining Company made the first landing at the newly built airport at Armstrong, Ontario.  The airport was constructed as an unemployment relief project, part of the Trans-Canada Airway network of airports spaced approximately 100 miles apart.

01 Jun 1935.  No. 20 (Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) was authorized at Regina, Saskatchewan.  On 15 Nov 1937, it was renumbered No. 120 (Bomber) Squadron.  In Sep 1939 it was called out on voluntary full-time duty and on 31 Oct 1939 it was  redesignated No. 120 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron.  It was disbanded at Coal Harbour, British Columbia on 1 May 1944.  The squadron flew the de Havilland DH.60 Moth, de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth, Northrop Delta Mk. II, Lockheed Hudson Mk. I, Supermarine Stranraer, Consolidated Canso A, and Consolidated Catalina Mk. IVA.

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

Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, RCAF (Serial No. 513), No. 3 (Bomber) Squadron, RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario c1938. 

01 Sep 1935.  No. 3 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at Trenton Ontario.  It was initially equipped with  Armstrong Whitworth Siskin Mk. IIIA fighters, and later Westland Wapitis.  In 1937 the squadron moved to Rockcliffe, Ontario, and in Oct 1938 moved again, to Calgary, Alberta.  On 26 Aug 1939 it moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  it was disbanded on 5 Sep 1939.

No. 19 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at Hamilton, Ontario.

No. 20 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at Regina, Saskatchewan.

14 Nov 1935.  The first flight of the Noorduyn Norseman, the quintessential Canadian bush plane. The RCAF operates several of these on photographic mapping of northern Canada.

1936

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203433)

Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker, RCAF, G-CYUZ, later (Serial No. 603), 30 Jul 1931

29 Jan 1936.  No. 7 (General Purpose) Squadron was formed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario, by amalgamating the Test Flight, General Purpose Flight and two photographic detachments based at Rockcliffe.  No. 7 Squadron was disbanded on 10 Sep 1939.  The squadron flew the Fairchild 71 and Bellanca Pacemaker.  On 8 Dec 1941, the squadron was reformed as No. 7 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron at Prince Rupert, British Columbia.  The squadron flew the Blackburn Shark Mk. III, Supermarine Stranraer, Consolidated Canso A and Consolidated Catalina Mk. IV aircraft on West Coast anti-submarine duty until it was disbanded on 25 Jul 1945.

 (DND Archives Photo, PL-875)

Northrop Delta, RCAF (Serial No. 675), initially posted to No. 8 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ontario, in 1938.  675 later flew with No. 120 Squadron from RCAF Stations Sea Island and Patricia Bay, British Columbia, from May 1940 to July 1941, coded MX-C.  It served with No. 13 (OT) Squadron, RCAF Station Patricia Bay, BC, 1941.

14 Feb 1936.  No. 8 (General Purpose) Squadron was formed at Winnipeg, Manitoba.  On 1 Feb 1937 it was reorganized as a photographic unit, based at Rockcliffe, Ontario. On 10 Sep 1939 it was mobilzied as No. 8 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron at Sydney, Nova Scotia. 

 (DND Photo, PL-718)

Fairchild (Bristol) Bolingbroke, RCAF (Serial No. 714), No. 8 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario, 1940.

On 31 Oct 1939, the squadron was redesignated No. 8 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron.   The squadron flew the Fairchild 71, Bellanca Pacemaker, Canadian Vickers Vedette, Northrop Delta Mk. II, Fairchild (Bristol) Bolingbroke Mk. I and Mk. IV, and Lockheed Vega Ventura G.R. Mk. V.  It was disbanded at Patricia Bay, British Columbia on 25 May 1945. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, AYG-222)

Canadian Vickers Stranraer, RCAF (Serial No. 948), No. 6 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, at its base at Alliford Bay, British Columbia.

04 Mar 1936. No. 6 (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron was authorized at Trenton, Ontario.  It was mobilized on 10 Sep 1939.  On 31 Oct 1939 it was redesignated No. 6 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron at Jericho Beach, British Columbia.  The squadron was disbanded at Coal Harbour, British Columbia on 7 Aug 1945.  The squadron flew the Canadian Vickers Vedette, Blackburn Shark Mk. II and II, Supermarine Stranraer, Consolidated Canso A, Consolidated Catalina Mk. IB and Mk. IIIA and Noorduyn Norseman.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3208198)

Blackburn Shark Mk. III, RCAF (Serial No. 525), No. 6 (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron, May 1939.

14 Jul 1936.  The RAF forms Fighter, Bomber, Coastal and Training Commands. RCAF personnel serve with distinction in these commands during the Second World War.

1937

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650941)

Lockheed Ventura G.R. Mk. V, RCAF (Serial No. 2183), coded D, Jan 1944.  This aircraft flew with No. 113 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. 

01 Jan 1937.  No. 13 (Army Co-operation) Squadron (Auxiliary) was formed at Calgary, Alberta.  On 13 Nov 1937 it was redesignated No. 113 (Fighter) Squadron.  It was called out on voluntary full-time duty in Aug 1939.  It was disbanded on 1 Oct 1939.  On 15 Feb 1942 it was reformed as No. 113 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  The squadron flew the Lockheed Hudson Mk. III and Lockheed Vega Ventura, until it was disbanded at Torbay, Newfoundland on 23 Aug 1944.

 (RCAF Photo)

Boeing 247D (Serial No. 7635), No. 121 (K) Squadron, making a landing approach to the airfield at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, May 1942.

01 Jan 1937.  No. 21 (Bomber) Squadron, NPAAF, was authorized at Quebec City.  On 15 Nov 1937, it was renumbered No. 121 (Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary), NPAAF/AAAF.  The squadron was disbanded on 30 Sep 1939.  On 10 Jan 1942 it was reformed as No. 121 (K) Squadron, a Composite unit, at Darmouth, Nova Scotia, by amalgamating Eastern Air Command's Communication Flight and Target Towing Flight, and in July 1942 adding Rescue and Salvage Flight and in Aug 1942 adding Calibration Flight.  The squadron was disbanded on 30 Sep 1945.  The squadron flew the Boeing 247D, Grumman Goose, Westland Lysander, Avro Anson, Noorduyn Norseman, Fairchild (Bristol) Bolingbroke and the Lockheed Hudson Mk. III.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203301)

Armstrong Whitworth Siskin Mk. IIIA, RCAF (Serial No. 302), No. 1 (F) Squadron, Trenton, Ontario, 1938. 

21 Sep 1937.  No. 1 Squadron was formed as a fighter unit at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, equipped with Armstrong Whitworth Siskin Mk. IIIA fighter aircraft.  The squadron was formed from the Fighter Flight of No. 3 (Bomber) Squadron.  In August 1938, the squadron moved to Calgary, Alberta and was re-equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk. I fighters in Feb 1939.  It was mobilized at Saint-Hubert, Quebec on 10 Sep 1939, and on 5 Nov 1939 it moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  The squadron absorbed No. 115 (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary) at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on 28 May 1940.  On 01 Mar 1941 it was renumbered No. 401 (Fighter) Squadron at Driffield, Yorkshire, England.

15 Nov 1937.  No. 10 Army Co-Operation Squadron was renumbered No. 110 "City of Toronto" Army Co-Operation Squadron.  When the squadron was called out on active service 3 Sep 1939, it first deployed to RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario, for conversion to the Westland Lysander.

 15 Nov 1937. No. 11 Army Cooperation Squadron was renumbered No. 111 Army Cooperation Squadron, at Vancouver, British Columbia.

15 Nov 1937.  No. 12 Army Cooperation Squadron was renumbered No. 112 Army Cooperation Squadron, flying a variety of aircraft types including the Avro 626 and de Havilland Tiger Moth.

1938

01 Mar 1938. Formation of Western Air Command, Vancouver, British Columbia, with operational control of units in Alberta and British Columbia.

01 Apr 1938. No. 114 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at London, Ontario.  It was disbanded on 20 Oct 1939.

 (RCAF Photo, PL-8500)

Consolidated Model 28-5AMC Canso A, RCAF (Serial No. 9741), flown by No. 116 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, over Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

01 Apr 1938. No. 116 (Coast Artillery Co-operation) Squadron (Auxiliary) was formed at Halifax, Nova Scotia.  It was redesignated No. 116 (Fighter) Squadron on 1 May 1939.  The squadron was disbanded on 2 Nov 1939.  It was reformed as No. 116 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on 28 Jun 1941.  The squadron flew Consolidated Catalina Mk. I and Mk. IB, and Consolidated Canso A aircraft on the East Coast and over the Gulf of St. Lawrence on anti-submarine duty until it was disbanded o 20 Jun 1945.

 (RCAF Photo)

Consolidated Aircraft (San Diego) Catalina Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. JX212), coded G, No. 117 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, on patrol.

01 Apr 1938. No. 117 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Saint John, New Brunswick.  The squadron was redesignated No. 117 (Coast Artillery Co-operation) Squadron on 1 May 1939.  The squadron was disbanded on 28 Oct 1939.  On 1 Aug 1941, the unit was re-formed as No. 117 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron at Sydney, Nova Scotia.  Its personnel were temporarily transferred to Western Air Command, minus their aircraft until disbanded at Jericho Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia on 20 Nov 1941.  The unit was reactivated at Sydney on 28 Apr 1942, flying Supermarine Strnraer and Consolidated Canso A aircraft on anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the waters around Cape Breton Island.  The squadron was disbanded at Shelburne, Nova Scotia on 15 Dec 1943.

15 Nov 1938. Formation of Eastern Air Command, Halifax, Nova Scotia, with operational control of all units in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

15 Nov 1938. Formation of Air Training Command, Toronto, Ontario, with control of all basic aircrew and groundcrew training for the RCAF.  It was also responsible for the training organizations at Camp Borden and at Trenton.

19 Nov 1938.  The senior air officer, previously responsible to the Chief of the General Staff, is made directly responsible to the Minister of National Defence, thus putting the RCAF on an equal footing with the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Army.

01 Dec 1938.  The Non Permanent Active Air Force (NPAAF) was redesignated the Auxiliary Active Air Force (AAAF).  Three wing headquarters were added to its authorized strength, No. 100 in Vancouver, No. 101 in Toronto, and No. 102 in Montreal.

15 Dec 1938.  The senior air officer is re-designated Chief of the Air Staff (CAS); Vice Air Marshal George Mitchell Croil, AFC, becomes the first CAS.

 (WW2Aircraft.net  Photo)

Gregor FDB-1, Reg. No. CF-BMB, Canadian Car and Foundry factory at Fort William, Ontario.

17 Dec 1938.  First flight of Gregor FDB-1 biplane, the first Canadian fighter design.  The RCAF test flies it but decides to give it a pass.

19 Dec 1938.  The RCAF became an independent arm directly under the Minister of National Defence.  The head of the RCAF became the Chief of the Air Staff.

1938.  Construction begins on the Calgary, Alberta airport at its current location, and was completed in Sep 1939.

1939

01 Sep 1939.  Germany attacks Poland; the RCAF is placed on active service.

03 Sep 1939.   No. 110 "City of Toronto" Army Co-Operation Squadron was called out on active service.  It first deployed to RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario, for conversion to the Westland Lysander.    By early Feb 1940, the squadron was ready to depart to the UK, travelling by rail to Halifax and then by steamship across the Atlantic on 15 Feb.  The squadron was the first RCAF unit to go overseas during the Second World War/

10 Sep 1939.  Canada declares war on Germany and enters the Second World War.

 (DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Lockheed Hudson Mk. Is, No. 11 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  

03 Oct 1939.  No. 11 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron was formed at Rockcliffe, Ontario.  The squadron flew Lockheed Hudson Mk. I and Consolidated Liberator Mk. II, Mk. V and G.R. Mk. VI on East Coast anti-submarine duty.  It was disbanded at Patricia Bay, British Columbia on 15 Sep 1945.  The squadron's first wartime sortie was fown by the squadron commanding officer Wing Commander A. Lewis on 10 Nov 1939.  It involved a naval co-operation height finding and sighting practice for the anti-aircraft guns on the battlecruiser HMS Repulse and the aircraft carrier HMS Furious.  Shore batteries at Halifax also took part. HMS Repulse would later be sunk by Japanese bombers on 10 Dec 1942.

17 Dec 1939.  An agreement to set up the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) is formed.

1940

01 Jan 1940.  The headquarters of the RCAF Overseas is established in London, England.

01 Jan 1940.  No. 1 Training Command was formed at Toronto, Ontario.  On 14 Jan 1944 it was moved to Trenton, Ontario.  On 14 Jan 1945, it merged with No. 3 Training Command to form No. 1 Air Command..  On 15 Jan 1945 it merged with No. 1 Training Command to form No. 1 Air Command.

18 Mar 1940. No. 3 Training Command was formed as No. Training Group at Montreal, Quebec,  It was redesignated No. 3 Training Command on 29 Apr 1940

15 Apr 1940. No 2 Training Command was formed at Winnipeg, Manitoba.  On 30 Nov 1944 it merged with No. 4 Training Command to form NO. 2 Air Command.

29 Apr 1940. No. 4 Training Command was formed at Regina, Saskatchewan.  On 1 Oct 1941 it moved to Calgary, Alberta. On 30 Nov 1944 it merged with No. 1 Training Command to form No. 1 Air Command.

01 May 1940.  No. 13 (Seaplane and Bomber Reconnaissance Training School) Squadron was formed at Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia.  On 30 Jul 1940 it was redesignated No. 13 (Operational Training) Squadron.  The squadron was disbanded at Patricia Bay, British Columbia, on 9 Nov 1942.  Aircraft flown by the squadron included the Canadian Vickers vancouver, Canadian Vickers Vedette, Fairchild 71, Noorduyn Norseman, Lockheed Hudson Mk. I, Grumman Goose, Lockheed 10B, Northrop Delta Mk. I and Mk. II, Fairchild (Bristol) Bolingbroke Mk. IV, Supermarine Stranraer and the Cessna Crane.  

30 Jun 1940.  No. 112 Squadron was sent to Ottawa in February 1940, and re-equipped with the Westland Lysander, stocks of which were left behind when No. 110 Squadron was posted overseas. The squadron was likewise sent to Europe on 30 June 1940 with the intention to have No. 112 Squadron become part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) but the decision was made that Army Co-operation squadrons were not needed in France, and the squadron was re-deployed to coastal defence duties in England.  On 11 Dec 1940, the squadron was re-designated No. 2 Squadron, RCAF and equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk. I.

Jul 1940.  The RCAF adopts its own ensign in which the maple leaf appears in the centre of the roundel.

10 Jul 1940.  The Battle of Britain begins.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390687)

Hawker Tomtit, RCAF (Serial No. 140), Camp Borden, Ontario, ca 1932.  It later flew with No. 12 (Communications) Squadron at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.

30 Aug 1940.  No. 12 (Communications) Squadron was formed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  On 1 Nov 1947 the squadron was redesignated No. 412 (K) Squadron, a composite unit.  The squadron flew the Fairchild 51 and Fairchild 71, Fleet Fawn, Jawker Tomtit, Grumman Goose, Northrop Delta, Barkley Grow, Lockheed Hudson, Boeing 247D, Noorduyn Norseman, North American Harvard, Lockheed 10A, Lockheed 12A and Lockheed 212, Avro Anson, Lockheed Lodestar, Douglas Dakota and Beechcraft Expeditor.

15 Sep 1940.  The day the Battle of Britain is commemorated.

19 Nov 1940.  An Order-in-Council authorizes the formation of the Air Cadet League of Canada to prepare air cadets, 12- to 18-year-old boys, for future enlistment in the RCAF.

1940.  The airport at Brandon, Manitoba was constructed as a British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) base.

1941

07 Jan 1941.  Trans-Canada Air Lines received the first of its Lockheed 18 Lodestar aircraft.

20 Feb 1941.  Sir Frederick Banting was killed in a crash in Newfoundland of a Lockheed Hudson.

01 Mar 1941.  In accordance with Article XV, RCAF squadrons overseas are renumbered in the 400-series block of numbers to avoid confusion with RAF squadrons.  The six 100-block Home squadrons which had been transferred overseas complete with air and ground personnel were renumbered in the 400-block.  No. 112 Squadron became No. 400 Squadron, No. 110 (Army Cooperation) Squadron, later No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron, became No. 401 (Fighter) Squadron, No. 111 (Fighter) Squadron became No. 440 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron,  No. 14 (Fighter) Squadron became No. 442 (Fighter) Squadron, No. 118 (Fighter) Squadron became No. 438 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron, No. 123 (Army Cooperation Training) Squadron became No. 439 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron, No. 125 (Fighter) Squadron became No. 441 (Fighter) Squadron, No. 127 (Fighter) Squadron became No. 443 (Fighter) Squadron.

01 Mar 1941. No. 400 Army Co-Operation Squadron received the first number in the 400 block in recognition of the fact it was the first squadron to deploy overseas.  During the war, the squadron flew the Westland Lysander, Curtiss Tomahawk, North American Mustang, de Havilland Mosquito, and Supermarine Sptifire primarily in the armed and unarmed reconnaissance role.  Later in the war, the squadron also flew air interdiction operations.  At the end of the war, No. 400 Squadron was disbanded on 7 Aug 1945, at a captured airfield in Lüneburg, Germany.

No. 401 Squadron began as a permanent peacetime unit which, augmented by personnel from RCAF No. 115 Squadron (Auxiliary), arrived at Middle Wallop, England, on 21 Jun 1940.  It had brought its own Hawker Hurricanes from Canada, and as these were not fully up to UK standard, the squadron was non-operational until mid-August when it moved to RAF Northolt.  At the time the squadron comprised 27 officers (21 pilots) and 314 airmen.  To gain experience of Fighter Command operations, S/L E.A. McNab, Commanding Officer, flew on operations attached to No. 111 Squadron, and claimed a Heinkel He 111 bomber destroyed on 11 August 1940.  The squadron had replaced its Hurricanes with Spitfire Mk. IIs in Sep 1941, Mk. Vs in late 1941 and in Jul 1942 some of the first examples of the new Mk. IX.  The squadron ended the war as 2TAF's top scoring unit, claiming 112 aerial victories between 6 June 1944 and 5 May 1945.  Their total score for the war was 186.5 confirmed, 29 of which were claimed during 1940 when operating as No. 1 RCAF Squadron.

No. 2 Squadron was renumbered as No. 402 Squadron on Mar 1941, while stationed at RAF Digby, Lincolnshire, England.  No. 402 Squadron became operational at Digby, Lincolnshire, England equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk. 1 fighters.  It was re-equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk. II the following May and then Hurricane Mk. IIBs in June The squadron began training to become the first "Hurribomber" unit, commencing operations in this role in Nov 1941, carrying pairs of 250 lb bombs beneath the wings.  

In March 1942, the Squadron resumed its fighter role moving to RAF Colerne and converting to Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vbs.  It carried out Ramrod and Rodeo sorties until Aug when it received Spitfire Mk. IXs.  The squadron engaged the Luftwaffe over Dieppe on 19 Augt 1942.  In Mar 1943, the squadron was re-equipped with Spitfire Mk.Vs, which were flown from a variety of airfields right up to and during the Battle of Normandy.  During Operation Overlord (the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944) it operated as part of Air Defence of Great Britain, though under the operational control of RAF Second Tactical Air Force (2 TAF) in a fighter-bomber roleThe squadron was re-equipped with Spitfire Mk. IXs in July, and then with the Griffon-engine Spitfire Mk. XIVs, carrying out operations against V-1 flying bombs.  Five kills were confirmed, before the squadron returned to operations over Europe on 25 Aug 1944, including reconnaissance and bomber escort.  No. 402 continued to see regular action against Luftwaffe aircraft, with 19 victories being claimed in April 1945 alone.

At the end of Sep 1944, the Squadron was posted to the 2 TAF in Belgium, joining No. 125 Wing, RCAF.  A move to Grave in the Netherlands followed where the first victories were claimed over Nijmegen on 6 Oct 1944.  In Dec, the Squadron joined No. 126 Wing, RCAF,  to fly alongside the Wing's Spitfire Mk. IXs. The squadron was at Wunstort, Germany when the war ended, with total victories for the war of 49½ aircraft.  The Squadron disbanded at RAF Fassberg, Germany on 10 Jul 1945.

No. 126 (Fighter) Wing badge, with four dragons conjoined, spitting fire to represent the four Spitfire squadrons which composed the wing.  The wing was formed as No. 126 Airfield at Redhill, Surrey, England on 4 July 1944.  On15 May 1944 it was redesignated No. 126 (Fighter) Wing at Tangmere, Sussex, England.  It transferred to the British Air Forces of Occupation (Germany) on 6 July 1945.  It was disbanded at Utersen, Germany on 1 Apr 1946.

01 Mar 1941.  No. 403 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at RAF Station Baginton, Warwickshire, England, initially equipped with the Curtiss Tomahawk Mk. I.  After 29 operational sorties, the Tomahawks were replaced with Supermarine Spitfires.  No. 403 Squadron was the first of 35 RCAF squadrons to be formed overseas, and the third Fighter squadron in serviceé  The unit flew Spitfire s on bothoffensive and defensive air operations, and in support of Allied ground forces in North-West Europe. The squadron was disbanded at Fassberg, Germany on 10 Jul 1945.

15 Apr 1941.  No. 404 (Coastal Fighter) Squadron was formed at Thorney Island, Sussex, England, equipped with the Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV.

15 Apr 1941. First RCAF offensive patrol over enemy territory: carried out by 12 pilots of 402 (Fighter) Squadron flying Hawker Hurricanes over the Boulogne area in France, led by W/C GR McGregor.

23 Apr 1941.  No. 405 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at Driffield, Yorkshire, England, equipped with the Vickers Wellington bomber.  

23 Apr 1941.  No. 405 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at Driffield, Yorkshire, England, as an Article XV squadron and equipped with the Vickers Wellington bomber.  It flew the RCAF's first bombing operation ten weeks later on 12/13 June 1941, attacking the railway marshalling yards at Schwerte, Germany.  It converted to the Handley Page Halifax in April 1942, taking part in the historic 1,000-bomber raid on Cologne on the night of 30/31 May 1942.  In late October 1942, the squadron was loaned to Coastal Command to fly anti-submarine patrols in the Bay of Biscay at the time of the North African landings.

The squadron returned to Bomber Command at the beginning of March 1943, flying with No. 6 (RCAF) Group for short time before being selected for the elite No. 8 (Pathfinder) Group based at Gransden Lodge Airfield, with which it served until the end of the war.  Through the last 20 months of the bomber offensive the squadron was equipped with the Avro Lancaster.

The squadron's last operational mission took place on 25 April 1945 when nine Lancasters bombed the Berghof, and four aircraft bombed enemy gun batteries on island of Wangerooge.  The squadron was disbanded on 5 September 1945.

05 May 1941.  No. 406 (Night Fighter) Squadron was formed at RAF Acklington , as part of No. 12 Group of Fighter Command, equipped with Blenheim Mk. IF heavy fighters, re-equipping with the improved Beaufighter Mk. IIF the next month.

08 May 1941.  No. 407 (Coastal Strike) Squadron was formed at RAF Thorney Island, England on 8 May 1941, first training on the Bristol Blenheim and then transitioning to the Lockheed Hudson bomber.

10 May 1941.  Trans Canada Air Lines inaugurated a Toronto-New York service with two trips daily, which was increased to three trips daily in Jun.

12/13 Jun 1941.  First RCAF bomber attack was carried out by No. 405 (Bomber) Squadron against Schwerte (SE of Dortmund).

16 Jun 1942.  No. 411 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at RAF Digby, Lincolnshire, England.  After a period of training the squadron began operations in Aug 1941 with the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VB.  Later in the war, as part of the Hornchurch Wing, it operated over continental Europe on Rhubarb sorties and as bomber escorts.  After some rest periods the squadron joined the Kenley Wing for more operations over Europe.  Converting to the Spitfire Mk. IX in October 1943 it then became a fighter-bomber squadron.  Within two weeks of D-Day, it was operating from France in the close-support role and it also operated armed reconnaissance flights.  Following the advancing troops the squadron was soon based in Germany until it was disbanded at Utersen on 21 Mar 1946.

17 Jun 1941. No. 409 (Night Fighter) Squadron was formed at RAF Digby, Lincolnshire, England, for night operations with Boulton-Paul Defiant fighters.

24 Jun 1941. No. 408 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at RAF Lindholme, Yorkshire, England, equipped with Handley Page Hampdens, as part of No. 5 Group, RAF.  It was the second RCAF bomber squadron formed overseas.  The "Goose" Squadron, was initially based at RAF Lindholme in Yorkshire, England, and equipped with Handley Page Hampdens.  No. 408  Squadron converted aircraft several times during the war, changing from Hampden aircraft to the Handley Page Halifax, and then to Avro Lancaster bombers in August 1943 after moving to RAF Linton-on-Ouse and where it became part of No. 6 (RCAF) Group.

No. 408 Squadron flew 4,610 sorties and dropped 11,340 tons of bombs.  A total of 170 aircraft were lost and 933 personnel were killed, listed as missing in action (MIA) or became prisoners of war (PW).  Squadron members won two hundred decorations, and 11 battle honours for its wartime operations.  On 5 Sep 1945, No. 408 Squadron was officially disbanded.

30 Jun 1941. No. 410 (Night Fighter) Squadron was formed at RAF Ayr, near Prestwick, in Scotland, equipped with Beaufighters.

30 Jun 1941. No. 412 (Fighter) Squadron was formed RAF Digby, Lincolnshire, England, equipped with the Spitfire Mk. II.

01 Jul 1941. No. 413 (Coastal) Squadron was formed Stranraer in southwest Scotland, equipped with the Consolidated Catalina Mk. I, Mk. IB and Mk. IV.

02 Jul 1941. The Canadian Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (CWAAF) is authorized by Order-in-Council, enabling the CWAAF to recruit women for ground trades.

13 Aug 1941. No. 414 (Army Co-operation) Squadron was formed at RAF Croydon, England, as the RCAF's 12th squadron formed overseas.  The squadron flew Westland Lysander Mk. III and Curtiss Tomahawk Mk. I and Mk. II.  On 28 Jun 1943 it was redesignated No. 414 (Fighter Reconnaissance) Squadron at Dunsfold, Surrey and flew the North American Mustang Mk. I and Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk. IX and FR Mk. XIV.  The squadron was disbanded at Luneburg, Germany, on 7 Aug 1945.

21 Aug 1941. No. 415 (Coastal) Squadron was formed at RAF Thorney Island, England .  It is also referred to as No. 415 Long Range Patrol Force Development Squadron, RCAF, and was equipped with Handley Page Hampdens.  It flew from a number of different bases, attacking enemy convoys and shipyards.

In Oct 1943 the squadron was re-equipped with Vickers Wellingtons and Fairey Albacores.  While operating out of Bircham Newton, it became a successful E- and R-boat hunter unit.  During the D-Day operations, No. 415 Squadron it used its bombers to lay protective smoke screens for the Allied ships as they assaulted the coastline and landed troops ashore.

 (RN Photo)

Fairey Albacore (Serial No. L7075), 2nd prototype, ca 1940.  The Fairey Albacore was flown by No. 415 Squadron, RCAF, and by RCN and RCNVR pilots in service with the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Navy.

In Jul 1944, the squadron was transferred to No. 6 (RCAF) Group, and moved to East Moor, where it was re-equipped with Handley Page Halifax Mk. IIIs.  No. 415 Squadron began major bombing of German targets on 28/29 July, when it attacked Hamburg.  For the next nine months the squadron carried out major bombing runs over important enemy targets in a variety of places.  It carried out its last bombing mission on 25 Apr 1945, attacking the gun batteries on the island of Wangerooge.  The squadron was disbanded in May 1945.

01-02 Sep 1941. The first RCAF night fighter victory was scored by F/O RC Fumerton and Sgt LPS Bing in a Bristol Beaufighter of 406 Squadron over Bedlington, England.

 (RCAF Photo)

Douglas Digby Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 740), coded R, No. 10 (Bomber) Squadron, RCAF

05 Sep 1941. No. 10 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The squadron was mobilized on 10 Sep 1939.  On 31 Oct 1939 it was redesignated No. 10 (Bomber Reconaissance) Squadron.  It was disbanded at Torbay, Newfoundland on 15 Aug 1945.  The squadron flew Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA, Douglas Digby, Consolidated Liberator Mk. III and G.R. Mk. VI.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3521027)

Westland Lysander Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 421), flown by No. 123 (ACT) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario.

22 Oct 1941.  No. 123 (Army Co-operation Training) Squadron was formed at the School of Army Co-operation at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  On 15 Jan 1942 it was redesignated No. 123 (ACT) Squadron.  The squadron flew the Westland Lysander Mk. II at Sydney, Nova Scotia, for harbour entrance patrols, Grumman Goblin, North American Harvard Mk. IIB, and Hawker Hurricane Mk. I and Mk. XII.  The squadron was the second of six home squadrons transferred overseas in preparation for the Allied invasion of Europe.

On 31 Dec 1943 the squadron was redesignated No. 439 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron at Wellingore, Lincolnshire, England.  It flew the Hawker Hurrincane Mk. IV and Hawker Typhoon Mk. IB in the pre-invasion softening up of the German defences and gave close support to ground forces afte D-Day.  The squadron was disbanded at Flensburg, Germany on 26 Aug 1945.

25 Oct 1941. Eastern Air Command made its first attack on an enemy submarine off the coast of Newfoundland. The attack was made by No. 10 Squadron, but the bomb did not explode.

10 Nov 1941. LAC KM Gravel is posthumously awarded the first George Cross awarded to a member of the RCAF, for his attempted rescue of his pilot from the burning wreckage of a DH.82C Tiger Moth at Calgary, Alberta.

15 Nov 1941. No. 418 (Intruder) Squadron formed at Debden, Essex, England equipped with the Douglas Boston, flying day-and night-intruder operations deep into enemy territory.

18 Nov 1941. No. 416 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at RAF Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland flying the Spitfire.

27 Nov 1941. No. 417 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at RAF Charmy Down and was known as the "City of Windsor" squadron and equipped with the Hurricane.

07 Dec 1941. No. 419 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at RAF Mildenhall, England as part of No. 3 Group, Bomber Command/  The squadron moved to RAF Middleton St, George when it joined No. 6 (RCAF) Group, and remained in England until 1945.  The squadron flew the Vickers Wellington, 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 began flying operations in January 1942, converting almost immediately to Vickers Wellington Mk. IIIs,  The squadron moved north to Leeming as part of No. 6 (RCAF) Group, in August 1942.  In November it was re-equipped with Handley Page Halifax Mk. IIs, which it flew for the next 18 months on night offensive bombing missions 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.

 (DND Archives Photo, PL-7091)

No. 419 Squadron Vickers Wellington aircrew in England, 9 Feb 1942.

In April 1944 the squadron began to convert to Canadian-built Avro Lancaster Mk. Xs that had been 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, No. 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.

Between January 1943 to March 1944, No. 419 Squadron was involved in over 200 sorties involving 2,400 crewing operations losing 59 aircraft, a rate of one in every 40.  415 men were either killed or taken PW during those 15 months, averaging 4 crews a month.  The average crew survival rate was between 2 and 3 months when about 20 missions would be flown.  In general mining operations were relatively safer missions.  In particular the attacks on German cities intensified from early October when more than 100 crews were regularly dispatched to bomb Frankfurt, Mannheim, Berlin, Magdeburg, Leipzig and Nuremberg.  During March 1944, the squadron carried out many mining missions, before taking part in No. 6 (RCAF) Group's 118-crew attack on Nuremberg at the end of the month.  It suffered the squadron's worst loss of the war, with 13 aircraft going down on one sortie.

 (RCAF Photo, PL43394)

Avro Lancaster B Mk. X, No. 419 Squadron, at their dispersal site, Middleton, St. George, England, 18 Apr 1945. 

No. 419 Squadron was, like other squadrons in 6 Group, RCAF, heavily involved in bombing missions during the run up to the June landings in Normandy.  Rail-yards were successfully attacked at Trappes (6/7), Le Mans (13/14), Amiens (16/17), Laon (23/24), Aulnoye (25/26), Courtrai (26/27) and Vaires-sur-Marne (29/30) as well as mining operations in the Gironde Estuary (3/4), Brest (4/5), Lorient, Brest, St Nazaire, the Terchelling Islands (11/12), Heligoland (18/19 and 30/31) and Kiel Bay (22/23).  An aircraft factory at Meulan Les Mureaux was bombed on 2/3 March.  No. 419 Squadron flew back to Canada in June 1945 and was disbanded at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on 5 September 1945.

07 Dec 1941. Canada declared war on Japan and immediate steps were taken to strengthen the defences.

11 Dec 1941. American John Gillespie Magee Jr., author of the poem “High Flight” and serving with No. 412 (Fighter) Squadron is killed in an air-to-air collision during a training sortie.

19 Dec 1941. No. 420 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at Waddington, Lincolnshire, England.  During the Second World War, the squadron flew Avro Manchester, Handley Page Hampden, Vickers Wellington, Handley Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster bombers on numerous strategic and tactical bombing operations.  From Jun to Oct 1943, No. 420 Squadron flew tropicalized Vickers Wellington aircraft from North Africa in support of the invasions of Sicily and Italy.  In Apr 1945 they converted to Avro Lancasters, and when hostilities in Europe concluded, it was selected as part of Tiger Force slated for duty in the Pacific, and returned to Canada for re-organisation and training.  The sudden end of the war in the Far East resulted in the Squadron being disbanded at Debert, Nova Scotia on 5 Sep 1945.

 (RCAF Photo)

Avro Manchester Mk.1A (Serial No. L7486), with extended tail fins.

1942

01 Jan 1942. Air Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Ferry Squadron was formed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario, for the inter-command ferrying of aircraft.  On 14 Feb 1942 the unit was redesignated No. 124 (Ferry) Squadron.  It was organized into an Eastern Division with HQ at Rockcliffe, and a Western Division with HQ at Winnipeg, Manitoba.  On 1 Mar 1944 the unit at Winnipeg became No. 170 (Ferry) Squadron.  When the war ended and it became the Western Detachment of No. 124 (Ferry) Squadron.  The squadron was disbanded on 30 Sep 1946. 

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM1184-S3-: CVA 1184-1132)

RCAF Curtiss Kittyhawk, No. 14 (F) Squadron, Vancouver, British Columbia, ca 1942.  The badge on the nacelle seems to be that of the ANAF Vets or the Royal Canadian Legion.  It reads "For King and Empire". 

02 Jan 1942.  No. 14 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  The squadron flew Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. I and P-40K-1s from Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia on West Coast air defence.  From March to Sep 1943 the squadron was part of the RCAF reinforcement to the USAAF in Alaska.  It completed two tours of offensive operations against Japanese forces on Kiska Island in the Aleutians.  In late 1943 it was selected as the fifth of six home fighter units for overseas deployment.  On 8 Feb 1944, it was redesignated No. 442 (Fighter) Squadron at Digby, Lincolnshire, England.  It flew Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VB, Mk. IXB, and Mk. IXE fighters on defensive and offensive air operations. 

 (John Mallandine Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF, coded Y2-B, "The Edmonton Special", No. 442 Squadron, RCAF, in the United Kingdom, ca May 1945.  The Mustangs flown by the RCAF during the war were owned by the RAF and carried RAF serial numbers and designations.

In Mar 1945 No. 442 (Fighter) Squadron was re-equipped with North American Mustang Mk. III and later Mk. IV fighters and employed on long-range bomber escort duty.  The squadron was disbanded at Molesworth, Huntingdonshire on 7 Aug 1945.

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, Ref No. CVA 1184-1561)

Grumman Goose Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 798), flown by No. 122 (K) Squadron, a composite unit at Patricia Bay, British Columbia, c1943.

10 Jan 1942. No. 122 (K) Squadron was a composite unit formed at Patricia Bay Vancouver, British Columbia, by amalgamating Western Air Command's Coast Artillery Co-operation Flight and Communications Flight.  On 16 Sep 1943 the Communications Flight was detached to form No. 166 (Communications) Squadron.  In Nov 1944 the unit added an Air Sea Rescue Flight.  No. 122 (K) Squadron was disbanded on 15 Sep 1945.  The Squadron flew the Blackburn Shark Mk. II and Mk. II, Noorduyn Norseman, Grumman Goose, Westland Lysander, Lockheed Electra, Fairchild (Bristol) Bolingbroke, Avro Anson, Lockheed Vega Ventura and the Lockheed Hudson Mk. III.

15 Jan 1942. No. 123 (Army Cooperation Training) Squadron was formed at Debert, NS.

03 Feb 1942.  The CWAAF is renamed the RCAF Women’s Division (WD).

12 Feb 1942. Nine Canadian squadrons participated in attacks on the German warships “Scharnhorst”, “Gneisenau” and “Prinz Eugen”, which had escaped from Brest, France.

15 Feb 1942. No. 113 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron formed at Yarmouth, NS, equipped with the Lockheed Hudson.

01 Mar 1942.  The first Ceylon-bound aircraft of No. 413 General Reconnaissance (GR) Squadron left the unit's base at Sullom Voe in the Shetlands, bound for Pembrooke Docks.  The first four aircraft arrived at Koggala on 28 Mar, 2 Apr, 6 Apr and 7 Apr.  One of them (Birchall's) was shot down on 4 Apr and another was shot down on 9 Apr, leaving the unit with just two Catalinas until more arrived weeks later.  Birchall was awarded the OBE for his conduct in Japanese PoW camps.

Birchall was gazetted as an Additional Officer of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire on 5 February 1946.  His citation:

In April 1942 this officer was shot down and captured after sending out the warning from his patrolling seaplane that a large force of Japanese warships was approaching Ceylon. Throughout his three and a half years as a prisoner of war Wing Commander Birchall as Senior Allied Officer in the prisoner of war camps in which he was located continually displayed the utmost concern for the welfare of his fellow prisoners. On many occasions with complete disregard for his own safety he prevented as far as possible Japanese officials of various camps from sadistically beating his men and denying prisoners the medical attention which they so urgently needed. Typical of his splendid gallantry was when in the Niigato Camp he called a sit down strike in protest against ill treatment of his men. On another occasion when the Japanese wanted to send some sick prisoners of war to work Wing Commander Birchall found it necessary at great personal risk to forcibly prevent the Japanese non commissioned officer in charge from making these prisoners work. As a result Wing Commander Birchall spent several days in solitary confinement. Nevertheless the sick prisoners of war did not have to work. Knowing that each time he forcibly intervened on behalf of his men he would receive brutal punishment Wing Commander Birchall continually endeavoured to improve the lot of his fellow prisoners. He also maintained detailed records of personnel in his camps along with death certificates of deceased personnel. The consistent gallantry and glowing devotion to his fellow prisoners of war that this officer displayed throughout his lengthy period of imprisonment are in keeping with the finest traditions of the Royal Canadian Air Force. 

24 Mar 1942. Canadian Pacific Air Lines Ltd was formed by changing the name of United Air Services Ltd and combining several smaller air carriers.

02 Apr 1942. No. 422 (Coastal) Squadron was formed at RAF Castle Archdale near Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, equipped with PBY Catalinas and Short Sunderlands.

04 Apr 1942. S/L LJ Birchall and crew of a Consolidated Catalina of No. 413 Squadron sighted a large Japanese naval force steaming to attack Ceylon and gave warning before being shot down and taken prisoner. S/L Birchall was awarded the DFC for this action.

09 Apr 1942. No. 421 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at RAF Digby equipped with Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Va, the squadron moving to RAF Fairwood Common in May and received Spitfire Mk Vb. The last Canadian fighter squadron to be formed in the UK during the Second World War.

14 Apr 1942. No. 132 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  The squadron wsa employed on West Coast air defence until it was disbanded at Sea Island, British Columbia on  30 Sep 1944.  It flew the Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. I, Mk, IA and Mk. III.

 (RCAF Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF (Serial No. 5501), coded L, No. 125 (Fighter) Squadron, 28 Feb 1943.

20 Apr 1942. No. 125 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Sydney, Nova Scotia, equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk. I and Mk. XII flying East Coast air defence.  It was selected in late 1943 as one of six home fighter units for overseas duty.  On 8 Feb 1944 it was renumbered No. 441 (Fighter) Squadron at Digby, Lincolnshire, England.  The "Silver Fox" squadron flew the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VB, Mk. IXB, F, HF, LF Mk. IX and the North American Mustang Mk. III and Mk. IV.  The squadron was disbanded at Molesworth, Huntingdonshire on 7 Aug 1945.

 (RCAF Photo)

North American Mustang Mk. III with Malcolm hood, RAF (Serial No. HB876), No. 441 Squadron Mustang coded 9G-L.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4982739)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XIIA (Serial No. BW850), coded BV-T, No. 126 (Fighter) Squadron, RCAF, patrolling from its base at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 9 Aug 1942.  This Hurricane has been converted to the Mk. XIIA version by Canadian Car and Foundry (CCF).  This aircraft retains its eight-gun wing.

27 Apr 1942. No. 126 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk. XIIA and Mk. XII.  The squadron flew on East Coast air defence until it was disbanded on 31 May 1945.

01 May 1942. No. 130 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Mont-Joli, Quebec.  The Squadron flew Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. IA and Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII on East Coast air defence.  The squadron was disbanded at Goose Bay, Labrador, Newfoundland on 15 Mar 1944.

17 May 1942. No. 404 (Coastal Fighter) Squadron participated in an attack on the German cruiser “Prinz Eugen” in the Skagerrak.

18 May 1942. No. 423 (Coastal) Squadron was formed at Oban, Scotland, equipped with the Short Sunderland flying boat.

19 May 1942. No. 162 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron was formed at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, equipped with the Consolidated Canso A. The squadron spent 18 months on East Coast anti-submarine duty.  In Jan 1844 the squadron was loaned to RAF Coastal Command and stationed in Iceland to cover the mid-ocean portion of the North Atlantic shipping route.  In June and July 1944 the squadron operated from Wick, Scotland.  During it service, the squadron sank four U-boats and shared in the sinking of a fifth as the German submarines attempted to break through the North Transit Area near the Shetland Islands to atack the Allied fleet engaged in the D-Day invasion.  F/L David E. Hornell was poshumously awareded the Victoria Cross for one of these engagements.  The squadron was disbanded at Sydney, Nova Scotia, on 7 Aug 1945.

30 May 1942. No. 145 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron was formed at Torbay, Newfoundland, equipped with the Lockheed Hudson Mk. I and Mk. II, and the Lockheed Vega Ventura GR Mk. V.  The squadron was disbanded at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on 30 Jun 1945.

30 – 31 May 1942. Nos. 405, 408, 419 and 420 (Bomber) Squadrons participated in the first 1000 aircraft attack on Germany, directed at Cologne.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581292)

Supermarine Walrus Mk. I pair, visiting an RCAF Station.  Eight were in service with the RAF in Canada.  Mk. I (2), RAF (Serial Nos. L2330, and W3089), Mk. II (6), (Serial Nos. Z1768, Z1771, Z1775, Z1781, Z1814, and HD909), for a total of 8 aircraft.

May - Aug 1942.  The collection of Intelligence on the U-boat threat off Canada’s East coast during the Second World War became an absolute necessity early in the war.  Because of sightings and Direction Finding (DF) reports of submarines in the vicinity of Sable Island off the Nova Scotia Coast, a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) detachment with radar-equipped Supermarine Walrus amphibious aircraft was sent to the island in May 1942.  The RCAF provided a work party to build the station and later an observer for the aircraft.  Under the orders of a controller in Dartmouth, the Walrus flew daily patrols from a small lake on the island whenever the weather permitted, until 20 August when it was lost.  The patrol was abandoned for the rest of the 1942 season and the detachment was withdrawn.  (W.A.B. Douglas, “Creation of a National Airforce, Vol.  II, RCAF Official History)

02-8 Jun 1942. Nos. 8, 111 and 118 Squadrons moved to Alaska to join No. 115 Squadron to work with US forces to defend against the Japanese.

(RCAF Photo via the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, RCAF (Serial No. KA100). 

3 Jun 1942. No. 133 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Lethbridge, Alberta.  The squadron flew on West Coast air defence until it was disbanded at Patricia Bay, Vancouver, British Columbia on 10 Sep 1945.  It flew the Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. I and de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito FB Mk. 26.

4 Jun 1942. No. 417 (Fighter) Squadron arrived in Egypt to serve with the Desert Air Force.

7 Jun 1942. No. 128 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Sydney, Nova Scotia.  It was employed on East Coast air defence, equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk. XIIs.  The squadron was disbanded at Torbay, Newfoundland on 15 Mar 1944.

7 Jun 1942. No. 119 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron was formed at Sydney, NS, equipped with Bristol Bolingbrokes.

 (DND Photo)

Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks refueling, Patricia Bay, British Columbia, 20 Jan 1942.

15 Jun 1942. No. 135 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Mossbank, Saskatchewan.  It flew the Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII and Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. IV on West Coast defence until it was disbanded at Patricia Bay, British Columbia on 10 Sep 1945.

25 Jun 1942. No. 425 (Bomber) Squadron, the first French Canadian squadron, was formed at RAF Dishforth in Yorkshire, England, flying Vickers Wellingtons.  No. 425 Squadron RCAF 'Alouette Squadron' aircraft wore the code letters "KW".  The squadron went into action for the first time on the night of 5/6 Oct 1942, bombing  Aachen, Germany with a small number of aircraft.  In 1943, the squadron flew to Kairoun, Tunisia, and from there, it conducted operations against Italy and Sicily, returning to the UK in November of the same year. 

In Dec 1943, they were re-equipped with Handley Page Halifax heavy bombers and flew their first mission with these aircraft in February 1944.  Their final operation took place on 25 April 1945, when they bombed gun batteries on the Frisian island of Wangerooge.  Following the end of the war in Europe, in May 1945, No. 425 Squadron re-equipped again, this time with Avro Lancaster Mk. Xs.  The squadron flew back to Canada in Jun 1945, to prepare for their role in Tiger Force for the continuing war against Japan.  The use of atomic bombs and firebombing raids on Japan led to the end of the war and the need for Tiger Force.  No. 425 Squadron was disbanded on 5 Sep 1945 at RCAF Station Debert, Nova Scotia, less than three weeks after the Japanese surrender.

27 Jul 1942. Sgt GF Beurling, flying a Spitfire of No. 249 Squadron (RAF) destroyed four enemy aircraft over Malta.

1 Jul 1942. No. 127 (Fighter)  Squadron was formed at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  It was employed on East Coast air defence, equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk. XIIs.  Two Hurricanes operated from Gander, Newfoundland.  Selected as one of six home fighter units for service overseas, it was redesignated No. 443 (Fighter) Squadron at Digby, Lincolnshire, England on 8 Feb 1944.  Working up on Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vs from RAF Westhamnett, the squadron received Spitfire Mk. IXBs the following month when a move was made to Holmesley South to form No. 144 Wing, RAF, 2nd Tactical Air Force and the squadron became operational.  The first sorties were flown as bomber escorts and until the invasion in June the squadron carried out deep penetration missions using 90 gallon drop tanks.  During the landings themselves, the squadron provided low level fighter cover and on 15 June it moved to France in the close-support and armed reconnaissance role.

 (IWM Photo, CL 614)  

A Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX of No. 443 Squadron taxies to dispersal at B-2 Bazenville, France, alongside a field where French farmers are gathering in the wheat, with a horse-drawn harvester and binder.

No. 443 Squadron became heavily involved in ground attack sorties and continued to move forward following the Allied advance through Belgium and into the Netherlands, to maintain its close air support of the ground forces.  Having returned to RAF Warmwell for an air-firing course the squadron missed the Luftwaffe's New Years attack on Allied airfields.  Unlike its two fellow squadrons, it did not return to Britain, but stayed on the continent, following the Allied armies advance into Germany equipped with the Spitfire Mk. XIV and Mk. XIVE.  With the end of the war the squadron joined the British Air Forces of Occupation until disbanding at Uetersen, Germany, on 21 Mar 1946.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3521026)

Fairchild Bolingbroke Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 702), 22 Nov 1939.  This aircraft was flown by No. 147 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron from Jul 1942 to Mar 1944)

1 Jul 1942. No. 147 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron was formed at Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia.  The squadron flew the Fairchild (Bristol) Bolingbroke Mk. 1 and Mk. IV onWest Coast anti-submarine duty until it was disbanded at Tofino, British Columbia on 15 Mar 1945.

31 Jul 1942. S/L NE Small and crew in a Lockheed Hudson of No. 113 Squadron sunk the German submarine U-754 southeast of Cape Sable, NS – the first sinking of an enemy vessel by Eastern Air Command.

19 Aug 1942. Six fighter and two Army Cooperation  squadrons of the RCAF supported the Canadian attack on Dieppe, France.

28 Aug 1942. No. 129 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  It was employed on East Coast air defence, equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk. XIIs.  The squadron was disbanded at Gander, Newfoundland on 30 Sep 1944.

Aug 1942. Canadian heavy bomber squadrons begin shift to No. 4 Group airfields in Yorkshire in preparation for the stand-up of No. 6 (RCAF) Group.

23 Sep 1942. The Canadian DH.98 Mosquito prototype was test flown at Downsview, ON by GR Spradbrow and FH Burrell.

25 Sep 1942. S/L KA Boomer, CO of No. 111 Squadron, destroyed a Japanese Nakajima A6M2-N (Rufe) floatplane fighter over Kiska, Alaska – the only RCAF air combat in the North American theatre of war.

14 Oct 1942. P/O GF Beurling flying a Supermarine Spitfire of No. 249 Squadron (RAF) destroyed three enemy aircraft over Malta but was himself shot down and wounded.

15 Oct 1942.  No. 426 Squadron was formed at RAF Dishforth, England.  The squadron was initially equipped with Vickers Wellington Mk. IIIs and Mk. Xs.  The squadron flew with No. 4 Group, RAF, carrying out its first operational mission occurred on the night of the 14th and 15 January 1943, when seven Wellingtons bombed Lorient, France.  The squadron flew its missions at night, principally over Germany.  Unlike the other RCAF Wellington squadrons it did not go to Tunisia that year, but remained operating over Germany.  In 1943 No. 426 Squadron was transferred to No. 6 (RCAF) Group, and in June it moved to RAF Linton-on-Ouse, where it was re-equipped with the Bristol Hercules radial-engined Avro Lancaster Mk. II heavy bomber.  Shortly afterwards, No. 426 Squadron resumed the offensive, and continued with the night campaign from Linton for the next ten months.  On April 1944 it began to re-equip with Handley Page Halifax Mk. IIIs and Mk. VIIs, and for the next year continued to operate with these bombers as part of No. 6 (RCAF) Group.

During the war it flew 261 operational missions (242 bombing missions and 19 mining excursions) involving 3,213 sorties, and in doing so lost 88 aircraft.  Its last operation took place on 25 Apr 1945, when 20 Handley Page Halifax aircraft bombed gun batteries on the island of Wangerooge On 25 May 1945, the squadron was renamed No. 426 Transport Squadron.

15 Oct 1942. No. 424 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at RAF Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, England, as the sixth RCAF Overseas bomber squadron.  It was allocated to No. 4 Group, RAF, where it was initially equipped with the Vickers Wellington Mk. III medium bomber, and later with Mk. Xs.  No. 424 Squadron joined No. 6 (RCAF) Group and began operations on 15 Jan 1943, after moving to RAF Leeming, and then to RAF Dalton.  By the end of Apr 1943, No. 424 Squadron had bombed Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Bochum, Hamburg, Cologne, Essen, and took part in a third trip to Duisburg. 

On 10 Apr 1943, No. 424 Squadron was selected to become part of No. 205 Group, RAF, forming part of No. 331 (RCAF) Medium Bomber Wing, flying Vickers Wellington B Mk. X bombers, for operations in North Africa.  The Wellingtons were tropicalized for use in the heat, sand, and frequent dust storms, and offered much improved performance including the ability to fly on one engine.  Its first new mission was in support of Operaton Husky, the invasion of Sicily (9/10 Jul 1943), while based in Tunisia.  The squadron bombed airfields, harbours, freight yards and rail junctions.

No, 424 Squadron was declared operational at Zina (Kairouan West) Airfield, Tunisia on 26 Jun 1943, operating from a rough and primitive airstrip scraped out of scrubby unused olive groves, initially bombing 'pre-invasion' targets, then bombing in support of Allied Ground Forces in Sicily, and Operation Avalanche, the invasion of Southern Italy (3 Sep 1943).  Flying almost nightly, the 'Tigers' operated from Zina Airfield until 29 Sep 1943.  The squadron moved to El Hani East Landing Ground (Kairouan), from where they continued to support Allied Ground Forces in Italy.  The last mission of No. 331 (RCAF) Wing was on 5 Oct 1943 when twenty-one Vickers Wellington B Mk. X aircraft of No. 424 and No. 425 Squadrons bombed the airfield at Grosseto, Italy, half-way between Rome and Pisa.  They departed on 15 Oct 1943.

 (RCAF Photo)

Handley Page HP 57 Halifax Mk. III bomber “O” for Oscar, with No. 424 “Tiger” Squadron, RCAF, taxis for takeoff from Skipton-on-Swale in England, ca 1944.   During its career with the Tigers, it completed 62 sorties on enemy targets.  This Halifax Mk. III is equipped with Bristol Hercules radial engines, but other versions used the more well-known Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.

No. 424 Squadron arrived back in Yorkshire, on 6 Nov 1943, and was assigned to No. 63 Base, RCAF, at RAF Skipton-on-Swale, arriving in time for yet another North Yorkshire winter.  The squadron was re-equipped with Handley Page Halifax Mk. III heavy bombers.  Operating out of Skipton-on-Swale, it continued in the night offensive against Germany throughout 1944.  In October 1944, a Mat Ferguson 'Squadron Badge' was submitted to the Chester Herald of the Royal College of Arms and 'much modified' came to be approved by King George VI in Jun 1945.  No. 424 Squadron gained its "Tiger" nickname.

In Jan 1945, No. 424 Squadron was re-equipped with Avro Lancaster Mk. Is and Mk. IIIs and flew its final sortie in April 1945.  After VE Day, the squadron served with No. 1 Group RAF 'Bomber Command Strike Force', flying POW repatriation missions from Italy from 30 Aug 1945.   The squadron was disbanded at Skipton on 15 Oct 1945, having received fourteen battle honours.

  (British Columbia Archives Photo)

Bristol Beaufort Mk. I, No. 149 (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron, Patricia Bay, British Columbia.

26 Oct 1942. No. 149 (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron was formed at Patricia Bay, Vancouver, British Columbia.  The squadron was the only home unit to be equipped with the Bristol Beaufort to meet the Japanese naval threat from the Aleutians.  When the Japanese withdrew in the summer of 1943, the unti was redesignated No. 149 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, and re-equipped with Lockheed Vega Ventura GR Mk. V aircraft.  The squadron was employed on West Coast anti-submarine duty until it was disbanded on 15 Mar 1944.

30 Oct 1942. F/O DF Raymes and crew in a Douglas B-18 Digby of No. 10 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron destroyed the German submarine U-520 far out in the Atlantic Ocean.

30 Oct 1942. F/O EL Robinson and crew in a Lockheed Hudson of No. 145 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron destroyed the German submarine U-658 320 miles east of St John’s NL.

05 Nov 1942. The Canadian government expropriated the facilities of the Aircraft Division of the National Steel Car Corp. at Malton, ON, and began their operation as a crown corporation, Victory Aircraft Ltd.

equipped with Vickers Wellington Mk. III bomber.

07 Nov 1942. No. 427 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at Croft, England as a part of No. 6 (RCAF) Group, RAF Bomber Command.  The squadron flew Vickers Wellington Mk. IIIs and Mk. Xs, from its first operational mission on 14 Dec 1942, a minelaying sortie to the Frisian Islands, until May 1943 when it was relocated to Leeming, North Yorkshire.  Re-equipped with Handley Page Halifax Mk. V aircraft, the squadron 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.  No. 427 Squadron was stood down on 1 Jun 1946.

07 Nov 1942. No. 428 (Bomber) Squadron, also known as the Ghost Squadronwas the ninth long-range heavy bomber Article XV squadron formed overseas during the Second World War, at RAF Dalton in Yorkshire, England.  The squadron was initially assigned to No. 4 Group, RAF.  With the creation of No. 6 (RCAF) Group, the squadron was reallocated on 1 Jan 1943 operating with it until 25 Apr 1945.

The squadron was initially equipped with Vickers Wellington Mk. III and Mk. Xs.  It carried out its first operational mission on 26-27 Jan 1943, when five Wellingtons bombed the U-Boat base at Lorient in Brittany, on the Bay of Biscay.  In the early part of Jun 1943, the squadron moved to RAF Middleton, St. George, where it remained for the remainder of the war.  Around this time the squadron was converted to Handley Page Halifax Mk. V heavy bombers, later supplemented by Mk. IIAs.

In Jan 1944, Halifax bombers from No. 428 Squadron participated in the first high-level mining raid (Gardening), when mines were dropped by parachute from 15,000 feet (4,570 m) over Brest on 4/5 Jan and Saint-Nazaire on 6/7 Jan 1945.  The squadron flew its last sortie with the Halifax on 12 Jun 1944.  Shortly afterwards, No. 428 Squadron converted to the Canadian-built Avro Lancaster B Mk. X, with the first sortie taking place on 14 Jun 1944.

For the final phase of the air campaign against Germany, the squadron took part in day and night raids, with its last operational sortie taking place on 25 Apr 1945, when 15 Lancasters bombed anti-aircraft gun batteries defending the mouth of the Weser River on the Frisian Island of Wangerooge No. 428 Squadron RCAF remained in service in the United Kingdom until the end of May 1945.  By the middle of June the squadron had moved to RCAF Station Yarmouth in Nova Scotia, where it was disbanded on 5 Sep 1945.

07 Nov 1942.  No. 429 (Bomber) Squadron was initially assigned to No 4 Group at RAF East Moor.  It was reassigned to No 6. Group, RCAF, and flew until it was disbanded on 31 May 1946.  The squadron moved to RAF Leeming in 1943.  During the war No. 408 Squadron flew Vickers Wellingtons in the Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role from Nov 1942 to Aug 1943, then the Handley Page Halifax heavy bomber from Aug 1943 to March 1945, then the Avro Lancaster B Mk. I and Mk. III from March 1945 to May 1946.  The squadron also flew the Douglas Dakota transport aircraft.  No. 429 (Bison) Squadron aircraft wore the code letters AL.

08 Nov 1942. Pilots of No. 807 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm carried out the first combat operations in history equipped with a G-suit: the Canadian-designed Franks anti-G suit, flying Supermarine Seafires over Oran, Algeria.

11 Nov 1942. No. 431 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at RAF Burn, in North Yorkshire England.  The squadron was initially equipped with Vickers Wellington B Mk. X medium bombers and assigned to No. 4 Group, RAF.  The squadron moved to RAF Tholthorpe in mid-1943 as part of the move to bring all RCAF squadrons into No. 6 (RCAF) Group.  Here, it converted to the  Handley Page Halifax B Mk. III heavy bomber.  In Dec 1943 the squadron moved to RAF Croft where it was re-equipped with Halifax Mk. IIIs and later, Avro Lancaster B Mk. Xs.  The squadron moved to RCAF Station Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, after the war, and was disbanded there on 5 Sep 1945.

05 Dec 1942. The Canadian Vickers prototype of the Consolidated Canso was test flown at St. Hubert Airport, PQ, by ECW Dobbin and crew.

1943

01 Jan 1943. No. 6 (RCAF) Group assumed operational status at 0001 hours.  Under the command of Air Vice Marshall G.E. Brookes, the group was initially comprised of six RCAF bomber squadrons located aft four stations with No. 427 Squadron at Croft, No. 428 Squadron at Dalton, No. 425 and No. 426 Squadrons at Dishforth, and No. 419 and No. 420 Squadrons  at Middleton St. George.  No. 408 Squadron at Leeming joined the group on 2 Jan 1943, and No. 424 Squadron at Leeming joined the group on 3 jan 1943.  Skipton-on-Swale was under construction as the group's seventh station.  By the end of the war, the group was to grow to 14 squadrons based at eight stations.  Throughout the war the bomber offensive was highly centralized and closely controlled by Bommber Command Headquarters.

01 Jan 1943. No. 430 Army Cooperation Squadron, "City of Sudbury", was formed in England equipped with Curtiss Tomahawk fighters.

01 Jan 1943. The RCAF badge was approved by HM the King.

04 Jan 1943. The Avro 652A Anson V prototype was test flown at Montreal, PQ.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583160)

Supermarine Spitfire F Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. X4492), in flight, 26 Feb 1944.  Built as X F Mk.1 4492, later converted to X F Mk. V.  This Spitfire flew with No. 13 (P) Squadron out of Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.

14 Jan 1943. No. 13 (Photographic) Flight was formed at Rockcliffe, at the request of the British Air Ministry to carry out photgraphic research, flying Supermarine Spitfire Mk. V, and Hawker Hurricane fighters and North American Mitchell bombers on tri-camera high altitude aerial photography missions.  The squadron was redesignated No. 13 Photographic) Squadron on 1 Apr 1947, and flew North American Mitchell Mk. II, Consolidated Canso A, Avro Lancaster Mk. XP, Noordyn Norseman Mk. IV and de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito B Mk. 25 aircraft.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643717)

Lockheed Lodestar, RCAF (Serial No. 555), No. 164 (Transport) Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 23 Nov 1943.

23 Jan 1943.  No. 164 (Transport) Squadron was formed at Moncton, New Brunswick.  The squadron flew the Lockheed Lodestar and Douglas Dakota aircraft on East Coast transport duty.  It was the RCAF's premier transport squadron and the cornerstone of the peacetime Air Transport Command.  The squadron provided trained aircrews as the nucleus of other air transport units formed both in Canada and overseas.Post-war, it was retained on the peacetime establishment and on 1 Aug 1946 it was re-organized into two transport units.  The squadron at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, became No. 426 Squadron and the detachment at Edmonton, Alberta, became No. 435 Squadron.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583496)

Douglas Dakota Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 664), serving with No. 165 (T) Squadron at RCAF Station Sea Island, 18 Sep 1944.

23 Jan 1943.  No. 165 (Transport) Squadron was formed at Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia.  The squadron flew the Lockheed Lodestar and Douglas Dakota aircraft on West Coast transport duty until it was disbanded on 1 Nov 1945.

21 Feb 1943.  The movie "Captains of the Clouds" is released in which the RCAF and the old RCAF Station Ottawa play starring roles.

 (DND Archives Photo, PCN-3898)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII (Serial No. 5584), (520199),No. 163 (Fighter) Squadron, Canada Aviation and Space Museum collection.

01 Mar 1943.  No. 163 (Army Co-operation) Squadron was formed at Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia.  The squadron flew the Bristol Bolingbroke Mk. IV aircraft as part of Western Air Command on West Coast photographic work.  The squadron also flew the North American Harvard Mk. II in close air support training for Canadian troops at Wainwright, Alberta.  It converted to the Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII in Jun 1943.  On 14 Oct 1943 the squadron was redesignated No. 163 (Fighter) Squadron and was re-equipped with the Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. I and Mk. III.  The squadron was employed on West Coast air defence until it was disbanded on 15 Mar 1944.

22 Apr 1943. The Air Cadet Corps was made a component of the RCAF by Order-in-Council.

26-27 Apr 1943. No. 405 (Bomber) Squadron, now transferred to No. 8 Pathfinder Group (RAF), carried out its first Pathfinder operation.

 (SDASM Photo)

Consolidated Aircraft Model 28-5AMC Canso A, RCAF (Serial No. 9750), 3 Jan 1942.  This aircraft was flown by No. 161 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron from Oct 1943 to May 1945.

28 Apr 1943. No. 161 (Bomber Reconnaiddance) Squadron was formed at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  The squadron flew the Douglas Digby and Consolidated Canso A on East Coast anti-submarine duty over the Gulf of St Lawrence until it was disbanded at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on 31 May 1945.

01 May 1943. No. 432 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at RAF Skipton-on-Swale as part of No. 6 (RCAF) Group, RAF Bomber Command.  The unit was initially equipped with Vickers Wellington Mk. X medium bombers.  The squadron deployed to RAF East Moor in mid-September.  In Oct 1943, it was re-equipped with Avro Lancaster Mk. II heavy bombers.  In Feb 1944 the squadron converted to Handley Page Halifax Mk. IIIs, upgrading these to Halifax Mk.VIIs in Jul 1944.

As part of a RCAF public relations plan, the town of Leaside officially "adopted" No. 432 Squadron, RCAF.  The squadron took the town's name as its nickname, becoming 432 "Leaside" Squadron RCAF.  The sponsorship lasted the duration of the war.  The squadron was disbanded at East Moor in May 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 358979)

Boeing Canada Canso A, RCAF (Serial No. 9793), flown by No. 160 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron.

03 May 1943. No. 160 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron was formed at Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia.  In Jul 1943 the squadron moved to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, flying the Boeing (Consolidated) Canso A on East Coast anti-submarine duty until it was disbanded at Torbay, Newfoundland on 15 Jun 1945.

04 May 1943. First paratroop training jumps were carried out at Camp Shilo, AB by the Canadian Army and No. 2 Detachment of No. 165 (HT) Squadron.

04 May 1943. S/L BH Moffitt and crew of a Consolidated Canso of No. 5 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, Eastern Air Command, attacked and damaged German submarine U-438 in the West Atlantic Ocean.

13 May 1943. F/L J Musgrave and crew of a Short Sunderland W6006 of No. 423 Squadron attacked and sunk German submarine U-753 (shared with HMCS Drumheller and HMS Lagan).

14 May 1943. LAC KG Spooner was awarded the George Cross posthumously. Spooner, a student navigator with no pilot training took over the controls of an Avro Anson of No. 4 Air Observers School, London, Ontario, after the pilot had fainted, allowing three other occupants to bail out, the aircraft crashed in Lake Erie and Spooner was killed.

16-17 May 1943. No. 617 (RAF) Squadron, led by W/C GP Gibson (RAF), breached the Mohne and Eder Dams in the German Ruhr. Twenty-nine of the 133 men in the attack were members of the RCAF and seven of them were decorated.

May 1943.  Three RCAF bomber squadrons, Nos. 420, 424 and 425, all equipped with Vickers Wellington B Mk. X bombers, were detached from No. 6 (RCAF) Group and sent on loan to North Africa.  As part of No. 331 (Medium Bomber) Wing (RCAF), they took part in the heavy bombardment preparations for and in support of the Allied landings in Sicily and Italy.

Jun 1943. The first four-engine civil aircraft was registered in Canada, a British-built Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. III, CF-CMS, operated on Transatlantic service by Trans-Canada Air Lines.

13 Jun 1943. No. 434 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at RAF Tholthorpe, England on 13 June 1943.  It was initially equipped with the Handley Page Halifax Mk. V.  On 13 Aug 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 is on the squadron badge.

The squadron moved to RAF Croft in Dec 1943 and re-equipped with Avro Lancaster Mk. Is and Mk. Xs in Dec 1944.  After VE, 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 Sep 1945.

23 Jun-01 Jul 1943. First Transatlantic glider flight: A Waco CG4A, co-pilot S/L FM Gobeil (RCAF) was towed from Montreal, PQ to Prestwick, Scotland, in stages by a Douglas C-47 Dakota piloted by F/L WS Longhurst, a Canadian in the RAF.

11-12 Jul 1943. F/O JH Turnbull, a Canadian in No. 600 Squadron (RAF), flying a Bristol Beaufighter, destroyed three Junkers Ju 88 bombers in a night interception over Sicily.

22 Jul 1943. The first regular Canadian transatlantic air service was inaugurated, operated by Trans-Canada Air Lines for the Canadian Government using one Avro Lancaster Mk. III for freight/mail service and priority passengers and nine 10-passenger Avro 691 Lancastrian aircraft for freight/mail service and priority passengers from 1943 to 1947.

28-29 Jul 1943. No. 6 (RCAF) Group despatched over 200 bombers for the first time on an attack on Hamburg, Germany. 22 bombers did not return.

29 Jul 1943. The Canadian prototype of the Curtiss Helldiver, designated SBW-1, was test flown at Fort William, ON.

01 Aug 1943. The prototype Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. X was test flown at Malton, Ontario by EH Taylor and crew, the aircraft was later christened “Ruhr Express” on 6 Aug.

04 Aug 1943. F/L AA Bishop and crew of a Short Sunderland of No. 423 Squadron sank the German submarine U-489. The Sunderland was shot down by the submarine; five crew members were lost and six saved.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650735)

Douglas Digby Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 749).

15 Aug 1943.  No. 167 (Communications) Squadron was formed at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  The squadron flew the Avro Anson Mk. I, Grumman Goose, Noorduyn Norseman, Douglas Digby, Lockheed Hudson Mk. III and the Beechcraft Expeditor.  These aircraft transported staff officers of Eastern Air Command until the squadron was disbanded on 1 Oct 1945.

07 Sep 1943. P/O EM O’Donnell and crew of a Vickers Wellington of No. 407 Squadron sank the German submarine U-669 to the west of the Bay of Biscay.

15 Sep 1943. First Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. X arrived in England after a transatlantic delivery flight.

16 Sep 1943.  No. 166 (Communications) Squadron was formed at Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia.  The squadron flew the Supermarine Stranraer, Cessna Crane, Lockheed Electra, Grumman Goose Mk. II, Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI and Mk. IVWA, North American AT-6A Harvard Mk. IIB, Beechcraft Expeditor Mk. 3T, and the Avro Anson Mk. V.  These aircraft transported staff officers of Western Air Command until the squadron was disbanded on 31 Oct 1945.

19 Sep 1943. F/L RF Fisher and crew of a Consolidated Liberator of No. 10 Squadron sank the German submarine U-341 in the North Atlantic.

23 Sep 1943. The Avro 652A Anson Mk. VI prototype was test flown at Cartierville, Quebec.

25 Sep 1943.  No. 433 Squadron was formed at RAF Skipton-on-Swale, but was without aircraft for nearly two months until it was equipped with Handley Page Halifax Mk. III.  It began operations on 2 Jan 1944.  For the next year the squadron was continuously operational with Halifaxes over the Continent by night.  In Jan 1945 the Halifaxes were replaced by Avro Lancaster Mk. Is, which the squadron flew until the war ended in Europe. As part of No. 1 Group, No. 433 Squadron confinued to serve, flying trooping flights from Germany and Italy, bringing back troops and POWs.  This continued until 15 Oct 1945, when the squadron disbanded at Skipton-on-Swale.

Sep 1943.  No. 404 Squadron converts to the Bristol Beaufighter TF Mk. XIC, becoming the first and only Canadian Torbeau squadron.

08 Oct 1943. F/L AH Russell and crew of a Short Sunderland of No. 423 Squadron sank the German submarine U-610 in the North Atlantic.

  (Comox Air Force Museum Photo)

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Mk. IIA, RCAF (Serial No. 9204),  No. 168 (Heavy Transport) Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario, c1944.

18 Oct 1943. No. 168 (Heavy Transport) Squadron was formed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  The squadron flew the Lockheed Lodestar, Boeing Fortress Mk. IIA, Douglas Dakota Mk. I, Mk. III and Mk. IV, and the Consolidated Liberator GR Mk. VIT.  The squadron delivered mail to Canadian servicemen in the United Kingdom and on the Continent until it was disbanded on 21 Apr 1946.

26 Oct 1943. F/L RM Aldwinckle and crew of a Consolidated Liberator of No. 10 Squadron sank the German submarine U-420 in the North Atlantic.

06 Nov 1943. Spilsbury and Hepburn Ltd, Vancouver, BC, purchased YKC-S, CF-AWK and started flying operations on what later became Queen Charlotte Airlines Ltd.

On 18 Nov 1943, No. 118 (F) Squadron at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  This unit was the first of six home squadrons transferred overseas in preparation for the invason of Europe.

 (DND Photo, PL-42101)

Hawker Typhoon Mk. IB, No. 138 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron, 143 Wing, RCAF, taxiing an airfield in the Netherlands, c1945.

On 18 Nov 1943, the squadron was redesignated No. 438 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron at Digby, Lincolnshire, England, flying the Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV and the Hawker Typhoon Mk. IB.  It was disbanded at Flensburg, Germany on 26 Aug 1945.

10 – 11 Dec 1943. F/O RD Schultz, 401 Squadron, flying a DH.98 Mosquito, destroyed three Dornier Do 217 bombers in a night interception sortie.

15 Dec 1943. A Boeing Fortress of No. 168 (HT) Squadron, piloted by W/C RB Middleton left Rockcliffe, Ontario with mail for Canadian servicemen overseas, thus beginning RCAF air transport operations on a global scale.

1943.  Construction of Abbotsford Airport (CYXX) in Abbotsford, British Columbia, was completed as a British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) base and was initially home to No. 24 Elementary Flying Training School (24 EFTS).  The RCAF Station closed in 1946.

1944

12 Jan 1944. The Cabinet approved the manning of the aircraft carriers HMS Nabob and HMS Puncher by RCN crews.

11 Feb 1944 F/O PW Heron and crew of a Vickers Wellington of No. 407 Squadron sank the German Submarine U-283 in the North Atlantic.

01 Mar 1944.  No. 170 (Ferry) Squadron was formed at Winnipeg, Manitoba.  The squadron ferried training and operational aircraft in western Canada until it was disbanded on 1 Oct 1945.

15 Mar 1944. The following units were disbanded: No. 119 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, No. 128 (Fighter) Squadron, No. 130 (Fighter) Squadron, No. 147 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, No. 149 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, and No. 163 (Fighter) Squadron.

24-25 Mar 1944.  Nine Canadian prisoners of war take part in “The Great Escape”.  They are recaptured and six are executed by the Gestapo.

17 Apr 1944. F/O TC Cooke and crew of a Consolidated Canso of No. 162 Squadron sank the German submarine U-342 southwest of Iceland.

24 Apr 1944. F/L FG Fellows and crew of a Short Sunderland of No. 423 Squadron sank the German submarine U-311 southwest of Ireland.

02 May 1944. Two DH.98 Mosquitoes of No. 418 Squadron crewed by S/L CC Scherf (RAAF) with F/O WAR Stewart, navigator, and F/O JT Caine and P/O EW Boal, destroyed ten enemy aircraft on the ground, damaged four more on the ground, and destroyed one in the air, during a daylight intrusion to the Baltic coast.

16 May 1944. Two DH.98 Mosquitoes of No. 418 Squadron crewed by S/L CC Scherf (RAAF) with F/O CG Finlayson, navigator, and S/L HD Cleveland with FS F. Day (RAF), navigator, destroyed six enemy aircraft in the air and two on the ground during a daylight intrusion to the Baltic coast.

04 May 1944. F/L LJ Bateman and crew of a Vickers Wellington of No. 407 Squadron sank the German submarine U-846 west of the Bay of Biscay.

03 Jun 1944. F/L RE McBride and crew in a Consolidated Canso of No. 162 Squadron sank the German submarine U-477 north of the Shetland Isles.

06 Jun 1944. D-Day, the invasion of Normandy and liberation of Europe, begins; RCAF provides air superiority.  Thirty-seven RCAF bomber, fighter and coastal squadrons took part in operations supporting the invasion of Normandy, France.

07 Jun 1944. No. 126 (RCAF) Wing (Nos. 401, 411 and 412 (Fighter) Squadrons) destroyed 12 enemy aircraft and probably destroyed or damaged five more over the Normandy beaches.

08 Jun 1944. F/O KO Moore and crew of a Consolidated Liberator of no. 224 Squadron (RAF) sank two German submarines, the U-629 and U-373 in 22 minutes off the French island of Ushant (Oessant).

10-27 Jun 1944. Three RCAF fighter wings moved to France, Nos. 144, 127 and 143.

11 Jun 1944. F/O L Sherman and crew in a Consolidated Canso of No. 162 Squadron sank the German submarine U-980 north of the Shetland Isles.

12 Jun 1944. While attacking Cambrai, France, an Avro Lancaster X of No. 419 Squadron was shot down in flames. P/O AC Mynarski, the mid-upper gunner was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for repeatedly trying to free the trapped tail gunner, who miraculously survived the crash.

12 Jun 1944.  No. 14 (Fighter) Squadron was unfficially formed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario, flying Avro Anson Mk. VP and Douglas Dakota Mk. III and Mk. IV aircraft.  On 15 Nov 1946 it was designated No. 14 (Photographic) Squadron.  On 1 Apr 1947 it was renumbered No. 414 (Photographic) Squadron.

13 Jun 1944. W/C CGW Chapman and crew in a Consolidated Canso of No. 162 Squadron sank the German submarine U-715 north of the Shetland Isles.

13 Jun-31 Aug 1944. No. 418 Squadron was the most successful RCAF Squadron countering the German V-1 bomb attacks on England with 82 destroyed. S/L R Bannock, with navigator, F/O RR Bruce, were the most successful team with 18 ½ destroyed.

24 Jun 1944. F/L DE Hornell and crew in a Consolidated Canso of the No. 162 Squadron sank the German submarine U-1224 north of the Shetland Isles. Badly damaged, the Canso landed, on fire, on the ocean and sank. The crew was picked up 21 hours later, but two of the crew and Hornell succumbed to exposure. Hornell was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for this action.

28 Jun 1944. A/C AD Ross, Sgt JR St Germain, Cpl M Marquet, LAC MM McKenzie and LAC RR Wolfe made repeated attempts to rescue the crew of a burning bomber of No. 425 Squadron in spite of bomb explosions. All the crew were saved. Ross lost his right hand and McKenzie, and Wolfe were also injured. For their actions Ross, St Germain and Marquet were awarded the George Medal and McKenzie and Wolfe the British Empire Medal.

28 Jun 1944. Twenty-six enemy aircraft were destroyed by the three RCAF fighter wings over Normandy.

17-20 Aug 1944. Three RCAF fighter wings destroyed or damaged over 2,000 enemy vehicles in the Falaise area.

26 Aug 1944.  No. 404 squadron becomes part of the Dallachy Strike Wing, an unusual unit consisting of four Commonwealth Beaufighter squadrons, one from each of RAF, RCAF, RAAF and RNZAF.

14 Sep 1944. No. 437 (Transport) Squadron was formed at RAF Blakehill Farm in Wiltshire, England, equipped with Douglas Dakota Mk. III and Mk. IV aircraft.  The squadron was disbanded at Odiham, Hants on 15 Jun 1946.

 (RAF Photo)

Douglas Dakota Mk. III (Serial No. KG425), coded Z2-M, "Fort Rae", diamond OM, No. 437 Squadron, RCAF, No. 120 Transport Wing, RCAF at RAF Odiham, UK, Oct 1945.

17-23 Sep 1944. No. 437 (T) Squadron took part in the airborne landings at Eindhoven, Grave and Arnhem in the Netherlands.

Oct 1944. Canadair Ltd a Crown company, was formed and later took over the aircraft operations of Canadian Vickers Ltd, at Cartierville, Quebec, on 17 Nov.

05 Oct 1944. Five pilots of No. 401 Squadron destroyed a Messerschmitt Me262, the first jet fighter brought down by either the RAF or the RCAF.

06-07 Oct 1944. No. 6 (RCAF) Group sent 293 bombers to attack Dortmund, the largest force sent out by the Group.

   

09 Oct 1944. No. 435 (Transport) Squadron was formed at Gujrat, (then) India, equipped with the Douglas C-47 Dakota.

09 Oct 1944. No. 436 (Transport) Squadron was formed at Gujrat, Punjab, India.  It was the third transport squadron formed overseas.  The squadron flew the Douglas Dakota Mk. III and Mk. IV in support of the British 14th Army in northern Burma.  At the end of the war the squadron moved to England where it provided transport service to Canadian units on the Continent until it was disbanded at Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England on 1 Apr 1946.

20 Oct 1944.  Tiger Force, a very long range bomber force was proposed for operations in the Pacific theatre.  It was to consist of three bomber groups, one RAF, one RCAF, and a composite group of British, Australian, New Zealand and South African squadrons.  Ech group was to have 22 squadrons, 12 bomber, six fighter, three transport and one air-sea rescue.  The Japanese surrender on 15 Aug 1945, signed on 2 Sep 1945, resulted in Tiger Force being disbanded early in Sep 1945.

9 Dec 1944.  No. 664 Squadron was formed at Andover, Hants, England.  It was one of three Canadian Air Observation Post (AOP) squadrons formed overseas which initially were authorized as Nos. 1, 2 and 3 Canadian AOP Squadrons RCA in Jun 1944.  In Sep 1944 it was decided to follow British pecedent in the command and control of AOP squadrons.  On the recommendation of the Army Commander, the War Cabinet re-authorized the three units as squadrons of the RCAF, Nos. 664, 665 and 666 Squadrons, with the pilots drawn from Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA).  The squadrons were formed under RAF Fighter Command's No. 70 Group and trained at No. 43 Operational Training Unit (OTU) to observe artillery fire from the air and to co-ordinate correction orders by the maneuvering of their aircraft.  They flew the Auster AOP Mk. IV and Mk. V.  Although the Auster aircraft were flown by members of the RCA, the squadrons were administered and serviced by the RCAF.  As the squadrons were declared operational, they were sent to the Continent and placed under the operational control of the First Canadian Army.  No. 664 Squadron was disbanded at Apeldoorn, Netherlands on 1 Jun 1946.  

29 Dec 1944. F/L RJ Audet, flying a Supermarine Spitfire of No. 411 (Fighter) Squadron near Rheine, Germany, destroyed five enemy fighters in his first combat.

30 Dec 1944. S/L CGW Taylor and crew flying a Vickers Wellington of No. 407 Squadron sank the German submarine U-772 in the English Channel.

1945

16 Jan 1945. No. 1 Air Command was established at Trenton, Ontario.

22 Jan 1945.  No. 665 Squadron was formed at Andover, Hants, England.  It flew the Auster AOP Mk. IV and Mk. V on spotting and ranging of artillery fire.  No. 665 Squadron was disbanded at Apeldoorn, Netherlands on 20 Jul 1945.

05 Mar 1945.  No. 666 Squadron was formed at Andover, Hants, England.  It flew the Auster AOP Mk. IV and Mk. V on spotting and ranging of artillery fire.  No. 665 Squadron was disbanded at Apeldoorn, Netherlands on 1 Nov 1945.

31 Mar 1945. The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) was terminated as scheduled, a total of 131,553 aircrew had been trained.

25 Apr 1945. The last bombing attack was carried out by No. 6 (RCAF) Group with 192 aircraft on Wangerooge Island in the North Sea off the north coast of Germany.

02 May 1945. A DH.98 Mosquito of No. 404 Squadron shared in the sinking of the German submarine U-2359 in the Kattegat – the last RCAF submarine sinking.

07-08 May 1945. The ceasefire becomes effective after all German forces surrendered unconditionally on 7 May 1945.  The instrument of surrender was signed at Berlin, Germany, on 8 May, commemorated as Victory in Europe (VE) Day.  The Second World War ends in Europe.  During the war, 249,662 men and women wore the uniform of the RCAF.  Of this total, 93,844 personnel served overseas, the majority with British rather than Canadian units

May-Jun 1945. No. 6 (RCAF) Group flew back to Canada in their Canadian Avro Lancaster Mk. Xs with the intention to re-equip them with Avro Lincoln bombers for the war against Japan, but this was abandoned with the subsequent surrender of Japan.

04 Jun 1945. The Fleet 80 Canuck prototype, designed and built by JO Noury, was test flown by Thomas Fredric Williams.

09 Jul 1945. An RCAF Supermarine Spitfire from Rivers, MB, photographed the eclipse of the sun, for the first time in history from 34,000 feet.

Summer, 1945.  Four ‘Canadianized’ squadrons were formed by the Royal Naval Fleet Air Arm.

09 Aug 1945. Lt Robert Hampton Gray, VC, DSC, RCNVR, a Canadian naval officer flying a Vought Corsair from the deck of HMS Formidable, attacked a Japanese destroyer.  His Corsair hit and on fire, Gray continued the attack and sank the destroyer before plunging into Onogawa Bay.  He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for this action, one of only two members of the Royal Navy's (RN) Fleet Air Arm (FAA) to have been thus decorated in that war.

09 Aug 1945.  Lieutenant (P) Gerald Arthur Anderson was a Canadian fighter pilot who served in the Royal Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) during the Second World War.  As a pilot in No. 1842 Squadron Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) on HMS Formidable, Anderson flew the Chance Vought F4U Corsair Mk. IV (Serial No. KD 548).  On the same day that Lt Gray was lost, Lt Anderson participated in an aerial attack on Onagawa Bay in northern Japan.  Anderson’s Corsair was struck, causing it to leak fuel rapidly.  On his final approach to landing, Anderson’s engine cut out, causing him to hit the after end of the flight deck of HMS Formidable, his plane broke in two, and plunged into the Pacific Ocean. Lieutenant Gerald Anderson was the last Canadian to die in the Second World War.  He was 22 years old.

14 Aug 1945. Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender which was signed on 2 Sep.  Victory over Japan (VJ) Day.  The Second World War ends.

22 Sep 1945. Trans-Canada Air Lines received its first Douglas DC-3. The type went into operation on TCA’s routes the following year.

28 Sep 1945. The RCAF accepted its first jet aircraft, a Gloster Meteor Mk. III, EE311, which is believed to be the first jet aircraft to have flown in Canadian skies.

25 Oct 1945. The Victory Aircraft built Avro 694 Lincoln XV prototype was test flown at Malton, Ontario, by EH Taylor.

01 Dec 1945. Avro Canada Ltd was formed and took over the facilities of Victory Aircraft Ltd at Malton, Ontario with about 400 key personnel who had been kept on from the wartime production programme.

01 Dec 1945. A Royal Canadian Naval Air Station (RCNAS) was established at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

19 Dec 1945. The cabinet approved the formation of an Air Component of the Royal Canadian Navy.