RCAF and Canadian aviation history: 23 Feb 1909 - 31 Aug 1939

RCAF and Canadian aviation history

23 Feb 1909 - 31 Aug 1939

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)

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.

(CASM Photo, 001535)

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.  C-GYGK was the only RCAF Avro powered by a Wright J-5 engine.

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, England, 1919.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4817972)

Officers of No. 1 Squadron, Canadian Air Force (CAF), standing left to right: Lt W.L. Rutledge, AFC, MM, Lt P.F. Townley, Lt G.R. Howsam, MC (later Air Vice Marshall), unidentified officer, Lt F.V. Heakes (later Air Vice Marshall), Lt C.M. McEwen, MC, DFC (later Air Vice Marshall), Lt H.A. Marshal, Lt J. Whitfield, and an unidentified officer.  Seated left to right: Capt D.R. MacLaren, DSO, MC, DFC, Capt G.O. Johnson, MC (later Air Marshall), Maj A.E. McKeever, DSO, MC, (CO of the squadron), Lt J.T. Verner, Capt C.F. Falkenberg, DFC, 13 June 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 & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643537)

de Havilland DH.4, Reg. No. G-CYDM, Canadian Air Board, 4 Nov 1922.

(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.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3388157)

1920.  Boeing C3 aircraft which inaugurated airmail service between Seattle, Washington, and Victoria, British Columbia.

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.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3552857)

Canadian Vickers Vanessa, RCAF Reg. No. G-CYZJ, 2 Sep 1927.  The construction of the Vanessa was a private venture taken over by the RCAF.  S/L R.S. Grandy flew this aircraft, the only  one built.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadian Vickers Vigil, RCAF Reg. No. G-CYZW, on skis.  The Vigil was designed to RCAF specifications for a forestry patrol aircraft.  One one was built.

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), Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta (3 Mk. I and 17 Mk. II - the first all-metal stressed-skin aircraft built in Canada), Canadian Vickers 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.

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

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas MO-2BS Seaplane, RCAF Reg. No. G-CYZG.

Douglas MO-2BS Seaplane, RCAF Reg. No. G-CYZG, Ottawa Air Station, Ontario.  This aircraft was powered by a Pratt and Whitney Wasp A engine and served with the RCAF for two years.

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.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390542)

Fokker Universal floatplane, G-CAIX, at Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1927.  Pilot Fred J. Stevenson and Engineer Bob Hodgins.

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).

(Canadian Aviation Preservation Association Photo)

23 Sep 1928.  First flight of the Canadian-built Curtiss-Reid Rambler.  The RCAF acquired nine, including seven Mk. I, (Serial Nos. 145-150), A62 (ex CF-BV),  and two Mk. II, Reg. Nos. G-CYXC, G-CYXD..

1929

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3206527)

You will notice a number of historic photos taken of RCAF aircraft that flew out of Rockcliffe here. The Officer's Mess once stood on the hill in the background, until it was torn down.  This is a view of the mess taken on 25 Feb 1929.

(RCAF Photo)

Ford Model 6-AT-AS Trimotor, RCAF, Reg. No. G-CYWZ, St. Hubert, Quebec, June 1931.

Jun 1929.  The RCAF's only Ford Trimotor was acquired, for agricultural and forestry spray experiments.  G-CYWZ served in those and other roles until early 1937.  It its day it was the RCAF's largest aircraft.

(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.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545898)

1929.  Avro 616 Avian Mk. IVM, similar to one of 29 used as trainers in the RCAF beginning in 1929.  This one flew with the Ottawa Flying Club at Rockcliffe, Ontario.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3229756)

9 Dec 1929.  Fairchild 71T, Reg. No. CF-AAT, first air mail flight Montreal-Quebec-Moncton-St.John. Arrival at Moncton from Quebec.  CF-AAT was registered in March 1929 to Canadian Transcontinental Airways.  It was merged into Canadian Airways Ltd in 1930.  CF-AAT was damaged beyond repair in an accident 5 miles NW of Sioux Lookout, Ontario on 12 March, 1936.

1930

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580151)

On 19 Feb 1930, Fairchild FC-2W2, Reg. No. G-CAVN, c/n 522, was damaged in a precautionary landing due to weather and an in-flight emergency, when its battery shorted and the aircraft caught fire at Riverside, New Brunswick.

This 'Razorback' was owned by Canadian Airways Limited at the time of accident.  In flight, the pilot lost his orientation due to poor weather conditions and attempted to make an emergency landing.  On touch down, the aircraft slid few yards before coming to rest in flames.  While all occupants were unhurt, the aircraft was destroyed by fire caused by the explosion of a battery.  (Chris Charland)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580538)

Fairchild KR.21, CF-AMI, 15 Sep 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, Reg. No. CF-AKR, 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.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580946)

Fairchild 82, CF-AXD, 27 Dec 1935.  This model retained the stretched forward fuselage and separate flight deck that had been a feature of the Super 71, but increased passenger and load capacity.  The resulting aircraft proved a modest success, with three sold to the government of Venezuela, one to the government of Mexico, and another seven going to various Canadian regional airlines. Variants with various powerplant changes followed, three of which went to Argentina.

The Fairchild 82 was a rugged aircraft and it found a niche as a freighter especially in northern Canada, although export versions were used for a variety of roles including surveying and light transport.  It was operated by numerous Canadian firms including Canadian pacific Airlines.  While its main competitor, the Noorduyn Norseman was finding success with military orders, Fairchild decided to abandon the bushplane market temporarily in favour of producing the Bristol Bolingbroke bomber for the RCAF and RAF immediately prior to the Second World War.

The company had intended to enter the postwar civilian market with an upgraded Model 82 but the original tooling had been destroyed during the war years. The remaining Fairchild 82s remained in service until the late 1960s.

A 40-year-old mystery of the Arctic was solved when the remains of a Fairchild 82 were found south of Bathurst Inlet.  Chuck McAvoy was flying a pair of American geologists on 9 June 1964 when they disappeared.  An extensive search ensued at the time but was unsuccessful, and it wasn't until in 2003 when the RCMP finally found the crash site.

(Provincial Archives of Alberta Photo, A5286)

Fairchild 82, CF-AXB, 10-passenger airplane owned and operated by Dominion Skyways, c1930.

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

Canadian Vickers carried out repairs on the British R-100 Airship, shown here visiting St. Hubert, Quebec, Sep 1930.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3383422)

Boeing 40B-4 aircraft of Western Airways Ltd. flying the Prairie Air Mail service, c1930-1932.

1931

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3578318)

01 Aug 1931.  Lockheed Sirius aircraft of Charles and Anne Lindbergh visiting Ottawa Air Station during the flight described in the book "North to the Orient".

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3578319)

01 Aug 1931.  Anne Lindbergh visiting Ottawa Air Station during the flight described in the book "North to the Orient", 1 Aug 1931.

1932

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

Avro 621 Tutor, (Serial No. 188), flown by No. 110 (Army Co-operation) 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 England.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3241746)

Avro 626 Prefect, RCAF (Serial No. 226), ca 1940.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545920)

de Havilland DH.60GM Gipsy Moth, RCAF (Serial No. 77), being started by ground crew, 1938.

(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 (Fighter) 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, PL-31057, MIKAN No. 4002571)

No. 440 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron members pose with a Hawker Typhoon in Normand, France, Aug 1944.

(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, Canadian Vickers Stranraer, Blackburn Shark Mk. III, Consolidated Canso A and Consolidated Catalina Mk. IV.

(RCAF Photo)

Fairchild 71B, RCAF (Serial No. 633), previously Reg. No. G-CYVX, on floats, operated by No. 4 (Bommber Reconaissance) Squadron on the West Coast.

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 (General Reconnaissance) 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.  The squadron flew the Fairchild 71, Canadian Vickers Stranraer and Consolidated Catalina Mk. I.

(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.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4002572)

Hawker Typhoon Mk IB, coded F3-P, No. 438 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron at airfield B78 Eindhoven, Netherlands, March 1945.

(RCAF Photo via Francois Dutil)

Hawker Typhoon Mk IB, coded F3-P, No. 438 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron.  This was André "Andy" Lord's aircraft, photo taken at B166 Flensburg, Germany in May 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3256158)

Fairchild Super 71P, (Serial No. 666), 26 Nov 1936.

31 Oct 1934.  First flight of the Fairchild Super 71.  The Super 71P (for photographic) was a variant that had been developed for the RCAF.  A new wing mount and the change to a front cockpit were the two visible changes but the variant also had provision for multiple cameras and additional radio equipment.  Two examples were built and placed in RCAF service in 1936, (Serial No. 665) and (Serial No. 666).

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, Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta, Fairchild (Bristol) Bolingbroke Mk. I, Mk. IV, and Mk. IVW, and  Lockheed Hudson.

(DND Archives Photo, PL-3582)

de Havilland DH.82C Tiger Moth, RCAF (Serial No. 4388).

(RCAF Photo)

Canadian Vickers (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, Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta Mk. II, Lockheed Hudson Mk. I, Canadian Vickers 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.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3642459)

Noorduyn Norseman, CF-AYO, Arcturus, Dominion Skyways, 10 Feb 1936.

14 Nov 1935.  The first Norseman, powered by a Wright R-975-E3 Whirlwind, was flight tested on floats.  The Noorduyn Norseman was the quintessential Canadian bush plane. The RCAF operated several of these on photographic mapping of northern Canada.   CF-AYO was sold and delivered to Dominion Skyways Ltd., on 18 Jan 1936, and named “Arcturus."  In the summer of 1941, Warner Brothers leased CF-AYO for the filming of "Captains of the Clouds" starring James Cagney, and with Air Marshall Billy Bishop.  Principal aerial photography took place near North Bay, Ontario with CF-AYO carrying temporary registration CF-HGO.  CF-AYO was lost in a crash in Algonquin Park in 1952.  Its wreckage currently is on display at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

1936

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

Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker, RCAF, G-CYUZ, later (Serial No. 603), 30 Jul 1931.  The Pacemaker was primarily used by the RCAF for aerial photography.

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, Canadian Vickers 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)

Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta Mk. II, 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.

The Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta was the RCAF's first all-metal stressed-skin aircraft.  The first 20 built by Canadian Vickers were taken on strength in late 1936.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203455)

Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta II (Serial No. 677), (Serial No. 675), and Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV (Serial No. 678) with No. 8 Squadron, RCAF, carrying out a search for possible air base sites, Jul-Aug 1939.

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. The squadron flew the Fairchild 71, Bellanca Pacemaker, Canadian Vickers Vedette, Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta Mk. II, Fairchild (Bristol) Bolingbroke Mk. I and Mk. IV, Lockheed Vega Ventura GR Mk. V.  The squadron was disbanded at Patricia Bay, British Columbia on 25 May 1945.

(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, Canadian Vickers (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, Canadian Vickers 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.

(RCAF Photo)

de Havilland DH.90 Dragonfly, RCAF (Serial No. 7623), Trenton, Ontario, 1 Oct 1940.  This was one of six flown by the RCAF, (Serial Nos. 7623-7628).

1936.  Seven de Havilland DH.90 Dragonfly airframes were shipped to Canada, and erected by de Havilland Canada.  Two were flown by the RCAF, and two were flown by the RCMP to combat rum runners.  The remainder served a variety of small commercial operators.  At least one, Reg. No. CF-BFF, was fitted with Edo floats, and was flown commercially as a Dragonfly floatplane.

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 (Fighter) Squadron was formed 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.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207274)

Hawker Hurricane, No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron being pushed into hanger, RCAF Station Ottawa, Ontario, 5 Sep 1939.

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.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3523312)

de Havilland Canada DHC.82C Tiger Moth (Serial No. 4398), RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 15 Nov 1941.

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

17 Feb 1939.  A detachment from No. 1 (F) Squadron at Calgary went to Sea Island, British Columbia to take delivery of the first Hawker Hurricane fighters issued to replace the long-obsolete Armstrong Whitworth Siskins.  On 1 Jun 1939 S/L E.G. Fullerton ferried the first Hurricane from Vancouver, British Columbia to the squadron base at Calgary, Alberta.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3262595)

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrive at the Saskatchewan Provincial Legislature.  Commander E.M.C. Abel-Smith, RN, Equerry to the King, on the right, 25 May 1939.

May to Jun 1939.  During the visit of Their Majesties the King and Queen, the RCAF provided aerial escorts and guards of honour.  Three Canadian Vickers Stranraer escorted the Royal Yacht up the St. Lawrence on its arrival at Quebec, escorted RCN ships conveying the Royal Party to Prince Edward Island, and again escorted the Royal Yacht on its departure from Halifax.  At Trenton five Westland Wapiti and three Armstrong Whitworth Atlas aircraft flew on escort, and at Vancouver three Canadian Vickers Stranraer and five Hawker Hurricanes escorted Their Majesties on the trip to Victoria, British Columbia and back.  While the King and Queen were in residence at Ottawa the RCAF provided the Royal Household Guard.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3521019)

Armstrong Whitworth Atlas Mk. I, (Serial No. 16), later (Serial No. 401), 12 Jul 1934.

26 Aug 1939.  RCAF squadrons began moving to war stations. No. 3 (Bomber) Squadron’s Westland Wapitis left Calgary, Alberta en route to Halifax, Nova Scotia followed five days later by No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron en route to St Hubert, Quebec.  No. 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron began to move from Trenton, Ontario to Halifax and thence to Saint John, New Brunswick.  No. 8 (General Purpose) Squadron, after recalling its aircraft from detached photographic operations, left Ottawa, Ontario for Sydney, Nova Scotia.

(RCAF Photo)

Armstrong-Whitworth Atlas Mk. I floatplane, RCAF (Serial No. 19 (later 404).  The Atlas is heading out to do a floatplane test at Rockcliffe, Ontario, c1939.