RCAF and Canadian aviation history: 1 Jan 1946 - 31 Dec 1950
RCAF and Canadian aviation history,
1 Jan 1946 - 31 Dec 1950
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 up to the end of the RCAF on 28 Feb 1968, the yardstick 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
01 Jan 1944. The RCAF reached its peak wartime strength of 215,000 all ranks, including 15,153 in the RCAF Women's Division (RCAF WD). Of these, there were 104,000 in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), 64,928 with the Home War Establishment (HWE) and 46,272 serving overseas. There were 78 squadrons in service, with 35 overseas and 43 at home (six of which were ordered overseas). By 1 Apr 1945, the strength of the RCAF had been reduced to 164,846 all ranks. With the end of the war, the proposed RCAF peacetime establishment was set at 16,000 all ranks, with a two-year interim period dedicated to the demobilization of roughly 90% of the wartime force.
01 Jan 1946. RCAF strength stood at just over 58,000 and there were just ten squadrons overseas and six in Canada. The ten units overseas included No. 644 (Air Observation POst) Squadron based at Apeldoorn in the Netherlands, flying Auster AOP Mk. IVs and Vs. They flew non-operational missions the squadron was disbanded on 31 May 1946. Two bomber squadrons continued to serve, with No. 427 (Bomber) Squadron and No. 429 (Bomber) Squadron at Leeming, Yorkshire, as part of No. 1 Group, Bomber Command Strike Force. Three RCAF transport squadrons flew Douglas Dakotas in England, including No. 435 (Transport) Squadron and No. 436 (Transport) Squadron at Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, with detachments at Croydon in Surrey and Biggin Hill in Kent, and No. 437 (Transport) Squadron at Odiham, Hampshire, with a detachment at Evere, Belgium. They were grouped in No. 120 (RCAF) Wing. Four RCAF fighter squadrons were assigned to the British Air Forces of Occupation (Germany). These included Nos. 411, 412, 416 and 443 Squadrons of No. 126 (RCAF) Wing based at Utersen, Germany, flying Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XIVs on security patrols. The fighter squadrons were disbanded by May 1946.
Larry Milberry, Sixty Years:the RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984. (CANAV Books, Toronto, 1984)
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3382373)
Inuit patient of the James Bay or Hudson Bay area being airlifted to a mission hospital at Moosonee or Moose Factory Island, January 1946.
17 Jan 1946. An RCAF Roundel with a red maple leaf in centre in place of the red circle of the RAF was approved for use on RCAF aircraft. It is authorized for use on all RCAF aircraft.
24 Jan 1946. The first Canadian aircraft carrier, HMCS Warrior, is commissioned.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 365094)
Fairey Swordfish Mk. II (Serial No. HS325), Q, Naval Air Gunnery School, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia c1945. HS325 was one of 105 Swordfish that later served with the RCN
28 Jan 1946. When HMS Seaborn, a Royal Naval Air Section tenant unit at RCAF Station Dartmouth Nova Scotia, was decommissioned on 28 Jan 1946, the Royal Navy donated the 22 Swordfish then serving at HMS Seaborn to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The newly acquired Swordfish were used to form Fleet Requirements Unit 743 where they were used for general purpose duties. With approval to form a RCN air arm reserve, some of the veteran Swordfish were ferried to 11 Naval Reserve Divisions across Canada for ground crew instructional purposes.
(Wilma Bearman Photo via Don Smith)
Avro Lincoln B. Mk. I (Serial No. RE258).
11 Feb 1946. Avro Lincoln B. Mk. I (Serial No. RE258), was taken on strength with the RCAF. After trials with Winter Experimental Establishment (WEE), Lincoln RE258. It was struck off strength on 10 June 1947 and then returned to England.
26 Feb 1946. The Cabinet approved a peacetime RCAF establishment of four components, a Regular Force of 16,100 all ranks, an Auxiliary Force of 4,500 all ranks, a Reserve Force of 10,000 all ranks, and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets (RCAC). There would be 8 Regular Force Squadrons and 15 Auxiliary Force Squadrons. This came into effect on 1 Sep 1947.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203759)
Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 371), refueling from a Penguin snowtrack during Operation Musk Ox, 17 March 1946. The Norseman was a major asset, evacuating casualties on three occasions during the exercise. Spare engines were flown in by Norseman supply aircraft. They were also used to pick up mail and to retrieve parachutes from the moving force.
Operation Musk Ox was an 81-day military exercise organized by the Canadian Army between 15 Feb and 6 May 1946. It involved the 48 members of the Army driving 11 4½-ton Canadian-designed snowmobiles ("Penguins"). They were joined by three American observers in a smaller American-made snowmobile called a "Weasel" as well as an observer from the Royal Canadian Navy and a number of scientists. The RCAF provided airdrops of supplies, the largest aerial resupply effort ever attempted in Canada up to that point.
The main expedition, led by Patrick Douglas Baird, travelled 3,100 miles (5,000 km), starting from Churchill, Manitoba, first to Baker Lake, Northwest Territories where the number of vehicles was reduced to ten. From there, the group travelled to Denmark Bay on Victoria Island, then south to to Grande Prairie and then by rail to Edmonton. The mission demonstrated that it was highly unlikely that Soviet forces would attempt an overland invasion of North America through the Arctic.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583925)
WACO CG-A Hadrian Glider, USAAC, Griswal nose, spoilers, wing covers and pitol cover glider with skis, USAAF markings, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 6 Feb 1946. The gliders and the C-47s that towed them wore American markings on Operation Musk Ox. One of the Hadrians was rigged as a mobile workshop for the use of the party moving across the tundra.
15 Apr 1946. The formation of the first post-war Auxiliary Squadrons was authorized: Nos. 400 (Toronto), 401 (Montreal), 402 (Winnipeg), 418 (Edmonton), 424 (Hamilton), 438 (Montreal) and 442 (Vancouver).
15 Apr 1946. No. 400 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary)was re-formed at Downsview, Toronto, Ontario, flying North American Harvard Mk. IIBs. On 1 Feb 1947 it was redesignated No. 400 (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary). On 6 Nov 1952 it was titled No. 400 "City of Toronto" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary).At the start of the Cold War the squadron flew the de Havilland DH.100 Vampire Mk. III and then Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. V. On 1 Oct 1958 the unit was reassigned to a light transport and emergency rescue role and redesignated No. 400 "City of Toronto" Squadron (Auxiliary). It was re-equipped with the Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditor beginning in 1958, and then the de Havilland CSR-123 Otter in 1960. These aircraft were flown throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on 1 Feb 1968, and was renamed No. 400 "City of Toronto" Air Reserve Squadron.
de Havilland CSR-123 Otter (Serial No. 426), No. 400 Squadron over Nova Scotia
While serving with the Sky Hawks, we did a lot of airshows jumping out of the single-engined de Havilland CC-123 Otters from No. 400 Squadron based in Toronto. Two of them flew us to Cape Breton late in Jul 1979. I took this photo of one of them from the window of the second one on our way to Shearwater in 1979.
In 1980, the squadron converted to the Bell CH-136 Kiowa helicopter. In the 1980s the unit was renamed No. 400 Tactical Helicopter and Training Squadron. In 1996, the squadron moved to CFB Borden, Ontario. It currently flies the Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter. The the squadron fulfills No. 1 Wing commitments by providing operational and training support to the 4th Canadian Division, the defence of Canadian sovereignty, support to national taskings, and support to peacekeeping operations. Its secondary duties are to support search and rescue operations of the Royal Canadian Air Force. No. 400 Tactical Helicopter and Training Squadron has an establishment of 237 personnel divided into 6 flights.
15 Apr 1946, No. 401 (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary) was reactivated at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec. On 4 Sep 1952 it was titled No. 401 "City of Westmount" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary. The squadron flew the North American Harvard Mk. II, de Havilland DH.100 Vampire Mk. III, Canadair Sabre Mk. 5 and Canadair CT-133 Silver Star.
(RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)
de Havilland DH.100 Vampire, RCAF (Serial No. 17018). This Vampire flew with both No. 401 Squadron and No. 402 Squadron at RCAF Station St. Hubert, Quebec, 1948 to 1957.
In Oct 1958 it was reassigned to a light transport and emergency rescue role and equipped with the Beechcraft Expeditor and de Havilland CSR Otter aircraft. On 1 Nov 1958 it was redesignated No. 401 "City of Westmount" Squadron (Auxiliary). The squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on 1 Feb 1968, as No. 401 "City of Westmount" Air Reserve Squadron based in Montreal.
In 1991, the squadron was renamed No. 401 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron. No. 401 Squadron was disbanded on 23 Jun 1996. On 30 Jun 2015 the unit was reactivated as No. 401 (Tactical Fighter) Squadron at No. 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta. Its first deployment was to Kuwait for offensive operations during Operation Impact. The squadron curently flies the McDonnell-Douglas CF-188 Hornet, Canada's primary and front-line jet fighter aircraft.
No. 401(Tactical Fighter) Squadron complements the duties of No. 409 (Tactical Fighter) Squadron and, assisted by No. 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron, deploys tactical fighter forces to meet Canadian and allied defence needs. Under the umbrella of the NORAD mission, fighter crews are on stand-by 24/7 ready to respond to any aerospace threat.
15 Apr 1946. No. 402 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron was reformed at Winnipeg, Manitoba, initially flying North American Harvard Mk. II trainers in preparation for a transition to a new role. On 1 Mar 1947 the unit was converted to a fighter role and was renamed No. 402 Squadron. It was equipped with de Havilland DH.100 Vampire Mk. 3 fighters. On 18 Sep 1950, the squadron was titled No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" (Fighter) Squadron. In 1951, it was re-equipped with the North American Mustang Mk. IV and renamed No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" (Fighter Bomber) Squadron. During the early postwar years, a large part of No. 402 Squadron's training was conducted in the form of summer camps held throughout western Canada. In Nov 1964, the first Canadair CT-133 Silver Star Mk. III was delivered to the squadron, although the Mustang was retained until its retirement in 1957.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, PL-54433)
North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9570), coded AC, No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" (Fighter) Squadron, being bombed up at a training camp at Watson Lake, Yukon, 8 July 1952.
In 1957, the squadron changed from a fighter-bomber role to become No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" (Transport) Squadron, initially equipped with eight Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditors. In Apr 1960, the Squadron was equipped with two de Havilland CSR-123 Otter aircraft. The Otter proved to be a highly versatile aircraft and greatly increased the scope of squadron operations. On 1 Apr 1961, No. 402 Squadron was transferred to Air Transport Command. This change brought the additional responsibility of the provision of regular service flights from Winnipeg, west to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as well as to many northern points. By 1964, two additional Otters had been added to the Squadron inventory. The squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on 1 Feb 1968.
In 1969 the squadron's name was changed to No. 402 Air Reserve Squadron based at CFB Winnipeg. By that point, a further two Otters had joined the fleet for a total of six. Tragically, in early summer 1974, an Otter was lost in a fatal crash, that claimed the life of Captain Jack Reeve. The following year, the Squadron traded their Otters for Douglas CC-129 Dakotas, initially receiving five out of storage. By 1980, the squadron would be operating nine Dakotas in the light transport, search and rescue operations, support for the Canadian Forces Parachute Team (CFPT) Sky Hawks, Air Cadet familiarization and VIP transport roles, becoming the last unit in the Canadian Forces to fly the type.
In the late 1980s, the name changed to No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Transport and Training Squadron with the de Havilland Canada CC/CT-142 Dash 8 used to provide light transport and training for the Canadian Forces Air Navigation School (CFANS). In 2000, the two CC-142 Dash 8 light transport aircraft were retired and sold into the private sector in 2002, leaving No. 402 Squadron operating only the CT-142 Dash 8s, affectionately nicknamed "Gonzo" operating in the air navigation training role. By June 2009, with the changing demands of air forces worldwide, the training was adapted to include AES OPs (Airborne Electronic Sensor Operators) as well as Air Navigators now being called ACSOs (Air Combat Systems Officers). With the change in the trade name, CFANS became No. 1 Canadian Forces Flight Training School (1CFFTS). No. 402 Squadron and 1CFFTS continued to work together to provide ab-initio training. In 2014, 1CFFTS was amalgamated intoNo. 402 Squadron, who took over the full training syllabus alongside the aircraft maintenance and pilot employment. No. 402 Squadron continues the long tradition of training Commonwealth partners from England, Australia and New Zealand, as well as NATO allies from Germany and Norway. The program has further expanded to include, among others, Singapore and South Korea.
15 Apr 1946. No. 418 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) was formed at Edmonton, Alberta. The squadron flew the North American Harvard Mk. II. On 1 Jan 1947 it was redesignated No. 418 (Light Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) and flew the North American Mitchell Mk. II and Mk. III in a light bomber role. On 1 Apr 1947 it was redesignated No. 418 (Tactical Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary). On 1 Apr 1949 it was titled No. 418 (Light Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary). On 3 Sep 1949 it was redesignated No. 418 "City of Edmonton" (Light Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary). On 31 Mar 1958 it was redesignated No. 418 "City of Edmonton" Squadron (Auxiliary). On 1 Feb 1968 it was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as No. 418 "City of Edmonton" Air Reseve Squadron.
On 1 Apr 1993 the unit was re-designated as No. 418 Transport and Rescue Squadron. The squadron was again disbanded on 22 Jun 1994. In 2020, the squadron was re-activated as No. 418 Search and Rescue Operational Training Squadron and began operations as part of the Search and Rescue (SAR) Centre of Excellence at 19 Wing at Comox, British Columbia on 25 Sep 2020. The squadron flies the EADS CASA CC-295 Kingfisher.
(Mike Kaehler Photo)
Airbus CC-295 (Serial No. 517), No. 418 Search and Rescue Operational Training Squadron, CFB Comox, British Columbia, Feb 2020.
The RCAF ordered 16 CC-295s in 2016 to replace its ageing fleet of de Havilland CC-115 Buffalo and older-model Lockheed C-130H Hercules search and rescue aircraft. They are to be operated from CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia by No. 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron, CFB Trenton, Ontario by No. 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron, CFB Winnipeg, Manitoba by No. 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, and CFB Comox, British Columbia by No. 418 Search and Rescue Operational Training Squadron. The aircraft will be primarily operated at CFB Comox, where Airbus set up an RCAF Search & Rescue Training Facility for the CC-295. The first aircraft arrived in Canada in September 2020. Another aircraft which had arrived in January 2020 is a trainer for the maintenance personnel not included in the 16 aircraft ordered.
15 Apr 1946. No. 424 (Light Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary), was re-activated at Mount Hope, Hamilton, Ontario. On 1 Apr 1947 it was redesignated No. 424 (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary). On 19 Sep 1952 it was titled No. 424 "City of Hamilton" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary). The squadron flew North American Harvard II, North American Mustang Mk. IV, and the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star. On 1 Sep 1957 it was redesignated No. 424 "City of Hamilton" (Transport) Squadron (Auxiliary), and served in a light transport role, re-equipped with Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditor Mk. 3 and de Havilland CSR-123 Otter. The squadron was disbanded on 1 Apr 1964.
On 8 Jul 1968, the unit was reactivated as No. 424 Communications and Transport Squadron, at CFB Trenton, Ontaro. It is curently part of No. 8 Wing. The squadron flies the Lockheed CC-130H Hercules and the Bell CH-14 Griffon helicopter. Both aircraft carry Search and Rescue Technicians onboard in order to provide urgent care to those in need. The members of No. 424 Squadron provide SAR response to incidents under the federal SAR mandate; all aircraft incidents and all marine incidents in waters under federal jurisdiction. They also support humanitarian missions and other SAR organizations when able.
15 Apr 1946. No. 438 (Fghter Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) was reformed at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec. It was equipped with North American Harvard trainers. Its main task was the retention of flying qualifications for newly repatriated aircrew and the training of new personnel. On 1 Apr 1947 the unit was redesignated No. 438 (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary) and in April 1948 it was re-equipped with the de Havilland DH.100 Vampire Mk. III. In 1949, The Wildcats of No. 438 Squadron, alongside their colleagues with No. 401 Squadron also on Vampires, participated in OP METROPOLIS, a large scale joint RCAF/USAF air exercise where the two RCAF jet fighter squadrons, with the assistance of No. 1 RCAF mobile radar unit were to defend the greater New York area from bomber formations composed of American B-26 bomber squadrons.
de Havilland DH.100 Vampire Mk. III, RCAF (Serial No. 17078), No. 438 (Fighter) "City of Montreal" Squadron (Auxiliary), Montreal, Quebec.
On 1 May 1950, the squadron was re-designated No. 438 "City of Montreal" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary). In 1954 the squadron received the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star, replacing the Vampire. The Silver Stars were retained until Sep 1958 and were used to train new pilots converting to the Canadair CL-13 Sabre which began arriving in the squadron in Oct 1956.
(RCAF Photo via Francois Dutil)
Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5, (Serial No. 23110), No 438 Squadron, St. Hubert, Quebec, c1957.
The Sabres were flown until 1 Nov 1958 when the squadron was redesignated No. 438 "City of Montreal" Squadron (Auxiliary) and assigned the role of secondary support flying the Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditor Mk. III. With unification on 1 Feb 1968, the squadron took on the role of light transport and became No. 438"City of Montreal" Air Reserve Squadron based at CFB Montreal flying the de Havilland CSR-123 Otter and Bell CH-136 Kiowa helicopter. In Jan 1996, the Kiowas were retired from service and in Apr 1996 the Squadron took delivery of its first Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter.
15 Apr 1946. No. 442 (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary) was formed at Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia, equipped with the North American Harvard Mk. II, de Havilland DH. 100 Vampire Mk. III and the North American Mustang Mk. IV. In 1956 the squadron was augmented with the Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 5. On 3 Sep 1952 it was titled No. 442 "City of Vancouver" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary).
de Havilland DH.100 Vampire, RCAF (Serial No. 17074), No. 442 (Fighter) "City of Vancouver" Squadron (Auxiliary), Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3209966)
North American Mustang Mk. IV, No. 442 (Fighter) "City of Vancouver" Squadron (Auxiliary), personnel, Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia.
On 1 Sep 1958 the unit was reassigned to a light transport role and emergency rescue role and redesignated No. 442 "City of Vancouver" Squadron (Auxiliary), and re-equipped with the de Havilland CSR-123 Otter and Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditor. The squadron was disbanded on 1 Apr 1964. The squadron was reformed during the 1968 unification of the Canadian Forces (CF), as No. 442 (Communications and Rescue) Squadron at CFB Comox, British Columbia, before being redesignated No. 442 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron. It is the busiest search and rescue unit in the country.
The squadron flies six de Havilland CC-115 Buffalo STOL aircraft and five AugustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant rescue helicopters. One of each is on constant readiness to deploy in response to distress calls in the Victoria Search and Rescue Rwgion, which includes most of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, as well as 560,000 square kilometres in the Pacific Ocean, up to 600 nm offshore. The squadron also serves as the Operational Training Unit for the CH-149 Cormorant helicopter and the CC-115 Buffalo.
(RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)
de Havilland CC-115 Buffalo dropping SAR Technicians, 442 Squadron, CFB Comox, British Columbia.
22 Apr 1946. The first flight of a tailless glider developed at National Research Council, Ottawa, from a design by Professor G.T.R. Hill. The first flight was made at RCAFV Station Namao, Alberta, piloted by S/L R. Kronfeld (RAF) in towed flight by an RCAF Douglas Dakota piloted by F/O Robertson.
May 1946. Facilities and personnel of Turbo Research Ltd were taken over by Avro Canada Ltd. They became the Engine Division of Avro Canada Ltd.
22 May 1946. The DHC-1 Chipmunk prototype was test flown at Downsview, Ontario, by WIP Fillingham.
14 Jun 1946. The Fairchild F-11 Husky prototype was test flown on floats at Longueuil, Quebec, by AM Mackenzie.
26 Jun 1946. A peacetime program for air cadets, based on a combination of aviation and citizenship training, is put into effect by the Air Cadet League of Canada and the RCAF.
20 Jul 1946. The prototype Douglas DC-4M North Star was test flown at Cartierville, Quebec, by R. Brush and A.J. Lilly.
01 Aug 1946. No. 426 (Transport) Squadron was reformed at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In Mar 1947 the unit moved to Lachine, Quebec, where it began flying the Canadair North Star. During the Korean War the squadron transported supplies and troops to Japan in support of United Nations (UN) between 1950 and 1952. On July 1950, a few days after the start of the war, No. 426 (Transport) Squadron was detached to McChord Air Force Base in the state of Washington, where it came under the operational control of the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) of the USAF. On 1 Sep 1959, the squadron was moved to Trenton, Ontario. In Jan 1962 the squadron moved to St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec, where it was disbanded on 1 Sep 1962. On 3 May 1971 the unit was reformed as No. 426 (Transport Training) Squadron at Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario. In Aug 1971 the squadron moved to Trenton, Ontario, where it remains today, conducting training on the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules.
Canadair CL-2 (C-54GM) North Star, RCAF (Serial No. 17514). c/n 121. With No. 426 (T) Squadron at RCAF Stations Dorval, Quebec and Trenton, Ontario.
01 Aug 1946. No, 435 (Transport) Squadron was re-activated at Edmonton, Alberta and in 1955 was relocated a few miles north to Namao. The squadron flew the Douglas Dakota Mk. IV and the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar on western Canada transport duty and parachute training at Rivers, Manitoba. From Nov 1956 to Jan 1957 the squadron airlifted members of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) from Italy to Egypt.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3228256)
Fairchild C-119F Flying Boxcars, (Serial Nos. 22101 and 22102), No. 435 (Transport) Squadron, 22 Sep 1952.
In 1960 the unit was renamed No. 435 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron and re-equipped with the Lockheed C-130B Hercules. Between 1962 and 1963, the squadron ferried 137 CF-104 Starfighter aircraft from Canada to Europe. The squadron upgraded to the C-130E in 1966. On 1 Feb 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
In 1994 the squadron moved to No. 17 Wing Winnipeg. The squadron took part in Operation Southern Watch in Iraq, Operation Allied Force in Kosovo, Operation Noble Eagle domestically, and Operation Mobile during the 2011 Libyan civil war. The squadron has also participated in several exercises and support missions, and was the first Canadian unit to land a plane in Jacmel shortly after the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake.
The squadron flies four Lockheed CC-130H Hercules aircraft. In addition to being the only provider of tactical fighter air-to-air refueling in Canada, the squadron is a provider of primary search and rescue response for the largest search and rescue region in Canada, controlled from CFB Trenton, Ontario. The squadron keeps an aircraft on constant readiness to deploy, with airborne Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) standing by to respond within 30 minutes of notification during weekdays and 2 hours at other times.
01 Oct 1946. Reversion Day: almost all wartime personnel have been released and ranks are adjusted to peacetime establishments, with many taking a reduction in rank.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390960)
01 Nov 1946. A Sikorsky S-51 helicopter made the first airmail flight in Canada from Ottawa on this date.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390961)
01 Nov 1946. A Sikorsky S-51 helicopter made the first airmail flight in Canada from Ottawa on this date.
24 Dec 1946. J. Wade and J.G. (Pat) Twist, flying a Grumman Goose, rescued three men from an ice f loe in the Gulf of St Lawrence after a DH.89A of Canadian Pacific Air Lines had made a forced landing. Three more survivors were rescued by boat on 26 Dec.
31 Dec 1946. The RCAF Women’s Division is dissolved.
Feb 1947. A para-rescue jump course was inaugurated at Edmonton, Alberta.
01 Mar 1947. No. 12 Group of North West Air Command was formed at Comox, British Columbia. On 1 Jul 1951 it was redesignated No. 12 Air Defence group and reassigned to Air Defence Command. On 1 Sep 1955 it was redesignated No. 5 Air Division. On 15 Oct 1962 it was transferred to Maritime Air Command (Pacific). It was disbanded on 31 Dec 1963.
01 Apr 1947. No. 406 (Tactical Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) was formed at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. On 1 Apr 1949 the unit was redesignated No. 406 (Light Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary). On 3 Sep 1953 it was titled No. 406 "City of Saskatoon" (Light Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary). On 1 Apr 1958 it was redesignated No. 406 "City of Saskatoon" Squadron (Auxiliary). The squadron flew North American Harvard Mk. II, North American Mitchell Mk. III, in a light bomber role, and the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star Mk. III. In Mar 1958 the squadron was reassigned to a light transport and emergencey rescue role flying the Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditor Mk. 3 and de Havilland CSR-123 Otter. The squadron was disbanded on 1 Apr 1964.
(DND Archives Photo via Etienne du Plessis)
North American Mitchell Mk. III, No. 406 (Auxiliary) Squadron, "City of Saskatoon", deployed on Exercise Sun Dog III. It is being “bombed up” at RCAF Station Goose Bay, Labrador, 4-12 Feb 1952. Sun Dog III was a joint training exercise carried out by the RCAF and the Canadian Army in the Labrador-Ungava area.
On 12 Jul 1972 the squadron was reformed at CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia as No. 406 Maritime Operational Training Squadron, operating the Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King helicopter and the de Havilland (Grumman) CP-121 Tracker ASW aircraft. In mid-1981, the operational Tracker squadron, No. 880 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron, was transferred to CFB Summerside, Prince Edward Island, which left No. 406 Squadron only responsible for Sea King training. It currently provides trained air and ground crews for No. 423 and No. 443 Maritime Helicopter squadrons. Based at No. 12 Wing Shearwater, the squadron is responsible for crew training on the Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopter since summer of 2016. Around 200 to 300 students graduate from No. 406 Squadron courses each year.
01 Apr 1947. No. 412 (Composite) Squadron was redesignated from No. 12 (Communications) Squadron (originally stood up on 30 Aug 1940), at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario. On 1 Apr 1949 it was renamed No. 412 (Transport) Squadron. In 1955, the squadron moved to Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario. Throughout its history it was know as the VIP squadron, because its chief responsibility was the transport of Very Important Persons ((VIP) including British Royalty and Canadian Prime Ministers. On 25 Sep 1964 this unit received its Squadron Standard for 25 years service as No. 12 and No. 412 Squadron. Aircraft flown by the squadron include the Consolidated Liberator GR Mk. VIT, Douglas Dakota Mk. III and Mk. IV, Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditor Mk. 3, Canadair North Star, Canadair C-5, Grumman Goose Mk. II, de Havilland Comet Mk. 1A, North American Mitchell Mk. III, Canadair CC-109 Cosmopolitan, and the Canadair CC-106 Yukon. On 1 Feb 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
In the late 1970s a sub-unit was established at CFB Lahr, Germany. This operation ceased in 1993. In 1994, CFB Ottawa (Uplands) closed and the squadron's fleet was moved to a civilian hangar at Ottawa International Airport. All aircraft are maintained by Transport Canada on behalf of the Canadian Forces. Today No. 412 Squadron flies the Bombardier Challenger CL601 and provides transport for the Queen of Canada, the Governor General of Canada, high level government officials, and foreign VIPs while they are in Canada.
Bombardier Challenger CL601 in Canadian Forces livery; used for short range transport of the Prime Minister and Governor General. No. 412 Squadron.
01 Apr 1947. No. 22 (Photographic) Wing was renumbered from No. 7 (Photographic) Wing at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario which had been formed on 20 May 1944. The wing was disbanded on 30 Nov 1949, on completion of the major portion of the RCAF's postwar commitment to photograph all of Canada.
01 Apr 1947. No. 103 (Search and Rescue) Flight was formed at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, a section of 101 KU. Later that year, the unit moved to Greenwood, Nova Scotia. In 1950, the unit was renamed No. 103 Rescue Unit and moved to Summerside, Prince Edward Island, where it remained until unification of the Canadian Forces (CF) in 1968, when it was disbanded. The remnants of the unit formed No. 413 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron at CFB Summerside. As No. 103 RU it flew a variety of aircraft: the Consolidated Canso A (until 1962), Avro Lancaster Mk. X (until 1965), Douglas CC-129 Dakota (until 1968), Noorduyn Norseman (until 1957), Sikorsky H-5 helicopter (until 1965). No. 103 RU also had detachments in Torbay, Newfoundland (which was then RCAF Station Torbay re-opened in 1953 on the former RCAF Aerodrome - Torbay, Newfoundland) and Goose Bay with the latter closed and becoming No. 107 Rescue Unit in 1954. The RCN provided High Speed Launch vessels (ex-RCMP) support at select locations.
(RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)
Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV (Serial No. 2496), c/n 378, coded AP-Q, No. 413 Squadron, on a Canadian photo-mapping mission ca 1947-1957. It is docked on the water at Sawmill Bay, on the East side of Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories
The unit was re-activated in 1977 at CFB Gander, Newfoundland to meet the search and rescue demands in Canada's area of responsibility in the western North Atlantic. At the time of its reactivation, the squadron was equipped with the Boeing Vertol CH-113 Labrador twin-rotor helicopter and was stationed in a permanent hangar constructed on the grounds of the airport in 1977. In 1997 the squadron was re-designated to its current name by His Royal Highness, Prince Philip and presented with its standard. In 2009, the squadron, alongside its parent unit No. 9 Wing Gander, hosted SAREX 09, an annual search and rescue exercise involving SAR organizations across Canada, with units from the USAF and international observers also attending.
Today the squadron's approximately 50 military personnel and 26 civilian employees operate three AugustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant helicopters. The CH-149 Cormorant can carry 12 stretchers or a load of 5,000 kg. Its ice protection system allows it to operate in continuous icing conditions. The Cormorant routinely conducts rescues that would have been impossible for it's predecessor, the CH-113 Labrador.
In the 1960s, the Squadron purchased Albert, a rescue dog, from a barber in Nova Scotia. Today he adorns the Squadron's badge. His goal is the same as those who serve at 9 Wing, whether on the ground or in the air: To "seek and save."
AugustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant stationed at 103 SAR Base in Gander, Newfoundland, 31 Oct 2017.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584106)
Sikorsky H-5 Dragonfly, RCAF (Serial No. 9601), coded CC-X.
05 Apr 1947. The RCAF acquired its first helicopter, a Sikorsky H-5, RCAF (Serial No. 9601).
15 Apr 1947. The first Canadian-built transport aircraft entered scheduled service when a TCA Canadair-built Douglas DC-4M-1 North Star flew from Goose Bay, Labrador to Prestwick, Scotland in 8 hrs, 39 mins.
06-28 May 1947. First General Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was held at Montreal, Quebec.
01 June 1947. No. 417 (Fighter Reconnaissance) Squadron was formed at Rivers, Manitoba. It flew North American Harvard Mk. II and North American Mustng Mk. IV aircraft in close support training with army units until the squadron was disbanded on 1 Aug 1948.
(DND Photo via James Craik)
North American Mustang Mk. IV, No. 417 (Fighter Reconnaissance) Squadron, at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario. They are newly arrived and preparing for a flypast at the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto. Note Roundels without the Maple Leaf.
In 1970 the squadron was reformed at CFB Cold Lake, Albert as a part of the Canadian Forces and operated as an operational training squadron on the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter. The squadron disbanded in 1983 with the retirement of the CF-104 fleet. On 1 Apr 1993, No 417 Combat Support squadron was formed from CFB Cold Lake Base Flight plus aircraft servicing and maintenance elements of the Wing Maintenance organization. The squadron continued Base Flight's operations with ten Canadair CT-133 Silver Star aircraft and three Bell CH-118 Iroquois helicopters. When Base Rescue Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan was disbanded in 1993, No. 417 Squadron gained two of their Bell CH-118s, to operate a total of five. In Jul 1995 No. 417 Squadron received three Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopters and the five CH-118s were retired. The CT-133 was retired in 2001.
Bell CH-146 Griffon No. 417 Squadron, 22 May 2008.
Sznycer/Gottlieb SG VI-D Grey Gull Helicopter (Serial No. 5001-A), CF-FGG, first helicopter certified in the British Commonwealth, on display in the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, Wetaskiwin, Alberta.
09 Jul 1947. The first Canadian-designed helicopter, the Sznycer SG-VI (aka Sznycer-Gottlieb SG-VI), was successfully flown at Dorval, Quebec, by H.J. Eagle, Jr. The Sznycer SG-VI was a single-engined three-seat utility helicopter designed and built in the United States and Canada to the design of Bernard Sznycer, assisted by Selma Gottlieb and Engineering Products of Canada Ltd. It featured tricycle undercarriage with an enclosed cabin, and was nick-named the "Grey Gull".
19 Jul 1947. F/L J.F. Drake and crew left Rockcliffe Air Station in an RCAF Consolidated Canso to re-establish the location of the North Magnetic Pole.
de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver (Serial No. 1), CF-FHB, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650487)
Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 574), (Mk. VIT),No. 412 (Composite) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, ca 1945.
26 Jul 1947. Start of the RCAF's first trans-Pacific VIP flight, carrying General H.D.G. Crerar and his party on a Far Eastern Mission. They were flown by No. 412 (Composite) Squadron in Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 574). They flew from Ottawa to Cheyenne (refueling stop), San Francisco, and Hawaii (they lost No. 4 engine as they approached Hickam Field as they were running out of gas). On 30 July they continued on to Guam and then to Tokyo, Japan, where the Crerar mission spent 2-20 Aug. On 2o Aug they flew to Nanking, China, departed 25 Aug for Guam, then on to Kwajalein, Johnson Island and then Honolulu. A long range ferry tank was installed in the bomb bay for the return home. The tour was completed with the return of 574 to Rockcliffe on 1 Sep 1947. This was a pioneer trip for the RCAF, but within three years it would be routine with North Star transport flights to Korea.
16 Aug 1947. The DHC-2 Beaver prototype was test flown at Downsview, Ontario, by Russell Bannock.
Sept 1947. The first RCAF cadets began training at RCN-RCAF College at Royal Roads, British Columbia.
30 Sep 1947. Canadian armed forces are “stood down” after being on active service since Sep 1939.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3617348)
01 Oct 1947. No. 444 (Air Observation Post) Squadron was formed at the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre (CJATC) at Rivers, Manitoba, flying de Havilland Chipmunk and Auster AOP Mk. VI aircraft. These aircraft were used to train army pilots in ranging and directing artillery fire. The squadron was disbanded on 1 Apr 1949.
Dec 1947. The first engine was tested in new Cold Weather Test Station for jet engines set up at Fort Churchill, Manitoba, by the National Research Council.
17 Jan 1948. The first DH.100 Vampire Mk. 3 in Canada made its first flight from Downsview, Ontario. It was turned over to the RCAF a few days later.
23 Jan 1948. The RCAF commenced taking delivery of the DH.100 Vampire Mk. 3, the first jet fighter to enter RCAF squadron service.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4842101)
RCAF Flyers' Roy Forbes showing his Olympic ice hockey gold medal to Chief of Air Staff Wilfrid Curtis, with Orval "Red" Gravelle looking on, 7 April 1948.
08 Feb 1948. The RCAF Flyers hockey team won the Olympic gold medal and World's Amateur Ice Hockey championship during the Olympic Winter Games in Switzerland.
17 Mar 1948. The first Canadian jet engine was run successfully. The Chinook, designed and built by the Engine Division of Avro Canada Ltd, was tested at Malton, Ontario.
(George Crewe Photo)
HMCS Warrior (R31), with Fairey Firefly wings lowered and ready for launch.
23 Mar 1948. The RCN aircraft carrier HMCS Warrior was paid off and returned to the Royal Navy. HMCS Warrior was replaced by HMCS Magnificent, which arrived with the first batch of Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 fighter aircraft to replace the RCN's Supermarine Seafire Mk. XVs flown by No. 803 and No. 883 Squadrons. In 1950, the Fairey Firefly aircraft on No. 825 and No. 826 Squadrons proved to be unsuitable for the anti-submarine role that Canada agreed would be the RCN's specialty after becoming a signatory to the 1949 NATO agreement. Consequently, the Fairey Fireflies were replaced by Grumman Avenger aircraft purchased from the US Navy. In 1955, the acquisition of eight Airborne Early Warning Avengers brought the total number of Avengers to 125, the most numerous type of aircraft in the RCN's history. (Shearwater Aviation Museum)
01 Apr 1948. Air Transport Command was formed.
07 Apr 1948. The RCN carrier HMCS Magnificent was commissioned.
HMCS Magnificent (CVL 21), view from the air with a RCN Grumman TBM-3 Avenger, 1953.
01 May 1948. A Montreal-Toronto-Bermuda service was inaugurated by Trans-Canada Air Lines.
20 May 1948. George F. Beurling, top-scoring Canadian fighter pilot of the Second World War, was killed in an aircraft accident at Rome, Italy.
16 Jun 1948. S/L Stan Broadbent crashed his de Havilland DH.100 Vampire Mk. 3 (Serial No. 17009) into Lake Ontario, becoming the first RCAF jet casualty.
01 Sep 1948. Formation of a Fighter Operational Training Unit at St. Hubert, Quebec, was authorized. No. 410 Squadron, the first RCAF jet fighter squadron, began training on 1 Dec.
NRC tailless glider.
10-13 Sep 1948. The NRC tailless glider made a 2,300 mile towed flight from Namao, Alberta to Arnprior, Ontario via Winnipeg, Chicago and Toronto, piloted by F/L C.F. Phripp and F/L G.A. Lee and towed by an RCAF Douglas Dakota.
12 – 24 Sep 1948. The RCAF and the USAF carried out a search for a missing RN aircraft with RN and USN Naval attachés on board which was lost on a flight from Churchill to The Pas, Manitoba. The RCAF found and rescued the missing men.
15 Sep 1948. No. 420 (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary) was formed at London, Ontario. On 4 Sep 1952 it was titles No. 420 "City of London" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary). The squadron flew the North American Harvard Mk. II, North American Mustang Mk. IV and Canadair CT-133 Silver Star in a fighter role until it was disbanded on 1 Sep 1956.
On 20 May 1975 the unit was reformed as No. 420 Air Reserve Squadron initially based at CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia. The squadron flew de Havilland (Grumman) Tracker aircraft that had once been the backbone of the Canadian Naval Air's anti-submarine program. As an Air Reserve Squadron it participated with regular fisheries patrols. It was one of the few active Air Reserve Squadrons in Canada and was paired with the Regular Force's No. 880 Squadron. On 17 Jun 1992 it was redesignated No. 420 Composite Squadron. On 1 Apr 1993 it was redesignated No. 420 Combat Support Squadron. The Squadron moved to CFB Summerside when Shearwater was downsized. No. 420 Squadron was reduced to nil strength on 19 May 1995 and is no longer active.
de Havilland Canada (Grumman) CS2F-1/CP-121 Tracker (Serial No. 121157). 121157 was flown by No. 420 Air Reserve Squadron initially based at CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia, and later at CFB Summerside, Prince Edward Island. It is currently on display with the Shearawater Aviation Museum, Nova Scotia.
15 Oct 1948. No. 403 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) was formed at Calgary Alberta. On 3 Sep 1952 it was titled No. 403 "City of Calgary" (Fighter Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary). On 16 Nov 1953 it was redesignated No. 403 "City of Calgary" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary). The squadron flew North American Harvard Mk. II, North American Mustang Mk. IV fighters, and the Canadair Silver Star Mk. 3.
(DND Photo via James Craik)
North American Mustang Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 9279), coded AD, No. 403 "City of Calgar" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary), based at Calgary, Alberta. It is shown here loaded with 500 HE pound bombs at Watson Lake, Yukon, on 7 July 1952.
In Dec 1956 the squadron was transferred to Training Command with the role of training a reserve of transport aircrew for the Auxiliary and Regular Forces. On 25 Jan 1957, it was redesignated No. 403 "City of Calgary" (Transport) Squadron (Auxiliary), and re-equipped with the Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditor Mk. 3. In Feb 1958, the squadron became a general Transport and Rescue Squadron responsible for operations in support of military and civilian requirements. In Mar 1958 it was re-assigned to a light transport mission and equipped with the de Havilland CSR-123 Otter. The squadron was disbanded on 1 Apr 1964.
In Jan 1968, the squadron was activated as No. 403 (Helicopter) Operational Training Squadron (Hel) OTS at CFB Petawawa, Ontario. It was equipped with 10 Bell CUH-1H helicopters. It was formed specifically to support the Land Forces. In Jul 1972, the squadron was given the role of training of aircrew and technical personnel for the Tactical Helicopter and Rescue Squadrons. To carry out its new role, the squadron joined No. 422 Squadron at CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick and was equipped with 11 Bell CH-135 Twin Huey and 10 Bell CH-136 Kiowa helicopters. In Aug 1980, the squadron gained aircrew and support personnel from the disbandment of No. 422 Squadron.
In Aug 1980, the Air Ground Operations School was formed to provide advance training for future Flight Commanders and Operations Officers. Renamed Aviation Tactics Flight in Jun 1995, the Flight continues to provide this training, and aviation support to the Combat Training Centre, 1 Wing and the Air Force. As a Rotary Wing Aviation Unit, the squadron conducted two rotations of the Multinational Force and Observers.
The Kiowa and Twin Huey were phased out of the squadron by the end of 1994 and early 1995 respectively and were replaced by the Bell CH-146 Griffon in March 1995. The squadron became the first operational CH-146 unit in 10 TAG in Oct 1995. In Oct 1996, a full motion flight simulator was added to the squadron's establishment. A pilot will spend three months at 5 Canadian Division Support Base (5 CDSB) Gagetown learning to fly the Griffon before being posted to one of 1 Wing's five operational squadrons. While at Gagetown, pilots learn advanced aircraft handling, including slinging and hoisting, tactical formation, flying and low-level tactical flying.
Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter currently in service with 403 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron, 1 Wing, 1 Canadian Air Division. 5 Canadian Division Support Group Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.
19 Nov 1948. Fairey Aviation Co of Canada was established and took over the facilities of the Clark-Ruse Aircraft Company at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Nov 1948. The first edition of The Roundel magazine, an RCAF post-war monthly service publication, made its appearance.
01 Dec 1948. No. 410 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec. The squadron was the first post-war Regular Force fighter unit, the first to fly the de Havilland Vampire Mk. III, the Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 and Mk. V. It was the first unit to join No. 1 (Fighter) Wing of No. 1 Air Division Europe. In 1956 it was decided to replace one Sabre squadron in each of the Air Division's four wings with an all-weather fighter unit. On 1 Oct 1956, No. 410 (Fighter) Squadron was deactivated at Marville, France, and reactivated on 1 Nov 1956 at Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario. It was equipped with the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck and McDonnell CF-101 fighters on North American air defence duty until it was disbanded on 1 Apr 1964.
In 1968, No. 3 OTU (Operating Training Unit) at CFB Bagotville, Quebec, tasked with training pilots and navigators for the three operational RCAF Voodoo squadrons, was later renamed No. 410 Squadron. No. 410 Squadron moved to Cold Lake, Alberta in 1982, changing aircraft to become the training unit for McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet fighers. As a training unit, No. 410 Squadron flew the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star. Renamed in 1982, No. 410 (Operational Training Unit) Squadron received its first two Hornets at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta on 25 Oct 1982.
It runs one fighter pilot course every year, training approximately 20 pilots. The training program consists of nine months of ground school, simulator flights, and operational flying. Students are taken from among the graduates of a Fighter Lead-In Training Course and are provided with the knowledge of basic skills in both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. Areas covered in depth include aircraft handling, instrument flight, formation flying, night flying, navigation, air-to-air refuelling, and weapons delivery and tactics.
There is also an annual Fighter Weapons Instructor Course (FWIC) run by No. 410 Squadron, and a Fighter Electronic Warfare and Advanced Radar (FEWAR) Course. The intense and highly challenging FWIC lasts for three months. Each operational CF-18 squadron and tactical radar squadron sends candidates (eight students per course) who graduate with the leadership qualities and expertise required to return to their squadrons and design tactical training programs themselves. The Advanced Radar Course is conducted in two phases: ground school at 4 Wing, Cold Lake, and a flying phase at an electronic warfare range. This three-week course is designed to allow ten pilots annually to graduate and return to their squadrons as electronic warfare experts and instructors. Since No. 410 Squadron has always had some of the most experienced CF-18 pilots in the fighter community, it is often charged with carrying out special fighter projects. The squadron conducted the operational testing and evaluation of the CF's precision guided munitions, and in 2010 tested the use of night vision devices in the Hornet.
A sub-unit of No. 410 Squadron is the Fighter Operational Test and Evaluation Flight (FOTEF), which is responsible for operational testing and evaluation. In 2010, its efforts were seen as integral to the operational effectiveness of all aspects of core and CF-18 capabilities. Some of the new systems being evaluated were Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS), Multi-function Information Distribution Systems (MIDS), the Advanced Multi-role Infra-Red Sensor, and the evaluation of new mission planning software and the Advanced Distributed Combat Training System. Working closely with a variety of key units across the Air Force, including the "Aerospace Engineering & Test Establishment" (AETE), FOTEF enabled the integration of newly modernized CF-18 ECP-583 R2 aircraft into the Fighter Force.
(SSgt Greg L. Davis, USAF)
Two Canadian Forces No. 410 Squadron CF-188B Hornet fighters flying over the Utah Test and Training Range (USA) for planned engagements during the "Tiger Meet of the Americas" on 9 Aug 2001. The first aircraft is painted in a special scheme commemorating the 60th anniversary of 410 Squadron. The inaugural "Tiger Meet of the Americas" brought together flying units from throughout North America that have a Tiger or large cat as their unit symbol (in 410 Sqn's case, a Cougar). The Tiger Meet of the Americas closely mirrors the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)/Europe Tiger Meet in its goal of fostering camaraderie, teamwork and tactics familiarization.
01 Dec 1948. The RCAF was in the process of downsizing to its peacetime compliment in the post-war era. This included reducing the infrastructure and personnel at RCAF Station Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The reductions conflicted with the RCN's fledgling Naval Air Arm which was building up to its authorized strength. The RCAF therefore turned the air station over to the RCN and it officially became known as Royal Canadian Naval Air Station (RCNAS) Dartmouth. The RCN followed the Royal Navy tradition of naming air stations after sea birds and simultaneously commissioned the air station HMCS Shearwater.
Building on the foundation established by the RCNAS, HMCS Shearwater became the new home for No. 803 and No. 883 Squadrons, equipped with Supermarine Seafire aircraft and No. 825 and No. 826 Squadrons flying Fairey Firefly aircraft. HMCS Shearwater provided a shore base to support flying operations aboard the RCN's aircraft carriers. No. 1 Training Air Group comprising No. 743 Fleet Requirements Unit (FRU) and an Operational Flying Training School (OFTS) provided trained aircrew for the operational squadrons. A Naval Stores Depot and the School of Naval Aircraft Maintenance provided spares and trained aircraft technicians.
In 1951, the squadrons were renumbered to better identify Canadian formations within the Commonwealth numbering system. Accordingly, the fighter squadrons, No. 803 and No. 883 were renumbered No. 870 and No. 871 respectively, while the anti-submarine squadrons, No. 825 and No. 826, became No. 880 and No. 881 respectively. As Canadian naval aviation became more closely entwined with the US Navy in continental defence, the Air Arm adopted the US Navy letter prefixes to squadron numbers in Nov 1952. Hence No. 870 and No. 871 Squadrons became VF 870 and VF 871, with "VF" indicating a fixed wing fighter squadron while No. 880 and No. 881 Squadrons were redesignated VS 880 and VS 881, with "VS" identifying fixed wing anti-submarine squadrons. In the same process FRU 743 became a fixed wing utility squadron designated VU 32.(Shearwater Aviation Museum)
01 Dec 1948. No. 1 Air Defence Group was formed at Air Force Headwuarters, Ottawa, Ontario. On 1 Nov 1949 it moved to St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec, and was declared operational on 23 Nov 1949. It became Air Defence Command on 1 Jun 1951. It was integrated into North American Air Defence (NORAD) Command on 12 Sep 1957. In Aug 1966 it moved to North Bay, Ontario. It was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on 1 Feb 1968.
01 Oct 1945. Maintenance Command was formed at Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario. It was moved to No. 8 Temporary Building, Ottawa, Ontario on 15 March 1947. Moved to Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario and renamed Air Material Command on 1 Apr 1949. Disbanded on 1 Aug 1965 on the formation of Canadian Forces Material Command.
05 Aug 1943. Formed within Air Force Headquarters as the Directorate of Air Transport Command at Ottawa, Ontario. On 5 Feb 1945 it was redesignated No. 9 (Transport) Group and moved to Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario as an autonomous headquarters. On 1 Apr 1948 it was renamed Air Transport Command. It moved to Lachine, Montreal, Quebec on 9 Aug 1951, then to Trenton, Ontario on 1 Sep 1959. It was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on 1 Feb 1968.
01 Mar 1947. Central Air Command was formed at Trenton, Ontario on the disbandment of No. 1 Air Command. It was one of two geographical air commands of the peacetime establishment and controlled No. 10 Group (formerly Eastern Air Command) at Halifax, Nova Scotia. it was disbanded on 1 Apr 1949 on the formation of Training Command.
15 Nov 1938. Eastern Air Command was formed at Halifax, Nova Scotia during the Second World War. It served both as an operational group headquarters as well as controlling No. 1 Group at St. John's, Newfoundland, and No. 5 (Gulf) Group at Gaspe, Quebec. It also administered No. 12 (Operational Training) Group at Halifax. It was disbanded on 1 Mar 1947 on the formation of No. 10 Group of Central Air Command.
01 Mar 1947. Maritime Air Command was formed at Halifax, Nova Scotia as No. 10 Group of Central Air Command on the disbandment of Eastern Air Command. It was redesignated Maritime Group on 1 Apr 1949 and became autonomous on 15 Jan 1951. It was redesignated Maritime Air Command on 1 Jun 1953. It was disbanded on 16 Jan 1966 on the formation of Canadian Forces Maritime Command.
15 Oct 1942. The Northwest Staging Route was formed at Edmonton, Alberta under No. 4 Training Command of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). On 1 Jan 1944 it was redesignated No. 2 Wing of Western Air Command. On 1 Jun 1944 it was renamed North West Air Command. It was retaied post-war as one of the two geographical air commands and controlled No. 11 Group at Winnipeg, Manitoba and No. 12 Group at Vancouver, British Columbia. It was disbanded on 1 Aug 1951 when it was absorbed by Tactical Group (formerly No. 11 Group) to form Tactical Air Group (later Tactical Air Command).
01 Mar 1947. No. 11 Group of North West Air Command was formed at Winnipeg, Manitoba. On 1 Apr 1949 it was redesignated Tactical Group. On 15 Jan 1951 it beame autonomous. On 1 Aug 1951 it moved to Edmonton, Alberta and merged with North West Air Command. to form Tactical Air Group. On 1 Jun 1953 it became Tactical Air Command. It was disbanded on 1 Jan 1959.
01 Apr 1949. Training Command was formed atTrenton, Ontario on the disbandment of Central Air Command. It controlled No. 14 (Training) Group at Winnipeg, Manitoba. It moved to Winnipeg on 11 Sep 1958 and absorbed the Group. It was disbanded on 15 Jan 1966 on the formatoin of Canadian Forces Training Command.
01 Mar 1938. Western Air Command was formed at Vancouver, British Columbia. I moved to Victoria, British Columbia on 25 Nov 1939 and then returned to Vancouver on 01 Jan 1943. During the Second World War it served as both a command and an operational group headquarters. It also controlled No. 4 Group at Prince Rupert, British Columbia and No. 2 Group at Victoria. It was disbanded on 1 Mar 1947 on the formation of No. 12 Group of North West Air Command.
15 Jan 1945. No. 1 Air Command was formed at Trenton, Ontario by the merger of No. and No. 3 Training Command of the BCATP. It covered the closing down of the plan and the establishment of the peacetime command organization. It was disbanded on 1 Mar 1947 on the formation of Central Air Command.
01 Dec 1944. No. 2 Air Command was formed at Winnipeg, Manitoba by the merger of No. 2 and No. 4 Training Command of the BCATP. It covered the closing down of the plan and the establishment of the peacetime command organization. It was disbanded on 1 Mar 1947 on the formation of No. 11 Group of North West Air Command.
10 Jan 1949. No. 408 (Photographic) Squadron was formed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario. On 18 Jul 1957 it was redesignated No. 408 (Reconnaissance) Squadron flying the Avro Lancaster Mk. X, Consolidated Canso A, Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, de Havilland CSR-123 Otter, and Douglas Dakota Mk. III and Mk. IV.
(RCAF Photo via Mike Kehler)
Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. KB976), coded MN, in flight. No. 408 (P) Squadron, "Victory", with an extended nose.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3228255)
Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI (Serial No. 3684), coded AK-O, equipped with skis, No. 408 (P) Squadron, 12 Mar 1951.
On 1 May 1964 it was redesignated No. 408 (Transport Support and Area Reconnaissance) Squadron and re-equipped with the Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcar, Canadair CT-133 Silver Star Mk. 3 and later the Lockheed C-130B Hercules. On 16 Mar 1966 it was redesignated No. 408 (Tactical Support and Area Reconnaissance) Squadron. On 1 Feb 1968 it was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
Late in 1970, the squadron was disbanded. On 1 Jan 1971 the squadron was once again re-activated at Namao, Edmonton, Alberta, designated as No. 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS) and equipped with Bell CH-135 Twin Huey and Bell CH-136 Kiowa helicopters. Its primary tasking is to provide tactical aviation to the army. The mission includes air mobile assault, air ambulance, air observation, reconnaissance insertions, troop movement, airborne command and control platform and dropping paratroopers. In Sep 1996, the squadron was re-equipped with Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopters.
Personnel from No. 408 Squadron deployed to Afghanistan nearly continually from 2006 until 2011 . Initially forming a Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) detachment using the CU-161 Sperwer. From 2008, No. 408 THS members were deployed to Kandahar airfield operating the Bell CH-146 Griffon and Boeing Vertol CH-147D Chinook helicopters as part of the Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing. The primary role of the JTF-A Air Wing was to provide transportation, reconnaissance, armed escort, and fire support to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
In July of 2018, No. 408 THS deployed to Mali as part of Task Force Mali on Operation Presence. In Mali, No. 408 THS operated the Bell CH-146 Griffon in the armed escort role, providing support to MEDEVAC and utility missions. No. 408 THS completed its tour in Mali in Jan 2019, having participated in 7 medical evacuation missions.
No. 408 THS is a unit of 1 Wing, Kingston. It is co-located with 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG) at CFB Edmonton, Alberta. Equipped with 16 CH-146 Griffon helicopters, it rotates a high combat-readiness level with No. 400 THS Squadron at CFB Borden, Ontario and No. 430 THS at CFB Valcartier, Quebec. Its primary role is in support of contingency operations and vanguard brigades requiring tactical helicopter resources.
No. 408 Squadron's mandate also includes supporting United Nations (UN) and NATO peacekeeping operations, land force training, and support to other government departments. No. 408 Squadron's eight Griffons were assigned to support the Canadian contingent in the Balkans in 1999. Their job was to ferry small teams of paratroopers, infantrymen, and tankers to certain areas to check out water reservoirs, power grids, suspected weapons caches, minefields, and mass grave sites.
14-15 Jan 1949. The first non-stop trans-Canada flight was made by F/O J.A.F. Jolicoeur and crew who flew an RCAF Douglas DC-4M North Star from Vancouver, British Columbia to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 8 hours, 32 minutes for an average speed of 329 mph for the 2,785-mile flight.
10 Feb 1949. The prototype Orenda jet engine, designed and built by the Engine Division of Avro Canada Ltd, made its first test run at Malton, Ontario.
28 Mar 1949. The first Canadair-built Douglas DC-4M Argonaut left Dorval Airport, Montreal, Quebec, for delivery to BOAC in the charge of Capt A..J Lilly.
04 Apr 1949. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agreement is signed.
13 Jul 1949. Canadian Pacific Airlines’ first scheduled trans-Pacific flight left Vancouver, British Columbia, bound for Sydney, Australia, via San Francisco, Honolulu, Fiji, and Auckland, in a Canadair DC-4M North Star.
10 Aug 1949. The first Canadian jet aircraft and the world’s second jet transport, the Avro Canada C-102 Jetliner was test flown at Malton, Ontario, by J.H. Orrell and crew.
04-06 Sep 1949. The first Canadian aircraft appeared in the National Air Races, Cleveland, Ohio. F/L J.H.G. McArthur, RCAF, flying a Rolls-Royce Griffin-powered Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XIV, CF-GMZ, placed third in the Tinnerman Race.
15 Sep 1949. John Dure established a new Canadian soaring endurance record of 8 hours, taking off from Carp, Ontario in a Grunau sailplane and landed at Breckinridge, Quebec.
15 Sep 1949. No. 421 (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at Chatham, New Brunswick as the RCAF's second jet squadron. The squadron flew de Havilland DH.100 Vampire Mk. III and Gloster Meteor T Mk. 7 fighters. In 1951 it was stationed in the United Kingdom for operational training with the RAF. In Dec 1951 it was re-equipped with the Canadair Sabre Mk. 2 and later Mk. 5 and Mk. 6 In Oct 1952 the squadron joined No. 2 (Fighter) Wing at Grostenquin, France. It was one of eight Sabre squadrons in No. 1 Air Division Europe to be re-equipped with the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter aircraft for a nuclear strike role. The squadron was deactivated on 1 Aug 1963, and was reactivated as No. 421 (Strike Attack) Squadron on 21 Dec 1963. When No. 2 (Fighter) Wing was disbanded on 21 Dec 1963, the squadron joined No. 4 (Fighter) Wing at Baden-Soellingen, Germany. The squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on 1 Feb 1968.
On 1 Jan 1972 it was redesignated No. 421 Tactical Fighter Squadron. During the early 1980s it was equipped with McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornets. On 31 Aug 1992 the squadron was disbanded and its aircraft and personnel returned to Canada.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, PL-51417, MIKAN No. 5022955)
No. 421 (Fighter) Squadron aircrew briefing at Odiham, England, 26 Feb 1951. F/O F.W. (Fred) Evans, F/O W.G. (Bill) Paisley, F/O S.J.E. (Jack) Newson, F/O B.W. (Bill) Sheasby, F/O H.A. (Bud) McKay, F/L J.L. (John) Rainville, S/L R.T.P. (Bob) Davidson.
19 Jan 1950. The prototype Avro Canada CF-100 was test flown at Malton, Ontario, by S/L W.A. (Bill) Waterton, RAF. The Canuck was the first Canadian designed jet fighter and first straight wing aircraft to exceed Mach 1.
13-23 Feb 1950. Exercise Sweet Briar was the RCAF's first major exercise involving jet fighters. The exercise was designed to develop procedures, doctrine and techniques for the employment of combined American and Canadian forces in the Arctic. The exercie was conducted between Whitehorse in the Yukon territory and Edmonton, Alberta.
31 Mar 1950. No. 405 (Maritime Reconnaissance) Squadron was re-formed at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, equipped with the Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MR, Lockheed Neptune and Canadair CP-107 Argus. On 17 Jul 1956 it was redesignated No. 405 (Maritime Patrol) Squadron. The squadron was the first of four formed in Maritime Air Command. In Apr 1950 the squadron was equipped with the modified Avro Lancaster Mk. X. These were replaced in mid-1955 by the Lockheed P2V7 Neptune giving the squadron a much greater anti-submarine capability. In Apr 1958 the squadron was the first to fly the Canadair CP-107 Argus. The squadron made its last flight in the Argus on 10 November 1980 before it was replaced by the Lockheed CP-140. Though No. 405 Squadron's primary combat functions are anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASUW), most of its time is spent fulfilling a variety of non-combat roles. These include search and rescue, counter-drug operations with the RCMP, and anti-pollution and fisheries patrols. It flew operations in the Arabian Sea after the 11 Sep 2001 terrorist attacks.
Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MP, RCAF (Serial No. KB868), No. 405 (Maritime Patrol) Squadron, running up at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, Feb 1955.
On 1 Feb 1968, No. 405 (Maritime Patrol) Squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
04 Jun 1950. Frank H. Brame set a new Canadian glider record by flying a Loudon glider from Oshawa, Ontario to Kingston, Ontario, a distance of 118 miles (190 km) in 5 hrs 42 mins.
05 Jun 1950. The RCAF Colour and King’s Colour were presented to the the RCAF by the Governor-General, Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis, at Ottawa, Ontario. The RCAF is the first of any of the Royal Air Forces to have the King’s Colour dedicated to an individual or national air force.
24 Jun 1950. North Korea invades South Korea, and the Korean War begins.
13 Jul 1950. The first Canadian jet engine was air tested. A modified Avro Lancaster Mk. X was flown at Malton, Ontario, which incorporated two Orenda engines.
31 Jul 1950. An RCAF Avro Lancaster Mk. X crashed at the newly established Alert Station in the arctic while making a supply drop, killing all nine on board.
27 Jul 1950. The RCAF moved in support of United Nations action in Korea. No. 426 (Transport) Squadron began to airlift supplies to Tokyo, Japan.
09 Aug 1950. The Canadian prototype of the North American F-86 Sabre, which was assembled from US-made parts, was test flown at Dorval, Quebec, by A.J. Lilly.
01 Oct 1950. RCAF (Reserve) Wing Montreal was authorized. On 1 Sep 1961 it was redesignated No. 11 Wing (Auxiliary). On 1 Feb 1968 the wing was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as No. 11 Air Reserve Wing.
01 Oct 1950. RCAF (Reserve) Wing Toronto was authorized. On 15 Jan 1961 it was redesignated RCAF (Reserve) Operational Wing (Toronto), then No. 14 (Reserve) Operational Wing (Auxiliary) on 1 Sep 1951, and No. 14 Wing (Auxiliary) on 8 Nov 1957. On 1 Feb 1968 the wing was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as No. 14 Air Reserve Wing.
01 Oct 1950. No. 411 (Fighter) Squadron (Auxilliary) was formed at Toronto, Ontario. On 2 Jun 1952 it was titled No. 411"County of York" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary). On 1 Oct 1958 it was redesignated No. 411 "County of York" Squadron (Auxiliary). The squadron flew the North American Harvard Mk. II, de Havilland Vampire Mk. III, Canadair CT-133 Silver Star Mk. 3, Canadair Sabre Mk. 5, Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditor Mk. 3 and de Havilland CSR-123 Otter. On 1 Feb 1968 it was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as No, 411 "County of York" Air Reserve Squadron.
(DND Photo via James Craik)
de Havilland DH.100 Vampire, RCAF (Serial No. 17067), No. 411 "County of York" Squadron (Auxiliary), Toronto, Ontario.
In 1969, No. 411 Squadron was transferred from Air Transport Command to No. 10 Tactical Air Group, and the squadron's primary role changed to the support of army operations. It continued to hold a secondary SAR role, and to do mapping surveys and sovereignty flights in the Canadian arctic. In 1981, the Otter was retired and the squadron transitioned to the Bell CH-136 Kiowa helicopter, which it operated in a reconnaissance and tactical support role. The squadron disbanded in 1996 following the closure of Downsview, Ontario.
Dec 1950. RCAF No. 2 Flying Training School (FTS) was opened at Gimli, Manitoba.