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Most current squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force can trace their origins to the Second World War, when the nation’s call to service was answered by thousands of Canadians throughout the country. 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, currently based at 12 Wing Shearwater, N.S., is just one of the squadrons celebrating 75 years since its formation in 1942.
423 Squadron was founded in Oban, Scotland, on May 18, 1942, flying Sunderland Flying Boats as part of Coastal Command. Operating primarily from Castle Archdale, Northern Ireland, the squadron’s distinguished wartime record included a number of notable U-Boat engagements.
After the war, the squadron was briefly disbanded, only to be brought back into service in the 1950s and ’60s as an all-weather fighter squadron flying the CF-100 Canuck out of St. Hubert, Que., and Grostenquin, France.
In 1974, following the split of 50 Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS 50), 423 Squadron returned to its anti-submarine warfare roots, flying the CH-124 Sea King. Aircrew and technicians from 423 Squadron have operated the Sea King both domestically and in a wide variety of international operations embarked on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships.
Over the years, 423 Squadron personnel have been instrumental in conducting operations ranging from humanitarian assistance to emergency medical evacuations to counter-terrorism and reassurance measures in support of NATO allies. As the Sea King era draws to a close, the rich legacy of 423 Squadron’s wide-ranging experience since the Second World War will continue to provide inspiration as the transition to the CH-148 Cyclone continues.
Anniversary celebrations include a meet and greet on the evening of Wednesday, May 17, 2017, and a parade on the morning of May 18 with a gala dinner that evening. Family activities, museum tours and a barbeque will take place on Friday, May 19.