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424 Squadron plans 70th anniversary celebration

 Capt. Gillian Parker displays the newly minted 424 Sqn. anniversary coin featuring the aircraft the squadron has flown on one side and their battle honours on the other. To make contact to purchase the coin, E-mail or telephone 613-885-4823. Ross Lees photo

Capt. Gillian Parker displays the newly minted 424 Sqn. anniversary coin featuring the aircraft the squadron has flown on one side and their battle honours on the other. To make contact to purchase the coin, E-mail or telephone 613-885-4823. Ross Lees photo

By Ross Lees
No time like the present to celebrate 424 Squadron’s 70th anniversary.

The squadron is in its 70th anniversary year – the actual 70th anniversary happened on Oct. 15, 2012 – but commanding Officer Lt.-Col. Jean Bernier did not want the anniversary to pass without a celebration by all current and former members of the squadron, according to Capt. Gillian Parker.

“It’s an occasion to gather our people together so we’re in the process of trying to reach out to our past members,” Capt. Parker said. “424 hasn’t had an occasion to draw people together in a long time, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

The celebration is to be held on the weekend of Sept. 27 to 29 at 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, beginning with a Friday night meet and greet at 9 Hangar, according to Capt. Parker.

“It begins at 4 p.m. and we’ll have buses to the hangar line side of the base,” she said.

They are also hoping for a Search and Rescue (SAR) demonstration and anticipate a Lancaster fly-in, for the occasion.

“There will be food and refreshments and Lt.-Col. Bernier is inviting all previous Commanding Officers to return for the event,” Capt. Parker noted.

Saturday morning kicks off with a golf tournament at Roundel Glen Golf Course on a first come, first served basis with just 40 slots open. That is followed by a wine tour of three wineries in Prince Edward County ending at Huff Estates for lunch.

Saturday night, a semi-formal gala dinner open to spouses will be held at the National Air Force Museum of Canada (NAFMC), Capt. Parker stated.

“That will be a chance for everybody to get together under the wing of the Halfica, also one of the aircraft our squadron has flown, and it will just be a chance to celebrate the squadron,” Capt. Parker stated.

Sunday morning, the squadron wants to rededicate the memorial at the NAFMC.

“That ceremony will add some formality to the weekend,” Capt. Parker said.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude with lunch at the Officers’ Mess.

“That will be the farewell lunch where everybody can gather for their final get-together.”

For now, however, squadron personnel are concentrating on trying to get in touch with as many former members as they can, across Canada and the United Kingdom. Anyone interested in attending is directed to the website at where they can register, check schedules or garner even more information and details of the event.

Another aspect of the celebration is that Lt.-Col. Bernier has commissioned a special coin for the occasion and Capt. Parker indicates it is the nicest coin she has ever seen. It can be ordered through the website and orders are being taken now.

A Search and Rescue/Transport Squadron, 424 (Tiger) Squadron works out of 9 Hangar at 8 Wing/CFB Trenton. To fulfil its roles, 424 Squadron flies the CH-146 Griffon helicopter and the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules.

424 Squadron is responsible for the 10,000,000 square kilometers of the Trenton Search and Rescue Region comprising most of the Province of Quebec, all of Ontario, the Prairie Provinces and the entire Arctic.

The Squadron crews one aircraft of each type on a 30 minute standby response posture during normal working hours and on a two hour posture at all other times in order to respond to distress cases as tasked by the Rescue Coordination Centre.

The Hercules allows the Squadron to fulfill its other primary role of strategic transport anywhere in the world. To maintain this capability, the Squadron yearly conducts four Long Range Trainers to the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Africa. Airlift for humanitarian and aid agencies are carried on these flights, often bringing aid and supplies to hospitals and orphanages. As well, 424 Squadron crews participate in all major airlift operations

424 (T&R) Squadron provides an important and diverse capability to 8 Wing which in turn makes for an interesting and satisfying tour of duty for its members.


On Oct.15, 1942, 424 Bomber Squadron formed at Topcliffe, England. It flew from England and Tunisia during the war, disbanding on Oct. 15, 1945.

Back in Canada, the squadron reformed at RCAF Station Hamilton on April 15, 1946 as 424 Light Bomber Squadron (Auxiliary).

On Sept. 19, 1952, the title “City of Hamilton” was added to the official squadron designation. The squadron was disbanded on March 31, 1964.

On July 8, 1968, 424 Communications and Rescue Squadron stood up at RCAF Station (CFB) Trenton, where they remain today equipped with the CH-149 Cormorant and CC-130 Hercules.

 Battle Honours

  • English Channel and North Sea 1944-1945
  • Baltic 1944-1945
  • Fortress Europe 1943-1944
  • France and Germany 1944-1945
  • Biscay Ports 1943-1944
  • Ruhr 1943-1945
  • Berlin 1944
  • German Ports 1943-1945
  • Normandy 1944
  • Rhine
  • Biscay 1943-1944
  • Sicily 1943
  • Italy 1943
  • Salerno

Aircraft Flown

  • Vickers Wellington
  • Handley Page Halifax
  • Avro Lancaster
  • North American Harvard
  • North American P-51 Mustang
  • Canadair (Lockheed) CT-33 Silver Star
  • Beech CT-128 (C-45) Expeditor
  • de Havilland CC-123 (DHC-3) Otter
  • Vertol H-21
  • Douglas CC-129 (DC-3) Dakota
  • de Havilland CC-108 (DHC-4) Caribou
  • de Havilland CC-138 (DHC-6) Twin Otter
  • Boeing Vertol CH-113 Labrador
  • de Havilland CC-115 (DHC-5) Buffalo
  • Bell CH-135 Twin huey
  • Lockheed CC-130 Hercules

Capt. Parker indicates their prime concern at this point is getting in touch with all past members of 424 Squadron.

“We’re trying to contact members any way we can and we’ll be making a concerted effort to keep in contact in the future, as well,” she said.

The Squadron can be contacted in a number of ways, including: Telephone: (613)885-4823; E-mail ; or by regular mail at 424 Search and Rescue/Transport Squadron, 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, P.O. Box 1000 Station Forces Astra, Ontario, Canada, K0K 3W0.



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