Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force

The Snowbirds

THE HISTORY

431 Iroquois Squadron - The War Years

No. 431 Squadron was formed at Burn, Yorkshire, England, November 11th, 1942 as the RCAF's 28th squadron formed overseas. The crest is an Iroquois Indian head above the squadron motto written in Iroquois "The Hatiten Ronteriios" (warriors of the air). As Canada's 11th bomber squadron, 431 Squadron flew Wellington, Halifax and Canadian-built Lancaster aircraft on strategic and tactical bombing operations. Battle honors awarded in the European theater included the English Channel and North Sea 1943-1944, the Ruhr 1943-1945 and Normandy 1944. After hostilities in Europe, 431 Squadron was selected as part of the "Tiger Force" for duty in the Pacific. The sudden end of the war resulted in the squadron being disbanded at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on September 5th, 1945.

431 Iroquois Squadron - The Post War Years

No. 431 Squadron was reformed in January 1954 as an interim F-86 Sqn awaiting production of the CF-100. The Squadron's greatest claim to fame, however, was its four plane aerobatic team which participated in "Prairie Pacific" across Canada in 1954 to demonstrate the skills of RCAF personnel to the Canadian public. The team was led by Flying Officer F.G. Fern Villeneuve who would later be selected to be the first leader of the Golden Hawks in 1959. The Squadron was once again disbanded in October 1954.

431 Air Demonstration Squadron

The squadron was reformed April 1, 1978 as 431 Air Demonstration Squadron the "Snowbirds" and the Snowbirds would no longer have to seek yearly approval for their existance.

In the fall of 1999 the Snowbirds celebrated the 25th anniversary thereby qualifying them to receive their squadron colours.