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

No. 1 Squadron

City of Westmount

Formed as a Fighter unit at Trenton, Ontario on 21 September 1937 with Siskin aircraft - the nucleus had come from the Fighter Flight of No. 3 (Bomber) Squadron on 17 May, - the squadron moved to Calgary, Alberta in August 1938, and was re-equipped with Hurricane aircraft in February 1939. It was mobilized at St Hubert, Quebec on 10 September, and on 5 November it moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. On 28 May 1940, before going overseas, it absorbed No. 115 (Fighter) Squadron of the Auxiliary from Montreal. On 26 August 1940, the unit had its first encounter with German aircraft, and was the first squadron of the RCAF to engage the enemy, to score victories, to suffer combat casualties, and to win gallantry awards. The squadron was renumbered No. 401 (Fighter) Squadron at Driffield, Yorkshire, England on 1 March 1941.

Battle of Britain 1940, Defence of Britain 1940 - 1944 (see no. 401 Squadron)

Aircraft
  • Siskin IIIA (Sept 1937 - June 1938)
    • 302, 303, 304, 309
  • Hurricane (February 1939 - February 1941)
    • Hurricane Mk I (Canada Feb 1939 - June 1940) Unit Code NA; 310-319, 324, 327-329
    • Hurricane Mk I (England June 40 - Feb 1941) Unit Code YO; P3069 YO-A, P3670 YO-E, P3672 YO-F, P3859 YO-B, P3873 YO-H, R4171 YO-L, V7287 YO-
Historical Achievements
  • Formed at Trenton, Ont. 21 Sep 37. Mobilized at St Hubert, Que. 10 Sep 39. Absorbed No. 115 (F) Sqn (Aux), Dartmouth, N.S. 28 May 40. Renumbered No. 401 (F) Sqn, Driffield, Yorks., Eng. 1 Mar 41.
  • First Mission: (Canada) November 20, 1939 Hurricane 234 from Dartmouth - naval cooperation (diving practice on naval vessels) in Bedford Basin (Halifax)
  • Last Mission: (Canada) April 24, 1940 Two Hurricanes from Dartmouth - 50 mile radius local reconnaissance
  • First Mission: (England) August 18, 1940 Hurricane from Northolt - uneventful scramble
  • Last Mission: (England) February 26, 1941 Two Hurricanes from Driffield - patrol at 10,000 ft.

Summary (Canada September 1939 - February 1940)

  • Sorties: 28
  • Operational/Non-Operational Flying Hours: 12 / 139
  • Casualties: Operational: Nil Non-Operational: 2 aircraft

Summary (England June 1940 - February 1941)

  • Sorties: 1694
  • Operational/Non-Operational Flying Hours: 1569 / 1201
  • Casualties: Operational: 10 aircraft; 13 pilots, 3 killed Non-Operational: 2 killed
  • Victories: Aircraft: 30 destroyed, 9 probable, 34 damaged
  • Top Scores: S/L E.A. McNab, DFC; 4 1/3, F/L McGregor, DFC; 4, F/O B.D. Russel, DFC; 3, F/O J.W. Kerwin 3
  • Honours and Awards: 3 DFC's


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