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

No. 402 Squadron

Bear, City of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Bears

No. 402 Squadron  Badge Its Badge, a standing grizzly bear totem of the North Pacific Coast Indians. The grizzly bear holds a prominent place in Indian mythology and is believed to have supernatural powers.

Adoption: City Council of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Women's Air Force Auxiliary, Winnipeg

This squadron began at Winnipeg as No. 12 Army Cooperation Sqn on 5 October 1932, and was renumbered on 15 November 1937 as No. 112 Army Cooperation Sqn. No. 2 Squadron, RCAF formed at Digby in December 1940 from personnel of No. 110 and No. 112 Squadrons, RCAF. Initially equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk I. Renumbered as No. 402 Squadron in March 1941, the unit was re-equipped with the Hurricane Mk II in May and then Hurricane Mk IIb's in June. With these it began training to become the first Hurribomber unit, commencing operations in this role in November, carrying pairs of 250lb bombs beneath the wings. In March 1942 the Squadron resumed its fighter role moving to Colerne and converting to Spitfire Mk Vb's. Cross-Channel sorties from various bases followed, notably Kenley and Redhill until August when it received Spitfire Mk IX's, employing these over Dieppe on the 19th of August. A move to Digby in March 1943 brought a return to Spitfire Mk V's, which were flown from a variety of airfields right up to and during the Normandy invasion, when it operated from Horne, Westhampnett and Merston, mainly in a fighter-bomber role. Spitfire IX's were again received in July, but their stay was brief, in early August a move was made to Hawkinge where the Squadron re-equipped with the Griffon-engine Spitfire Mk XIV's and operations against the V-1 flying bombs were commenced. At the end of September, with the V-1 threat being largely over, the Squadron was posted to the 2nd TAF (Tactical Air Force) in Belgium, joining No. 125 Wing. A move to Grave in Holland followed where the first victories were claimed over Nijmegen on the 6th of October. In December the Squadron joined No. 126 Wing, RCAF to fly alongside the Wings Spitfire IX's. It continued to see regular action against Luftwaffe aircraft during the last weeks of the European war, 19 victories being claimed in April 1945 alone. The ending of the hostilities found the unit on German soil at Wunstorf with total victories for the war of 49 1/2 aircraft. The code letters carried by the Squadron during this period were AE. The Squadron disbanded at Fassberg, Germany on July 10, 1945.

Re-formed as No. 402 (Auxiliary) Squadron on 15 April 1946. On 18 September 1950, the title 'City of Winnipeg' was added to the squadron name. In 1957, the squadron gave up the fighter role and became 402 Transport Sqn (Auxiliary).  The name was changed in 1968 to 402 'City of Winnipeg' Air Reserve Sqn based at CFB Winnipeg and flew the CC-129 Dakota in the light transport and VIP roles. The last unit in the Canadian Forces to fly the C-47, DC-3 Dakota. In the late eighties the name changed to 402 'City of Winnipeg' Transport and Training Sqn. and used the CC/CT-142 Dash 8 to provide light transport and training for the Canadian Forces Air Navigation School. In 1997 the 2 CC-142 Dash 8 light transport aircraft were disposed of leaving 402 operating only the CT-142 Dash 8.

Battle Honours
Defence of Britain 1941-44, Fortress Europe 1941-44, English Channel and North Sea 1941-45, Arnheim Rhine Dieppe France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944

  • Hurricane I (April 1943 - May 1941)
  • Hurricane IIa (May 1941 - April 1942)
  • Hurricane IIb (June 1941 - April 1942)
  • Spitfire Vb (April 1942 - May 1942)
  • Spitfire IXc (May 1942 - April 1943)
  • Spitfire Vc (April 1943 - June 1944)
  • Spitfire IXc (July 1944 - August 1944)
  • Spitfire IXVe (August 1944 - June 1945)
  • Spitfire IXV (June 1945 - July 1945)
  • Sabre
  • CC-129 Dakota
  • CT-142 Dash 8

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