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

No. 426 Squadron

Thunderbird

No. 426 Squadron  Badge Its Badge, a thunderbird. The thunderbird is a mythical bird, the sight of which is supposed to cause havoc and death to those who perceive it. It was the name given by some Indians to the first airplanes they saw. The thunderbird signified disaster to those on the ground who incurred its displeasure.

Motto: On Wings of Fire

No. 426 Squadron was formed at Dishforth alongside No. 425 on 15 October 1942 with Vickers Wellington Mk IIIs and Mk Xs. It began operations against occupied Europe in January 1943, flying a growing intensity of sorties by night, principally over Germany. Unlike the other RCAF Wellington squadrons it did not go to Tunisia in that year, but remained operating over Germany. In June it moved to Linton-on-Ouse, where it re-equipped with the Hercules-engined Avro Lancaster Mk II. With this type it soon resumed the offensive, and continued with the night campaign from Linton for the next ten months. In April 1944 it began to re-equip with Handley Page Halifax Mk IIIs and Mk VIIs, and for the next year continued to operate with these types as part of No. 6 Group. In all its war service the squadron lost 88 aircraft as the price of its offensive. In May 1945 it transferred to Transport Command at Driffield and moved down to Ternpsford, where it re-equipped with Consolidated Liberators for transport duties. It flew on scheduled runs to India for the rest of the year, disbanding at Tempsford on 31 December 1945.

Re-formed on 1 August 1946 as No. 426 (Transport) Squadron at Dartmouth, NS On 1 March 1947, No. 426 (T) Squadron was reorganized and relocated to Dorval, PQ where it was equipped with Dakotas and North Stars. In support of the United Nations participation in the Korean incident, No. 426 Squadron was selected to carry out air transport operations in conjunction with the United States Military Air Services. No. 426 Thunderbird squadron was integrated into the Canadian Forces as the Heavy Transport Squadron of the Canadian Forces flying Canadian built CC-106 Yukons.

On September 1, 1959 the squadron was moved to Trenton, Ontario. It was moved to Saint-Hubert on January 1962. It was disbanded at Saint-Hubert on 1 September of that year. It reformed again as 426 Transport Training Squadron on May 3, 1971 at Uplands. The squadron moved to Trenton in August 1971 where it remains today, conducting training on the CC-130 Hercules.

The squadron has carried out many tasks since the end of Korean War, including casualty evacuations, Royal tours and other VIP transport, and United Nations air lift operations. Thunderbird has worked in many places: the Arctic, the Middle East and Europe, the Congo and Japan.

Battle Honours:
English Channel and North Sea 1943, Baltic 1943, Fortress Europe 1943-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Biscay Ports 1943-44, Ruhr 1943-45, Berlin 1943-44, German Ports 1943-45, Normandy 1944, Rhine Biscay 1943

Aircraft
  • Wellington III (October 1942 - April 1943)
  • Wellington X (April 1943 - June 1943)
  • Lancaster II (July 1943 - May 1944)
  • Halifax III (April 1944 - June 1944)
  • Halifax VII (June 1944 - April 1945)
  • Halifax III (December 1944 - April 1945)
  • Liberator
  • Dakota
  • North Star
  • CC-106 Yukon
  • CC-130 Hercules
  • CC-150 Polaris
Historical Achievements
  • First Operational Mission in WWII: 14th/15th January 1943 - 7 Wellingtons bombed Lorient.
  • Last Operational Mission in WWII: 25th April 1945 - 20 Halifaxs bombed gun batteries on island of Wangerooge


The Armstrong-Whitworth built Lancaster...

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