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

No. 443 Squadron

City of New Westminster, Hornet

No. 443 Squadron  Badge Its Badge, a hornet affronte, as this unit was known as the Hornet Squadron


On arrival at Digby in February 1944 for service in Europe, No. 127 Squadron, RCAF was renumbered as No. 443. Initially equipped with the Spitfire Mk VB for familiarization, these were exchanged for Spitfire Mk IXB's in March when a move was made to Holmesley South to form No. 144 Wing, 2nd TAF (Tactical Air Force). Pre-invasion operations were flown from a number of south coast airfields, culminating at Ford in mid May. Cover to the Normandy invasion was given during June and a move to airfield B-3 at St. Croix-sur-Mer was made on the 15th of June. Air superiority patrols were flown from here over the beachhead for a month, at which time the wing was disbanded and the Squadron was sent instead to No. 127 Wing, which was also in France with No. 83 Group. Activities continued until the breakout, following which a move was made to Belgium. In January 1945 the Squadron re-equipped with the Spitfire Mk XIV's. At the end of March the squadron moved to Holland and then into Germany in April 36 aerial victories were claimed when the war ended. The Squadrons' aircraft carried the unit code 2I during this period.

Reformed on 12 September 1951 and became New Westminster (Vancouver) Auxiliary Squadron flying Mustang, Harvard and Expeditor aircraft. Disbanded on 31 March 1964.

No. 443 Squadron was reformed as an Anti-submarine helicopter squadron that provides shipborne and shore based anti-submarine warfare assets. The unit flies the CH-124 Sea King helicopter and is based on Canadian Destroyers and Frigates as well a shore based at CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia. The unit also maintains a detachment at Victoria International Airport in support of Maritime Forces Pacific. The Sea King performs many other roles with the Canadian Forces including, COD, Search & Rescue and light transport.

The squadron moved to Patricia Bay (Victoria International Airport) in the late eighties where it remains today. On January 31, 1995 it changed its name to 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron. It is equipped with the CH-124 Sea King.

Battle Honours:
Fortress Europe 1944, France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944 Arnhem Rhine

  • Spitfire VB (February 1944 - April 1944)
  • Spitfire IXC (April 1944 - February 1945)
  • Spitfire XVI (January 1945 - January 1946)
  • Spitfire XIVE (January 1946 - April 1946)
  • Mustang
  • Harvard
  • Expeditor
  • CH-124 Sea King

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