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No. 423 Squadron

Nickname: Eagle
Motto: QUAERIMUS ET PETIMUS - "We search and strike"

Battle Honours:
Atlantic 1942-1945, English Channel and North Sea 1944-1945, Normandy 1944, Biscay 1944

A bald-headed eagle volant. The bald-headed eagle is a powerful bird of prey from the Canadian side of the Atlantic. The motto refers to the squadron's role as a coastal unit.

The History

No. 423 Squadron forrned as a sister squadron to No. 422 at Oban on 18 March 1942. Its first aircraft, Short Sunderland Mk IIs and Mk IIIs, arrived in July and No. 423 was operational by the end of August, building up slowly to full strength by March 1943. Within the next two months it had attacked four submarines and destroyed two of them. By the autumn it was flying patrols from Pembroke Dock to Gibraltar and back, covering the Biscay area en route. It increased its operational intensity during 1944, being especially busy during the invasion of Normandy. The anti-submarine work continued through to the war's end in Europe, by which time the squadron had sunk five U- boats. It then transferred, in August 1945, to Bassingbourn and flew Consolidated Liberators in the transport role until disbanding on 3 September 1945.

No. 423 Squadron, RCAF Short Sunderland

One of No. 423 Sqn's Short Sunderland Mk IIIAs takes off from Lough Erne in 1944. Sunderlands were replaced by Liberators in August 1945.

Reformed as an All-Weather (Fighter) unit at St Hubert (Montreal), Quebec on 1 June 1953, the squadron flew CF-100 aircraft on North American air defence until February 1957 when it then joined No. 1 Air Division Europe to replace No. 416 (Fighter) Squadron in No. 2 (Fighter) Wing at Grostenquin, France. On the withdrawal of CF-100 aircraft from operational service, the squadron was disbanded on 31 December 1962. On September 3, 1974, No. 423 Anti-Submarine Warfare Helicopter squadron stood up at CFB Shearwater 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 Sea King performs many other roles with the Canadian Forces including, COD, Search & Rescue and light transport.

The squadron name changed on January 31, 1995 to 423 Maritime Helicopter squadron and it currently flies the CH-124 Sea King.

Representative Aircraft

  • Sunderland III (July 1942 - May 1945)
  • Liberator C.VIII (August 1945 - September 1945)
  • CF-100 Canuck
  • CH-124 Sea King
The material above is mirrored from RCAF.com with the permission of Bob Hurst - who retains copyright to the material listed.