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No. 434 Squadron

Nickname: Bluenose
Badge: A representation of the schooner "Bluenose"
Motto: In excelsis vincimus (We conquer in the heights)
Authority: King George VI, October 1945
Adoption: Rotary Club of Halifax, Nova Scotia

Battle Honours:
English Channel; North Sea 1943-1944; Baltic 1943-1944; Fortress Europe 1943-1944; France and Germany 1944-1945; Biscay Ports 1944; Ruhr 1943-1945; Berlin 1943-1944; German Ports 1944-1945; Normandy 1944; The Rhine.

The squadron was adopted by the Rotary Club of Halifax, N.S., and took the nickname "Bluenose" in reference to the common nickname for Nova Scotians. The schooner "Bluenose" is well known for its fine record.

The Background

No. 434 Squadron, the last of 13 RCAF bomber squadrons, formed at Tholthorpe on 13 June 1943 and was equipped with Merlin-engined Handley Page Halifax Mk Vs. Two months later to the day it flew its first operation, a bombing raid across the Alps to Milan. It continued to operated these Halifaxes until May 1944 when Mk IIIs replaced them. The Squadron was adopted by the Rotary Club of Halifax and took the nickname "Bluenose" in reference to the common nickname for Nova Scotians. The schooner "Bluenose" is well known for it's fine record. No. 434s base had been Croft from December 1943 onwards and here it began to receive Avro Laneasters (both British-built Mk Is and Canadian-built Mk Xs) in December 1944. After ceasing operations at the end of the war in Europe No. 434 flew back to Canada in June to be part of 'Tiger' Force, but when the Japanese war ended the squadron was disbanded at Dartmouth on 5 September 1945.

The unit flew the following aircraft during this period:

No. 434 Squadron Halifax

One of the Handley Page Halifax B.Mk Vs used by No. 434 'Bluenose' Sqn during 1943.
This one is seen at Tholthorpe.

Operational History

  • First Operational Mission of WW II: August 12/13, 1943, 10 Halifax V's from Tholthorpe dispatched to bomb Milan, Italy; 9 bombed the primary target, 1 aborted.
  • Last Operational Mission of WW II: April 25, 1945 15 Lancasters X's from Croft bombed gun positions on the Island of Wangerooge.


  • Missions: 198 (179 bombing, 17 mine laying, 1 diversionary, 1 sea search)
  • Sorties: 2582 (45 on POW airlift)
  • Operational Flying Hours: 14,622
  • Non-operational Flying Hours: 5679
  • Bombs dropped: 10,358 tons (plus 225 mines)
  • Victories
    • Aircraft: 7 destroyed, 2 probable, 4 damaged
  • Casualties
    • Operational: 75 aircraft, 484 aircrew (34 killed, 313 presumed dead, 121 POW, 16 evaded capture)
      Non-operational: 9 personnel (8 killed, 1 died of natural causes

Following the cessation of hostilities in Europe the Squadron spent a short period flying liberated POW's from the continent to the United Kingdom before returning to Canada as part of the "Tiger Force", the Very Long Range (Bomber) Force formed for operations in the Pacific. The end of the Pacific War found the Squadron still in the early stages of formation and was disbanded at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, on 5 September 1945.

434 (Fighter) Squadron Squadron reformed as a Day Fighter unit equipped with the Canadian built North American F-86 Sabre at Uplands (Ottawa), Ontario on 1 July 1952. The Squadron joined No. 3 (Fighter) Wing at Zweibrucken, Germany in March 1953. The role of 434 Squadron changed to that of all weather strike and reconnaissance and the Canadair built Lockheed CF-104 Starfighter was chosen as the Sabre replacement. 434 Squadron discontinued operations as a Sabre unit in January 1963 and the first CF 104 pilots arrived at 3 Wing the same month. The Squadron disbanded once again three years later in 1967.

Once again 434 Squadron was reactivated, but this time the "Bluenosers" were to serve in Canada. The Squadron stood-up in February of 1968 with its new Canadair built CF-5 Freedom Fighters. 434's role was that of Tactical Fighter and Operational Training, initially providing lead-in training for the CF-104 community. This multi-purpose role included Close Air Support, Interdiction, Photo Reconnaissance, Air Superiority and training for all of the above. In April, 1975 the Squadron was renamed 434(Tac F) Sqn and the role changed to Rapid Reaction Squadron standing ready to deploy to Europe in event of hostilities. In 1982 the unit moved to Bagotville, Quebec and then to Chatham, New Brunswick in 1985. In 1988 the unit was once more stood down and the Squadron colours, were subsequently placed in All Saints Cathedral, Halifax, NS.

434 (Composite) Squadron was reactivated at CFB Shearwater on 5 July 1992. It was formed by combining half of 414 Squadron, which split and sent aircraft to both coasts, with VU-32 which was deactivated.

434 (Combat Support) Squadron was moved to 14 Wing Greenwood in August of 1995 and was later disbanded with the retirement of the CT-133 Silver Star and CE/CP-144 Challengers.

Honours & Awards

6 bars to DFC, 108 DFC's, 6 DFM's, 1 BEM, 7 MiD's

The material above is mirrored from RCAF.com with the permission of Bob Hurst - who retains copyright to the material listed.