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No. 439 Squadron

Nickname: Sabre-Toothed Tiger
Motto: Fangs of Death

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

Its Badge, in front of a fountain a sabre-toothed tiger's head erased. This unit adopted the sabre-toothed tiger's head and became known as the sabre-toothed squadron.

Background: The War Years

No. 439 Squadron is descended from No. 123 (Army Co-Operation Training) Squadron which formed at Rockeliffe in January 1942. Moving to Debert a month later, No. 123 carried out training with Army units until December 1943, when it was transferred overseas and redesignated as No. 439 Squadron. The squadron was initially equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk IV's, later converting the Hawker Typhoon Mk IB in February 1944. The Squadron formed No. 143 Wing, along with Nos. 438 and 440 squadrons, RCAF, and were involved during the spring in the pre-invasion 'softening-up' raids and then flew in the close support role with No. 83 Group, 2nd TAF. Based on the continent in the fighter bomber role few aerial engagements took place but No. 439 was able to claim 10 aerial victories. The Squadron was disbanded on 26 August 1945.

Representative Aircraft

  • Hurricane IV (January 1944 - April 1944)
  • Typhoon IB (March 1944 - August 1945)

Background: The Cold War

No. 439 was reformed at Uplands on 1 September 1951 and was the first post-war fighter squadron to receive Sabres as initial equipment. On 30 May 1952 it left Uplands to join No. 1 Wing at North Luffenham, England, being the first R.C.A.F. jet squadron to fly the Atlantic in Leapfrog I. The squadron was led by S/L C.C. Bricker, D.F.C., who was the first RCAF pilot to make a jet flight across the Atlantic, a feat which he accomplished while an exchange duty with a USAAF squadron. Early in 1955, No. 439 was relocated to Marville, France. The squadron later converted from the day fighter role to the nuclear strike and tactical reconnaissance role with the Canadair built CF-104 Starfighter.

Representative Aircraft

  • Sabre
  • CF-104 Starfighter

Background: Unification

The squadron ceased flying the CF-104 Starfighter November 1984 and reformed November 1985 with the CF-18 Hornet. It was disbanded at Baden-Soellingen May 15, 1993.

Representative Aircraft

  • CF-104 Starfighter

Background: The Present

Reactivated at 3 Wing Bagotville as 439 Combat Support Squadron. The squadron flew the CT-133 Silver Star and CH-146 Griffon. The CT-133 Silver Stars were retired leaving the CH-146 Griffon as the squadron mounts.

Representative Aircraft

  • CT-133 Silver Star
  • CH-146 Griffon
The material above is mirrored from RCAF.com with the permission of Bob Hurst - who retains copyright to the material listed.