Aircraft History

Supermarine Seafire

Supermarine SeafireDerived from the famous Supermarine Spitfire, the Seafire XV variant began production in 1944 with the first aircraft delivered to the Royal Navy's 802 Squadron in May 1945. Of the 384 Seafire XV's produced by Cunliffe-Owen and Westland aircraft companies, a total of 35 served with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The former constructed 23 of the Canadian aircraft and Westland built the remaining 12. These aircraft became Canadian property on 1 June 1946 as part of the war claims settlement between Canada and Britain.

In the spring of 1945, two Royal Navy Seafire squadrons, Nos. 803 and 883, were formed at RNAS Arbroath, Scotland by transferring ex-RCAF pilots to the British Fleet Air Arm. No. 803 was recommissioned on 15 June 1945 and her sister squadron, No. 883, on 18 September 1945. On 14 March 1946, the same date that HMCS Warrior , the RCN's first aircraft carrier was commissioned, both 803 and 883 Squadrons became RCN squadrons. However, in February 1946, 883 Squadron was disbanded because of personnel shortages caused by force reductions after the Second World War.

On 23 March 1946, HMCS Warrior departed England on its maiden voyage to Canada with 803 Squadron's Seafires aboard. On 31 March Warrior arrived off Halifax and her aircraft flew off for the Royal Canadian Naval Air Section, a lodger unit at RCAF Station Dartmouth. The Seafire was flown operationally by 803 Squadron from the aircraft carrier HMCS Warrior and the Royal Canadian Naval Air Section from June 1945 to August 1947. The Seafires were used primarily for fleet air defence No. 883 flew the Seafire briefly in Scotland from September 1945 to February 1946. No. 883 Squadron did not resume flying Seafires until re-activated in May 1947 at Dartmouth when it inherited the Seafires from 803 Squadron, which was undertaking conversion training on Sea Furies. No. 883 Squadron had the honour of conducting the last Seafire operations from HMCS Warrior during November 1947 when the carrier was returned to the Royal Navy.

On 1 December 1948, RCAF Station Dartmouth was turned over to the RCN and was renamed HMCS Shearwater. The Operational Flying Training School of No. 1 Training Air Group conducted Seafire pilot training at Shearwater from February 1948 to the spring 1949. The last Seafire was struck off strength from the RCN in April 1954.

Type: Single seat, carrier based fighter

Wing Span:
11.23 m (36 ft 10 in)

Length:
9.12 m (29 ft 11 in)

Height:
3.02 m (9 ft 11 in)

Max. Speed:
594 kph (369 mph)

Service Ceiling:
11,125 m (36,500 ft)

Range:
1024 km (640 mi)

Max. Weight:
2911 kg (6417 lb)

Empty Weight:
2267 kg (4998 lb)

Power Plant:
One 1380 kW (1850 hp) Rolls Royce Griffon VI piston engine

Armament:
Two 20 mm cannons; and
Four 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine guns