Squadron History


No.420 (R) Squadron
Royal Canadian Air Force
CFB Shearwater Mar 1975 - 1995

Battle Honours: English Channel and North Sea 1942-1945,Baltic 1942, Fortress Europe 1942-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945: Biscay Ports 1942-1944, Ruhr 1942-1945, Berlin 1944, German Ports 1942-1945, Normandy 1944, Rhine , Biscay 1942-1943, Sicily 1943, Italy 1943: Salerno

Badge: A snowy owl, wings elevated and adorsed

Motto: Pugnamus finitum (We fight to the finish)

No. 420 Squadron formed at Waddington, Lincolnshire, England on 19 December 1941 as the RCAF's 18 th (fourth Bomber) squadron formed overseas. The squadron flew Hampden, Wellington and Halifax aircraft on strategic and tactical bombing operations. From June to October 1943, it flew tropicalized Wellington aircraft from North Africa in support of the invasions of Sicily and Italy. After hostilities in Europe, it was selected as part of the "Tiger Force" for duty in the Pacific, converted to Canadian-built Lancaster aircraft and returned to Canada for reorganization and training. The sudden end of the war in the Far East resulted in the squadron being disbanded at Debert NS on 5 September 1945.

No. 420 Squadron reformed as an RCAF (Auxiliary) unit at London ON. on 15 September 1948 where it flew Mustang aircraft in a fighter role until disbanded on 1 September 1956. 

No. 420 was reformed as an Air Reserve Squadron at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Shearwater, N.S., on 1 May 1974. The squadron was "twinned" with MR 880 Squadron, a regular force squadron with which No. 420 shared flying CP-121 Tracker aircraft on coastal surveillance patrols. In the summer of 1988, No. 420 followed MR 880 Squadron to CFB Summerside, P.E.I., to maintain its twinned relationship with the regular force squadron.

On 9 September 1991, No. 420 Squadron returned to CFB Shearwater to operate with No. 434 Squadron flying Canadair Challenger and CT-133 Silver Star aircraft in the fleet support and coastal patrol roles. In July 1994 when No. 434 Squadron moved to 14 Wing Greenwood N.S., No. 420 Squadron was disbanded at 12 Wing Shearwater.