Post War Lancasters of 407 Squadron RCAF
407 Coastal Strike Squadron was formed at Thorney Island, England on the 8th May 1941 first training on the Bristol Blenheim. It was one of seven RCAF units to serve with Coastal Command RAF. The squadron's wartime history can be divided into two distinct periods. From September 1941 to January 1943, the squadron operated as a"strike" squadron attacking enemy shipping with the Lockheed Hudson. It was as a strike squadron that it won its reputation and its nickname "The Demon Squadron". On the 29th January 1943 it was re-designated 407 General Reconnaissance Squadron and for the remainder of the war it protected friendly shipping from the U-Boat threat operating the Vickers Wellington. The squadron was disbanded at the end of the Second World War on the 4th June 1945. On the 1st July 1952 the squadron was reactivated at RCAF Station Comox as 407 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron flying the Avro Lancaster. On the 17th July 1956 it was renamed as a Maritime Patrol Squadron. The squadron has served continuously in Comox since 1952 flying the Lancaster, P2V-7 Neptune, and CP-107 Argus. On 28 June 1975, the squadron was present its Standard by the Honourable Walter Owen, Q.C. L.L.D. Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Today 407 Squadron flies the updated CP-140 Aurora on coastal patrol, anti-submarine and long range patrol duties.
Serving with 407 squadron
Returned to Canada on 5.6.45 with No419(B) Sqdn as code 'VR-N' for Use with Tiger Force, No661(HB) Wing, Dartmouth; converted to Mk10MR in 1950; issued to No405(MR) Sqdn with code VC-AGN; then to No407(MR) as RX857 (57); 2nd No407 A/C to be retired to Ft. Macleod on 23.5.58. SOC 2.9.58.
Flown to England in Feb.45; issued to No419(B) Squadron then No431(B); Returned to Canada on 14.6.45 with No420(B) "Snowy Owl" Sqdn. as code 'PT-E; converted to Mk10MR in 1950; issued to No407(MR) in Sep.52 as code 'RX871'; On 3.12.54 was successful in assisting the rescue of H.M.C.S.CEDARWOOD in Hecate Straits setting down in Sandspit for the night. Next morning heavy sleet covered the aircraft and with all of Glycol from CPA unit finally got airborne at 1545 hrs. Off into cloud from 100 to 10,000 ft and decided the best was to take a compass heading of 270' until clear of cloud then head east at 90', finally over Alberta saw the lights of Calgary and at 0300 hrs.5.12.54 touched down at Lethbridge City Airport. The aircraft was flown to No10(RD) for repairs then back to Comox. SOC 6.9.60
Serving with 407 squadron
Flown to England in Jan.45 and issued to No419(B) Squadron in May. 45; Transferred to No425(B) Sqdn for the flight back to Canada on 15.6.45 as code 'KW-U' arriving at Debert, N.S for use with Tiger Force, No663(HB) Wing; into storage; Converted to Mk10MR and issued to No407(MR) Squadron.
Issued to No434(B) Squadron in Mar.45; no ops; Returned to Canada on 11.6.45 with No434(B) Sqdn as code 'WL-I' for use with No662(HB) Wing, Dartmouth, N.S.; light blue spinners; converted to Mk10MR; issued to No407(MR) in 1954 as code 'RX883'; modified to Mk.10MP in 1956 SOC 2.6.60.
Issued to No419(B) Squadron on 29.3.45; not on operations; Returned to Canada with No419 Sqdn as code 'VR-P' for use with Tiger Force, No661(HB) Wing, Yarmouth, N.S.; stored; then converted to Mk.10MP in 1951; issued to No407(MR) in 1954 as code 'RX892'; converted to Mk10MP in 1956 with an armoured nose turret and the letter "J"; SOC 2.6.60.
Serving with 407 Squadron
Issued to No425(B) Squadron on 1.5.45; not on operations; Returned to Canada with No425 Sqdrn as code 'KW-A'; not on operations; converted to Mk10MR; issued to No407(MR) in Jul.1952 (along with KB958 & 992) as code 'RX894; updated to Mk10MP by Fairey Avn. in Mar.55 to APS radar system; SOC 10.4.61; Sold to General Smelting of Hamilton.
Flown to England; issued to No408(B) as EQ-Q'; not on Ops.; Then flown back to Canada arriving 15.6.45; stored then converted to Mk10MP; issued to No123(RU) as code 'VC-CJR'; reissued to No407 in 1954 as code 'RX904' with the letter "N" on the nose(1953) and grey spinners; served on the west coast until SOC 2.6.60.
Flown to UK; stored No32 MU Linham; returned to Canada arriving on 9.8.45; stored at Pearce, Alta. (1945); converted to Mk10MR in 1950; issued to No407(MR); crashed on approach to Comox in inclement weather, burned on impact and totally destroyed, killing 8 they were (N)F/O J.F.Doucette, (E)Cpl C.E.Fletcher, passengers LAC J.L.Maynard, LAC V.S.McIntyre, LAC F.O.McKay, LAC W.F.Smith, LAC R.H.Walsh & civilian Met. Mr.M.Y.Mcleod. pilot & co-pilot survived; 24.11.52.
Flown to the UK; issued to No408(B) Sqdn on 15.5.45 as code 'EQ-V'; not on Ops.; Returned to Canada 15.6.45 attached to No664 Wing "Tiger Force" at Greenwood, N.S.; converted to Mk10MR (1950); issued to No2 O.T.U. (1951) Greenwood NS; Reissued to No407(MR)Comox(54) until SOC 25.8.55.
Serving with 407 Squadron
Flown to England; issued to No405 Sqdn on 15.5.45 as code 'LQ-U'; not on Ops.; Returned to Canada 17.6.45 attached to No664 Wing Tiger Force at Greenwood, N.S.; converted to Mk.10MP; issued to No407(MR) in 1954 as code 'VC-AGL'; later to No407(MR) as code RX949; One of the first 407 Sqdn aircraft to be retired; flown out to Ft. Macleod on 23.5.58; SOC 10.4.61; Sold to General Smelting of Hamilton & scrapped.
To UK 10.3.45; issued to No405(B) Sqdn as code 'LQ-W'; not on Ops.; Returned to Canada on 17.6.45; attached to No664 Wing, Tiger Force, Greenwood, N.S.; converted to Mk.10MP; issued to No407(MR) in 1954 as code 'RX957'; SOC 2.6.60; scrap.
To UK 10.3.45; stored at No32 MU; returned to Canada on 19.7.45; stored; then converted to Mk.10MP; issued to No407(MR); first to arrive in Comox on 9.7.52; 1st operational flight 23.7.52 as code 'RX958'; SOC 2.6.60; scrap.
Flown to England; issued to No434(B) as code 'WL-G'; not on Ops.; reassigned to No405 (B) Sqdn as code 'LQ-F' for delivery back to Canada on 17.6.45; attached to No664 Wing, Tiger Force, Greenwood, N.S.; converted to Mk.10MP; issued to No407(MR) in 1954 as code 'RX973'; SOC 6.9.60; scrap.
To UK; arrived 20.4.45 to No32 (MU) Lyneham, Wiltshire in Jun.45; Returned to Canada on 24.7.45; stored; converted to Mk.10MR in 1950; issued to No407(MR) in Jul.52 as code 'RX992'; SOC 23.6.55; scrap.
Flown to England; issued to No408(B) Sqdn in Jun.45.as code 'EQ-B'; marked by mistake (OW-B); returned to Canada on 15.6.45 to No664 Wing, Tiger Force at Greenwood, N.S.; converted to Mk.10MR in 1950; issued to No407(MR) in 1952 as code 'RX995'.
On 26.5.1953 KB-995 left for San Diego with spares for another squadron aircraft that had become unserviceable during an exercise that No407 was participating in. It never arrived.
The following is taken from the "407
Squadron History" edited by Tom Procter:
Flown to England in May.45; issued to No408(B) Sqdn in Jun.45 as code 'EQ-P'; returned to Canada on 15.6.45; attached to No664(HB) Wing, Tiger Force; converted to Mk.10MP; issued to No407(MR) in 1957 as code 'RX996'; served until SOC 2.6.60.
On display at Calgary
Built in May.45; Delivered to England in Jun.45 to No32(MU) Lyneham Wilts; issued to No419(HB) squadron for use with Tiger Force on 29.8.45 but to late for that force; stored at Pearce,Alta.; Converted Mk.10MR; issued to No404(MP)Sqdrn.Greenwood, N.S.; later transferred to No407(MR) Sqdrn.Comox, B.C. as code 'RX136' (1952-59); stored at Ft. Macleod, Alta.; put on the C.C.A.Reg as CF-NJQ; placed on a pedestal at Calgary International Airport in the early 60's coded 'VN-N' of No50(B) Sqdn RAF; put under the care of the AeroSpace Museum, Calgary and removed from the pedestal in Apr.92 and repainted to wartime camouflage with code 'NA-P' of No428(B) Sqdn RCAF; now displayed in the aircraft park of the museum. It is owned by the City of Calgary.
Serving with 407 Squadron
This aircraft was built as part of the second production batch of 130 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario, Canada. Serial numbers of this batch included FM100-FM229. Aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 22, 38 or 224 engines. It was flown to the UK in May 1945. Stored at No32 Maintenance Unit awaiting assignment to a squadron then subsequently returned to Canada for RCAF in September 1945 in preparation for “Tiger Force” operations in the Pacific. With the end of the second world war the aircraft was flown to storage at Fort Macleod, Alberta to await a decision on her future. Do to her very low airframe hours, she was reactivated with the RCAF in 1953 and was flown out to Ontario that same year to undergo conversion into a Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Initially Taken on strength with 103 Rescue unit based out of Greenwood Nova Scotia and later with 407 Squadron based out of Comox British Columbia, she served her squadrons well until 1959 when she was flown to Vulcan for disposal.
Three local Gentlemen from Nanton Alberta decided that an aircraft would make a fitting memorial to the aircrews killed in action as well as becoming a tourist attraction. After hearing that there were Lancaster's being destroyed at Vulcan, George White contacted Crown Assets to inquire as to the possibility of acquiring a "Lanc" for display. With the help of Fred Garrett and Howie Armstrong, Lancaster FM159 was purchased from Vulcan and towed across farmers fields and up onto the highway to the town of Nanton. Over the years, vandals and the weather started to take their toll on the aircraft despite the efforts of local service clubs and individuals.
In 1986 a group calling themselves The Nanton Lancaster Society was formed to better look after the bomber and its future. When a windstorm tore the port elevator from the tail, the decision was made to begin fundraising for construction of a building to house the aircraft. With donations from thousands of people worldwide and loans from the Province and the town, a building was completed in 1991 and the aircraft was finally rolled indoors where restoration to ground running condition is underway.
In 1991, the Nanton Lancaster Society dedicated Lancaster FM159 to Ian Bazelgette V.C 635 Squadron. The aircraft now carries the markings of his aircraft F2-T.
Built by Victory Aircraft Ltd. Malton, Ont. in Jul.45; TOS 21.8.46; converted Mk.10MR; to No407(MR) as RX-210; disposed at Greenwood; SOC 23.6.55; cannibalized for parts.
TOS 21.8.46; converted to Mk10MP; issued to No407(MR) Squadron as RX219; arrived at Comox on 9.3.55 as the first squadron aircraft equipped with APS-33 radar system; F Sgt. Sid Skinner flew it on its last mission on 12.5.59 with No407(MR) with a crew that had all served in a Wartime Lancaster bombers. As the Vancouver Sun mentioned on 13 May 1959, 'It was such a sight as will never again be seen in western Canada, Fifty-eight thousand lbs of aircraft boiling down the runway, four 12-cylinders engines raging at their task of putting 5,000 h.p., a slamming roar of four propellers & 48 exhaust stacks, and the last Lancaster heaved itself into the air, folding its stork-like under-carriage into the engine nacelles'. This was a Tuesday morning at 9.30 a.m. being the last Lancaster of Maritime Command to fly the Rockies to Calgary; flown by (P)F/L K.Petch, F/L J.Bray, F/L P.Bedson, F/L R.McNabb, F/L G.W.Fisher, F/L L.Coburn, & Sgt H.D.Witwer; SOC 17.5.65 at Dunnville, Ont.; sold to G.Solway of Toronto.
TOS 21.8.46 in the R.C.A.F.; Converted to Mk10MR; issued to No405(MR) at Greenwood with code AG224; transferred on the formation of No407(BR) as code RX224 at Comox, B.C.; stored in 1960 until SOC 17.5.65; sold to G.Solway of Toronto & scrapped