No. 168 Squadron RCAF

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No. 168 Squadron RCAF was a heavy transport (H.T.) squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force (unrelated to No. 168 Squadron RAF) that formed at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario in October 1943. The squadron carried large quantities of mail, freight and passengers from Canada to the United Kingdom.

Before October 1943, the Canadian Government had sent mail to Canadian service personnel in the United Kingdom by ship. However, high ship losses and the importance of mail to service personnel prompted the government to switch to air mail. The Squadron's primary role was to deliver mail to Europe, initially using six surplus B-17 Flying Fortresses aircraft acquired from the United States. The RCAF made many modifications to the B-17s, including new engines, the removal of anti-aircraft guns and other structural changes.[1]

On 2 April 1944, one B-17 (serial number 41-2581) crashed shortly after take off from Glasgow Prestwick Airport, killing five crew members.[2]

In August 1944, the RCAF added the first of several B-24 Liberators to the Squadron.[3]

When the RCAF disbanded the squadron in 1946, it had completed 636 Atlantic Ocean crossings and logged 26,417 flying hours. Over 1,000 metric tons of mail, 4,000 metric tons of freight and 42,057 passengers were transported, which included additional operations based out of Great Britain. One of the squadron's VIP Liberators carried members of the British Royal Family, the Governor General of Canada and Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King.[4]

The unit was disbanded on April 21, 1946.[5] The squadron adopted a crest (manufactured by Crest Craft of Saskatoon) to be worn on Flying jackets, etc.

168 RCAF Squadron Crest manufactured by Crest Craft of Saskatoon, circa 1944.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Daniel Lee". Thememoryproject.com. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  2. ^ "RCAF Flying Fortresses". Rwrwalker.ca. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  3. ^ "RCAF Flying Fortresses". Rwrwalker.ca. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  4. ^ A History of the Rockcliffe Airport Site: Home of the National Aviation Museum, Ottawa, Canada, 1999 casmuseum.techno-science.ca/doc/research/casm/e_Rockcliffe.pdf
  5. ^ "No. 168 Squadron, Canadian Air Force". Canadianwings.com. Retrieved 2014-06-23.