Eleven members of 403 Squadron, RCAF – Feb 12, 1942

Photograph Information

Title: Eleven members of 403 Squadron, RCAF – Feb 12, 1942
Source: DND Archives
Source Link: DND Archives – PL 7217
Photographer: Unknown
Date: February 12, 1942

Colourization Notes

Front, left: Pilot Officer J.N. Cawsey, Calgary, Alberta; Pilot Officer J.T. Parr, Barrie, Ontario; Flight Sergeant E.A. Crist, Wallaceburg, Ontario; Sergeant D.D. Connell, Hamilton, Ontario; Sergeant J.H. Oliver, Toronto, Ontario; and Sergeant H.R. Olmsted, Ottawa, Ontario. Back, left: Flight Sergeant J.B. Rainville, St. Johns, Quebec; Flight Sergeant A.H. McDonald, Fleming, Saskatchewan; Pilot Officer D.S. Hurst, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Flight Sergeant F.H. Belcher, Roblin, Manitoba; and Flight Sergeant G.A.J. Ryckman, London, Ontario.

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403 Squadron

No. 403 (Fighter) Squadron RCAF was formed at RAF Station Baginton (now Coventry Airport), Warwickshire, England, on 1 March 1941.

The first squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) formed overseas under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), it was identified by the letters KH.

Initially equipped with the Curtiss Tomahawk I, they were replaced with the Supermarine Spitfire after only 29 operational sorties. Through continual replacement and updating, the squadron flew various models, Mk I through Mk XVI, of this very popular aircraft.

It was flying a Mk IX Spitfire in 1943 that ace George “Screwball” Beurling scored his 30th air victory while flying with the squadron.[2]

The squadron served in RAF Fighter Command and Second Tactical Air Force for over four years.

By May 1945, the squadron had a record of 123 enemy aircraft destroyed, with a share in seven more, 10 probably destroyed, and 72 damaged with a share in one more.

Ground targets destroyed or damaged included 30 tanks, 50 locomotives, and nearly 100 other vehicles. Sixteen Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFC), four DFC with Bar, and one Military Medal were awarded to members of the Squadron, in addition to a number of Mentions in Despatch.