the Air Division
WHAT IS SPAADS?
SPAADS is made up of pilots who flew the F-86 Sabre
with Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons in Europe, with NATO, from 1951 to 1963.
NATO - the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - was formed
in 1951 by a group of nations concerned
with the threat of communism expanding into Western Europe. As a founding
member Canada agreed to provide, along with other military units, an Air Force contribution
which would be tasked with the role of air defence.
It was against this backdrop that the Royal Canadian Air Force created 1 Air Division with the
headquarters to be based in Metz, France. The considerable engineering and industrial capacity
of Canada was pressed into action to provide the aircraft needed for the mission.
sense of urgency the Royal Canadian Air Force started to train the aircrew and technical personnel.
In November 1951, 410 was named as the first squadron of the Air Division. It
was transported on the RCN aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent to North Luffenham
in England, where it would be joined in 1952 by 439 and 441 Sqns.
By September 1953 the Air Division had four
Interceptor Day Fighter Wings in Europe, No.1 Wing at Marville, France,
the new home to 410, 439, and 441 Fighter Squadrons; No. 2 Wing at Grostenquin,
France, consisting of 416, 421, and 430 Sqns; No. 3 Wing at Zweibrucken,
Germany, with 413, 427 and 434 Sqns; and, No. 4 Wing at Baden- Soellingen,
Germany with 414, 422 and 444 Squadrons.
In 1956 the decision was made to
provide an all-weather and night fighter capability for the Air Division, and by
July 1957 four Sabre squadrons: 410, 413, 414 and 416 had been deactivated and
replaced by CF 100 squadrons.
With an authorized strength of 300 first rate fighters, plus spare aircraft as replacements when needed, the RCAF 1 Air Division was a force that any opposition would treat with great respect. During the life of the Air
Division, the threat was great, and the so called Cold War was always in danger of turning hot. Training was very realistic and
demanding. One hundred and seven Royal Canadian Air Force Sabre
their lives guarding the freedoms and ideals for which Canada
stands. A monument dedicated in their honour stands in the Air Park of the RCAF
Memorial Museum in Trenton, Ontario.
This site is also dedicated to them, and to all other members of SPAADS
who have since departed home base.
In 1962 training began at No. 6 Strike/Recce Operational Training Unit, RCAF
Station Cold Lake, on the CF104 Starfighter which would soon replace the Sabre squadrons in Europe.
When you have finished visiting this site go to
www.canadianstarfighterassociation.org to read about the Starfighter.
In late 1962 the CF100 Squadrons were disbanded, six Air Division Squadrons
began a nuclear strike role, and two were assigned to reconnaissance.
This cartoon depicts the last
flight of the Sabre:
To tour our site click on
the links. If you have any comments
or suggestions please contact the
Web Master: Ron Russell
When you have finished visiting our site please Click
above and visit the national Air Force Memorial
Museum Web Site.