Squadron History

434 Squadron was one of the last (13 of 15) RCAF bomber squadrons, formed at Tholthorpe on June 13th 1943 in the county of Yorkshire, England. The squadron was moved to Croft on Dec. 11th 1943 and remained until June 9th 1945.

The 434 Motto "In Excelsis Vincimus" translated “We Conquer the Heights”, and the squadron was adopted by the Rotary Club of Halifax and took the nickname "Bluenose" in reference to the common nickname for Nova Scotians. The schooner "Bluenose" is well known for it's fine record, also appears on Canadian currency, the dime.

 Wing Commanders

Charles Edwin "Tubby" Harris - June 15, 1943-Feb 6, 1944

Chris S. Bartlett - 7th Feb. 1944 - 12/13 June 1944 (KIA), crew 76.

Frank Watkins - June 13, 1944-Aug. 29, 1944

A. Blackburn - 30th Aug. 1944 - 7th April 1945

J. Mulvihill - April 8, 1945-Sept. 5, 1945

Operational History

  • First Operational Mission of WW II: August 12/13, 1943, 10 Halifax V's from Tholthorpe dispatched across the Alps to bomb Milan, Italy; 9 bombed the primary target, 1 aborted.

  • Last Operational Mission of WW II: April 25, 1945 15 Lancasters X's from Croft bombed gun positions on the Island of Wangerooge.

  • *Honours & Awards 6 bars to DFC, 108 DFC's, 6 DFM's, 1 BEM, 7 MiD's

Battle Honours

  • English Channel; North Sea 1943-1944; Baltic 1943-1944; Fortress Europe 1943-1944; France and Germany 1944-1945; Biscay Ports 1944; Ruhr 1943-1945; Berlin 1943-1944; German Ports 1944-1945; Normandy 1944; The Rhine.

  • Authority: King George VI, October 1945

  • Aircraft Flown (Aircraft Code: WL)

  • Handley-Page Halifax B.Mk.V (June 1943 - May 1944)

  • Handley-Page Halifax B.Mk.III (May 1944 - December 1944)

  • Avro Lancaster B.Mk.X (December 1944 - September 1945)

Summary

  • Missions: 198 (179 bombing, 17 mine laying, 1 diversionary, 1 sea search)

  • Sorties: 2582 (45 on POW airlift)

  • Operational Flying Hours: 14,622

  • Non-operational Flying Hours: 5679

  • Bombs dropped: 10,358 tons (plus 225 mines)

Victories (Claims) see section "Combat" for all crews involved with Luftwaffe encounters.

The following crews of 434 Squadron had "shoot downs" for a total of seven confirmed, 2 probable and 4 damaged.

  • Perks Crew 12:  MU-AG: P/O Bob Baldy, R-AG: Sgt. J.A.D. "Tiny" Weeks. Aircraft Me-109  destroyed.

  • Wright Crew 81:  27/28 April 1944, MU-AG: P/O D. Bray, R-AG: Sgt. J.C.B. Foster. Aircraft Ju88 destroyed. 

  • Doran Crew 85: 23 April 1944, MU-AG: P/O G.T. Dunlop, R-AG: P/O J.Y. Nowlan. Aircraft Ju88 destroyed.

  • McCullough Crew 86: 9 April 1944, MU-AG: Sgt. H.O. Stevenson, R-AG: Sgt. R.H. Davis. Aircraft Me-109 destroyed.

Casualties

  • Operational- 75 aircraft, 484 aircrew (34 killed, 313 presumed dead, 121 POW, 16 evaded capture)

  • Non-operational- 9 personnel - (Crew #123 Operation "Bulls-eye" training - 7 airmen) 1 unrelated, and 1 died of natural causes.

Memorials

See Memorials in "Croft Today" - Gallery folder

Disbandment

Following the cessation of hostilities in Europe the Squadron spent a short period flying liberated POW's from the continent to the United Kingdom before returning to Canada as part of the "Tiger Force", the Very Long Range (Bomber) Force formed for operations in the Pacific. The end of the Pacific War found the Squadron still in the early stages of formation and was disbanded at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, on 5 September 1945.

Bibliography/Resources

The above info was from the listed book below, as I develop the page the content will change, as well pictures will be added. However If you can purchase/borrow the original book it has a very good history on 434 Squadron from 1943-1984.

* Webmaster created PDF and Excel spread sheets from documents obtained from National Archives Canada/Also see Hugh Halliday's Honors & Awards for excellent details on circumstances for Aircrew to receive "Honors/Awards/MiD's". 

(The foregoing has been excerpted/edited from a book about No. 434 Squadron, '434 Squadron History' by R. Johnson. Published by The Hangar Book Shelf, Canada, 1984 ISBN: 0 920492 010)