No. 437 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.437 Squadron (RCAF) was a Canadian transport squadron that took part in Operation Market Garden and the airborne crossing of the Rhine as well as flying supplies and troops to Europe.

The squadron was formed on 4 September 1944 at Blakehill Farm, near Swindon in Wiltshire, using many personnel from existing RCAF squadrons. Soon after being formed the squadron took part in Operation Market Garden, the failed attempt to capture the bridges at Arnhem. Fourteen of its aircraft towed gliders to Arnhem on 17 September with no losses. On 18 September another six gliders were towed to the battlefield. On 21 and 23 September re-supply missions were flow to Arnhem, and four aircraft were lost.

After Market Garden the squadron was used on the regular transport routes to continental bases, carrying mail, freight and petrol and transport troops and evacuating casualties. Between 200 and 300 cross-Channel flights were made each month.

In November a number of Avro Ansons were received, but they were used for lighter transport duties, before disappearing again in February 1945.

In March 1945 the squadron was used to tow gliders during Operation Varsity, the airborne crossing of the Rhine. This was the last major airborne operation on the western front. On 24 March the squadron towed twenty-four Horsa gliders across the Rhine.

The squadron was at Blakehill Farm until 6 May 1945 (the day before the German surrender at Reims). The squadron then moved to Nivelles in Belgium, where it remained for the next month before moving to Melsbroek (close to Brussels). It was then used on shorter routes within Europe, flying slightly more sorties per month.

After the end of the war the squadron was used to fly POWs home, both from the continent and from Britain, and also to return Canadian troops to the UK.

From mid July to late November a detachment from the squadron was based at Fornebu, just outside Oslo, Norway.

On 1 August another detachment was sent to Odiham. From mid September to mid November the squadron's official base was at Evere, another airfield close to Brussels.

On 15 November the status of the two bases switched, with Odiham becoming the main base, while the element at Evere became a detachment. A couple of weeks later the detachment in Norway returned home. On 12 March 1946 the detachment at Evere left, and on the following day a new detachment was formed at Croydon (making it likely that the part of the squadron at Evere moved to Croydon).

During this post war period the squadron was used to provide transport links between Allied bases across Europe.

Operations ended on 31 May 1946. On 15-16 June the squadron flew its aircraft to Canada, and it was officially disbanded on 16 June 1946.

Aircraft
September 1944-June 1946: Douglas Dakota III
November 1944-February 1945: Avro Anson X and XI
February 1945-June 1946: Douglas Dakota IV

Location
4 September 1944-6 May 1945: Blakehill Farm (Wiltshire)
6 May-6 June 1945: B.75 Nivelles
6 June-15 September 1945: B.58 Melsbroek
     17 July-27 November 1945: Detachment to Fornebu (Norway)
     1 August-17 November 1945: Detachment to Odiham
15 September-15 November 1945: B.56 Evere
15 November 1945-16 June 1946: Odiham
     15 November 1945-12 March 1946: Detachment to Evere
     13 March-31 May 1946: Detachment to Croydon

Squadron Codes: Z2

Duty
September 1944-16 June 1946: RAF Transport Command

Books

 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 November 2021), No. 437 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RCAF/437_wwII.html

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