NAS Halifax, RCAF Station Dartmouth, RCNAS Dartmouth,


RCNAS Shearwater, HMCS Shearwater,


CFB Shearwater, 12 Wing Shearwater




Shearwater is the second-oldest military aerodrome in Canada. In August 1918 the US Navy established Naval Air Station Halifax on the shores of Eastern Passage to support flying boat patrol aircraft. The seaplane station was taken over by the Air Board in 1920 for civil flying operations, and later developed by the Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force. The station became known as RCAF Station Dartmouth through the Second World War.


Post-war, 1948, the Royal Canadian Navy took over the facility, naming it HMCS Shearwater, also known as Royal Canadian Naval Air Station Shearwater (RCNAS Shearwater).


The combined land and sea-based aerodromes were used to station carrier-based maritime patrol and fighter aircraft. Shearwater was also the home to early experiments with ship-borne helicopters—something which was copied by navies around the world. During the 1960s, the aerodrome at the former RCAF Station Debert was attached to HMCS Shearwater as a training location for carrier landings.


The February 1, 1968 unification of the three service branches into the Canadian Forces saw HMCS Shearwater change its name to Canadian Forces Base Shearwater (CFB Shearwater).


Base rationalization and defence budget cutbacks for the Canadian Forces during the mid-1990s saw a largely administrative move when the formation CFB Shearwater stood down and the facilities transferred to the formation CFB Halifax and aircraft operations becoming the responsibility of newly formed 12 Wing (RCAF). 12 Wing is headquartered at Shearwater and reports to 1 Canadian Air Division. 12 Wing Shearwater's primary role is to support and operate shipborne helicopters for the Royal Canadian Navy.



RCN MemoriesRecollections of an Air Electrician      Naval Air Recollections


Photos and Documents



     In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice    

     Lest We Forget     



Lt (O), RCN

died - 17 Apr 1952

Dall, William P.

Lt (P), RCN

died - 25 Aug 1962

FORD, F. James


died - 30 Jan 1957

HUNTER, William J. D.


died - 17 Apr 1952

Hutchinson, William J.

Lt (P), RCN

died - 18 Apr 1952

HUTTON, Glenn H.

Lt (P), RCN

died - 28 Mar 1949

Milovick, Michael

Lt (L), RCN

died - 13 Jun 1952

Moffat, Douglas S.


died - 17 Apr 1952

Murphy, John S.

Lt (P), RCN

died - 17 Apr 1952

Plotkins, Phillip J. A.

SLt (P), RCN(R)

died - 18 Apr 1952

Sweetman, Walter C.

Maj. (P), C.A.F.

died - 28 Apr 1994

Stewart, John M.

Lieutenant (P), RCN

died - 06 Dec 1948

Terry, T. H.

Lt, Pilot, Royal Navy

died - 27 Jan 1954





Air Squadrons associated with Shearwater


Circa 1918 - 1948




5 (BR)

11 (BR)

10 (BR)

101 (K)

103 (SAR)

116 (BR)

117 (BR)

118 (CAC)

118 (F)

119 (BR)

121 (K)

Circa 1918 - 1948 cont.

126 (F)

127 (F)

129 (F)

145 (BR)

161 (BR)

162 (BR)

164 (T)

167 (K)

406 (NF)

423 (Coastal)

426 (T)

431 (B)

434 (B)

443 (F)

Circa 1948 - 1968

VX 10

HU 21

VU 32

VU 33

VT 40

HS 50

FRU 743

803 (RCN)

825 (RN) / 825 (RCN)

826 (RN) / 826 (RCN)

870 (RCN) / VF 870

871 (RCN) / VF 871

880 (RCN) / VS 880 / 880 MR

881 (RCN) / VS 881

Circa 1948 - 1968 cont.

883 (RCN)

VC 920

VC 921

VC 922

VC 923

VC 924


Circa 1968 - Present

406 (HT)

420 (R)

423 (MH)

434 (CS)

443 (MH)



Photos and Documents


Sea Kings from HS 423 & 443 SQNs, Shearwater flying over unknown 280 in Bedford Basin - early 1980s

Courtesy of Richard Larcheveque

CS2F3 Tracker 581  from VS 880 conducting ASW operations circa 1969

Courtesy of Richard Larcheveque

Sea Kings doing a fly past at CFB Shearwater - 1980s

Courtesy of Richard Larcheveque

Sea Kings formed up on the runway at CFB Shearwater - 1980s

Courtesy of Richard Larcheveque

Jet as HMCS Shearwater circa 1965

From the collection of Nick Gunn

Courtesy of Terry Gunn

OS Nick Gunn at HMCS Shearwater circa 1966

From the collection of Nick Gunn

Courtesy of Terry Gunn



VS-880 Squadron

HMCS Shearwater - circa 1965-66


From the collection of Nick Gunn

Courtesy of Terry Gunn



VS-880 Squadron


Click on the above photo to view a larger image


Courtesy of Ron Anderson