For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
NAS Halifax, RCAF Station 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.
Shearwater Squadron History
Links below take you to pages at the Shearwater Aviation Museum website
Photos and Documents
Purdy Cup Champions - Shearwater Flyers
Courtesy of Liza Price, Marsh Historical Collection, Amherstburg, Ontario
Click on the above photo to view a larger image
VS880 Shearwater - circa 1965-66
From the collection of Nick Gunn
Courtesy of Terry Gunn
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