415 Squadron was formed at Thorne Island, England, on August 21,1941. It was initially equipped with the Hamden bomber used in the torpedo attack role.
From 1941-1943 the squadron was involved in attacking anything the enemy sailed from the Bay of Biscay to the North Sea. They attacked everything from the simple coastal freighter to the fuel barges. They also went for fishing boats and the E- boats, even attacking German and Italian destroyers. On the 10th of April,1943, five Hampdens successfully completed a torpedo attack on the Italian blockade runner “Himalaya”. She was escorted in the Bay of Biscay by eight German warships. This attack and many more much like it resulted in the squadron during this 2 year period receiving many medals for heroism and bravery.
1943 saw the squadron being re-equipped with a duo of aircraft. They could not have been more different; Wellington bombers equipped two of the flights.
The other flight received the Fairey Albacore. The squadron was now based at Bircham Newton. This Canadian squadron was chosen because of the fighting reputation that the Canadians in Europe had. The type of missions they would be flying needed a drive and conviction that even today the Canadians are known for. The Fairey Albacore was the last biplane flown by the allies in combat. it was however, ideally suited to these missions. It could carry either a single torpedo or 750 lbs of bombs. 90% of the sorties were against light to medium size shipping and the crews chose bombs delivered by shallow dive bombing.
By D-day, the squadron was under Coastal Command. They were tasked with clearing the channel of Axis shipping and were very effective against the German E-Boat. On that famous day they were asked to lay down smoke screens to protect the fleet.
In July of 1944, the squadron yet again was reassigned to Bomber Command and was re-equipped with the Halifax III. Bombing raids commenced against Hamburg on the night of July 28/29th, 1944.In the following nine months, the squadron flew deep into the German heartland to complete many successful bombing raids. Their final mission came on the night of April 25th, 1945, so close to the end of the war in Europe, I cant help but be sad to remember those lost, on both sides; with the end of hostilities the squadron was disbanded and the Canadians returned home.
It wasn’t till the summer of 1961 in Summerside PEI, that the squadron was reformed, now flying the Argus on long range patrols over the western Atlantic They were not searching for U-boats but the the Soviet nuclear fleet. They would have played a huge part in searching for the Soviet subs during the Cuban missile crisis.
Our Volunteer Co-ordinator is a past CO of 415 Squadron (1993-95). Col (ret) Jon Ambler completed 3 tours with 415 Squadron from 1980 – 1995. He saw the Argus retire and the aircraft we use today, the Aurora, come into service.
Up to the mid 90s, the squadron was a long range reconnaissance squadron. They then began the role of instructing the new crews. In 2005, the squadron was once again stood down, the personnel being consolidated with 405 Squadron.
June 15, 2015 saw the reformation of 415. They are tasked with the Maritime Proving and Evaluation Unit along with 14 Software Engineering Unit and are also tasked with the long range patrol job. Up to this date the squadron has had a total of 30 commanding officers and an amazing history that continues on toda
* My sources were Wikipedia, Fly Past magazine, and Aeorplane magazine. Photos were taken from the web.