History of the 410 Tactical Fighter Squadron
The 410 Cougar Squadron began at Ayr, Scotland, on June 30, 1941 as a night-fighter unit involved in the defence of Great Britain. Flying single-engined Defiants, the Squadron was operationally ready in August and moved to Drem, near the Firth of Forth.
In April 1942, the Defiants were exchanged for radar-equipped Beaufighters. On completion of conversion training, the Squadron went to Scorton, Yorkshire, in September, where a 410 crew brought the Squadron to its first wartime success. In October 1942, 410 moved to Acklington, where it received Mosquito Night Fighters and won its first confirmed kill.
1943 - 1945
In February 1943, the Squadron moved to Coleby Grange, Lincolnshire, where, in addition to normal night duties, it undertook offensive missions into enemy held territory by day and night, attacking trains, vehicles, canal shipping, airfields and Aircraft.
In October 1943, the Squadron moved southeast to England, where it was attached to No. 11 Group and was primarily involved in the defence of Great Britain.
In September 1944, with 51 estimated kills, the Squadron moved to Flisy, near Amiens, and remained in France until the spring of 1945. Their last wartime move was to Gilzen-Rijen in the Netherlands where it remained until the end of hostilities.
Reformed in December 1948 at St. Hubert, Que., 410 became the first fighter squadron in the post-war regular force. Flying Vampires in a day-interceptor role, the Squadron was part of the RCAF's Air Defence Group.
The 410 Squadron was the first RCAF Squadron to receive F-86 Sabres shortly before moving to North Luffenham, England, in November 1951. 410 also became Canada's first day-fighter Squadron to participate in the NATO alliance.
In November 1954, the Squadron moved to Baden-Soellingen, Germany, then on to Marville, France, in early 1955 and was disbanded in October 1956. Reformed again in November 1956, at Uplands Airport, Ottawa, the Squadron was equipped with the CF-100 Canuck.
In 1962, the Squadron converted to the CF-101 Voodoo and continued to operate in the defence of North America until March 31, 1964 when it was disbanded. On June 12, 1966, the Squadron received its Queens Colours after 25 years of active service.
In April 1968, 3 All-Weather Operational Training Unit of CFB Bagotville was re-designated as 410 All-Weather Operational Training Squadron. The Squadron was responsible for the training of aircrew for the other interceptor Squadrons of Air Defence Group. The Squadron also ran an annual Air Weapons Instructor's course for CF-101 crews.
In May 1980, the CF-18 Hornet was selected as Canada's new fighter Aircraft. This resulted in the end of the CF-101 Voodoo training program in May 1982.
The Squadron was reformed one month later at CFB Cold Lake under its present name. 410 Squadron was tasked to develop a training syllabus and instruct all Canadian Forces Aircrew on the CF-18 Aircraft in both air-to-air and air-to-surface roles. The first two CF-18 arrived at 410 Squadron on October 31, 1982 and it received two more per month until the 138th Aircraft was delivered September 28, 1988.
The first seven courses the squadron ran were six month full-squadron courses in that the graduating pilots formed new CF-18 squadrons. Following this initial cadre of courses, 410 Squadron trained CF-18 pilots at a rate of approximately 50 per year.
In 1992, with the closure of three squadrons in Germany, this was reduced to 25. With the recent reduction in size of the remaining operational squadrons, 410 Squadron now trains approximately 20 fighter pilots annually.