[ Baden Soellingen ]

439 Squadron
439 Squadron arrived at Bournemouth, England in December, 1943, as the overseas successor to 123 Army Cooperation Training Squadron. After a short stay at Wellingore, the Squadron moved to Ayr, Scotland in January, 1944 (it was in Ayr that 439 joined 143 Wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force). Three months later the Tigers moved to Hum, on the south coast of England. Throughout these deployments, 439 carried out operational training in the ground attack role on Hurricane IVs and Typhoons.

The Squadron carried out pre D-Day operations from Hum and Funtington. On 27 June they moved across the Channel to Lantheuill, France. During the Battle of Normandy the Squadron flew 1063 sorties on Typhoons in support of the ground forces. Later on in the war, 439 saw a series of deployments to: St Andre de l'Eure (France), Amiens (France), Melsbroek (Belgium), Eindhoven (Holland), Goch (Germany), Celle Germany) and Flensburg (Germany). The Squadron finally returned to England on 22 August 1945 and was officially disbanded. In all, 13 Squadron pilots had won DFCs.

439 Squadron was reactivated in 1951 at Uplands Air Force Base in Ottawa, Canada. Only one year was spent flying the new F-86 MK II Sabre in preparation for an overseas deployment. In May 1952, the Ferry operation dubbed Leap Frog 1, saw 439 move to Luffenham, England. 439 Squadron was the first squadron to fly overseas to Europe as depicted with waves on our Heraldic Crest. Three years later the Squadron took their new MKV Sabres to Marville, France - their newest home. MKVIs replaced their predecessors one year later and were used until the Squadron was deactivated in 1963.

439 Squadron was not in retirement for long. In March 1964, again in Marville, the Tigers acquired the new CF-104 Starfighter. Working in conjunction with other NATO forces, 439 flew the reconnaissance/attack role. The Squadron remained in Marville until March, 1967, at which time it moved to Lahr, West Germany. In July 1970, 439 moved to Baden-Soellingen, West Germany and assumed the role of ground attack in July 1972.

November 29, 1984 signified the end of an era for 439 Squadron as it ceased operation with the CF-104 Starfighter on that date. During the following year the Tigers converted to the CF- 18 Hornet at 410 Operational Training Squadron at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta. On 29 November 1985, 439 reformed at CFB Baden-Soellingen as part of Canada's contribution to NATO in Europe. The Squadron is presently employed in NATO as a primary all weather air defence fighter with a national secondary role of air to ground.

On December 19, 1990, 439 Squadron deployed to Doha, Qatar as the core unit of the Desert Cats, Canada's CF-18 Squadron in Operation Friction, during the Gulf War. The squadron distinguishcd it self flying 3,800 hours in both air to air and air to ground with no combat losses.

439 Squadron will be the final CF-18 Squadron in Europe and will disband on 15 May 1993.

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[ Baden Remembered | Forty Years ]