No. 434 (Bluenose) Squadron RCAF
Motto: "In excelsis vincimus" ("We conquer in the heights").
Badge: A representation of the schooner "Bluenose". The squadron was adopted by the Rotary Club of Halifax, NS, and took the nickname "Bluenose" in reference to the common nickname for Nova Scotians. The badge depicts its namesake, the famous schooner Bluenose - one the fastest and most graceful ships ever to sail the seas.
Authority: King George VI, October 1945.
No 434 Squadron was formed at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire, on 13 June 1943, as a unit of No. 6 (RCAF) Group of Bomber Command. It began operations on 12/13th August and continued to operate from Tholthorpe until December 1944, when moved to Croft. There it remained based for the rest of its stay in England. Equipped first with Halifax Vs, No. 434 converted to Halifax IIIs in May 1944, and to Lancaster Xs December 1944. During its tour with No. 6 Group the squadron flew 2,597 operational sorties on 199 operations.
Bomber Command WWII Bases:
Formed 13.6.43 as No. 434 (Bomber) Squadron
Tholthorpe, Yorks : Jun 1943-Dec 1943
Croft, Co. Durham : Dec 1943 onwards
Bomber Command WWII Aircraft: Handley Page Halifax B.III, B.V : Jun 1943-Dec 1944, Avro Lancaster B.I, B.X : Dec 1944 onwards, Code Letters: "WL"
The Handley Page Halifax was one of the British front-line, four-engine heavy bombers of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. A contemporary of the famous Avro Lancaster, the Halifax remained in service until the end of the war, performing a variety of duties in addition to bombing. The Halifax was also operated by squadrons of the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and Polish Air Force.
Introduction of 1,390 hp Merlin XX engines and a twin .303-in dorsal turret instead of waist guns resulted in the B Mk II Series I Halifax. The Mk II Series I (Special) achieved improved performance by removing the nose and dorsal turrets. The Mk II Series IA had a moulded Perspex nose (the standard for future Halifax variants), a four-gun Defiant-type dorsal turret, Merlin 22 engines and larger vertical tail surfaces which solved control deficiencies (rudder-stall) in the early Marks. Halifax IIs were built by English Electric and Handley Page; 200 and 100 aircraft respectively.
Due to a shortage in Messier-built landing gear and hydraulics Dowty landing gear were used. Being incompatible with the Messier equipment these gave Halifaxes with new designations. A Mark II built with Dowty gear was the Mark V. The use of castings rather than forgings in the Dowty undercarriage speeded production but resulted in a reduced landing weight of 40,000 lb. The Mark V were built by Rootes at Speke and Fairey at Stockport and were generally used by Coastal Command and for training. Some 904 were built by the time Mark V production ended at the start of 1944, compared to 1,966 Mk II.
The most numerous Halifax variant was the B Mk III of which 2,091 were built. First appearing in 1943, the Mk III featured the Perspex nose and modified tail of the Mk II Series IA but replaced the Merlin with the more powerful 1,650 hp Bristol Hercules XVI radial engine. Other changes included de Havilland Hydromatic propellers and rounded wing tips. The Mk IV was a non-production design using a turbocharged Hercules powerplant.
The definitive version of the Halifax was the B Mk VI, powered by the 1,800 hp Hercules 100. The final bomber version, the Mk VII, reverted to the less powerful Hercules XVI. However, these variants were produced in relatively small quantities.
The remaining variants were the C Mk VIII unarmed transport (8,000 lb cargo pannier instead of a bomb bay, space for 11 passengers) and the Mk A IX paratroop transport (space for 16 paratroopers and gear). A transport/cargo version of the Halifax was also produced, known as the Handley Page Halton.
Total Halifax production was 6,176 with the last aircraft delivered in November 1946.
In service with RAF Bomber Command, Halifaxes flew 82,773 operations, dropped 224,207 tons of bombs and lost 1,833 aircraft. In addition to bombing missions, the Halifax served as a glider tug, electronic warfare aircraft for No. 100 Group RAF and special operations such as parachuting agents and arms into occupied Europe. Halifaxes were also operated by RAF Coastal Command for anti submarine warfare, reconnaissance and meteorological roles.
Postwar, Halifaxes remained in service with the RAF Coastal Command and RAF Transport Command and the Armée de l'Air until early 1952.