In 1951, as war clouds loomed in the Far East,
the RCAF was given permission to reactivate some former units as auxiliary
units. This was done to train reserve forces to supplement the RCAF in the
event it had to be brought up to wartime strength. As a result, No. 443
Squadron was reformed on September, 1951, at Vancouver, B.C. Wing
Commander R. B. Barker, DFC, was appointed the Commanding Officer. Its
purpose was to provide personnel trained in the fighter role to bring the
RCAF up to wartime strength, if the need arose.
To ensure a strong nucleus of trained aircrew and
ground crew, a large number of personnel were reallotted from the already
existing 442 Squadron (Auxiliary). The unit was based at RCAF Station Sea
Island along with 442 Squadron. However, the headquarters for the squadron
was located at 1021 W. Hastings Street in Vancouver. The unit held weekly
lectures on various topics related to this role, as well as performing
proficiency flights in its Harvard and Mustang aircraft. 443 Squadron
participated in many air defence exercises each year, as well as a "summer
camp" when the whole squadron would deploy to another airfield to partake
in exercises and drills.
Many of the RCAF squadrons made a close tie with a
community with which they were associated. As a result, the squadron often
incorporated the name of the community in its own name. This was true of
the association of No. 443 Squadron and the nearby City of New
Westminster, B.C. The squadron applied for and on September 3, 1952,
received, permission to alter its name to "443 City of New Westminster
Fighter Squadron (Auxiliary) RCAF." This close affiliation was to last
until the squadron was disbanded in 1964.
In December 1954, the squadron moved from 19 Wing
Headquarters on West Hastings Street to the airfield at Sea Island. This
move permitted the squadron closer liaison with Regular and Support units
and centralized their activities. In February 1955, the squadron received
a most distinguished guest; Douglas Bader, DSO, DFC, and one of World War
II's most famous fighter pilots, visited the unit and chatted with the
personnel of the squadron, a most memorable occasion to many of the
By mid-1955, 443 (F) Squadron had acquired two
T-33 jet trainers as well as a jet aircraft simulator, and a jet refresher
program was initiated. Training and proficiency flights were
out, but squadron personnel were unnerved at the rumours that the unit
would be disbanded following the end of the conflict in Korea. However,
these fears were dispelled when it was learned the squadron was to be
reequipped with the F-86 Sabre fighter, which had distinguished itself so
well in Korea. The first aircraft arrived on October 31, 1956, and a
formal but rain-shortened parade was held to mark the event.
W/C Barker relinquished command of the unit on
August 31 and S/L R. O. Hetherington, who had joined 443 Squadron in 1951,
was promoted to Wing Commander and became the new Commanding Officer.
Life continued, as usual, with many lectures,
proficiency flights, exercises and the occasional airshow for such events
as Air Force Day and the Pacific National Exhibition. In July 1957, the
squadron deployed to RCAF Station Comox on Vancouver Island for summer
camp. Although the squadron was operating a relatively new aircraft,
serviceability remained high (60%) and the target of 300 flying hours was
reached without mishap. By the end of November, 12 pilots were qualified
on the Sabre.
On August 31, 1958, W/C Hetherington turned the
unit over to A/W/C J. D. Fisher.
At this time the unit went through a major
reorganization. In accordance with a decision to assign a new role to RCAF
Auxiliary squadrons, it became necessary to re-equip the Auxiliary
squadrons and revise the RCAF Auxiliary organization. The squadron was
redesignated 443 Squadron (Auxiliary) and was re-equipped initially with
the C-45 Expeditor aircraft. On September 1, 1958, 443 Squadron
(Auxiliary) assumed its new role which was to carry out air operations in
support of military and civilian requirements as determined by higher
authority. Translated, this meant aid to civil defence following a nuclear
attack (a fear which was very predominant in those days). As well, there
was to be a secondary role of air search and transport.
As a result of the change, the squadron had to
train its personnel on the new aircraft and its new role. By May 1959, all
pilots were qualified on the new aircraft. Squadron routine remained the
same with weekly lectures, weekend flying and periodic deployments on
It had been planned to equip the
squadron with helicopters as well as the (Expeditors). However, this did
not happen and in 1960 personnel began conversion to the Otter aircraft.
This was to enhance the squadron's search and rescue capability. As is
often the case in peacetime, the squadron spent much of its time on its
secondary role - search and rescue. Many searches were conducted, mostly
for lost aircraft or hunters.
August 31, 1961, saw W/C Fisher turn the squadron
over to W/C C. O. P. Smith, DFC, CD. Operations continued as in the past
until December 1963 when it was decided that, due to changing policy, the
squadron was to be disbanded. The disbandment did not take place until
March 31, 1964, when, after a parade, 443 Squadron was no more.