Explore History

The Early Cold War
Naval Aviation

Between 1946 and 1970, Canada's navy operated three aircraft carriers to help fulfil its anti-submarine mission and to help protect ships against enemy aircraft. These carriers required specialized equipment, procedures, and training for their crews.

Grumman Tracker, HMCS Shearwater
Grumman Tracker, HMCS Shearwater

Officers and sailors pose in front of a Grumman Tracker anti-submarine aircraft at the Royal Canadian Navy's air base HMCS Shearwater.

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) used a Canadian version of the American-designed Tracker, built by DeHavilland Canada. The Tracker's folding wings, clearly visible here, saved space and enabled more aircraft to be carried aboard an aircraft carrier. The RCN used Shearwater, near Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, as the main base and training airfield for aircraft squadrons operating from carriers, as well as a home for training and experimental flying units.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 20020135-032

HMCS Warrior
HMCS Magnificent
HMCS Bonaventure
Fairey Firefly Aircraft and Plane Guard Destroyer, HMCS Warrior
Grumman Avenger aboard HMCS Magnificent
Grumman Tracker Launch, HMCS Bonaventure
Grumman Avenger Landing Aboard HMCS Warrior
Hawker Sea Fury Landing on HMCS Magnificent
Supermarine Seafire
Supermarine Seafire Crash, HMCS Warrior
Fairey Firefly Crash, HMCS Warrior
Landing on HMCS Bonaventure
McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee
Flight Deck and Island, HMCS Bonaventure
McDonnell Banshee, HMCS Bonaventure
Grumman Tracker, HMCS Shearwater
Bell HTL-4 Helicopter
Personnel Delivery by Helicopter
Life Raft and Emergency Supplies
Petty Officer, HMCS Magnificent
Triangular Bandage
Canadian Sailors Board HMCS Bonaventure
From School to Sea!
Robert N. McKinley Medal Set, HMCS Bonaventure