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 Avenger aboard HMCS Magnificent
Grumman Avenger aboard HMCS Magnificent

A Grumman Avenger anti-submarine aircraft prepares to take off from the aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent.

A steam-powered catapult will hurl the aircraft forward to help it reach take-off speed in the short space available on the carrier's deck. Part of the wire bridle can be seen running from the flight deck to the aircraft's landing gear (centre). The Royal Canadian Navy adopted the American-designed Avenger in 1950 in the face of concerns about a growing threat from Soviet submarines. Ultimately, some 125 Avengers in a variety of models saw Canadian service.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19750148-106

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