On Watch Vol 1 No 1 - October 5, 2016


We want you involved and kept up to date on the many activities, projects and plans of both the 400 Squadron Historical Society and the History Hangar website.

Both these organizations are run solely by unpaid volunteers and are funded only by donations or membership fees.

The 400 Squadron Historical Society's main volunteers are Gerry Gillroy Col (retired), Len Neath Major (retired) and Carl Mills LCol (retired). Gerry is the President, Len the Treasurer and Carl Mills the historian, project manager, and creative force behind much of what goes on.

The History Hangars's main volunteers are Bill Bishop Cpl (retired), Garry Alexander LAC (retired) and John Tapper LAC (retired). Bill is the webmaster of the History Hangar, Garry his assistant, and John the 411 Squadron representative. Bill also keeps on top of all technology changes and ensures the website remains current. Much, but not all, of the written content for the pages of the History Hangar are supplied by Carl Mills.

400 Squadron Historical Society News

We believe you will be interested to learn the scope and diversity of the projects and work being done by the 400 Squadron Historical Society.

Remember friend that all these cost money and most are being held up from completion due to lack of funding. YOU CAN make a difference.

Going In Delicious Circles

by Carl Mills

The exciting revelation of this first newsletter is that while many RCAF Squadrons are celebrating their 75th anniversaries, 400 Squadron will reach its 84th in 2016 with its 85th in 2017. It is further revealed that 400 Squadron is the oldest serving Squadron in the history of the RCAF and will have a 100th anniversary in 2032 – 16 years from now.

While being excited about the 85th we should not forget some of the other anniversaries and the mini-anniversaries.

The year 2016 is the 81st anniversary (1935) of officially being the “City of Toronto” Squadron and the 76th anniversary of deploying to war and Black Velvet (1940). It is the 20th anniversary (1996) of the closing of Base Downsview, 400 Squadron’s relocation to Base Borden, re equipping with the CH146 Griffon helicopter, and the publication of Captain Ron Wylie’s 400 Squadron History book, ‘On Watch To Strike’. Further, 2016 is the 5th anniversary of the assembly of the 400 Squadron Historical Society in Toronto.

With the history book published up to the end of the Kiowa era, the primary function of the Historical Society, since 2011 ...5 years ago, was to establish an on-going forum to collect and document the historical performance and details of the squadron during the Griffon era ... starting in 1996. Other duties would include projects that would bring forward significant historical data and projects that would enhance the squadron’s heritage.400 Squadron Since 1996

So what has been going on with the Squadron since 1996 ... 20 years ago. We at the Historical Society do not have an exact ‘handle’ on this but do know that they have been extremely active. They usually do not deploy as a squadron but rather participate with other squadrons by sending aircraft and personnel over blocks of time called ‘rotations’ or “ROTOS”. These ‘rotations’ can reduce the effective complement by as much as 20% during intense deployments. Since 1996, there have been eight COs (of 43 since 1932). One of the eight is deceased while two other serving members were also deceased.

They have an amazing aircraft which was newly-built when issued in 1996 and has had several upgrades. Onboard, there are stand-off systems for both radar and infrared incoming weapons and HUD for ease and safety. With two removable Dillon Gatling guns, the Griffon is ideal for gunship convoy protection duties. It can be equipped with a hoisting pod and two rocket pods to provide multiple capabilities. The black four-blade rotor and the overall olive-drab with matt brown camouflage pattern gives the Griffon the perfect texture for its environment. The twin jet-engine pack provides an abundance of power and It is the fastest helicopter in the Canadian fleet.

Over the years, there have been far too many operational tasks to list completely but some of the notable tasks are; Opn. Grizzly (2001) ... World Trade Summit Security; Opn. Hurricane (2002) ... Radio station resupply on Ellesmere Island; Opn. ?????? (2002) ... G8 Summit Security; Opn. Palladium (20??) ... Bosnia; Opn. Apollo (20??) ... Persian Gulf; Opn. Cadence (2010) ... G8 Summit Security; Opn. Podium (2010) ... Vancouver Winter Olympics Security; Opn. Nanook (20??) ... Canadian Arctic, a Joint Exercise with the US and Denmark; Opn. Sabot (20??) ... Support to OPP and RCMP for cannabis investigations; Opn. Athena (20??) ... Afghanistan; Opn. HoHoHo (annual) ... Helicopter and members visit Toronto Sick Kids Hosp. There has also been many airshow events and some SAR.

400 SHS Accomplishments

So what has been going on with the 400 Squadron Historical Society since 2011 ... five years ago.

Since 2011, there has been the design and installation of the Historical Society’s memorial monument at Trenton, the design of the aircraft poster, the installation of 400/411 Standards at the Hall of Colours, installation of headstones, the brass poppy headstone photo project, the Ad Astra stone project, the artwork collection and the 100th artwork project, the aircraft model dioramas, the search for past-squadron aircraft, the on-going search for missing past members, and some published


All remarkable ‘good stuff’ but nowhere in this list is there any activity or documentation related to the activities carried out by the squadron. As previously mentioned, the primary task of the Historical Society was the detailed documentation of the Squadron and this work is neither progressive nor underway. After five years, the main task does not exist. The Historical Society has been very busy doing outstanding peripheral work – going in delicious circles around the void that it was created to deplete ... AND, while circling, has also created a substantial debt.

Carl Mills

400 Sqn. Hist. Soc.

RES 416-495-0907


History Hangar News

The articles below will bring you up to date on the accomplishments and plans for the History Hangar website and any Special Events planned.

You are urged to complete any forms which may be associated with an article as these are our main source of feedback from you which guides the direction of the History Hangar.

Special 85th Anniversary Plans

The History Hangar and 400 Squadron Historical Society are planning to hold a 'first class' BBQ on Saturday, August 12, 2017 on the tarmac in front of 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron's Hangar at Canadian Forces Base Borden.

We will be inviting all current and past members of 400 Squadron, past members of 411 and 2 Tactical Air Support Squadrons and members of the RCAF Commemorative Squadron.

A large marquee tent, with tables and chairs, along with a full bar serving soft drinks, liquor, wine, bottle beer and draught beer (all priced just a wee bit over cost) will be set up on the tarmac in front of the hangar. In the event of inclement weather, we have the option of moving the bar and tables and chairs inside the hangar while leaving the BBQ's outside.

Cost is estimated to be $30.00 per person and $50.00 for two. (children or grandchildren welcome at reduced rates). Menu will include steak, hamburgers, chicken and all the trimmings.

The following schedule of events for the 85th Anniversary Celebration BBQ are still tentative but will give you an idea of what's in store.

10:00 to 16:00 Tours of the Base Borden Museum will be available to those interested.

11:00 to 15:00 Registration for the BBQ is open and will provide name tags, and a special Souvenir Program

11:00 to 14:00 Tours of the 400 Tactical Helicopter's Museum located in the hangar.

12:00 to 18:00 BBQ and very large screen projection of all History Hangar videos ongoing all day.

14:00 to 14:30 Gathering at the 400 THS's Honour Roll Monument to honour all our fallen.

Other events are being planned for the BBQ but it is too premature to mention them at this time.

To determine if we proceed with the detailed planning and commitments necessary to bring off such an event we urge you to complete the two question form below and, should you wish, you may also leave any comments or suggestions you desire.

New Directions for Website

Google recently announced that they will shortly be releasing a New Google Sites Application (this is the application we use to build our website). When I saw the new version I was extremely excited as it is light years ahead of what we are now using. So what you say! What does it mean to me ?

Well, you may have noticed that many websites are now offering a 'new look' with their pages being divided into blocks of information. This is so they may be view-able on either desktop PC's, notebooks, or mobile phones. Currently about 12% of the History Hangar website viewers try to view with either their notepad or smart phone. A trend that will continue to increase in the not too distant future.

Therefore, to keep current with the times we are already preparing for the arrival of this new application and are saving every page of our current site in 'the cloud'. When the new app arrives we should be able to create a whole new site in a relatively short time and retire the current site. We have tentatively decided that we will not change our theme and you will see the same familiar colour scheme and headers.

We want to hear how you feel about this. Please leave your comments using the "Your Two Cents Worth" form located at the end of this news letter.

For those that are interested this short 3min 25 sec video will give you a quick glimpse into what goes into making the new site and an inkling of what it may look like. Don't worry about the technical part of the video just try and picture the end result.

The best way you can support the the History Hangar is to become a member.

If you wish to pay by Credit Card or PayPal, you may use the Buy Now button below to purchase a membership, its only $30.00 per year with discounts for multi-year memberships.

Should you wish to pay by cheque or want further information please click BECOME A MEMBER

Your Two Cents Worth

Vol 1 No 1 ‎‎‎‎‎(Responses)‎‎‎‎‎

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