The air station now known as 12 Wing Shearwater has existed under many different names, and has been under the control of many different organizations, since the first operational patrols took off from the site in 1918.
From its early years playing host to US Navy airmen during the First World War as United States Naval Air Station Halifax, to its short-lived stint as Canadian Air Board Station Dartmouth, then RCAF Station Dartmouth, Royal Canadian Naval Air Station Dartmouth, CFB Shearwater, and now 12 Wing Shearwater, the long list of different authorities to which the base answered is reflective of the colourful history of military aviation in Canada and in this region.
This was part of the focus for Colonel (retired) John Orr in his recent presentation on the history of Shearwater at a meeting of the Royal United Services Institute of Nova Scotia [RUSI(NS)] on June 20, 2018. Colonel Orr, a former commanding officer of 423 Squadron and former Maritime Air Component Commander, titled his talk “Seven Flags over Shearwater: 100 years of an East Coast Air Station.”
“Since its inception, Shearwater has served under a variety of organizations, hence the seven flags over Shearwater,” he said. “It’s location at the entrance to Halifax, Atlantic Canada’s major port, and the great circle route between North America and Europe, means that it has been, and will continue to be, involved with ships and those that go to sea.”
“In its various incarnations,” he…