By Major (retired) Rob Aman
The Tall Ships Festival held August 31 to September 1, 2019, in Brockville, Ontario, provided a memorable opportunity for 434 Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) “Bluenose” Squadron from 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, to reconnect with its famous lineage.
During the festival on the waterfront of the southeastern Ontario city, the stately tall ship Bluenose II, which shares its iconic name with the above mentioned Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) unit, was moored at the local pier, providing a regal backdrop for a weekend of renewing the bond between schooner and squadron as well as raising public awareness of the unique, historic affiliation between the two.
434 (OT&E) Squadron personnel were on hand to maintain an information booth at Centeen Park on the Brockville waterfront throughout the Festival weekend to spread the word and share their story with attendees. There was tremendous public interest expressed in the link between the two Bluenoses appearing at the Tall Ships Festival, a curiosity that was augmented by the image of the famous, multiple-race-winning original Bluenose that appears on its namesake squadron’s heraldic crest.
Formed as No. 434 (Bomber) Squadron on 15 June 1943, the RCAF unit assumed the motto In Excelsis Vincimus (We Conquer in the Heights) and would later be adopted by the Rotary Club of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It thus took the nickname “Bluenose” as a nod to…