Defend the Saguenay - Air Defense Museum
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Defend the Saguenay - Air Defense Museum
Source : Canadian Armed Forces

Defend the Saguenay

World War II (1939 - 1945)

In July 1942, No. 130 Panther Squadron headed for Bagotville to provide air protection in the skies over the Saguenay―Lac-Saint-Jean region. The Hawker Hurricane fighter pilots practised shooting and dropping bombs at St-Gédéon and pulled practice targets for the artillerymen of the 41st Battery at Arvida. In October 1943, No. 129 Micmac Squadron took its turn ensuring that no enemy aircraft violated the regional airspace. Also notable in Bagotville was the presence of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan's No. 1 Operational Training Unit, whose mission was to train pilots for defence squadrons in Canada and for overseas combat.

Bagotville Station closed in early 1945, but reopened on July 1, 1951, becoming a training base for squadrons assigned to provide air defence in the new context of the Cold War. With the inception of NORAD in 1957, it played an important role in the defence of North America. In the decades that followed, various squadrons would spend time in Saguenay, with a variety of fighter planes plying the region's skies.

Photo: Hawker Hurricane fighters on the tarmac at Bagotville station in 1943.