Rotary Wings Over The Arctic

Diares of HMCS Labrador’s Flight Operations, 1955-1958

Operational Histories, No. 4

From 1955 to 1957 HMCS Labrador was the Canadian government’s most visible presence in the Arctic. Commissioned at a time when the region was at the forefront of continental defence, the naval icebreaker worked with American partners to establish defence facili­ties, survey shipping routes, and show the flag in an area of growing strategic importance. A critical and often unsung element in Labrador’s success was the embarked helicopters. By spotting leads, moving people and cargo, and surveying routes, these aircraft enhanced the ship’s effectiveness, range, and impact. This volume is a collection of those flight logs. It provides a documentary snapshot of early icebreaking and helicopter operations in the Far North and provides researchers with new tools to study Arctic defence and navigation at a critical juncture of the early Cold War.

Compiled by Don MacNeil

Don MacNeil is the son of the late Lt (P) John A. MacNeil, CD helicopter detachment officer in charge onboard the RCN's Arctic patrol ship HMCS Labrador for her 1956 Arctic voyage. Don also served in the RCN from 1963 to 1966 onboard HMCS Columbia, Yukon and Ottawa and later worked for Pratt & Whitney Canada as a Stationary Engineer.

Share This