2401 Radar Squadron
The build-up of the RCAF in the post war period included a large number of Auxiliary units and squadrons. Some were flying squadrons, others were training units and schools and still others were radar squadrons. The first of these was 2401 Radar Squadron RCAF (Auxiliary) Montreal, Quebec which was equipped with the truck-mounted AMES-11C mobile radar. The squadron was initially located in the Sternthal Building at 1435 St. Alexander and later moved to 2 Laurier West.
2401 Radar was formed on 15 December 1949 within Central Air Command to "maintain and operate radar facilities required by No. 401 (F) Squadron (Auxiliary) and No. 438 (F) Squadron (Auxiliary) for the practice of air interception". The squadron was stationed at RCAF Station St. Hubert, located on the south shore of Montreal. On 1 April 1949, the unit came under operational control of Training Command. Later that year, they came under Air Defence Group for operational requirements while they remained with Training Command administratively.
On 22 March 1950, the squadron was re-named as 2401 Aircraft Control & Warning Unit RCAF (Reserve) Montreal. In 1951 the unitís new role was to "train Reserve personnel in all aspects of air control and warning operations and to maintain and operate radar and communications facilities as directed by AOC, ADC".
In effect, this meant that while the unit personnel still worked with the two Reserve flying squadrons at St. Hubert, Nos. 401 and 438, they were actually to be a trained pool of personnel for the various Regular radar units. In fact, 2401 AC&W Squadron personnel regularly deployed to the numerous radar sites through-out Eastern Canada during summer training camps, on weekends, and whenever their presence was required. Lac St. Denis, being so close to Montreal, was one of the main Stations that 2401 AC&W Squadron personnel regularly visited and they were well known for the high quality of their work. Narrative reports indicate that personnel from 2401 AC&W Squadron were employed at RCAF Station Lac St. Denis every year between 1952 and 1958. There is also evidence in official narrative reports that personnel from 2401 AC&W Squadron served at RCAF Station Senneterre in 1954, 1955 and 1959.
2401 AC&WU was transferred in its entirety from Training Command to Air Defence Command on 1 August 1951. 1 November 1951 saw all of the Reserve squadrons and units return to the designation Auxiliary vice Reserve so 2401 AC&WU® was now 2401 Aircraft Control & Warning Unit (Auxiliary). On 1 February 1953, 2401 AC&W Squadron was tasked with the formation of a school to train both Fighter Controllers and Fighter Control Operators for all of the Auxiliary AC&W Units.
2401 AC&WU was once again designated a Squadron in late 1953. On 3 January 1956, No. 1 Radar and Communications Unit (Auxiliary) was disbanded and absorbed into 2401 AC&W. With this amalgamation, 2401 AC&W Squadron retained their roles of training Auxiliary Fighter Controllers and Fighter Control Operators as well as maintaining and operating radar and communications facilities. They were also tasked with training both Auxiliary ad Primary Reserve Force personnel in the telecommunications and maintenance trades associated with radar operations.
Notwithstanding the outstanding support to both Regular and Auxiliary flying squadrons as well as AC&W Squadrons, it was decided in early 1960 that all of the Auxiliary AC&W squadrons would be disbanded by 1962. This decision was not brought about by financial considerations but by the fact that the SAGE system was under development and was expected to come on line at various radar stations within the next few years. The SAGE system would eliminate the manual back-up to the Regular squadrons that was at the time provided by the Auxiliary. As a result, on 31 August 1961, 2401 AC&W Squadron was disbanded.
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Updated: October 22, 2004