RAF TypeC1 roundel Canadian Military Aircraft
Serial Numbers
RCNAS / RFC / RAF serial numbers
RAF Type B roundel

back to main page
go to lists
go to bottom of page

The first Canadian owned aircraft with British style military serials were the handful of aircraft reserved for the first Royal Canadian Navy Air Service.  None were ever operated by the RCNAS.  The 114 aircraft of the Imperial Gift of 1919 all arrived in Canada with RFC / RAF style serial numbers, and did not receive Canadian Air Board registrations until they were assembled and tested, a process  that took several years.  A few never received  registrations, for a variety of reasons, and these are listed here under their original British serial numbers.  A few ex-RAF aircraft were obtained in the 1920s and 30s, for evaluation by the RCAF, or for winter trials on behalf of the RAF.  All these aircraft appear in the lists below.
 
The great majority of the aircraft listed here were transferred to the Canadian government during the Second World War.  They were received from the RAF, for use at the BCATP and with the home defense squadrons.  At first, these aircraft were given RCAF three or four digit serial numbers, as they arrived in Canada.  It soon became apparent that this was, in modern terms, a non-value-added exercise.  Even worse, the re-identification of these aircraft began to complicate many technical issues, such as tracking and implementing aircraft modifications, identifying which technical publications applied to which aircraft, and obtaining spare parts.  As a result, the RCAF soon switched to operating these aircraft with their original RAF serials.

In the early months of the war, some well used veteran RAF aircraft were shipped from the UK to Canada for the BCATP schools and to meet urgent home defense requirements.  This practice gradually ended as the ocean crossing became more dangerous, and as the need for any flyable aircraft in the UK became more desperate.  These early aircraft included Ansons, Battles, Beauforts, Lysanders, Hampdens, and Oxfords.  Most of the aircraft received during the war came directly from American and Canadian factories, and actually never were in the hands of the RAF.  The North American built aircraft were mostly trainers, including Stearmans, Cranes, Harvards, Cornells, and Canadian built Ansons, plus a relatively small number of operational aircraft for the OTUs and home defense squadrons.  The operational types included Catalinas, Hudsons, Venturas, Mitchells, Liberators, Tomahawks, Dakotas and Canadian built Mosquitos.  A few oddballs were received for tests at Canadian ranges (Spitfires, Baltimores, Bostons and Bermudas), or as sample aircraft for Canadian production (one Blenheim, Hampdens, Lancasters and Mosquitos). 


When the BCATP started, the RAF manned and operated a number of training units in Canada, all identified with 30 series numbers (for example, No. 34 Elementary Flying Training School at Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, and No. 33 Air Navigation School at Mount Hope, Ontario).  These units were gradually absorbed in to the RCAF through 1942 and 1943, with their aircraft being transferred to RCAF ownership then, generally keeping their RAF serial.  Some of these aircraft had already been operating in Canada for two years or more prior to the "first date" shown in my database.

At the end of the war, a number of aircraft operated by the 400 series squadrons, or stored by the RAF in North America, were turned over to Canada to form the core of the post war RCAF.  This included Dakotas and Lancasters ferried from the UK, and a few gliders already in North America.  It should be noted that a number of the Lancasters arrived in Canada still in the ownership of the RAF, as the RCAF squadrons of 6 Group, Bomber Command, began to retrain to become Tiger Force for the war in the Pacific.  The transfer to RCAF ownership came several months later, after VJ Day.  A handful of aircraft were received from the UK after the war, for evaluation by the RCAF or for testing at the RCAF's Winter Experimental Establishment in Edmonton.  This included Lincolns, Halifaxes,  a Prentice,  one Tempest, and the first Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, a Consolidated Privateer.  Also included were the first Canadian jets, a Vampire and several Meteors.

The Fairey Swordfish listed here are those aircraft operated by the RCAF at BCATP training schools.  Some of these aircraft were transferred to the RCN after the war for use as ground training aids with the RCN Reserve Squadrons.  The RCN also received other Swordfish direct from RAF schools in Canada after the war ended, and they may not be listed below.  For a more complete story on RCN post war aircraft, refer to Patrick Martin's latest book on the subject.

Researching these aircraft can be a tricky business, and this is why this was one of the last topics added to my web pages.  Here are just a few of the problems encountered with this population of aircraft.

  • Many ex RAF aircraft eventually received RCAF serial numbers, but first arrived in Canada with the RAF markings.  I generally only record these aircraft under their RCAF serial numbers (with the previous RAF identity given, when known) unless the aircraft was operated by the RCAF for any length of time before being re-marked.  On occasion, some RCAF records continued to refer to the aircraft by the RAF serial number, even after an RCAF serial was assigned and marked.
  • Large numbers of RAF serialized aircraft, owned by the UK, were operated in Canada during the war by RAF units.  This included a large number of BCATP schools, plus small numbers of transport, ferry, and liaison units.  To add to the confusion, the RAF units could share a base with RCAF units, and RAF and RCAF personnel, including Canadians in RAF uniforms, were shared freely between the units.  This confusion continued after the war, when several RAF and RN aircraft came to Canada for testing at the Winter Experimental Establishment.  Some were taken on charge with the RCAF, and some were not.  All were regularly operated by RCAF pilots, and maintained by the WEE.  All this means that aircraft references in log books, letters, and autobiographies from Canada in these periods cannot always be easily identified as RAF or RCAF aircraft.  When I have had doubts about the ownership of an RAF style serial number reported in Canada, I have referred to J. A. Griffin's masterpiece, "Canadian Military Aircraft", before including the aircraft on this page.  Some have claimed this source is incomplete and sometimes inaccurate, but it is still far and away the best reference on this topic.
  • Large numbers of RAF serialized aircraft, owned by the UK, were operated by RCAF 400 series squadrons outside of Canada.  A few of these were transferred to Canada at the end of the war, as mentioned above.  This is a really confusing area for the aeronumerologist, and was the last topic added to my web pages.
  • There was a tendency within Canada to refer to these aircraft by only the last 3 digits of their RAF serial number.  This occurs even in official documents such as pilot's log books, squadron diaries, and press releases.  One classic example of this is the often told story of a patrol bomber that went missing in 1943, and was discovered in Newfoundland in 1948.  The burial of the crew has been recorded as the "last Newfoundland funeral of WW2" in several sources.  Some of these reports name the aircraft involved as an RCAF Lockheed Hudson, number 719.  RCAF 719 was actually a Canadian built Bristol Bolingbroke, and it might be tempting to dismiss the Hudson reports as an error in aircraft identification by a non-wingnut author.  However, the RCAF did own and operate Hudson BW719, and this was probably the aircraft involved.
  • During the 1950s, the RCAF placed large markings on the side of many aircraft, consisting of a two letter unit code to the left of the roundel, plus the "last three" of the complete serial number to the right of the roundel.  These are much more obvious than the serial number in photographs from that time, and may appear to be an RAF style serial number.  Two well photographed examples of this are Mitchell "HO 891" (actually RCAF serial 891), and Lancaster "MN 122" (actually RAF style serial number FM122).

Subject to all these ifs, ands, and buts, here is my current understanding of the topic.  The table below will connect you to two types of listings of these aircraft.  The "Brief lists" present a minimum amount of information about as many aircraft as I can fit on a reasonably sized page.  Use these lists to identify individual aircraft, or to quickly scan a large range of serials.  The "Detailed lists" contain all the information currently in my database, and are broken into many more pages to keep the data manageable.


Brief lists
Detailed lists
Typical aircraft
up to Z9999
784 records
updated 8 April 2005

up to K8750
52 records
updated 13 April 2007
K8751 to  L5331
50 records
updated 6 July 2007
L5332 to N1045
49 records
updated 16 January 2008
N1078 to N5041
51 records
updated 21 June 2008
Schneider, Baby, Felixstowe F.3, H-16, D.H.9, Snipe, Avro 504, Siskin, Fairey IIIF, Wapiti, Hart, Audax,  Anson, Blenheim, Battle, Spitfire, Walrus, Hampden, Beaufort, Albacore
N5042 to N5352
50 records

updated 24 December 2007
N5353 to N9615
49 records
updated 25 July 2008
N9640 to N9901
53 records
updated 9 January 2009
N9905 to P6732
48 records
updated 21 March 2009
Anson, Camel, Hampden, Battle
P6734 to R4043

50 records
updated 4 May 2009
R4046 to R7446

50 records
updated 8 August 2009
R7447 to R9703
47 records
updated 27 February 2010
R9714 to V3294

50 records
updated 4 December 2011
Battle, Spitfire, Anson, Oxford, Albacore, Hudson
V3310 to V9504
54 records
updated 7 May 2012
V9508 to X6538
50 records
Updated 2 September  2012
X6359 to X7057
50 records
Updated 10 February 2013
X7116 to Z9999
32 records
Updated 2 July 2013
Oxford, Hurricane, Hudson, Lysander, Anson, Walrus, Swordfish, Beaufort, Catalina, Hampden, Spitfire, Albacore, Walrus
AA100 to AZ999
934 records
updated 11 March 2005

AA100 to AE900

45 records
updated 13 February 2007
AE901 to AJ200
47 records
updated 5 March 2007
AJ201 to AJ570
52 records
updated 27 April 2007
AJ571 to AJ685
50 records
updated 13 July 2007
Hampden, Ventura, Harvard
AJ686 to AJ790

50 records
updated 12 October 2007

AJ791 to AJ908
50 records
updated 20 May 2009
AJ909 to AJ959

50 records
updated 27 August 2009
AJ960 to AM747
51 records
updated 21 August 2011
Harvard, Hampden, Boston, Hudson
AM748 to AN117
50 records
updated 9 September 2013
AN118 to AR813
50 records
updated 8 January 2104
AR814 to AS206
50 records
updated 7 October 2014
AS207 to AS314

50 records
updated 11 February 2015

Hudson, Hampden, Oxford
AS315 to AS521
51 records
updated 10 July 2015
AS522 to AS673
49 records
updated 4 October 2015
AS674 to AS803
51 records
updated 30 November 2015
AS804 to AT444
51 records
updated 31 January 2016
Oxford, Hampden
AT445 to AT589
35 records
updated 9 April 2016
AT590 to AX185
35 records
updated 21 June 2016
AX186 to AX414
35 records
AX415 to AX641
36 records
Oxford, Anson
BA100 to FL999
2109 records
updated 18 March 2005

BA100 to BG999
47 records
BH100 to BM800
49 records
BM801 to BW300
38 records
updated 5 September 2009
BW301 to BW600
42 records
updated 20 September 2009
Oxford, Harvard, Hudson
BW601 to BW680
44 records
updated 30 July 2010
BW681 to BW800
47 records
updated 9 October 2010
BW801 to BW999
50 records
updated 4 December 2006

BX100 to EB450
50 records
Hudson, Hurricane, Boston, Halifax, Anson, Swordfish, Oxford
EB451 to EB538
50 records
EB539 to EB602
50 records
EB603 to EB677
? records
EE182 to EW361
50 records
updated 8 August 2010
Oxford, Catalina, Lancaster, Meteor, Liberator, Cornell
EW362 to EW411
50 records
EW412 to EW461
50 records
EW462 to FD692
50 records
updated 25 April 2015
FD693 to FD990
50 records
Cornell,  Hudson, Baltimore, Ventura, Kaydet
FD991 to FE308
50 records
FE309 to FE386
50 records
FE387 to FE456
50 records
FE457 to FE561
50 records
Kaydet, Harvard
FE562 to FE636
50 records
FE637 to FE736
50 records
FE737 to FE810
50 records
FE811 to FE860
50 records
Harvard
FE861 to FE934
50 records
FE935 to FH105
50 records
FH106 to FH165
50 records
FH166 to FH697
50 records
Harvard, Bermuda, Hudson, Cornell
FH698 to FH752
50 records
FH753 to FH803
50 records
FH804 to FH853
50 records
FH854 to FH903
50 records
Cornell
FH904 to FH953
50 records
FH955 to FJ204
50 records
updated 7 November 2010
FJ205 to FJ262
50 records
updated 12 December 2010
FJ263 to FJ672
50 records
updated 12 December 2010
Cornell, Crane
FJ673 to FJ762
50 records
FJ763 to FJ812
50 records
FJ813 to FJ862
50 records
FJ863 to FJ912
50 records
Cornell, Kaydet
FJ913 to FJ962
50 records
FJ963 to FK176
50 records
FK177 to FL999
43 records
updated 16 April 2008
Kaydet, Mitchell, Hudson, Dakota
FM100 to end
1819 records
updated 18 March 2005




FM100 to FM229
50 records
FM300  to FN638

50 records
updated 13 March 2010
FN639 to FP702
50 records
updated 13 March 2010
FP703 to FP752
50 records
Lancaster, Lincoln, Seamew, Ventura, Catalina, Goose, Anson
FP753 to FP802
50 records
FP803 to FP852
50 records
FP853 to FP902
50 records
FP903 to FP952
50 records
Anson
FP953 to FR942
50 records
FR943 to FS957
50 records
FS956 to FT293
50 records
FT294 to FV694
50 records
Anson, Expeditor, Harvard, Cornell
FV695 to FW278

50 records
updated 8 March 2008
FW279 to FZ692

50 records
updated 12 March 2008
FZ694 to HB186
50 records
HB207 to HH560

50 records
updated 12 March 2008
Cornell, Mitchell, Dakota, Expeditor, Walrus, Hotspur
HHH561 to HS325
50 records
HS355 to JS100
50 records
JS101 to JS150
50 records
JS151 to JS200
50 records
Hotspur, Mosquito, Swordfish, Spitfire, Anson
JS201 to JX578
50 records
updated 23 March 2010
JX579 to KA232
50 records
updated 28 March 2010
KA233 to KA399
50 records
KA400 to KA455
50 records
Anson, Privateer, Seamew, Catalina, Mosquito
KA456 to KA506
50 records
KA507 to KA888
50 records
KA889 to KB142
50 records
KB143 to KB287
50 records
Mosquito
KB288 to KB379
50 records
KB380 to KB820
50 records
KB823 to KB891
50 records
KB892 to KB953
50 records
Mosquito, Lancaster
KB954 to KG441
60 records
KG448 to KH944
60 records
KH945 to KN392

50 records
updated 22 April 2010
KN427 to VT196
48 records
Lancaster, Dakota, Liberator, Hadrian, Mitchell, Mosquito, Swordfish, Tempest, Lincoln, Halifax, Spitfire, Vampire, Horsa, Sea Hornet, Meteor


This data has come from a variety of sources, and may contain all sorts of errors. In the future, I will add a complete list of references. For now, some recent Internet references can be found at the links below.  I would welcome any corrections or additions you may have. Contact me using the link below.

To main page to top of this page
contact me Canadian Military Aircraft links  Serial Number Links About the Author  The Project

2005-2016 by R. W. R. Walker      All rights reserved under the copyright laws.
This is an amateur site - please don't rely on any of this data for anything important!
Created 11 March 2005. Updated 21 June 2016.