427 Squadron, also known as the “Lion Squadron” was formed on 7 November 1942 at Croft, Yorkshire. Between 1942 and 1945 the Squadron completed 3277 operational sorties, flying Wellingtons, Halifaxes, and Lancasters, and assisted in the liberation of Allied prisoners of war. During the Second World War, the squadron had strong connections to Hollywood, and was supported in their activities by a bevy of Hollywood starlets.
Between 1945 and the present day, the Lions have flown as a strike/attack squadron, tactical helicopter squadron and most recently, a special operations squadron, flying Sabre Mark III jets, the famous “Starfighter”, the L19 “Bird Dog”, the Kiowa, Twin Huey, and Griffon helicopters. Today it provides tactical airlift of troops and equipment, casualty evacuation, and logistical support.
The majority of the Squadron’s collection is housed and maintained at the Squadron lines. The Museums do hold a small amount of historically significant material, including letters to the Squadron from Hollywood stars, a bronze sculpture of a lion – one of the Squadron’s most prized pieces and Second World War log books from crew members.
In 2006, 427 Tactical Aviation Squadron was renamed 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (427 SOAS) and reorganized falling under the operational command of the Canadian Special Forces Command (CANSOFCOM).