F2H-4 for Royal Canadian Navy

Last revised October 19, 2007

The Banshee had only one export customer, the Royal Canadian Navy.

The Royal Canadian Navy had considered acquiring the Banshee as a replacement for its Hawker Sea Fury F.B.11 piston-engined fighter-bombers. However, by the time that funding had finally been approved by the Canadian government, McDonnell was no longer building Banshees. Consequently, the RCN was forced to settle for 39 F2H-3s transferred from US Navy stocks.

The transfer of Banshees to Canada began on November 30, 1955. RCN pilots collected their F2H-3s at NAS Quonset Point in Rhode Island and flew them to Shearwater in Nova Scotia. Once in Canada, they were issued to two operational squadrons, VF-870 and VF-871, and to one test squadron, VX-10. The last RCN F2H-3 was transferred on June 16, 1958.

The Banshee had a high attrition rate in RCN service. By the summer of 1962, most of them had been lost in accidents either in flight, while ashore, or aboard the carrier HMCS Bonaventure. The surviving RCN F2H-3s were struck off strength on September 12, 1962. VF-870, the last RCN fighter squadron, was then disbanded. Several retired Banshees were burned at Shearwater to train the station's crash crews.

The following BuNos were transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy:

126294, 126295, 126306, 126310, 126313, 126327, 126330, 126331, 126333/126335, 126337, 126339, 126343, 126346, 126347, 126361, 126381, 126382, 126390, 126391, 126400, 126402, 126403, 126414, 126415, 126422, 126428, 126429, 126434, 126443, 126444, 126446, 126449, 126454, 126464, 126469, 126488, and 127510.

In RCN service, the Banshees carried their original US Navy Bureau numbers on their tails.

Canadian Banshee 126334 is on display at the Alberta Naval Museum, Calgary, Canada. 126464 is with the Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa, Canada.


  1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

  3. The World Guide to Combat Planes, William Green, Macdonald, 1966.

  4. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft Armament, Bill Gunston, Orion, 1988.

  5. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  6. E-mail from Barrie MacLeod on Canadian Banshees.