8 Wing Trenton History

Born on the eve of the Great Depression, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station Trenton was destined to grow from the original few hundred acres of farmland to the present modern air centre from which transport aircraft are launched to the four corners of the globe.

The station came into being when the RCAF, numbering less than a thousand men and scraping by on a budget of 1.75 million dollars, was not able to afford the luxury of a base as grand as Camp Borden.

Consequently, 968 acres were purchased at Trenton due to its natural advantages as a land plane and seaplane station, moderate climate, as well as its proximity to such industrial and populated centres of Canada as Toronto and Ottawa.

Trenton was conceived by an Order in Council in 1929 and officially opened in August 1931. The commemorative cornerstone was laid by Lord Bessborough, the Governor General at the time. Into the granite were cut the words, "Per Ardua ad Rem," or "Through Adversity to the Good." Prophetic post the dreams of the men who devised it, that motto was long the unspoken watchword of Trenton's airmen.

The first two units to move into Trenton were No. 1 Fighter and No. 3 Army Cooperation Flights, flying Siskin fighters and Tiger Moths. This started a thirty year run of training airmen for Canada, highlighted by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the war, the Korean Airlift, and the innumerable ventures around the world from military assistance in the Middle East, aid to developing African countries, or humanitarian assistance to areas struck by war or natural disaster.

Today, 8 Wing/CFB Trenton is at the forefront of military aviation with its large modern fleet of heavy transport and SAR aircraft.