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Canadian Forces Station Alert:

Located on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island approximately 817 km from the North Pole, this is Canada’s most northerly station. The Alert Wireless Station was originally established on 9 April 1950 as a part of the Joint Arctic Weather Station System, a co-operative effort of the Canadian Department of Transport and the United States Weather Bureau.

The station was named after the Royal Navy ship HMS Alert, which spent the winter of 1875-76 at Cape Sheridan, 6 miles east of the station’s location.

In 1958 the station took on the function of a High Frequency Direction Finding and Signal Intelligence station operated by the RCAF. In 1959, the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals assumed control of the station. By 1961, members of the Royal Canadian Navy were also posted to the station.

Alert is named after the British ship HMS, which spent the winter 1875-1876 at Ellesmere Island near the site of the present station.

As a result of the Unification, the station was re-named CFS Alert and became a part of the Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio System.

In the mid 1990s, a reorganization and consolidation occurred within the Canadian Military. Several bases were either downsized, merged or closed. As a result, CFS Alert was downsized and converted to remote operation in 1998, along with CFS Masset and CFB Gander’s Radio Station. Staffing levels at Alert were reduced from 215 to 74 personnel. In 2006, further reductions in the military staffing occurred.

On 1 April 2009, the RCAF assumed control of CFS Alert, returning the station to its RCAF roots, and designated it a unit of 8 Wing Trenton. Today, Alert’s mission remains signals intelligence collection and radar station in support of search and rescue. Currently, Alert has 55 personnel: 25 military, 30 commercial contractors and 4 Environment Canada employees.

One of the barracks, built in 1975 to replace an original building, is named Chimo Hall after the former Naval Radio Station Fort Chimo in Quebec.

Source material: DND press release from February 1994 and September 1998, Communications & Electronics Museum site – & CFS Alert site –



Canadian Forces Northern Area Headquarters Yellowknife (Northwest Territories):

Established on 15 May 1970 as Canadian Forces Northern Area Headquarters (CFNA HQ) to assist and maintain sovereignty north of the 60th parallel and support CF operations in the north. CFNA QH was responsible for almost 4 million square kilometres of territory.

The headquarters is located in downtown Yellowknife, with a detachment at the Whitehorse Cadet Summer Training Centre at Boyle’s Barracks. A staff of 4 to 5 Regular Force members are posted to the Whitehorse camp year-round, with up to 20 to 25 Regular and Reserve Force member added during the summer when the cadet camp is up and running to work with the cadets.

440 Transport Squadron relocated from 17 Wing Winnipeg in 1994.

Canadian Forces Northern Area disbanded in 2006 and Joint Task Force North stood up in its place. The unit was a part of the newly-formed Canada Command, but now falls under Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC), established in 2012.

Source Material: CFS Alert web site –, History of the 400 Series Squadrons –, CPO2 (Ret’d) Chris Carnall (ret’d), Naval Storesman, formerly posted to Boyle’s Barracks (1996-99) & Joint Task Force North web site –

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