Shearwater Flyers Football Team
Canadian football played a major part in life at Shearwater during the period 1947-1967. Initially, the Dartmouth Air Station Flyers (renamed Shearwater Flyers in 1949) competed in the Halifax City Canadian Football League. Subsequently, they played in the Nova Scotia Football League from 1951 and the Atlantic Football Conference in 1965 whereby they provided the best of recreation and exceptional entertainment for the Base and surrounding community.
The successes of the Flyers were many. The team won seven Purdy Cups as the Nova Scotia Champions. They also won three Maritime Championships, two Eastern Canadian Intermediate titles, and in 1957, an undefeated Shearwater Flyers team went on to win the Canadian Intermediate Football Championship. This was the first Maritime team to win a National Canadian Football title. This winning year led to the team's induction into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame and into the Canadian Forces Sports Hall of Fame.
Personnel who played and worked for the Flyers comprised of aircrew, technicians and members of the naval trades and ranks. They were consistently an inspiration to their fans and a source of high morale for the Naval Air community.
Harvey Mills became head coach of the 1957 Shearwater Flyers and put together what was arguably the best football squad ever assembled in this province. It was to be a truly exciting year at the naval airbase. By the time the regular season was over, the Flyers had smashed just about every gridiron record this side of the St. Lawrence. The trio of Bob Hayes, Bruce Walker and Buck Taylor made a shambles of the individual scoring statistics with Hayes and Walker being tied for the scoring title at 114 points each. And Taylor placing third with 78 points. The Flyers as a team piled up 389 points. The next best was 115 points by St. F.X. When the Flyers moved on to face Mount Allison Mounties, the New Brunswick champs, they racked up a 40-18 victory, their ninth straight win of the year. That earned them a date with the Brantford Tiger-Cats for the Eastern Canadian intermediate championship. With 3,000 people looking on at the Wanderers Grounds, Shearwater scored an electrifying 12-7 victory to earn a birth in the final against the Fort William Redskins. A record 5,000 fanatical followers crammed the Wanderers Grounds to watch the Flyers fall behind 21-14. As the Flyers dug deeper, they piled up 13 unanswered points and a 27-21 win becoming the first Maritime based team to win the title.
Members of Flyers were Buck Taylor, Bruce Thomas, Ron McLean, Don Lilley, Doug Grant, Bruce Walker, Al Caulier, Ken Whitney, Gabe DesRoucher, Sam Brushett, Ron Parker, Dan McCowell, Alf Nicholson, Bob Hayes, Les Keyes, John Smith, Roy Carriere, Bill Key, Foxy Reynard, Len Smith, Ivor Axford, Pete McGregor, Ed Rieger, Charlie Cox, Paul Gowan, Andy Swan, Vern MacDonald., Tom Graham, John Salmon, Les Elworthy, Jack Beck, Joe Carver, George Mayne, Bill Harper, Dale Klassen, Bob Findlay, Gord McLeod, Jim McCombie, Pete Davidson, Bill McKinney, Harvey Mills (Coach), W.B. Gourley (Manager), Jimmy Pike (Trainor).