The Avenger was designed as a torpedo bomber and entered production in 1941. It was used World War II as torpedo bomber by the US and British navies. It was the largest single engine propeller driven airplane to operate from an aircraft carrier. It was very versatile and could carry bombs, rockets and depth charges and operated as a dive bomber, day bomber and night bomber. The TBM's first operational mission with the US Navy was on June 4, 1942 from Midway island in the Battle of Midway. Of a total of 9,839 manufactured by Grumman and General Motors, 145 are still in existence today.
Avengers were purchased by Canadian Navy in 1950 and were used on coastal patrol from land and aircraft carrier bases including HMCS Shearwater. 125 eventually served in the Canadian Navy making it the most common aircraft type. Declared surplus in 1960, many TBM's carried on in civilian life as sprayers and water bombers. The large bomb bay was adapted to hold a 500 imperial gallon retardent tank.