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  1. #1

    Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron History Project

    Now that the Cadet Program Update has been in full swing for 4 years now, most (if not all) air cadets around here of the rank of Sgt and below should have completed EO C107.04 – Participate In an Activity about the History of the Squadron. Those who are FSgts and above may have even taught that class.

    How about sharing that history with the rest of us!

    A few ground rules first:

    1. Unless you are from 1 West Montreal Sqn, please don't say that your squadron is the oldest air cadet squadron in Canada. My squadron was formed as an offshoot of the local high school's corps of cadets which was formed in 1843 (and the squadron stayed active when the rest of the corps was disbanded) but that doesn't mean that my squadron is 169 years old.

    2. Please don't say that your squadron is the largest one in <insert geographical area here>. Like other tall tales, squadron strengths tend to get bigger every time they are told to someone.

    If you don't know where to start, here are the things that the Instructor Guide suggests should be included when the class is being taught.


    There are a number of events that are historically important during the creation of a squadron. These include:
    • the charter date for the squadron;
    • the initial composition of the squadron, staff and cadets; and
    • the first sponsor of the squadron.

    Squadrons participate in a number of community service events. Some events may happen annually, while others may occur only during special occasions. These events include, but are not limited to:
    • ceremonial parades; fundraising events for charities;
    • and civic events.
    Also, squadron personnel are involved in a number of activities within their unit, which are an important part of the unit’s history. These activities may include, but are not limited to:
    • formation of various activities within the squadron (such as a drill team, band, first aid team, marksmanship team, etc.);
    • participation in exchanges; and
    • squadron trips to various locations.
    Other important developments in the history of a squadron include:

    • the development of a squadron badge; and
    • the affiliation of a squadron with a Canadian Forces (CF) military unit.

    There are a number of ways that a squadron can be recognized. The recognition may come from winning a competition, or for demonstrating excellence in a particular area.
    These awards can be won on provincial, regional, national, and in some circumstances, international levels.

    Memorial awards are awards that are left in memory of someone that has made significant contributions to the local squadron or the CCO. Memorial awards that may be given are an important source of historical information within the squadron.
    So let's hear it!
    gliderwingsJ-P Johnson cd1
    Barrie Ontario
    The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

  2. #2
    102 (Barrie Silver Fox) Squadron is a Royal Canadian Air Cadet squadron located in Barrie, Ontario and is headquartered and trains at the Barrie Armoury.


    During World War 2

    In the fall of 1941, a committee of the Kiwanis Club of Barrie submitted an application to the Air Cadet League of Canada to form an air cadet squadron in the city. Approval was granted on 21 February 1942 as 102 (Barrie Kiwanis) Squadron to train "20 to 50 boys of the prescribed age... who are considered to be of suitable physique... with the written consent of their parents or guardians". The squadron received its charter in April 1942 and began recruiting shortly after.

    The first commanding officer was Flight Lieutenant George Fricke whose staff consisted of Flying Officer Paul Fisher (Squadron Adjutant), F/O Leighton Clarke (Flight Commander and Instructor), and WO1 Jack Johnson (Equipment Officer and Clerk). The orderly room was located at the Barrie Armoury and the training was conducted at the nearby Barrie Collegiate Institute (now Barrie Central Collegiate) where the cadets were recruited from the school's "Corps of Cadets". Records also indicate that a building was erected by the Kiwanis Club in the land between Barrie Collegiate and the Armoury but the building was sold off after the war and demolished to make way for housing. The exact location remains unknown.

    Post War

    Following the war many air cadet squadrons were disbanded as the organization moved to "civilianize" itself. 102 Squadron was one of the victims of this re-organization. In March 1948 the Squadron was stood down only to be reactivated on 25 October 1948 as 102 (Junior Chamber of Commerce) Squadron under Flight Lieutenant Maurice Badgley, MBE. The "new" 102 Squadron was comprised mostly of the staff and cadets of the "old" 102 Squadron. Despite having been stood down, 102 Sqn has never missed a training year since its formation in 1942.

    In June 1952 the Squadron changed sponsors to become 102 (Moose) Squadron sponsored by the Barrie lodge of The Loyal Order of the Moose. The current sponsor, 441 "Huronia" Wing Royal Canadian Air Force Association took over in 1958.

    Following the unification of the Canadian Forces in the late 1960s, 102 Squadron's fortunes dwindled until the squadron strength dropped to 40 cadets in the early 1970s, the lowest number since 1943. In 1975 a devastating fire destroyed the building housing its sponsor and with it went many of the Squadron's records and memorabilia. Though some of it was recovered, much of the information available is held on file in Ottawa along with some photos and memorabilia since donated by ex-cadets and parents.

    Barrie Tornado

    On 31 May 1985 102 Squadron was busily preparing for its Annual Inspection when, shortly before 4:50pm, a tornado swept through Barrie destroying much of the southern part of the city. Instead of going home, the cadets tore down its displays and, at the request of local authorities, converted the Armoury into an overflow area for the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital. Cadets were tasked to work with the local militia unit, the regular force and the local police in a variety of tasks. These tasks included directing traffic, search and rescue and security patrols in the stricken areas[4]. The Squadron's role in coming to the aid of those in trouble earned it a Commander Central Region Commendation.

    Recent History

    In February 1997 the Squadron was officially re-designated 102 (Barrie Silver Fox) Squadron in recognition of its almost forty-year affiliation with its sponsor, RCAF 441 Wing Air Force Association of Canada.

    In 2002, in recognition of 60 years of service to the community, 102 Squadron was granted the Freedom of the City of Barrie. In addition, 441 (Silver Fox) Tactical Fighter Squadron become the affiliated unit. This affiliation lasted until 441 Squadron was amalgamated with 416 Squadron to form 409 (Nighthawk) Tactical Fighter Squadron in July 2006.

    Squadron Badge

    Despite its long history, 102 Squadron had never adopted a squadron badge. In 1996, it was decided to apply for a name change for the squadron and a proposed squadron badge was also submitted to the Air Cadet League of Canada for approval . The new badge was designed by Captain J-P Johnson and final approval was given by the League in May of 1997.

    Within a standard Royal Canadian Air Cadet squadron badge frame, the badge is described as:

    "Argent three bars gemel wavy Azure, over all, a silver fox's mask."

    The silver fox's mask is the emblem of RCAF 441 Wing, the squadron's sponsor; and 441 (Silver Fox) Tactical Fighter Squadron . The three sets of blue wavy lines (bars gemel wavy azure) are a represention of the waters of Kempenfelt Bay and Lake Simcoe that is also found on the coat of arms of the Corporation of the City of Barrie.


    While the proposed squadron badge was being prepared for submission, discussion turned to the adoption of a squadron motto. It was decided that the motto of our sponsoring body, and it's namesake air force squadron - namely "Stalk and Kill" - was not an appropriate motto to be adopted by an air cadet squadron. After some research, it was discovered that there was a 102 (Ceylon) Squadron which was part of the Royal Air Force during World War One and Two. That 102 Squadron had adopted the latin motto "Tentate et Perficite" which translates as "To Attempt and Achieve". This was deemed to be an excellent fit for the air cadet programme and was adopted concurrent with the name change in 1997.
    gliderwingsJ-P Johnson cd1
    Barrie Ontario
    The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

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  4. #3
    SoA is on a distinguished road SoA's Avatar
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    North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    103 (Thunderbird) Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron is located in the City of North Vancouver, British Columbia, and is located in its own "Air Cadet Building", opened in 1957. The unit parades at the next-door LCol J.P. Fell Armoury, where the 6th Field Engineer Squadron is headquartered.
    The following information is taken from our squadron website (plus a couple corrections on wording). http://www.103air.com/history.html <-- click here if you want to see the full size images of the squadron badges.


    103 Thunderbird Squadron has its roots early in World War II, when the Royal Canadian Air Cadets was created as a means of training young men to serve the allied war effort. At that time, No. 103 North Vancouver Highschool Squadron, as it was known, was managed by the teaching staff at the local highschool who had volunteered to become reserve officers and instruct cadets. Enthusiasm from the community was high and many cadets went on to serve with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

    During the war, there were 30,000 air cadets in 300 squadrons across the country. But, when the war ended and the public breathed their first sigh of relief in many years, interest faded across Canada and North Vancouver was no exception. North Vancouver High School teachers had other problems – those of having to cope with a vast influx of post-war students taking up their studies where they left off before they went away to answer the call to arms in the fight for their country. The tremendous shortage of classroom facilities brought about by the ever increasing migration of population from East to West added further to the burden of the high school staff and the squadron was disbanded in 1946.

    The Canadian government though soon realized the dire need of keeping the country's youth air-minded in order that they could fill the ever increasing gaps left in Canada's expanding civil aviation industries and the natural outlet for such training lay with the already partially formed and equipped air cadet squadrons across the country. The RCAF called upon former flying and ground crew personnel from the ranks of the reserve lists to shoulder the responsibility of carrying out the instruction and administration work. Many air cadet squadrons that had closed down began to be re-formed late in the 1940s.

    In North Vancouver, two former 103 cadets, John Rawlins and Ian Morrison, helped begin the movement to re-organize the squadron in 1947. As soon as RCAF personnel became interested and sponsorship was obtained through the Kiwanis Club, the squadron began training once again using the local Scout Hall as a temporary headquarters until City Council granted use of the basement of Lonsdale Hall (now the location of the Lonsdale Rec Centre). On May 10, 1948, air cadets in North Vancouver was officially re-established as 103 North Vancouver Squadron with Flying Officer Bill Holley as first Commanding Officer. The squadron has been in continuous operation ever since.

    By the mid-1950s, the squadron peaked at 250 cadets and was the largest air cadet squadron in BC. The facilities at Lonsdale Hall were simply no longer able accommodate the huge numbers. In 1956, through the hard work of squadron patron and Member of Parliament, The Honourable James Sinclair, and then Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader Derek Inman, the squadron was leased an old single-story army hut located north of the LCol J.P. Fell Armoury in North Vancouver. The building was relocated to a site beside the armoury and for about a year, squadron staff, sponsoring committee members, parents and cadets worked almost every evening and weekend to renovate the building into an upgraded and functional two-story facility. The building was officially opened in a ceremony by His Honour Lieutenant Governor Frank Ross in 1957 declaring it the “finest cadet accommodations in all Canada." The building has remained the home of the squadron ever since.

    The squadron was renamed 103 Thunderbird Squadron in 1971 in honour of North Vancouver’s Pacific Northwest Coast first nations’ history. The Thunderbird is considered a supernatural bird of power and strength. The squadron’s official motto is the Latin phrase Per Doctrina Vis. It translates to Strength Though Knowledge and was adopted during the 50th anniversary celebrations in 1998.

    Over the years, 103 Squadron has been very successful and has won many awards including Top Squadron in British Columbia, Top Squadron in Canada and many individual awards. In 1981, the squadron's longest serving Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader Derek Inman, was made Member of the Order of Canada, in part for his work with air cadets. In 1998, the squadron was honoured by North Vancouver City Council with Freedom of the City in recognition of its service to the youth of the community over the previous fifty years.

    Badges of 103 Squadron

    ca. 1952

    ca. 1971

    ca. 1982

    ca. 1985

    2001 (Current Badge)
    So, Andrew

    Drum Major

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  6. #4
    lmckeown is on a distinguished road lmckeown's Avatar
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    803 North Shore Sabre Squadron

    803 North Shore Sabre Squadron is a Royal Canadian Air Cadet squadron located in Pierrefonds, Quebec at Riverdale High School. The Following Short History is taken from the squadron Website - > http://www.803squadron.com.

    Plans were under way as early as January 1971 to form a squadron of Air Cadets in the Pierrefonds, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Roxboro and Ste. Geneviève areas of the West Island. This squadron was to be composed of approximately fifty boys of both French and English backgrounds from the age of thirteen to eighteen years.

    Three major steps had to be completed before recruiting could begin:

    An official charter had to be received from the Air Cadet League of Canada.
    A civilian committee had to be formed; and
    Accommodations for training were required.
    The St. Laurent Mount Royal Rotarians were the sponsors of this newly formed squadron. Word was received by Mr. Murphy, the first Chairman of the Civilian Committee, that the Canadian Forces Headquarters had approved the formation of our squadron. The charter was issued on May 26, 1971 in the name of "803 North Shore Rotary Squadron Canadian Air Cadets".

    Several training sites were considered and the present location was chosen. Since 1971, Riverdale High School in Pierrefonds has been the home of 803 Squadron. Training of cadets started in the fall of 1971 under Captain Frank Hofmann and a corps of well qualified staff. In 1973, 803 Squadron began accepting young ladies between thirteen and eighteen years of age, a full two years before the Air Cadet League officially sanctioned their general acceptance in local squadrons.

    Sponsorship changed in 1975 to the Royal Canadian Legion, General Vanier Branch 234 in Roxboro. The squadron then became known as the "803 North Shore Sabre Squadron". Its current logo and squadron crest was the result of a competition among cadets at the time.

    Since its formation over 40 years ago, hundreds of young men and women have answered to their names at the roll call of 803 Squadron.

    Squadron Crest

    This is all the History I can Gathe for now, But I will do some digging and update when I find More.
    CI L. McKeown
    Chief Instructor | Scholarship Ground School Instructor
    Escadron 518 Rosemont, RCACs

    "Be the change that you wish to see in the world" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

  7. #5

    Air Wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by J-P Johnson View Post
    Those who are FSgts and above may have even taught that class.
    Wow, I wish I taught that class back in the day! Such an important part of the squadron and its moral. Thank you for the post (even if it's from 2012!)
    102 Rocks the base!!!

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