Air Cadet Uniform Display
- SQUADRON HISTORIES
- With the start of the Air Cadet Program in 1941 squadrons were started at schools throughout the province, in both the cities and small communities alike. Seventy-one Air Cadet Squadrons have functioned in the Province of Manitoba, twenty-four remain active.
- At wars end, many of the air cadet squadrons disbanded. Some amalgamated with other squadrons, some held on for a few years before they closed; some were to reopen after a period of time. Each of the twenty-four active Manitoba Air Cadet squadrons has its own history to tell and the following are some of those stories...
HISTORY OF No. 6 SQUADRON
#6 (Jim Whitecross Squadron) in Winnipeg was formed on September 24, 1941.
It is not generally known that the first Air Cadet squadron in Canada was formed in Winnipeg by a member of the Lions Club, Albert Bennett. On leaving a meeting in Christ Church, he found the radiator ornament of his car had been damaged, and he caught two of the boys responsible. In talking to the boys, he was told that in the district around Christ Church on Henry Avenue, families were living in rooms and the boys could only play on the streets. There were no sports facilities, Boy Scout troops or other organizations to take care of them. He invited them to bring their friends to meet him at the church the following evening. Twelve attended, and The Christ Church Air Cadet Squadron was formed in October 1938. The numbers grew, and Mr. Bennett was assisted in the drilling and training program by Sid Press and Mrs. Chase.
The first monetary grant, 50 dollars, was made by the Lions Club and went to buy cloth for uniforms. The corps were outfitted with blue shirts, shoulder straps and caps at a cost of 79 cents per cadet.
A committee of Lions members were formed to assist Mr. Bennett in the work. Bob Rutherford later became Chairman and Secretary-Treasurer. Others in the early days among the Lions members who served on this committee were Bill Fleming, AI McNamara, Cliff Hudson, Ralph Misner, Ray Sweet, Bob Rutherford and Ed Vopni. Later others joined to assist:
The movement grew until eventually there were over 800 cadets, divided into five nights and parades were held at Daniel Mcintyre, St. John's & Tache Collegiates and Robert H. Smith school. The name changed to Winnipeg Air Cadets in 1939. About this time, Group Captain Bonham-Carter became interested and provided officers from the RCAF to assist in the training.
The biography of Flying Officer Jim Whitecross.
HISTORY OF No. 9 SQUADRON
#9 Neepawa Squadron was formed on September 24, 1941.
#9 Squadron 1941 - 1991
1991 will be the 50th Anniversary of #9 Royal Canadian Air Cadets in Neepawa. The squadron, the third oldest in Canada, has been an intricate part of the community over the last 50 years. A thousand youth from Neepawa, Kelwood, Riding Mountain, Erickson, Onanole, Minnedosa, Franklin, Mentmore, Brookdale, Arden, Gladstone, Mountain Road, Birnir, Eden, Wellwood and Edrans formed the squadron’s personnel over the years.
It all started on July 29, 1941 with a meeting at Neepawa Collegiate were J.F. Sigurjonsson,, (Principal, N.C.I. acting as Chairman, and F.J. McKenzie, (M.P.), Dr. J.S. Poole, (M.L.A.), R.E. Beecher, (Inspector of Schools), H.A. Wilson, (Manager of Neepawa Branch of C.I.L.), H.C. Ray, (Vice-Principal), J.A. Davidson, (Chairman of the Neepawa School Board) in attendance.
Squadron parades were held in the Collegiate and Collegiate Shop until 1944 when the squadron moved to #26 Elementary Flying Training School.
Flying Officer H.A. Wilson was the squadron's first Commanding Officer, with H.C. Ray as Administration Officer with Mr. Kerr and F. Urquhart as training staff. They were joined in 1942 by Flying Officer J. Mc Gillivray and Mr. C. Martin.
The squadron was presented its colours at a special ceremony on October 27, 1943. In April of 1944 the squadron committee approached Arden and Eden to invite them to become part of #9 Squadron.
Also in April, 1944, the squadron's cadets assisted the local Lion's Club in transporting chairs to and from the Arcade for Victory Loan Rally.
At a special Annual Inspection on May 10, 1944, Air Vice Marshall witnessed the change of squadron command from Flying Officer H.A. Wilson to Flying Officer Martin O'Day.
In February, 1945, Mr. F.S. Burgess and R. Bell representing the Legion were in attendance at the squadron committee meeting and both groups jointly applied for #26 EFTS, Sergeants Mess for use after the War.
The squadron did well in cadet competitions held at North Brandon in 1945. The squadron team was runner-up in the track and field competitions. The team of David Perry, Lorne Kilburn, Don Burgess, Roy Bell, Richard Hallen, Mervyn Buchanan, Douglas Bell, Fred Lopichuk, Lawrence Lowe, had come close to being provincial champions.
The squadron Marksmanship team Donald McEwen, Jim Mason, Larry Robinson, ranked third in overall provincial competition.
The squadron won the MacDonald Shield (1946-47) for being the proficient rural squadron for Manitoba region.
Cadet Jim Bell received one of the squadron's first flying Scholarships, while Cadet Wilkie received an exchange trip to England.
With the advent of 1949, Air Cadet quarters were built at the Drill Hall. At first, the Air cadets undertook this task but since this plan did not prove too satisfactory, carpenters from the salt works were obtained.
In September 1949, the Neepawa Flying Club took over the sponsorship of the squadron. Present at the initial meeting were: J. Barton, Chas. Chapman, Martin O'Day, F/Sgt Matheson, F/L Epps, Mr. Vopni, (Provincial Cadet Committee), Mr. Beecher, Mr. C. Kilburn, Mr. Ed McGill, (of the Brandon Flying club), Jim Peeler, Doug Drysdale, Mr. Whitley.
The 40's saw squadron cadets active in the training program, summer camps, exchange visits, Flying/Gliding Scholarships, rifle competitions sponsored by the King, Lord Strathcona Shooting Competitions in Ottawa, and familiarization flights from Winnipeg and Rivers.
Mr. H.B. Smith began his long association with the squadron in October 1949, by assuming the position of Chairman of the Sponsoring Committee.
Squadron Officers were: F/O Martin ODay, Officer Commanding; C. Chapman, Admin.; W. Greenhalgh, training with Fred Anderson, George Cooper, (Radio-Communications), Cliff Farough, (Armament), Jim Tereschuk, (Physical Recreation), Walter Greenhalgh (Aero Engines).
The squadron had become established as part of the community through the dedicated service of many. It would remain for the 1950's to firmly establish the squadron in the area.
The 1950's saw No. 9 Squadron begin its second decade. Squadron cadets and the cadet band participated in the cadet activities in Winnipeg on May 27, 1950.
A special parade was put on at the airport, where the parents of the squadron's cadets viewed the activities of cadets.
Waldon Kilburn received a Flying Scholarship and went on to start the beginning of what would be a long career in aviation as did Harvey J. Russell. Frank Jusiancryk had also received his coveted schollaeship in 1949. One of the high points of the squadron in the 1950's was, undoubtedly, its participation in the local, Queen Elizaceth II Coronation Parade to recognize the coronation of our new Queen.
In 1953, F/O P. Cottingham began what would be a long association with the squadron taking over as squadron Commanding officer in 1953 from F/L C. Chapman. Messrs. W.W. Kilburn, V. Murray, J. Mextier, H. Gill, and J. Masters, (who began his 28 years with the squadron in 1956), also joined the squadron training staff.
The squadron continued to do well in flying scholarship competitions with Harvey Russell, Faith Byran, Arthur Venerables, (1953), Ken Potter, David Minkus, Cecil Pittman, (1957), and Glen Coull, Bill Shanks, (1958) winning theirs.
The squadron looked forward to the town's 75th Anniversary celebrations in 1958.
The squadron, redoubling its efforts and activities, saw cadets busy with church parades, tag days, inter-squadron activities, parades, and the Annual Inspections.
The squadron efficiency rating was nearly 80% on the Provincial scale throughout this period.
The Squadron's Committee was headed by Mr. H.B. Smith and later by Dr. J.A. McPhedaran. Both men spent considerable time with the squadron with Mr. Smith with nearly a quarter century and Dr. McPhedaran at a decade by this time. Mrs. Smith, too, had graciously continued her husband's tradition of dedicated service to the squadron ever since 1978.
The 1960's saw the squadron steadily improving.
Cadets Morley Henderson, George Crooks, Wayne Trembath, Jim Pollock, Robert Scott, Lawrence Keyes, Roger Minus, Glen Clarke, became Flying Scholarship candidates (1960-61). Air Cadet Henderson also received the Student Pilot Proficiency Trophy. Neepawa cadets placed 1st, 2nd and 6th in the Inter-squadron Flying Scholarship ratings.
Wing Commander R.D.H. Ellis presented wings to cadets D. Henderson, Brian Scott, Lawrence Keyes, Roger Minkus, and Glen Clarke on February 14, 1961.
While Group Captain C.M. Black presented Ron Potter, Jim Pollock, Robert Scott, Ken Donaldson, and Rick Kilburn with theirs in 1962. Rick Kilburn was also selected to participate in an exchange trip to Sweden.
By Annual Inspection in 1963, the squadron had won the C.J.A.T.C. Rifle Competiton (Rivers), the squadron colour party had gone to Brandon to participate in special Air Force commemorate ceremonies.
Group Captain Black had stated; "The squadron is a strong contender for the most improved squadron. An excellent squadron in all respects."
The Rt. Honourable John G. Diefenbaker visited the squadron and inspected it while doing some electioneering in the area.
Squadron cadets attending camp at St. Jean, Quebec (1963) were L.A.C.'s Ken Donaldson, O. Moore, K. McConnell, W. Patterson, H. Hunt, R. Potter, R. Bell, R. Kilburn, G. Hall, R. Crooks, G. Hunter, C. Smith, R. Franks, B. Deveson, and Sgt. B. Scott.
The squadron by 1964 had one hundred and three cadets on parade at the Annual Inspection.
Mr. Russ Craig began what would be a decade of dedicated service with the squadron's sponsoring body as secretary-treasurer.
Cadets participated in Battle of Britain Parades, Decoration Days (Gladstone, Neepawa), Remembrance Day and Air Cadet Week Parades.
Cadets Ron Crooks, Grant Hall, (1963) Richard Howden Lane Henderson (1964), Morris Clarke (1965), achieved Flying Scholarships, while Cadet Rick Kilburn achieved an exchange tour to Sweden.
Group Captain C.M. Black had commented at the Squadron's Annual Inspection and later to Air Command that, "Mr. H.B. Smith leads a very keen, and energetic sponsoring committee. The squadron's support and cooperation with the Town is excellent, the local newspaper outstanding."
On September 19, 1966, the squadron was inspected by the Dominion President of the Royal Canadian Legion, Mr. Ron McBeath, and Mr. Jack Beaumont, President of Man./N.W.O.T. Command.
Cadets Dennis Skibinsky, Donald Stewart, and Rick Lee attained their Flying Scholarships in 1966.
In the Inter-Air Squadron Sports Competition, Cadets Peter Scott, David Scott, Lloyd Hall, Rick Smith, Harold Harding, Allan Smithson, Bob Hill, Brian Pearson, Larry Payjack, Bob Seaborn, Dale McVey tied for second place.
Cadets Davic Cottingham, Murray Martin, and Frank Fetterly (1967), Bruce Cook, Bruce Jackson, David Powell, Bob MacMannes (1968), Lloyd Hall, Bob Hockin, Bob Hill (1969), achieved their Flying Scholarships.
Attending Air Cadet Centennial celebrations were cadets Peter Scott, Bob Seaborn, Jim Graham, and Bruce Jackson.
The squadron, however, no longer paraded in the drill hall, as this facility was disposed of by the government.
Fortunately, however, the squadron moved to the Neepawa Areas Collegiate facilities, thanks to the intervention of Mr. Ivan, Traill, Principal of the Collegiate.
The 60's saw the boom years of the squadron. Squadron Commanders P. Cottingham, P. Fellows and D.C. Lee and their excellent staff had taken the squadron and gradually built it to a parade strength of over 100 cadets.
An excellent program and conscientious dedication of many saw a vibrant squadron advance into the 70's.
The 1970's saw the squadron face a number of challenges.
The decade began, however, with Manitoba's Centennial Celebrations. Sgt. Rick Lee and WO Bruce Cook were flag bearers for the Centennial Ceremony in the arena on December 31, 1969. New members were added to that select group of Squadron Flying Scholarship winners: Roy Simon (1970), Todd Simon (1971), Eric Dyck (1972), Darwin DeBackers (1972), Terry Drayson (1973), Robert Dagg (1974), Richard Mann and Murray Baskerville (1975), David Baskerville (1976).
Tough times were threatening the squadron, however, a controversy raged as to the suitability of cadet boots on the gym floor. Initially, the cadets adapted by parading in running shoes with their neatly polished boots on display beside them on inspections. But this issue proved to be the tip of the iceberg and eventually the squadron underwent three different moves to different training areas, in the hope of settling down again. It was certainly not a time to build the squadron.
In January of 1971, the Town of Neepawa came to the rescue to provide a new location in the basement of the Town Library Building.
This area, to date, is still, after a series of upgrading and facility improvements, the present home of the squadron.
The squadron expanded the course of options available to its cadets adding or revising courses such as photography, radio, and a variety of other technical courses.
Squadron Supply Officer Jack Masters in 1974, with nearly twenty years with the squadron by this time, received one of many commendations during his term as Squadron Supply Officer.
Area Cadet Officer W.J. Jack, noted, "the records, and inventory are models for other units to follow ... it is rated as very superior."
In 1975 the squadron lost access to the N.A.C.I. gym, but fortunately M. Jim Schmall, the Principal of H.M. Kellington School made available their facility.
Exclusive male domination of the cadet movement in Neepawa was shattered in the mid-1970's. It was a considerable shock to the male ego when female cadets S. Cassells, D. Loucks, S. Muir, J. Bray, J. Johnstone, and S. McLaughlin walked away with all the top honours at the Squadron's Annual Awards Banquet.
While competition was fierce between male - female cadets, its friendly rivalry built quality and espirit de corps of the squadron to a new high.
The squadron proudly accepted the Harold A. Steele Trophy as the most Proficient Squadron, the Brock-Smith Trophy for the most improved squadron in 1979.
Mr. Charles Guichon, as representative of the Air Cadet League of Canada, and a dedicated friend of the squadron, made the presentation to Mr. Elmer Hockin, Chairman of the Squadron Sponsoring body, #23 Royal Canadian Legion.
Dedicated squadron staff continued to build the squadron's training program, and provide direct contact with community affairs. Mr. G Baskerville, Mrs. M.D. Anderson, Mr. J. Mercer, R.A. Burns, F.S. Bremner, R. Dunsmore, T. Wenham, D,C, Lee, F, Stronman, W. Dimmery, D. McClennand, K. Slatz, M. Dagg, did much to maintain the viability and vibrancy of #9 Squadron's training program.
The squadron had experienced much in the first forty years. It remained to see what the 80's would bring.
With the advent of the 1980's, the squadron began its forty years as a youth movement in the community. Squadron strength averaged forty cadets from Neepawa and surrounding area.
Cadets Garry Dyck (1981), Brad Mowat (1982), Randy Boychuk (1983), Kevin Rogers (1987), joined the ranks of flying scholarship winners.
Squadron Officers in the 1980's included T. Edwards, G. Mansell, G.R. DeBackere, L. Hall, H. MacPhae, T.J. Lee, D. Sutton, J. Anderson, C. Hockbaum, C. Gillas, L. Foxo, V. Bachewich, J. Husak, M. Still, B. McCamis, G. Painkie, and R. Ferguson.
The Sponsoring Committee, No. 23 Royal Canadian Legion, which had taken over the Sponsorship of the Squadron in 1953, continued the tradition of excellent support to the squadron.
Past Chairman of the Committee, M.M. (Smitty) Asplin, R.G. Stewart, C.E. Hockin, J.A.P. McCaffrey, A. Campbell, M. McCongehy, spent many hours organizing, coordinating, encouraging and fretting as the squadron progressed towards the 1990's. It was no small part due to them; the squadron met and mastered the many challenges it was to encounter.
The Ladies of the Legion Auxiliary, too, never hesitated to support the squadron, during its many activities especially when food was involved or needed by those perpetually hungary cadets. In the hearts of all cadets, they are indeed special.
The 80's saw the squadron cadets in the missile silos and fighters of AFB Grand Forks, bombers in AFB Minot, Leopard tanks in CFB Shilo, helicopters/gliders in CFB Portage La Prairie and Rivers, Dakota/Muskateer aircraft at Neepawa and CFB Portage, participating in search and rescue mission activities, orienteering, wilderness/survival exercises, summer camps, Centennial activities and numerous other events.
With the arrival of the 90's and the squadron's 50th Anniversary, the squadron can look back with pride. Despite adversity which was sometimes seemingly insurmountable the squadron has continued to be an intricate part of the community.
In the darkest times there were those who came forward to see the movement through. Those countless Neepawa and area people, who have done so much to assist, encourage, or revitalize the squadron, deserve a special tribute for providing nearly three generations with an excellent community youth and citizenship program.
The Town of Neepawa has been excellent in its continued support particularly Mayor Gill and the many councillors over the years.
It will be some special memories and reflection that ex-cadets, parents, former officers, sponsoring personnel, dignitaries view the Squadron's Annual Inspection on Wednesday June 5th, 1991.
Former cadet of No.9 Squadron, General R.R. Crabbe as Inspecting Officer closes the circle, coming back to Neepawa which he left as a student and cadet, to make his way as a citizen of Canada in the world of work.
Cadets from No.6 Jim Whitecross Squadron, Winnipeg, too, will join No. 9 to jointly celebrate our 50th Anniversary as well as an Air Cadet Band.
It is hoped all former cadets and parents will consider joining us for this special celebration.
Submitted by Robert Ferguson
HISTORY OF No. 50 SQUADRON
#50 (Lieutenant Colonel Barker V.C.) Squadron in Dauphin was re-formed on August 6, 1953. The original #50 Squadron was formed on November 25, 1941 and disbanded in 1948.
The biography of Lieutenant Colonel William Barker, V.C.
HISTORY OF No. 82 SQUADRON
#82 (Brandon Rotary) Squadron was formed on 12 January, 1942.
HISTORY OF No. 158 SQUADRON
#158 (Fisher) Squadron in Fisher Branch was formed on September 1, 1989.
HISTORY OF No. 170 SQUADRON
#170 (St. James Kiwanis) Squadron was formed on October 3, 1942. The name was later changed to #170 (St. James) Squadron in 1995.
HISTORY OF No. 176 SQUADRON
#176 (Optimist) Squadron was formed on October 16, 1942. The name was changed to 176 (Boeing of Canada) Squadron on June 24, 1985.
HISTORY OF No. 177 SQUADRON
#177 (Seven Oaks) Squadron was formed on October 19, 1942. The name was later changed to #177 (Trans Canada Airlines) Squadron and then #177 (Air Canada) Squadron.
HISTORY OF No. 179 SQUADRON
#179 Morden Squadron was re-formed and relocated from Killarney on May 16, 1983. The original #179 Squadron was formed on October 16, 1942 and disbanded in March 1982.
HISTORY OF No. 182 SQUADRON
#182 (GM Stefnufastur) Squadron in Gimli was formed on September 1, 1983. The original #182 (Kinsmen-Kelvin) Squadron was formed in Winnipeg on October 3, 1942 and disbanded on November 18, 1946
HISTORY OF No. 191 SQUADRON
#191 (West Winnipeg Rotary) Squadron was formed on November 11, 1942.
HISTORY OF No. 199 SQUADRON
#199 (St. Vital) Squadron was re-formed on January 29, 2003. The original #199 Squadron was formed November 7, 1942 and disbanded November 18, 1946.
HISTORY OF No. 220 SQUADRON
#220 (Lord Selkirk) Squadron was formed in Winnipeg on November 27, 1942. The name was changed to #220 (Red River) Squadron in 1950.
HISTORY OF No. 249 SQUADRON
#249 Beausejour Squadron was re-formed on March 2, 1967. The original #249 Squadron was formed on January 16, 1943 and disbanded on March 28, 1946.
HISTORY OF No. 263 SQUADRON
#263 (Intrepid) Squadron in Melita was re-formed on August 15, 1962. The original #263 Squadron was formed on April 14, 1943 and disbanded on May 19, 1950.
HISTORY OF No. 301 SQUADRON
#301 (Alan McLeod V.C.) Squadron was re-formed on January 29, 2009. The original #301 Squadron was formed on November 7, 1942 and disbanded in March 1948.
The biography of Lieutenant Alan McLeod, V.C..
HISTORY OF No. 303 SQUADRON
#303 (The Pas Elks) Squadron was re-formed on February 8, 1952. The original #303 Squadron was formed on July 22, 1943 and disbanded on June 31, 1946.
HISTORY OF No. 307 SQUADRON
#307 (Stoneybrook) Squadron was re-formed in Steinbach on February 1, 2006. The original #307 (Gateway) Squadron was formed on July 22, 1943 in Emerson and was disbanded November 18, 1946.
HISTORY OF No. 317 SQUADRON
#317 Strathclair Squadron was formed on August 25, 1943.
The #317 RCACS STRATHCLAIR had its beginning in the summer of 1943, after a young boy the name of Cliff Sothers went around and had all the other young boys in the surrounding area sign a petition to see if there were enough young boys willing to be in Air Cadets. The petition was then taken to a meeting held in Mr. Wm. Hunter's office in Strathclair with S/L W. Ranfeild of the R.C.A.F. present.
On the 25th August 1943 our squadron was given its charter and we became known as the #317 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron Strathclair.
G.V. Henderson was appointed the first Officer Commanding of the new squadron, A. Diamond Adjutant and Colin Rogers Flight Commander.
A civilian committee of seven others, business men, acted as the sponsoring committee until the fall of 1951, when the Strathclair Legion #154 became the sponsor. In the fall of 2005 the Strathclair Legion #154 relinquished sponsorship after 54 years, turning the sponsorship over to the newly formed Strathclair Air Cadet Sponsoring Association, comprised of all cadet parents.
In 1970 there were around 65 boys enrolled in the squadron, from the same surrounding area. We now have male and female cadets in our squadron, these cadets come from Shoal Lake, Oakburn, Elphinstone, Strathclair, Newdale and Erickson.
We are always looking for younger people who wish to come and join our team and become future leaders in this great youth movement, our future leaders.
HISTORY OF No. 519 SQUADRON
#519 (Swan Valley) Squadron was formed in Swan River on February 3, 1950.
HISTORY OF No. 573 SQUADRON
573 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron (RCACS) formed on May 26th 1953 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
573 RCACS held the namesake of Branch 141 Legion for many years parading out of the historic McGregor Armoury located in the heart of North End Winnipeg.
On the 26th of February, 2005, after over 50 years of being known as the 573 Legion 141 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron the unit was renamed the 573 Andrew Mynarski, V.C. Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron. Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarksi was a local World War 2 Victoria Cross recipient.
Andrew Charles "Andy" Mynarski, V.C. (14 October 1916 - 13 June 1944) was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Mynarski was 27 years old and flew with 419 "Moose" Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War when he gave his life attempting to help rescue a trapped crew member. His Victoria Cross was awarded in 1946 as the last such award to a Canadian airman in the Second World War.
As of December 2015, 573 Andrew Mynarksi, V.C. Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron parades on Friday nights at McGregor Armoury with 75-90 cadets. Promoting youth development, building future leaders, and maintaining a strong sense of community are the idealisms of 573 RCACS.
The biography of Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski, V.C.
HISTORY OF No. 575 SQUADRON
#575 (Terrier) Squadron in Portage La Prairie was formed on September 2, 1953.
HISTORY OF No. 677 SQUADRON
#677 Russell Squadron was formed on July 3, 1958.
HISTORY OF No. 737 SQUADRON
#737 (Northern Pride) Squadron in Thompson was formed on May 27, 1963.