Air Cadet Uniform circa 1967
1946 TO 1968...

Immediately following the close of the war, there was a natural lessening of interest in all cadet activities throughout Canada. Many squadrons that had been set up "for the duration" were disbanded and the movement settled down to a low point of approximately 11,000 cadets in 155 squadrons.

The peacetime story of the Air Cadet Movement is perhaps even more impressive than its wartime history. Commencing in late 1944, the League planned and carried out its peacetime conversion with the same vigour that it tackled its wartime responsibilities. Probably the most important job facing the Air Cadet Movement in 1945 was to provide an incentive which would rival in its appeal the wartime goal of graduation into the RCAF. The answer was found in a variety of awards for outstanding proficiency and loyalty to the squadrons. From the standpoint of popularity, perhaps the outstanding innovation was the summer camps held at RCAF Stations.

In 1946, the RCAF introduced Flying Scholarship courses on powered light aircraft through civilian flying clubs for senior cadets, a development which gave added importance to the movement. Since the scheme began, more than 15,000 Air Cadets have completed their power flying scholarship courses, in most cases to the Private Pilot level, and can now proudly call themselves pilots. This training has been completed at little or no cost to either the cadets or to their families. Selection of Air Cadets for flying scholarships is done in an orderly way. The candidates must be physically fit, at least 17 years old, and be undergoing Level 4 of Air Cadet training. In addition, they must pass a qualifying exam and pass through a rigorous Canadian Forces/League selection procedure at local, provincial and national levels.

Top of page

Also in 1946, the Government approved a maximum establishment for the post-war period of 15,000 cadets across Canada. Simultaneously, a new peacetime program for Air Cadets, based on a combination of aviation and citizenship training, was put into effect by the League and the RCAF.

Early in 1949, the Movement spread to the new province of Newfoundland where six active squadrons, all supported by strong civilian committees, were in operation only a few weeks after Confederation. A year later, the need for an increase in the maximum establishment was recognized by the Government and the ceiling was raised to 22,500 cadets.

As the League paused to observe its tenth Anniversary in 1951, it could point to a fine record of service to Canada. Some 65,000 young Canadians had worn the Air Cadet uniform and participated in the training program.

In 1961, as the League celebrated its coming of age, more than 150,000 Air Cadets had received training in the squadrons now numbering 332. If all the cadets who had received Air Cadet training to that time could have been paraded at one time in column of route, the parade would have stretched for a distance of 35 miles. In view of a strong demand for new units at the time and to provide for gradual expansion, authority was granted in 1972 for an increase by stages to the present entitlement of 28,000 Air Cadets.

Continue - Part 3...

The End