Featured Squadron of the Month
22 Red Knight Squadron
The following information was gathered from the Powell River Digester, The Air Cadet League of Canada and The BC Provincial Committee Records.
During the War years (1941-1945) Powell River was a Company Town whose economy was fueled by the Pulp and Paper and Logging industries.
The population of Powell River grew. Because of the town’s geographic location, the need for Local activities and interests for the youth became very evident to some community leaders. Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and Air, Sea and Army Cadet Corps and Squadrons were formed in the Community.
From a December 1941 issue of Canadian Air Cadet, it is recorded that M.C. McLeod played a significant part in the formation of 22 Powell River Air Cadet Squadron serving as both the Squadron Sponsoring Committee Chair (SSC) and CO of the Squadron and J. K. Simon served as the SSC Secretary. Along with Alfred William (Nick) Carter and Air Commodore Alan Duncan Bell Irving of the National ACLC and BCPC, these gentlemen played a pivotal role in forming the Air Cadet Squadrons during the early years of the Program.
The 22 Powell River Air Cadet Squadron received its Charter on October 25, 1941. This was only the 22nd Air Cadet Squadron in Canada to receive its Charter and the first in British Columbia.
22 Powell River Air Cadet Squadron has an amazing history. During the war years they had just over 300 Cadets/Cadettes as well as Juniors made up of boys between 12 and 14 (the starting age for Cadets at that time was 14) This squadron on its own was officially referred to as “the Powell River Wing” (a wing was required to have 300 Cadets/Cadettes on strength). The Juniors were not official cadets, they did not wear the same Cadet uniform but the Mill supplied sweatshirts with an appropriate crest.
In 1952 Powell River had the three Cadettes who got their Private Power Pilot wings through the 7th Air Cadet Power Flying Scholarship Course at Sea Island. They were Pat McDowell, Marion Kenmuir and Isobel Pittendreigh . Here is a great picture of them with Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent on the day they got their Wings at Sea Island.
What was amazing about this was the fact that prior to the Passing of Bill C-16 in 1975, girls were involved in the program but they did not receive the full training given the boys. They paraded, generally in ‘girls only’ flights and the girls were known as Cadettes.
In 1991 the squadron joined together with the Army Cadet core and the Sea Cadets to parade in the Timberlane Barracks.
In 1991 The 22 Powell River Air Cadet Squadron submitted an application to the ACLC to have the name of the Squadron changed to 22 Red Knight Squadron. The reason Red Knight was chosen for the new name was that an ex-cadet from the Squadron became a member of the Royal Air Force Red Knight aerobatic team. This application was approved and the name change took effect officially on June 18, 1991.
On May 9. 2002 the Squadron Sponsoring Committee of 22 Red Knight Air Cadet Squadron was incorporated as a Not-for-Profit Society to comply with a motion passed by the BCPC that every Squadron Sponsoring Committee in BC had to become incorporated.
22 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron has operated uninterrupted since 1941. Over the years this squadron received the award for top squadron in BC numerous times, not to mention most proficient in Western Canada and also the best in the Nation.
With the population aging and the world-wide demand for print-paper on the decline, the decision to close the Mill in Powell River was made in 2013. This closure had a devastating impact on the community.
The Canada Census records from 1986 through to 2016 show that the overall population of Powell River remained stable however, with an aging population, the 12 – 18 age demographics in Powell River showed sufficient decline to warrant several elementary school closures in the district.
Recruiting and retention at 22 Squadron showed a huge decline during this period. With these declining numbers and a fierce competition for cadets between the three elements, all sharing and parading at the same facility, (The Timberlane Barracks) growth was difficult to say the least, but the Squadron Staff and Squadron Sponsoring Committees (SSC) struggled on to keep the squadron parading, very thankful for the support it received from the Community, the RCSU and the BCPC.
In October, 2022 at the BCPC Annual General Meeting and Award Presentation event, Captain Kathleen Boyd was presented with the BCPC Certificate of Recognition for her outstanding dedication to 22 Red Knight Squadron in Powell River.
Our sincere thanks to Mike Symons, BCPC Historian, for his research and submissions to this month’s Squadron History Feature.