Featured Squadron of the Month

243 Ogopogo RCACS Squadron Crest

243 Ogopogo Squadron

Chartered (First):  December 18, 1942 
Chartered (Second):  March 29, 1963
Status:  Active
Community:  Kelowna BC

243 Ogopogo RCACS - History - image 2

Squadron History

Originally established in 1941, 243 Kelowna High School Squadron paraded at the local High School. The squadron did not receive its Charter until December 18th 1942. At that time, a number of squadrons followed this process to not delay the start of training for new Air Cadets.

Other than the information about the start-up and chartering of the squadron, very little information is available about the squadron during its early years. It appears that even though the squadron was very active in the community, sometime in the 1950’s, the High School stopped supporting the Squadron and it was stood down.

In 1962, F/L Gordon Grey moved to Kelowna and wondered why there was no Air Cadet Squadron in the community. In discussing this with Mr. Arthur Hugh-Games, another WWII Flying veteran, it was decided to start the process of having the squadron reactivated. Using its new name 243 Ogopogo Squadron, the Squadron received its new Charter on March 29th 1963 with about 22 cadets on strength. The Squadron was involved in many summer training camps during the 1960’s, mostly at RCAF Station Namao in Alberta.

The 1970’s were a time of many changes for 243 Ogopogo, the most important was having girls officially join Air Cadets in 1975; before this they were unofficial members of the squadron. Another was the move to the Brigadier Angle Armories, which remained the home to the Squadron well into the early 2000’s. Also, late in the 70’s, the Air Cadet uniform changed from the wool “battle dress” to the universal cadet uniform, the green cadet uniform, which all cadet units wore at that time.

The 1980’s were again a busy time for the Squadron with the Squadron doing many different survival exercises, gliding trips and power flights. During this time, the Squadron had a small move to the First United Church next door to the Armories due to a massive renovation of the building.

In 1983, eight individuals with past Royal Canadian Air Force Associations got together to form 883 (Kelowna) Wing of the RCAF Association with one of its main objectives being to take on the Civilian Sponsorship of the Squadron. This sponsorship continued until 2011 when the Parents Auxiliary of the Squadron took over this responsibility.

More is known of 243 Ogopogo during this time with the Squadron going on many citizenship tours to places like Seattle, Washington, CFB Comox, Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Early on, the Squadron again changed uniforms, this time to the present blue uniform. The Squadron strength grew to a large number coming to almost 100 cadets on parade. They did many survival exercises during this time, including a somewhat famous one to McCulloch Lake which brought out some SAR Techs and got a few cadets a surprise helicopter ride.

The new century saw the Squadron continue its growth and evolution with the Squadron moving homes to the Mission Creek Alliance Church. This move allowed the Squadron to grow for a few years. Late in the decade, the Squadron moved again; this time to Pearson Road Elementary School. This move brought several new challenges for the squadron. With strong support from the community, a solid Squadron Sponsoring Committee and Squadron Staff they were able to successfully organize a Citizenship tour to Spokane Washington where they became good friends with the local Civil Air Patrol Cadets. They also did an exchange trip to New Brunswick.

From 2010 to Present
Like the other squadrons in the Okanagan Wing, 243 Ogopogo Air Cadet Squadron has continued to flourish in the City of Kelowna delivering the Air Cadet program to the youth from the city and surrounding area. Please take some time to visit the squadron’s Facebook page to enjoy a pictorial journey of the recent activities of the squadron and the accomplishments of the cadets:


Our sincere thanks to Mr. Mike Symons the BCPC Historian for providing us with this month’s feature presentation.

A partially filled table of past COs, SSC Chairs, ACR Reviewing Officers etc. is available for anyone wishing to continue recording the rich history of this squadron in the Okanagan. Please contact Mr. Mike Symons for a copy of this formatted table.

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