Featured Squadron of the Month

89 Pacific RCACS Crest

89 Pacific Squadron

Since its inception 89 Squadron has gone through the following Name changes. The dates indicated are from the official records at the National Office of the Air Cadet League of Canada. These dates agree with the dates held by DND.

  • 89 Victoria High School Squadron – 04/02/1942 – 19/12/1945
  • 89 Greater Victoria Squadron – 19/12/1945 – 01/07/1947
  • 89 Kinsmen Squadron 01/07/1947 – 01/07/1971
  • 89 Pacific Squadron – 01/07/1971 – Present

On October 10, 1941, an application was received by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to form an Air Cadet squadron at Victoria High School and although unofficial training started at this time, approval for the formation was not granted until January 24, 1942. At that time, 89 Victoria High School Squadron was officially formed with Mr. P.C. Routley as its first Commanding Officer (CO).

With the cessation of hostilities in 1945, most of the squadrons in Canada were disbanded as it was felt that they would not be needed for training future Air Force personnel. It is apparent that about 150 squadrons remained active during the period from late fall of 1945 until September 1946. It is also apparent that 89 was one of these squadrons and although disbanded as Victoria High School Squadron, the program remained active for any Cadets in Victoria area who wished to continue their training.

During the period from the fall of 1945 until September 1946, the Squadron was commanded by F/Lt A. Smith.

During the period of very early 1946 until into 1947, 89 Greater Victoria Squadron just managed to survive thanks to the financial support of Mr. R.H.B. Ker and the dedication of a few RCAF officers.

New quarters were found for 89 Squadron at Macauley Point using some old army barracks and the parade square at Work Point for parade purposes. The newly rejuvenated 89 Greater Victoria Squadron, was an independent Squadron. The majority of the financial support for this unit came from Mr. R.H.B Ker, a Dominion Director of the Air Cadet League of Canada. Mr. Ker purchased drums and trumpets for a band and a call went out for young men aged 14 – 18 who could play, or were willing to learn to play, to come and join the Squadron. Soon they had a drum and trumpet band. Mr. Ker also purchased many other items necessary for the Cadets to continue their training.

No longer being able to have a member of the School Staff as the Commanding Officer Mr. Routley was able to find F/Lt A. Smith who became Commanding Officer from December 1945 until September 1946. As time progressed the financial burden on Mr. Ker was becoming onerous and it was during the tenure of Commanding Officer, F/Lt Ted Boulden (1947 – 1950) that the Kinsmen Club of Victoria took on the responsibility as the sponsor to look after the financial and other civilian interests of the Squadron and 89 officially became 89 Kinsmen Squadron.

Shortly after G/C E.A. McGowan became CO of 89 Kinsmen Squadron (1953) a groundswell of support for girls to be allowed back into the program rose and a number of girls and their parents hounded the CO until he relented and girls were once again active in the Air Cadet movement in Victoria in the mid 1950’s. F/Lt M.E. Tomalin, a female RCAF Officer, became the mentor and commander of the newly formed Cadette flight.

1956 - First Post WW2 Cadettes

Life at Macaulay Point was good for the Squadron and proved to be a great training area until the Squadron was forced to move out at the end of the training year in 1955-56, as the camp was being shut down. During its time at Macaulay point the parade square at Work Point was used for drill and for many Annual Reviews. The Squadron also held some Annual Reviews at Royal Roads Military College on the lower parade square.

New quarters were found in the Begg Building (also known as the Air Force Building) at the corner of View and Quadra Streets where the Squadron stayed for six years. Shortly after the move into the Begg Building, a Mothers Auxiliary was formed to be the ‘hands on’ sponsor for the Squadron assisting the Kinsmen Club and helping the Squadron staff. A number of the officers from 2455 Squadron also helped with the cadets until 2455 was disbanded and the building sold (1961) which meant that again the Cadets had to find a new home.

In 1953, Group Captain A.E. McGowan became the CO and remained in this position until 1969. During his period of command the Squadron became one of the best in Canada, and in the training years 1955-56, 1956-57 and 1957-58, it was awarded the D.R. McLaren Trophy as the Best Urban Squadron in BC. Also in 1957-58, the Squadron was awarded the Guthrie Air Cadet Trophy as the top squadron in the North West Air Command and the RCAF Association Award as the top squadron in Canada. In the following year, 1959, the Squadron won the Sword of Honour as runner up to the top squadron in Canada.

Air Vice-Marshall K.A. Guthrie presents the Guthrie Trophy to WO1 R. Cook in October 1958
Air Vice-Marshall K.A. Guthrie presents the Guthrie Trophy to WO1 R. Cook in October 1958
October 1958 - AC A. D, Ross with Lt Gov. Frank Ross and WO1 R. Cook with the RCAF Association Award
October 1958 - AC A. D, Ross with Lt Gov. Frank Ross and WO1 R. Cook with the RCAF Association Award
Squadron CO GC A. E. McGowan and Mr. R. T. Hoard present the Sponsoring Committee Chair with the RCAF Association Award
Squadron CO GC A. E. McGowan and Mr. R. T. Hoard present the Sponsoring Committee Chair with the RCAF Association Award

In The 1969 – 1970 training year the Squadron had the Honour of having its band awarded the award as the top Cadet Band in BC.

Cadette Sgt Jacquie Dearman, Squadron CO Maj J. Barlow and Drum Major Cpl Lee Whitmore with the trophy

When 2455 Squadron as stood down in 1971 the RCAF sold the Begg Building. This meant that 89 would have to find a new home. As luck would have it there was space in the Bay Street Armoury. This space was made available to the Squadron.

At the end of the 1971 training year, the Squadron moved to the Bay Street Armoury. At the time of the move the name ‘Mothers Auxiliary’ was changed to ‘Parents Auxiliary’ and this group continued to function as the Mothers Auxiliary had in the past.

On July 1, 1971, sponsorship for the Squadron changed from the Victoria Kinsmen Club to 800 (Pacific) Wing of the RCAF Association. With the change of sponsorship, application was made to change the Squadron name from 89 (Kinsmen) Squadron to 89 (Pacific) Squadron which was approved.

Air Commadore A. D. Ross inspecting the Cadettes of 89 Squadron at the 1958 ACR Royal Roads Military College lower Parade Square
Air Commadore A. D. Ross inspecting the Cadettes of 89 Squadron at the 1958 ACR Royal Roads Military College lower Parade Square

During the early 1980’s the Squadron had a very successful run as it was named the top Squadron in 1981, 1982 and 1983.

On January 23, 1984, the Squadron was presented with the Sword of Honour for being the runner-up to the Best Air Cadet Squadron in Canada for 1983. The Sword was presented to WO1 Craig Harper by Mr. Jim McKeachie, President of the Air Cadet League of Canada (ACLC).

At the November 28, 1993, Board Meeting of the Support Association it was announced that 800 Wing would be withdrawing its sponsorship of the Squadron at the end of the cadet training year.

Immediate action was required by the Parents Auxiliary for the sponsorship of the Squadron to be maintained. A partnership agreement was reached that lasted for approximately two years. During this time Sponsorship became a dual role of 800 Wing (more in the background) and the newly formed Sponsoring Committee.

At the end of this two years 800 Wing stepped into the background and the Parents Auxiliary applied for and became a Non-Profit Society at the suggestion of the 800 Wing. On January 23, 1996, 800 (Pacific) Wing withdrew from its role as part of the sponsoring body for the squadron and the Parents Auxiliary became an official Non-Profit Society, under the Societies Act, with the official name 89 (Pacific) Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron Support Association.

Through diligent work by Mr. Gary Menzel, Ms. Linda Nugent and others, a Constitution and By-Laws were developed and this organization became the sole sponsor for the Squadron and continues in this role today.

The squadron has a proud and illustrious history and had the honour of being selected the top Air Cadet Squadron in Canada on one occasion (1959-60), has been the top Squadron in BC and has had the top Sponsoring Committee in BC on a number of occasions.

Cadets at the 1st Annual Air Crew Association Parade, April 20th, 2003
Cadets at the 1st Annual Air Crew Association Parade, April 20th, 2003

On October 24, 2005, Commander R. Mountford, Commanding Officer of RCSU Pacific presided over the Change of Command parade that saw the installation of the first female Commanding Officer, Capt Jacqueline Zweng, who took over from Capt Lanny Hubbard.

On February 4, 2012, the Squadron celebrated its 70th Anniversary (from the date it received its charter) as an Air Cadet Squadron.

A person who had a long association with the Squadron was Mr. Dave Marryatt who, during the early-mid 1960’s, was a cadet in the Squadron and later joined the RCAF.

When in the Victoria area he would assist at the Squadron and upon retirement from the RCAF returned to Victoria to live. He joined 800 Wing and again became active in Squadron life. Dave served in many positions on the Board of Directors of the Sponsoring Committee including President and remained active on the Board up until shortly before his death in 2013. In 2004, Dave presented an award for the Squadron Effective Speaking Competition. Along with the trophy was a small monitory award to the top two Cadets but the monies set aside for this were self-depleting so this part of the award would not last very long.

Much to the shock and dismay of the Sponsoring Committee and Squadron family Mr. Marryatt left the Sponsoring Committee, in his will, in excess of $500,000. $375,000 of this was to be used to set up a “Power” Flying Scholarship for a deserving cadet within the Squadron with the remainder of the funds to be deposited into General Revenue to be used as determined by the Sponsoring Committee’s Board of Directors

89 Squadron Coin
First Produced – 2017

Sgt Joseph Gee transferred to 89 Pacific Squadron from 848 Royal Roads Squadron in 2017. He was a cadet who just wanted to make the experience better and was always trying to think of making things better within the Squadron. He came up with the idea of having two very good quality coins produced, one silver and one gold. The silver coins could be purchased for a reasonable price while the other would be numbered and given out to people who made a difference to the squadron or guests of Honour.

Sgt Gee talked to the Commanding Officer who thought it was a good idea and he should make a presentation to the Squadron Sponsoring Committee. This he did and showed the committee a sample of the coin exactly as it would be produced. He had all his facts available such as cost of production, depending on the number ordered and delivery time. The committee was wholly on board and the project moved ahead. When the coins were produced Sgt Gee had been promoted to WO2 and for his efforts and attention to detail he was given the first coin.

The following PDF document contains records developed and maintained by the Squadron’s historian for the appreciation of future 89 Pacific RCAC Squadron families, supporters and friends.

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