2442 AC&W Sqn (Auxiliary)
Sea Island, BC

National Archives of Canada


2442 AC&W Squadron was formed in July 1950 to train personnel to man the new radar defence lines then under construction. The Squadron was then under the command of S/L D Manders MBE. Training was carried out in quarters provided in the Reserve Centre on Hastings Street. Command of the Squadron passed to Squadron Leader Fred Sproule in January 1951 and the Squadron was put through its first trial as a unit at summer camp held at Abbotsford Airport in conjunction with Auxiliary units from Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Saskatoon. In the fall of 1951 the Squadron moved to a building converted for it at Stn Sea Island, and with the addition of up-to-date training equipment the work became both life-like and interesting. The number of personnel was enlarged and the unit prepared for the emergency that has not come in its lifetime. In the event of war or national emergency they would have become Guardians of the Skies working from the completed "Pinetree" radar sites. They provided a strong reserve of trained manpower in this time of need when the Korean War was still on and the Cold War threatening to become warmer.

Training of 2442 AC&W Sqn was futher expanded by visits to the United States, and assistance from US facilities. This assistance was received right up to the present time, and the two services worked very well together.

In 1954 the requirement for men increased beyond the ordinary training possibilities. Summer training was then instituted under the Reserve Tradesman Training Plan. Young men and women in their last year or two of high school were enrolled for training in radar and the RCAF. With the exception of 1958 these courses were held every Summer from 1954 to 1960. Many of the 350 young people trained in this way have remained with 2442 AC&W Sqn and many others have joined the RCAF Regular.

In the summer of 1955 command of the Squadron passed to Squadron Leader JGF Gray CD, and the unit entered its most active period with intensive training in radar control and the techniques of intercepting enemy aircraft. Summer training in the annual two week camp was carried out at both USAF and RCAF radar sites. During this period the unit badge was returned from England after being inspected and authorized by HM the Queen. 2442 AC&W Sqn adopted the mythical coast Indian "Sisiutl" as its emblem, and the motto "Curatores Caeli", Guardians of the Sky. The Sisiutl is reputed to be able to bring down the Thunderbird with a glance from its eye. During this period many of the Squadron members decided to join some of those earlier members who had become part of the RCAF Regular and made the RCAF a career. In all, during the life of the Squadron, over 50 members joined the RCAF Regular.

The RCAF Regular gave its talents and personnel to assist in the training and running of the Squadron and it is doubtful if such success would have been possible without this help. The personnel of RCAF Station Sea Island also contributed more than just the working facilities with their help and guidance.

The summer camp training periods were now exclusively carried out at Canadian units, even though the USAF continued to assist by training Fighter Controllers in the latest techniques of air warfare during the rest of the year.

As the North American Air Defence Command came into being the role of the Squadron gradually became smaller and smaller with the installation of each new electronic device. The first cut in staff came in the fall of 1957 and was followed by others in the next two years as the need for trained personnel was reduced. Squadron Leader T Ellison DFC, CD, took over command of a considerably reduced and restricted Squadron in July 1959 and will command the final parade.

In a period of a little over ten years 2442 AC&W Sqn (Auxiliary) has trained to peak approximately 800 officers, airmen and airwomen, and has filled a now passing need in the defence of Canada. With the return of the Squadron Badge to Air Force Headquarters, Ottawa, a Squadron which was always ready but never had a fight, will pass into history.

Prepared by Flight Lieutenant CPR Litchford.