During World War 2
In the fall of 1941, a committee of the Kiwanis Club of Barrie submitted an application to the Air Cadet League of Canada to form an air cadet squadron in the city. Approval was granted on 21 February 1942 as 102 (Barrie Kiwanis) Squadron to train “20 to 50 boys of the prescribed age… who are considered to be of suitable physique… with the written consent of their parents or guardians”. The squadron received its charter in April 1942 and began recruiting shortly after.
The first commanding officer was Flight Lieutenant George Fricke whose staff consisted of Flying Officer Paul Fisher (Squadron Adjutant), F/O Leighton Clarke (Flight Commander and Instructor), and WO1 Jack Johnson (Equipment Officer and Clerk) The orderly room was located at the Barrie Armoury and the training was conducted at the nearby Barrie Collegiate Institute (now Barrie Central Collegiate) where the cadets were recruited from the school’s “Corps of Cadets”.
Following the war many air cadet squadrons were disbanded as the organization moved to “civilianize” itself. 102 Squadron was one of the victims of this re-organization. In March 1948 the Squadron was stood down only to be reactivated on 25 October 1948 as 102 (Junior Chamber of Commerce) Squadron under Flight Lieutenant Maurice Badgley, MBE. The “new” 102 Squadron was comprised mostly of the staff and cadets of the “old” 102 Squadron. Despite having been stood down, 102 Sqn has never missed a training year since its formation in 1942.
In June 1952 the Squadron changed sponsors to become 102 (Moose) Squadron sponsored by the Barrie lodge of The Loyal Order of the Moose. The current sponsor, 441 “Huronia” Wing Royal Canadian Air Force Association took over in 1958.
Following the unification of the Canadian Forces in the late 1960s, 102 Squadron’s fortunes dwindled until the squadron strength dropped to 40 cadets in the early 1970s, the lowest number since 1943. In 1975 a devastating fire destroyed the building housing its sponsor and with it went many of the Squadron’s records and memorabilia. Though some of it was recovered, much of the information available is held on file in Ottawa along with some photos and memorabilia since donated by ex-cadets and parents.
On 31 May 1985 102 Squadron was busily preparing for its Annual Inspection when, shortly before 4:50pm, a tornado swept through Barrie destroying much of the southern part of the city. Instead of going home, the cadets tore down its displays and, at the request of local authorities, converted the Armoury into an overflow area for the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital. Cadets were tasked to work with the local militia unit, the regular force and the local police in a variety of tasks. These tasks included directing traffic, search and rescue and security patrols in the stricken areas. The Squadron’s role in coming to the aid of those in trouble earned it a Commander Central Region Commendation.
In February 1997 the Squadron was officially re-designated 102 (Barrie Silver Fox) Squadron in recognition of its almost forty-year affiliation with its sponsor, RCAF 441 Wing Air Force Association of Canada.
In 2002, in recognition of 60 years of service to the community, 102 Squadron was granted the Freedom of the City of Barrie. In addition, 441 (Silver Fox) Tactical Fighter Squadron become the affiliated unit. This affiliation lasted until 441 Squadron was amalgamated with 416 Squadron to form 409 (Nighthawk) Tactical Fighter Squadron in July 2006.
Despite its long history, 102 Squadron had never adopted a squadron badge. In 1996, it was decided to apply for a name change for the squadron and a proposed squadron badge was also submitted to the Air Cadet League of Canada for approval . The new badge was designed by Captain J-P Johnson and final approval was given by the League in May of 1997.
Within a standard Royal Canadian Air Cadet squadron badge frame, the badge is described as:
“Argent three bars gemel wavy Azure, over all, a silver fox’s mask.”
The silver fox’s mask is the emblem of RCAF 441 Wing, the squadron’s sponsor; and 441 (Silver Fox) Tactical Fighter Squadron. The three sets of blue wavy lines (bars gemel wavy azure) are a representation of the waters of Kempenfelt Bay and Lake Simcoe that is also found on the coat of arms of the Corporation of the City of Barrie.
While the proposed squadron badge was being prepared for submission, discussion turned to the adoption of a squadron motto. It was decided that the motto of our sponsoring body, and it’s namesake air force squadron – namely “Stalk and Kill” – was not an appropriate motto to be adopted by an air cadet squadron. After some research, it was discovered that there was a 102 (Ceylon) Squadron which was part of the Royal Air Force during World War One and Two. That 102 Squadron had adopted the latin motto “Tentate et Perficite” which translates as “To Attempt and Achieve”. This was deemed to be an excellent fit for the air cadet programme and was adopted concurrent with the name change in 1997.