111 Pegasus Squadron History
In January 1939 under appointment of the Air Advisory Council, Squadron Leader (S/L) A. W. (Nick) Carter organized an experimental program with the aim of training young Canadian men to become pilots in WWII. He created the 1601 Air Force Cadet Wing, in association with 111 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to undertake this goal. Upon its inception, and with the assistance of the Vancouver School Board and Vancouver Newspapers, 1601 Wing had over 1,100 applicants from whom 250 cadets were carefully selected to become the first Air Cadets in Canada. Most of those original cadets eventually served in the RCAF, four of them winning Distinguished Flying Crosses and one a posthumous George Cross.
The Wing first paraded in Stanley Park on May 27, 1939. Shortly after that, 1601 Wing was renamed 1 Wing Royal Canadian Air Cadets. This Air Cadet Wing was the first of its kind in Canada and was run entirely by the Department of National Defense (DND).
In the fall of 1939 with the DND seeing the need for a civilian body to assist in the running of this youth program, S/L Carter was ordered to Ottawa to assist with the formation of the Air Cadet League of Canada (ACLC) which officially formed in 1941 with S/L Carter as the first National President. After the formation of the ACLC, 1 Wing joined the league as an officially chartered Air Cadet Squadron, even though it had been running for two years prior to the league existing. At that time, 1 Wing adopted the number of their parent unit becoming 111 Vancouver Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Cadets.
In the early days, the 111 Vancouver Squadron paraded in the House Show Building at the entrance to Stanley Park in Vancouver. The unit was then moved to the RCAF station Kitsilano where a wing was formed consisting of five squadrons: 111, 135, 57, 59 and 5 Squadrons. 5 Squadron was an unofficial unit operated by 111 Squadron and consisted only of girls, who at the time were not eligible for membership in cadets. Based primarily on the 5 Squadron example, on July 30, 1975 females were finally fully integrated into the Air Cadet program. Thus, 111 Squadron was not only the first Air Cadet Squadron in Canada, but it was also the first to admit girls.
The wing disbanded when the Kitsilano site was closed in 1964 with 111 and 5 Squadrons transferred to the Bessborough Armoury, 135 Squadron to the Seaforth Armoury, and 57 and 59 Squadrons joining to form 753 Squadron at the Beatty Street Armoury. On September 1, 1972, 753 and 111 Squadron merged and have paraded since that time at Bessborough Armoury as 111 Pegasus Squadron.