• 3334 Dave Wightman

    August 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    A fascinating article. As a matter of interest the Cadet Wing Commander quoted by Dr. Lowe and described by him as the best CWC since the war was almost certainly 3300 James Alick Marshall. Alick was a classmate and good friend whose fatal accident I witnessed at RCAF Station Portage la Prairie in the summer of 1954 just weeks after graduation from RMC. We were members of the 1950 Royal Roads intake.

  • Cdr (P) John K. Kennedy RCN (Ret'd)

    August 11, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Meanwhile, the Navy, short of pilots, in 1950 instituted the two year Venture Cadet college program at the Victoria naval base. (Then gave up Royal Roads..??) The Navy knew it would never get a supply of pilots out of the ROTP system besides, ROTP tied up young fellows for four years. (Hasn’t UK abandoned that system?) Venture churned out an astounding number of first class carrier pilots, dozens advancing to high rank in the Navy and Air Force. After a few years flying, the Venture graduates took time off as bridge watchkeepers in ships of the Fleet. Very popular by the way, and many made it to command. Useful work for unemployed pilots. Canada savaged its naval air capability in 1968, and those young pilots were drafted into the Air Force, or went to the airlines, where they became squadron commanders and captains of airliners.

    The Fleet was immediately shorn of its ready supply of bridge watchkeepers. The instant result was the deactivation four frontline destroyers, turning them into training ships – for bridge watchkeepers! Another more happy result was that Venture lite was reactivated in Esquimalt for guess what – training bridge watchkeepers. Another back door entry around the ROTP system.

    Any lessons here? I’m getting too old to understand it all. Churchill said of the Americans, they “will try everything else first and then do the right thing”. If he were alive today he might say of Canadians, “After the right thing, they shoot themselves in the foot”.