Army cadets mark 40th anniversary

2963 Seaforth Highlanders

The 2963 Seaforth Highlanders of Canada Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps will be celebrating their 40th anniversary and they will be doing it in style.

The first Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps was established in Powell River and included cadets from the vicinity as well as cadets from Earls Cove, Egmont and Pender Harbour. The cadets were ferried to Powell River for parades and exercises, with obvious hardships.

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In September of 1978 the B.C. Branch of the Army Cadet League of Canada decided to organize a cadet corps on the Lower Sunshine Coast, with Sechelt as its central base. Retired Major Trevor Goddard, an executive member of the B.C. Branch of the League, who also resided in Gibsons, was given the task to organize the corps. He contacted Robert (Bob) Sommerfield, a Korean veteran NCO, to be the Training Officer and Doreen Pihichyn, a former NCO in the British Auxiliary Territorial Services (now the Women’s Royal Army Corps), to be the Administration Officer. They were joined by Lt. Banyay of Earls Cove with cadets from his area that he previously ferried to Powell River.

On Jan. 15, 1979 the corps was approved by the Army Cadet League of Canada and given the designation of 2963 Sunshine Coast Army Cadets, with affiliation to the British Columbia Regiment. As the cadet corps needed a sponsor, the leadership of the corps approached the Sechelt Branch #140, Royal Canadian Legion, where the motion to support the cadet corps was made and approved in the same night. The Sechelt Legion has been their sponsor ever since.

On April 1, 1985 a large change came when the Command of the corps decided to change their affiliation to the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, where they have remained ever since. On Jan. 4, 2001 the Corps was authorized to change their designation to 2963 Seaforth Highlanders of Canada Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.

Whether under their old name or their new, the cadets of 2963 have distinguished themselves with many outstanding achievements and have dedicated themselves to the service of youth and others on the Sunshine Coast. This was recognized on Aug. 29, 1998 when the District of Sechelt presented the corps with the Freedom of the City.

On Jan. 12 at 1 p.m., the 2963 Seaforth Highlanders of Canada RCACC will exercise that freedom in a civic recognition ceremony in honour of their 40th anniversary. The cadets will be joined by members of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders RCACC (the oldest Seaforth cadet corps) and 2781 Powell River cadets as they march from the District Hall, through the streets of Sechelt with drums beating, flags flying, and pride in their steps. The parade will conclude at the Sechelt Legion where a reception will take place.

Among those in attendance will be Sechelt Mayor Darnelda Siegers, MLA Nicholas Simons, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada Commanding Officer LCol Ed Haverstock, former Corps Commanding Officers and alumni.

All former members of 2963 Royal Canadian Army Cadets are invited to attend, and are also invited to march behind the cadets.

Army cadets is open to all boys and girls aged 12 to 18 years. Activities are also focused on adventure training and leadership, and cadets have the opportunity to attend summer camps from two to seven weeks. Parade nights are from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays at the 2963 Training Property on Field Road in Wilson Creek, with weekend activities throughout the training year. More information can be found by visiting www.cadets.ca, visiting the corps’ Facebook page at facebook.com/2963seaforthhighlanders, or calling 604-885-2965.

– Submitted by Captain Shiloh Gregorchuk

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