Report for Executive Committee March 10, 1999

Agenda Item No.: E.2.b. C
Freedom of the City – Edmonton Salutes.
That the granting of Freedom of the City to
the 408 Squadron (Edmonton) and 4 Wing
(Cold Lake) in 1999, and the Lord
Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) in
2000 be approved.
Report Summary
 This report reflects the Edmonton
Salutes Committee’s review of
upcoming military activities. The
recommendation is based on recognizing
significant milestone anniversaries.
Justification of Recommendation
City Council approval of this
recommendation will provide official and
formal sanction to grant the highest military
honour a city can bestow.
Background Information Attached
1. Background on the 408 Squadron
2. Background on 4 Wing (Cold Lake).
The Edmonton Salutes Committee is a
broad-based community group that
recognizes military contributions toward
world peace, security and stability.
Freedom of the City is a traditional
ceremony that demonstrates a
community’s trust, confidence and
respect toward the Canadian Forces and
its units.
In 1999, the Royal Canadian Airforce is
celebrating its 75th anniversary.
408 Squadron (Edmonton) has a long
history of service to our community.
4 Wing (Cold Lake) is the largest Air
Force base in Canada. The Edmonton
Salutes Committee has embraced 4
Wing because of its historical connection
to our city.
In 2000, Edmonton’s Lord Strathcona’s
Horse (Royal Canadians) will celebrate
its 100th anniversary.
Written By:
February 22, 1999
Budget / Financial Implications
Funds are available in the General
Government Program, Corporate Promotion
and Events Fund.
Executive Committee, City Council
Councillor Rose Rosenberger
Lorraine Wadel/Jenelle Turpin
Corporate Services
(Page 1 of 1)
3. Background on the Lord Strathcona’s
Horse (Edmonton).
Attachment 1
408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron
On June 24, 1941, 408 Squadron was formed at Lindholme in the county of Yorkshire, England.
The Squadron was given a medium-bombing role with No. 5 Bomber Group and was initially
equipped with the Hampden Bomber. As the War progressed, 408 converted to a heavy bomber
role, flying the Halifax bomber for a time and eventually becoming a Lancaster bomber
squadron. The end of the war had awarded members of 408 210 personal decorations and 11
Battle Honours. The Squadron had also lost over 900 personnel and 158 aircraft.
The “post-war” era saw the “Canada Goose” Squadron reform at RCAF Station Rockcliffe
(Ottawa) in 1949 with a new role: photo surveying and mapping of Northwestern Canada. To
fulfil this role, the Squadron used a variety of aircraft including the Lancaster, Canso, Norseman,
single Otter and the DC-3 Dakota. In the mid 60's 408 Squadron moved to RCAF Station Rivers,
Manitoba where they continued to perform photo reconnaissance using the T-33 Silver Star and
the Dakota, and added Fighter Attack Training as a primary role. Eventually the Squadron was
also given the C-119 Flying Boxcar and the C-130 Hercules aircraft to be employed for
paratrooping and transport missions in support of the Army. The Squadron was disbanded in
On New Year’s Day, 1971, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron was formed at Canadian Forces
Base Edmonton. The Squadron was equipped with 10 CH-136 Kiowas and 8 CH-135 Twin
Huey Helicopters with approximately 200 officers and personnel to fly and maintain the aircraft.
In the spring of 1995, the CH-136 Kiowas were retired, and the number of CH-135 Twin Hueys
grew to 19, as 408 Sqn took on the Operation Training Unit role.
In November of 1996, 408 Sqn accepted delivery of the first of 24 new Ch-146 Griffon
helicopters, to replace the Twin Hueys, which have been subsequently retired.
408 Squadron’s primary role is the tactical support of 1 CMBG and as such participates in all
brigade concentrations. Whether by day or night, during summer or winter, 408 Tactical
Helicopter Squadron can readily respond to any situation. For Freedom!
Attachment 1 - Page 1 of 1
Attachment 2
4 Wing Cold Lake
4 Wing Cold Lake began in 1952 when the site was chosen by the Royal Canadian Airforce for an air
weapon training base. In selecting the site factors such as population density, accessibility, weather,
possible future development of resources and the suitability of land for aerodrome construction had to
be considered. The site near Grand Centre was finally selected. Construction of RCAF Station Cold
Lake began in 1952 and the first contingent of personnel arrived March 31, 1954, and operations
In 1953, the federal government signed an agreement with the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan
for the use of a tract of land 180 km by 65 km for use as an air weapons range. This was and
continues to be the “raison d’être” for 4 Wing Cold Lake and its operations. The Cold Lake Air
Weapon’s Range has evolved to the point where it is considered to be one of the finest facilities of its
kind in the world.
Five hours away by road in 1954, 4 Wing Cold Lake provided vital communications link to
Edmonton and continues today to provide air support, training and search and rescue to Edmonton.
The following units belong to 4 Wing Cold Lake:
410 Tactical Fighter Squadron (Operational Training) the “Cougar” Squadron is responsible for
training all Canadian Forces pilots of the CF-18.
416 Tactical Fighter Squadron the “Lynx” Squadron flies the CF-18 as one of two squadrons in
support of Canada’s NORAD and NATO commitments and contingency operations.
417 Combat Support Squadron flies both the T-33 Silver Star and the new CH-146 Griffon helicopter
to fulfil its combat support and search and rescue duties
440 Squadron primary mission is to support Canadian Forces Northern Area and other military
operation in the Northwest Territories and Yukon. With the closure of 18 Wing Edmonton in 1994,
the Squadron moved in its entirety to Yellowknife.
441 Tactical Fighter Squadron the “Silver Fox” Squadron flies the CF-18 as one of two squadrons in
support of Canada’s NORAD and NATO commitments and contingency operations.
1 Air Maintenance Squadron is a central maintenance organization supporting the operations of all
flying units at 4 Wing.
4 Software Engineering Squadron is responsible for the extensive CF-18 software ensemble.
42 Radar Squadron has dual roles of operations and training using transportable three-dimensional
10 Field Technical Training Squadron trains technician on the CF-18.
4 Airfield Defence Detachment provides airfield anti-aircraft defence.
4 Airfield Engineer Squadron provides ground support to combat operations including facilities and
airfield maintenance and repair.
Aerospace Engineer Squadron provides ground support to combat operations including facilities and
airfield maintenance and repair.
Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment is the flight test authority for the Canadian Forces.
Attachment 2 - Page 1 of 1
Attachment 3
Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians)
The prairies of Western Canada were still considered by many to be part of the wild west frontier
in the late 1890s. But in reality Western Canada was a peaceful, well-policed area that was
beginning to prosper. The harsh living conditions however still existed.
In January 1900, Donald Smith, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal offered to raise and equip a
mounted regiment at his own expense to serve in the South African or “Boer War”. His regiment
was recruited from members of the North West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.) and from cowboys
in Alberta and Western Canada. Command of “Strathcona’s Corps” was given to the now
famous Superintendent of the N.W.M.P., Sir B. Steele. Lord Strathcona’s Corps arrived in Cape
Town, South Africa on April 10, 1900, and soon became essential to the British Army.
Employed as scouts because of their background as frontiersmen and cowboys, Lord Strathcona’s
Corps was involved in numerous skirmishes and bloody battles against the Boer mounted
riflemen. The bravery of the soldiers of the Regiment was best illustrated by the actions of Sgt.
A.H. Richardson during a skirmish. Upon seeing one of his soldiers fall wounded from his
horse, under a hail of Boer fire, Sgt. Richardson rode back, retrieved the man and brought him to
safety. Sgt. Richardson received the Victoria Cross for his valour.
Lord Strathcona’s Corps was honoured by King Edward VII at the end of the war: in Queen
Victoria’s memory, His Majesty presented the Regiment with the King’s Colours, normally
awarded to infantry units. Upon its return to Canada the Regiment was lauded for its
contributions and service in the Boer War. Unfortunately, soon after, the Regiment was
disbanded. In 1909 it was reformed and was named Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians).
At the outbreak of World War I, the Regiment was mobilized and began its training in England.
In March of 1915, some of the Canadian Calvary Regiments, including Lord Strathcona’s Horse,
served as infantry in the trenches in France. However, in March 1917, the Regiment again saw
action as calvary during the defence of the Somme front. It was during this fighting that Lt.
F.M.W. Harvey won the Victoria Cross for rushing a German machine gun post and capturing
the gun position. During the last great German offensive when the British and French armies
were on the verge of being split, Lt. G.M. Flowerdew won the Regiment’s third Victoria Cross.
On March 31, 1918, at Moreuil Wood, Lt. Flowerdew led his 100-man squadron on a charge that
defeated a superior German force of 300 strong who were supported by machine gun fire.
Upon repatriation to Canada in 1919, the Regiment moved into the Mewata Armoury in Calgary,
with one squadron remaining in Winnipeg. Their inter-war years saw the Regiment’s inclusion
in the Permanent Force, and the transition from horses to vehicles.
In July, 1940, the LdSH (RC), along with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, were mobilized as the
1st Canadian Motorcycle Regiment. Later that year, the Strathcona’s became 2nd Armoured
Regiment (Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). The Regiment trained in England for
two years with Canadian built Ram tanks and saw its first action in an armoured role in Italy.
One of the most notable battles in Italy that the Regiment participated in was the Melfa River
Crossing. During this desperate battle the Strathcona reconnaissance troop established a
bridgehead on the Melfa River and held it against determined German tank and infantry attacks
until reinforcements could arrive. The advance up the boot of Italy bloodies the Regiment but
Attachment 3 - Page 1 of 2
Attachment 3
Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians)
also forged its identity as a Canadian tank unit second to none. The Regiment left Italy in
February, 1945 and fought in the North West Europe campaign to liberate Holland and the
Lowlands. In 1946, the Regiment returned to Canada and except for two operational tours in
Germany, called Calgary its home garrison.
The post-war years have also been very busy. From May 1951 to May 1954, “C”, “B” and “A”
Squadrons successively spent a year providing armoured support to the 1st Commonwealth
Division during the Korean conflict. The Regiment as a whole has also served in various
Peacekeeping roles in Egypt, Cambodia, Cyprus and most recently in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the
former republic of Yugoslavia. Individual members of the Strathcona’s have also served on
virtually all of Canada’s peacekeeping missions. With regard to the defence of Canada, LdSH
(RC) continues its mission to provide tank and reconnaissance forces to 1 Canadian Mechanized
Brigade Group in Western Canada. To achieve this, the Regiment’s 640 soldiers are equipped
with 20 Leopard 1 Main Battle Tanks, and 35 state of the art Coyote Reconnaissance Vehicles.
Constant training in challenging scenarios with Canadian and Allied troops has ensured a very
high level of professional competence. In 1973, in order to keep its heritage alive, the Regiment
formed its Ceremonial Mounted Troop. The Strathcona’s Mounted Troop, as it is known today,
performs mounted rides and demonstrations at rodeos and fairs across Western Canada,
including the Calgary Stampede, Spruce Meadows Tournaments, the Commonwealth Games and
the Pacific National Exhibition. At the turn of the century the Regiment will celebrate its 100
year anniversary; our “Celebration 2000" ceremonies will be the focal point for serving and
retired Strathcona’s and will include the retracing of major stops of Strathcona’s Horse enroute to
South Africa by the Strathcona Mounted Troop.
For over ninety-nine years, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) has guarded Canada, and
in doing so, has greatly added to our Canadian heritage. The Regiment will continue to serve
Canada in keeping with its motto “Perseverance”.
Attachment 3 - Page 2 of 2