The Capture of the Wing Commander’s Pennant

Captured Group Captain Flag, CFB North Bay. Photo Credit: Capt Steve Mullins

By: Capt. (Ret’d) Bruce E. Pearce, O St J, CD
with input from WO1 (Ret’d) Rod Caughill

Prior to the [155 Sault Ste. Marie] Squadron’s Annual Inspection in May of 1970, the Squadron had a weekend tour of CFB North Bay, including 414 (Black Knight) Electronic Warfare Squadron and the Canadian Regional NORAD underground complex. Various Squadrons from the north competed in a drill team competition. The Squadron’s Drill Team, finding the Base Commander’s staff car unattended, and seizing the initiative, formed up and with proper military decorum, marched up, saluted the pennant, removed it, and marched off with the prize.

My involvement began when the Squadron had finished lunch on Sunday at the Airmen’s Mess, and was boarding a highway bus to return to the Sault. At that point, a military vehicle raced up, and disgorged an irate Base Warrant Officer (WO), accompanied by a Military Police officer. The Base WO accused the Squadron of having “stolen” the Base Commander’s pennant and demanded it’s immediate return. Taken aback, the Squadron’s Commanding Officer Major Bruce Ness turned to his adjutant, Lt Bruce Pearce, with a questioning look.

Lt Pearce, immediately directed the Squadron Warrant Officer to have all cadets dismount the bus, form up in three ranks open order, open and display all personal kit for inspection.

Not finding the “captured item” but still accusing the Squadron of [the Pennant’s] disappearance, the Base WO was advised by Lt. Pearce that having cooperated in all respects, and that the 1 PM departure time must the met, ordered all personal to board the bus. The Squadron departed, leaving behind a fuming Base WO. As the bus exited the Main Gate of CFB North Bay, the “contraband” item appeared and was displayed for all to see.

Eventually, a letter from the Base WO demanding the return of the pennant or dire consequences was received by the CO.  Major Ness decided that the best course of action was to return the pennant to CFB North Bay.

At the Squadron’s Annual Inspection that year, the Inspecting Officer, Colonel Doug Lindsay, DFC, CD, the Base Commander of CFB North Bay, called the Squadron Warrant Officer forward to represent the cadets.  Col Lindsay presented the “captured “ Wing Commander’s pennant to the Squadron.

Col Lindsay was old RCAF, and appreciated the spirit of the RCAF as demonstrated by the cadets.

Col Lindsay was a World War II “Ace”, decorated officer, and had a long and distinguished service career in the RCAF.  For more information on Col Lindsay, please click on the links below for more history: