2881 Queen’s Own Rifles Cadet Corps

Founded as the 2881 Highland Creek Army Cadets in 1971, the 2881 Queen’s Own Rifles Cadet Corps is a very successful and active unit of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets (RCAC), and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2011. One of a large number of such units in Canada sponsored by the Canadian Forces and the civilian Army Cadet League of Canada, the Corps became affiliated with The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and Highland Creek Branch 258 of the Royal Canadian Legion in 1978.  In 1989, it became known as the “Scarborough Rifles”, and a few years later assumed its current direct title association with The Queen’s Own.

It now parades once weekly at the parent regiment’s Dalton Armoury in eastern Scarborough, Ontario. When it stood-to in September, 2011, it paraded with a strength of 70 male and female cadets. This very successful and diverse corps has benefited from the strong leadership provided over the years by many former cadets who have served and continue to serve as Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) Officers, and from excellent support by members of RCL Branch 258.

Lieutenant-Colonel G.W. Horwood, CD, ADC, who died in 1989, had served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada in World War II.  He was the founder of the unit, which was originally affiliated with the Canadian Forces’ 25 (Toronto) Service Battalion and paraded wearing Royal Canadian Army Service Corps insignia. Since its inception, the cadet corps has found its “parade square” at a variety of locations including Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute, R.H. King Collegiate, Cardinal Newman High School and Joseph Howe Senior Public School, as well as in a school portable building made available at RCL Branch 258’s Legion Village Home.

Former Cadet and later Commanding Officer Kim O’Leary second from left

One of the Corps’ great strengths is the continuity of its leadership.  The current Commanding Officer, Capt Shaun Bridge has served for 27 years as a cadet, CIC Officer and Commanding Officer. Michael Rainforth spent 15 years as a cadet and CIC Officer, and a second generation is now serving, with Mike’s son Andrew in the Corps. Kimberly O’Leary, a former cadet, served as a CIC Officer 1986-1999 and continues to serve in the RCAC. She was appointed a Regional Cadet Advisor in 1999, and after one year, was promoted to Staff Officer at the Regional Cadet Support Unit, located at Canadian Forces Base Borden. She held the position of Cadet Training Officer for Central Region for nine years, and was then appointed as the Commandant of the Regional Cadet Instructor School. She is currently responsible for the training of all CIC officers in Central Region.

Turning the page in the QOR Book of Remembrance, Warrior’s Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, 1990

In 1990, largely through the efforts of the late Captain “Derm” Wilson, a former member of the Royal Green Jackets, a group of cadets visited England and were hosted by 2nd Battalion The Queen’s Regiment (The Queen’s Own Buffs) which is allied with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. Cadets visited nearby British Army units and were able to practise navigation and field skills alongside members of the host regiment. Capt Shaun Bridge, then senior cadet, was honoured by being asked to turn a page in The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada’s Book of Remembrance during a ceremony in the Warriors’ Chapel at Canterbury Cathedral. In 1992, the cadets were again invited to visit The Queen’s Regiment, this time during its deployment to Minden, Germany.

Civilian Instructor Jim Lutz with cadets in the field

In 1992, James Lutz joined as a Civilian Instructor.  A former Infantryman with the U.S. 101st Airborne Division in the Vietnam War, Mr. Lutz added significantly to the corps’ active program of field exercises. As just one example, on Exercise RED DAWN in 1993 in Toronto’s Rouge Valley, cadets in four teams were fully operational for 40 hours. Training included a day and night reconnaissance competition to determine which team could observe other teams most frequently while itself avoiding observation.

On the amalgamation of The Queen’s and The Royal Hampshire Regiments to form the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR) in 1993, Captains Kim O’Leary and Derm Wilson were honoured to be invited to attend this historical event in Canterbury. There they were presented to the new Regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, Lady Diana the Princess of Wales.

Former cadet and Canadian Army Sergeant Jason Bridge rides in a Canadian Forces helicopter

In June 1993, 15 cadets joined with the cadet corps of Toronto’s 2 Field Engineer Regiment for a trip to Washington, DC.  In addition to viewing the “Old Guard” of the 3rd Infantry at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and seeing the Vietnam Memorial, on Canada Day at the Canadian Embassy the cadets met General Jean de Chastelain, OC, CH, CMM, CD, then Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S. and former Chief of the Canadian Defence Staff.

Four cadets were also invited to join The Queen’s Own Rifles for its 1994 trip to “D-Day+50” celebrations in Normandy and to march in uniform with the regiment during ceremonial parades.

Visiting the Queen’s Own Rifles Museum at Casa Loma

From the first day of its founding the cadet corps has provided a strong foundation for two generations of young people. A number of former cadets have gone on to careers in the Canadian Forces, some with The Queen’s Own Rifles and others in the Regular Force. Many more cadets have gone on to successful careers in fields such as policing, firefighting and business, and they credit their time in the Corps for the leadership and organizational skills that assisted them in their success.

Commanding Officers

The Cadet Instructor Cadre Commanding Officers of the cadet corps since its founding in 1971 have been:

  • Captain Bennett, 1971-74
  • Captain Walter Belfontaine, 1974-77 (in 1977 he became Commanding Officer of new voluntary Upper Canada College Rifles Cadet Corps also affiliated with the QOR)
  • Lieutenant T. Barker, 1977-78
  • Captain Ivor Gould, 1978-81
  • Captain Gordon T. Roach, 1981-86, 1988-90
  • Captain A.D.R. (Derm) Wilson, 1986-88, 1990-91, 1993-1994
  • Captain Kimberly O’Leary, 1991-93, 1994-1999
  • Captain Michael Paulin, 1999-2000
  • Captain Doug Silzer, 2000-2003
  • Captain Jon Lee, 2003-2004
  • Captain Calvin Facey, 2004-2008
  • Captain Shaun Bridge, 2008-present

7 thoughts on “2881 Queen’s Own Rifles Cadet Corps”

  1. I’m the daughter of Captain Gordon T. Roach and was disappointed that my father’s term with the 2881 Queen’s Own Rifles RCAC was not acknowledged. Both he and my mother were key to the success of this cadet corp and at times, acted as advisers to quite a few cadets who came from troubled homes. They opened the doors to their home to the cadets on more occasions than I care to count. My mother Dorothy Roach, was a supply officer during my father’s term with them and was also a very important person in the history of this cadet corp. She also acted as a chaperone to the girls of the corp when the cadets went on training trips. Even when he retired, he did his best to help out. After his death, an award was given out in his memory to the best all-round cadet. It also wouldn’t hurt to include a photo of him and his cadets who became his second family.

    1. Thank you for your observations.
      I have been working on a complete archive of the cadet corps and will be posting it shortly.
      It will contain the following information taken from service files held by the cadet corps.
      I also intend to update the article you refer to as there are several omissions similar to your mother and father.
      I would be pleased to receive any additional information that you may have.
      As there are very few photos of the cadet corps in our archive I would also be grateful for any photos that you might share.
      Please send any information and photos (in jpg format) to museum@qormuseum.org

      Roach, Gordon Thomas – Civilian Instructor paid as Second Lieutenant
      Taken On Strength – 08 Sept 1977
      Struck Off Strength – 01 Jul 1991
      Previous Service – Royal Canadian Artillery – Gun Fitter – 09 Jan 1948 to 08 Jan 1951
      Previous Service – Royal Canadian Army Service Corps – Section Leader/Storeman – 09 May 1951 to 21 Jan 1953
      Appointed Officer In Charge of Recruit Training
      Appointed Deputy Supply Officer
      Promoted Officer Cadet – 01 May 1979
      Basic Officer Qualification Course – CFB Toronto – 09 Jul to 20 Jul 1979
      Promoted Second Lieutenant – 01 May 1980
      Lieutenant Qualification Course – CFB Borden – 09 Jun to 20 Jun 1980
      Promoted Lieutenant – 01 May 1981
      Promoted Acting Captain – 30 May 1981
      Appointed Commanding Officer – 30 May 1981 to 1986
      Captain Qualification Course – CFB Toronto – 06 Jul to 17 Jul 1981
      Promoted Captain – 17 Jul 1981
      Range Safety Officer Course – 10 Sept 1983
      Rappel Instructor Course – 28 Oct 1984
      Staff Officer – Company Second-In-Command – Petawawa Army Cadet Camp – 1985
      Awarded Canadian Forces’ Decoration – 17 Aug 1986
      Appointed Commanding Officer – 29 May 1988 to 16 Oct 1990
      Staff Officer – Company Second-In-Command – Petawawa Army Cadet Camp – 1989
      Transfer to Supplementary Reserve List – 01 Jul 1991
      Captain G.T. Roach CD, Memorial Trophy for The Cadet That Contributes the Most During the Year – established 1993
      Civilian Volunteer – 1996 / 1997 Training Year

      Roach, Dorothy Rose – Civilian Instructor – paid as a Second Lieutenant
      Taken On Strength – 05 Jan 1983
      Appointed Supply Officer – 1985
      Appointed Civilian Volunteer – 06 Jun 1995 to 17 Sept 1995
      Dorothy Roach both loved and was loved by the cadet corps.
      She would be publically addressed as “Honorary Colonel” and “The Colonel”.
      Until her death in 2015 Dorothy would present the Captain G.T. Roach CD, Memorial Trophy for The Cadet That Contributes the Most During the Year at the corps Annual Ceremonial Reviews.

      Roach, Maureen Alice May – Civilian Volunteer
      Taken On Strength – 29 Nov 1985
      Appointed Administration Officer

  2. My grandfather Earl Pringle was a member of he queens own rifles. He is a cousin to private Harold Pringle who was executed. Do
    You have any information on either of them?

    1. After a search of both the 2881 Cadet Corps archives and the QOR Museum archives we can find no reference to Earl Pringle or Harold Pringle.
      If you have any information that we could use to start a profile for your Grandfather and his Cousin we would be appreciative.
      Please send any information and photos (in jpg format) to museum@qormuseum.org

    1. I was a member in 1961. Under the command of Major Butterfield who was also a math teacher at Western Canada High School

    2. Thank You for bringing this cadet corps to our attention.
      2554 (Calgary) Army Cadet Corps is now included in the archive’s QOR HISTORY section under CADETS.

We welcome your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"