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About 700

The Cadet Program

The Cadet Program is the largest federally-sponsored youth program in Canada that includes the Royal Canadian Sea, Army and Air Cadets. It is a national program for young Canadians aged 12 to 18 who are interested in participating in a variety of fun, challenging and rewarding activities while learning about the sea, army and air activities of the Canadian Forces. Cadets are encouraged to become active, responsible members of their communities.They make valuable contributions to Canadian society on a daily basis in terms of environmental, citizenship and community activities. Cadets also learn valuable life and work skills such as teamwork, leadership and citizenship.

700 Squadron

History of The Squadron

The Squadron received its charter on April 8, 1960 and enrolled its first cadets, drawn from the Weston area of Toronto, starting in the Fall of 1960.  The first Parade was held at the new Squadron HQ, located in the Airmen’s Canteen of the (former) RCAF Supply Depot, then located near Weston and Highway 401.

The First Annual Ceremonial Review, then called the “Annual Inspection” was held at the Squadron HQ on Monday, May 15, 1961.

In 2010, 700 David Hornell VC Squadron merged with 707 Etobicoke Squadron (previously known as Major General Richard Rohmer Squadron) and this combined Squadron (using the 700 Squadron designation) now draws its members from Weston, Central and Northern Etobicoke areas of Toronto.

Read about the famous RCAF Aviator David Hornell VC, who the Squadron is named for, in the section below.

Although the Squadron celebrates its 65th birthday or anniversary on April 8, 2024 (at the Squadron HQ at Thistletown Collegiate Institute) it will only be celebrating its 64th Annual Ceremonial Review on June 1, 2024 (at the Pine Point Arena).

David Ernest Hornell VC

David Ernest Hornell VCBorn in Mimico, Ontario in 1910, David Hornell was destined for valour. His citation, awarded posthumously reads as follows:

Flight-Lieutenant Hornell was captain and first pilot of a twin-engined amphibian aircraft engaged on an anti-submarine patrol in northern waters. The patrol had lasted for some hours when a fully-surfaced U-boat was sighted, travelling at high speed on the port beam. Flight-Lieutenant Hornell at once turned to the attack.

The U-boat altered course. The aircraft had been seen and there could be no surprise. The U-boat opened up with anti-aircraft fire which became increasingly fierce and accurate.

At a range of 1,200 yards, the front guns of the aircraft replied; then its starboard gun jammed, leaving only one gun effective. Hits were obtained on and around the conning-tower of the U-boat but the aircraft itself was hit, two large holes appearing in the starboard wing.

Ignoring the enemy’s fire, Flight-Lieutenant Hornell carefully maneuvered for the attack. Oil was pouring from his starboard engine which was, by this time, on fire, as was the starboard wing; and the petrol tanks were endangered. Meanwhile, the aircraft was hit again and again by the U-boat’s guns. Holed in many places, it was vibrating violently and very difficult to control.

Nevertheless, the captain decided to press home his attack, knowing that with every moment the chances of escape for him and his gallant crew would grow more slender. He brought his aircraft down very low and released his depth charges in a perfect straddle. The bows of the U-boat were lifted out of the water; it sank and the crew were seen in the sea.

Flight-Lieutenant Hornell contrived, by superhuman efforts at the controls, to gain a little height. The fire in the starboard wing had grown more intense and the vibration had increased. Then the burning engine fell off. The plight of the aircraft and crew was now desperate. With the utmost coolness the captain took his aircraft into the wind and, despite manifold dangers, brought it safely down on the heavy swell. Badly damaged and blazing furiously, the aircraft rapidly settled.

CansopatrolAfter ordeal by fire came ordeal by water. There was only one serviceable dinghy and this could not hold all the crew. So they took turns in the water, holding on to the sides. Once, the dinghy capsized in the rough seas and was righted only with great difficulty. Two of the crew succumbed from exposure.

An airborne lifeboat was dropped to them but fell some 500 yards down wind. The men struggled vainly to reach it and Flight-Lieutenant Hornell, who throughout had encouraged them by his cheerfulness and inspiring leadership, proposed to swim to it, though he was nearly exhausted. He was with difficulty restrained. The survivors were finally rescued after they had been in the water for 21 hours. By this time Flight-Lieutenant Hornell was blinded and completely exhausted. He died shortly after being picked up.

Flight-Lieutenant Hornell had completed 60 operational missions, involving 600 hours’ flying. He well knew the danger and difficulties attending attacks on submarines. By pressing home a skillful and successful attack against fierce opposition, with his aircraft in a precarious position, and by fortifying and encouraging his comrades in the subsequent ordeal, this officer displayed valour and devotion to duty of the highest order.’

See video about David Hornell VC