SAULT STE MARIE, Ont. – Local Air Cadets Honor 155 Squadron Alumni Major Bruce Arnott who was killed in 1971 as a result of an inflight emergency while flying his Royal Canadian Air Force CT-144 Tudor jet. His family took part in a Memorial Cabinet Dedication at the Sault Ste Marie Armoury this past weekend. The family of Bruce Arnott placed a very special Canadian Flag in the Memorial Cabinet while those gathered looked on. The flag had flown over the Peace Tower of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa for one day and was presented to the 155 Squadron at their 75th Anniversary by MP Terry Sheehan. This ceremony was conducted prior to the 77th Annual Review of the 155 Squadron which had as their Reviewing Officer B. Gen (Ret.) Martin Galvin, Dean of Aviation, Technology and Technologies at Canadore College in North Bay.
The Memorial Cabinet housed adjacent to the offices of the 155 Squadron has pictures and information on two other members of the RCAF that are associated with the Squadron as well as Maj. Arnott. These include Capt. Cliff Healey also a 155 Squadron Alumni and Flying Officer Borden Gray GC which the 155 is named after. When the Peace Tower flag was presented in 2017, the average wait time for a similar flag is 65 years. MP Sheehan checked recently and that figure has now increased to over 99 years. The significance of the flag is that it flies on Peace Tower that contains the Memorial Chamber which houses the Books of Remembrance that has the names of every Canadian killed while serving Canada since the War of 1812.
The Arnott family had planned on attending last year but were unable to for safety reasons as their flight was rescheduled and would not have allowed them to arrive in time. The family members attending this year were his wife Mrs. Priscilla Arnott, Daughter Allison Arnott, Sister Lynn Sutherland and husband Walt. Porter Airlines generously provided three round trip tickets after they heard the reasons for the family wanting to attend this year and the disappointment of not attending last years ceremony.
Also joining the Bruce Arnott family was two former cadets who knew Bruce while in cadets, Bruce Pierce and George Patteman. Doug Bradford who was in high school with Arnott passed along high school stories. The Arnott family enjoyed hearing of Bruce’s younger years. Lynn stated, Bruce taught me how to ride a bike“. `I had kept falling, but he would help me up and run along beside me, I would say I can`t do this“. “Bruce would say there is no such word as can`t`, which reflects back on his air cadet experiences. Priscilla added that “he loved to fly which he first got an interest in, as an air cadet`.
The family of Captain Cliff Healey, also a 155 Squadron Alumni, attended and had been part of a similar ceremony last year. Capt. Healey was on a Search and Rescue mission as a member of 440 Squadron in 1972 when the RCAF Dakota plane he was in went down in the process of dropping supplies to a downed pilot. All eight crew members of the Dakota were killed.
During the 155 Squadron`s Annual Review a special presentation was made by WO Alex Morin and Sgt. Kayla Herbert on behalf of the cadets and staff of the Squadron. Major Bruce Arnott`s family `received a Canadian Flag that had flown for one day at 15 Wing Headquarters in Moose Jaw which is the home of 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School which was the last unit Bruce flew with. Allison stated while holding the display case that housed the Canadian Flag `this is so very special“. Part of the reason for this is that Allison was born six months after her father had died in the accident.
The family of Captain Cliff Healey also received a display case containing a Canadian Flag. This flag few for one day at the home of 440 Squadron, CFB Yellowknife in the NWT as well as a day at the Gitzel St. Monument in Yellow Knife which is dedicated to the eight RCAF members killed in the Dakota crash in 1972.
The local Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 25 donated $500 from the Poppy Fund to support the air cadets in remembering the two 155 Squadron Alumni for the costs associated with the display cases and other related expenses in this project.
After the Annual Review had concluded, George Patteman shared his photo album that contained photos and newspaper articles of the 155 Squadron while he and Bruce Arnott were cadets. He was very proud of a photo of eight cadets that were selected to go onto pilot training. Bruce and George are both in the photo and later all earned their pilots license.