Members of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Panther Squadron march into the hanger of HNZ Topflight for the 75th Annual Ceremonial Parade and Review Saturday. Mark Brett/Western News

Special Day for members of 259 Panther Squadron

It was 66 years ago Tony Day (retired Flight Lt.) took on the role of commanding officer of the fledgling Penticton Royal Canadian Air Cadet 259 Panther Squadron.

On Saturday he returned.

Fittingly, Day was the reviewing officer at the squadron’s 75th annual Ceremonial Parade and Review at the HNZ Topflight location at Penticton Regional Airport that included a number of other dignitaries, cadets, families and members of the public.

Day was commissioned into the Royal Air Force as a pilot officer in 1944 and was quickly dispatched to the Far East for service in the invasion of Rangoon.

He and his late wife Dorothy immigrated to Penticton from their homeland in England in 1947 where their three children were eventually born.

It was in 1951 he was approached to activate the air cadet squadron which then became Panther Squadron where he served until 1963. Following that he became a glider pilot instructor and co-ordinator for the Okanagan Valley.

He retired in 1987 as secretary treasurer for Penticton Regional Hospital and has since enjoyed a wide variety of activities including travelling, rock climbing, a number of flying experiences and even a try at parachuting at age 75.

One of the things Day is best known for is his characteristic sense of humour which was in full display when the official request to inspect the cadets had to be put off for five minutes in order to “hike up” his pants became necessary.

Also taking part in the inspection Saturday was Christine Welch of the Air Cadet League, Major David Kerr of the Department of National Defense, MLA Dan Ashton and Mayor Andrew Jakubeit.

Following the inspection there were demonstrations by the Panther Squadron’s marching band, drill squad and a effective speaking.

Air cadets began in Penticton in 1943 with 70 cadets, It’s current strength is 47.


Reviewing officer Tony Day inspects members of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Panther Squadron Saturday at the HNZ Toplfight helicopter hanger during the 75th Annual Ceremonial Parade and Review Saturday. Day was the squadron’s commanding officer from 1951-1963. Mark Brett/Western News

Drum Major Hannah Bloomfield leads the squadron marching band during the musical portion of the annual parade and reivew. Mark Brett/Western News

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