The History of Army cadets in Medicine Hat dates back to 4 June 1908 with the formation of #186 Medicine Hat Mounted Cadets. The cadets formed in Alexandra High School under the guidance of the principal. The name and number of the corps has been changed several times, reflecting the changes in the regimental family name. It is interesting to note this was also the year that the Minister of Defense took over the provision of instruction to teach cadet instructors, who were also school teachers, the military methods of drill and physical training so as to keep it uniform with the Canadian Forces. This original corps remained #186 until it was disbanded 29 October 1910.
The Medicine Hat Army Cadet Corps was officially reformed 16 March 1912, and was given a new number and name, # 325 Medicine Hat Cadet Corps. Upon reorganization as #325 Medicine Hat Cadet Corps, a group of eighteen students made up the new corps under the instruction of the principal, Lt. M.E. LaZerte. The first work undertaken consisted of semaphore flag drill under provincial supervision. This signaling dwindled to ten members, all of whom received their signaling certificates.
The spring term was drawing to a close when an invitation was extended to the cadets to attend the Provincial Camp at Calgary. Eight cadets left for the hard drill and poor fare. All survived and came back to report everything was okay. The good seed was sown and when the fall term began the enrolment increased to fifty. The corps by this time had full equipment of uniforms, rifles, bayonets, belts, hats, etc. Squad drill, company maneuvers, Swiss drill, scouting, sub-target and range shooting all lend variety to the work and the corps had become the centre of the entire athletic work. Records indicate that when the Medicine Hat High School (Alexandra) opened in 1911 the principal, La Zerte, reported in the school Year Book "The En Evant" (1911 - 1913) that a live Cadet Corps, fifty strong, has made the nucleus of much of the work of the boys." The Medicine Hat News, May 23, 1912 reported that the inspector of Cadet Corps, Military District No. 13, Major W.H. Belson, was in Medicine Hat for a day or two for the purpose of increasing the interest taken locally in regard to the corps. The article further states that the price of a uniform was $3.99 and it was his intent to induce leading citizens in Medicine Hat to contribute sufficient amount to outfit the boys. During this era the cadet program thrived. Much of this is thought to be one of the effects of the WW1.
From 1912 - 1918 many of the soldiers who voluntarily enlisted were found to be ex-army cadets. After the war there were many changes in the designation of militia regiments. On record, the number and name #325 Medicine Hat Cadet Corps remained in effect until 1921.
From 1919 the militia in Medicine Hat became "C" Company 13th Machine Gunners. Records are not too clear to the writer at this time but it appears that a second corps was formed in Medicine Hat. This corps took its name from the regiment, becoming #1015 - Medicine Hat Machine Gun Cadet Corps. The cadets in this corps are thought to be younger than the cadets parading in Alexandra High School. The official formation of #1015 did not take place until 6 April 1922 and remained in effect until 31 Dec 1925.
Continuing to parade at Alexandra High School in Medicine Hat was the original corps comprised of the older boys. The interest and enrollment in this corps fluctuated, as it remained a unit. From 11 October 1923 until 1927 #1275 Medicine Hat Public School Cadet Corps became the official name of the newer corps on 20 March 1926 and only remained in effect for a short year. It was disbanded 02 Dec 1926.
It is the belief of the writer that the depression took its toll on the cadet movement, as the boys were made to work to assist their families. As things started to improve, and with the new war on the horizon, interest in the military was rejuvenated.
Thus the cadet organization in Medicine Hat became alive again. The cadets began parading once again at Alexandra High School. From 28 Feb 1941 until 17 Dec 1941 the cadet unit, paraded under the number and name #1098 Alexandra High School Cadet Corps.
The new corps designated #1947 Medicine Hat School Cadet Corps was reformed 20 March 1943 under the guidance of (2nd Bn South Alta Regiment) and remained as such until 30 June 1947.
On 26 May 1948, there was another name change for the corps due to the fact that the South Alta Regiment became the militia unit's designation. Because of the affiliation with the militia unit, the corps was now known as 2313 Medicine Hat Army (S Alta R) Cadet Corps. Although there has been a few more 'name' changes, this number has remained in effect up to the present day corps.
In 1954 the South Alberta Regiment and #15 Light Horse militia units amalgamated and formed the South Alberta Light Horse. In that same year 2313 was re-designated 2313 Medicine Hat Cadet Corps RCAC under the sponsorship of "A" squadron, The South Alberta Light Horse (29th Armoured Regiment).
The Town of Redcliff, six miles west of Medicine Hat, had a lively cadet corps, that had been formed since 1910. Fortunately it did not experience the many changes as did Medicine Hat corps. The original corps in Redcliff was designated 156 Redcliffe Public School Cadet Corps and remained as such until 19 Nov 1920.
After a ten year lapse, the corps reopened with the same number but had an addition of (SAR) on the end of its name thus becoming #156 Redcliff School Cadet Corps (SAR). The scarcity of instructors became an evident problem in both Medicine Hat and Redcliff. . By this time both corps were under the affiliation of South Alberta Light Horse "A" Sqn. It was decided that in the best interest of the Cadet movement, and to allow for superior training and facilities, the two corps would amalgamate. 1969 was the year chosen for the amalgamation of two corps, # 2313 and # 156 Redcliff Cadet Corps. It was decided that the cadets would continue to parade at Patterson Armoury in Medicine Hat, a building that is claimed to have ghosts living there and had once been part of the POW camp. Another name change! #2313 Medicine Hat - Redcliff Cadet Corps.
It was at this time (16 June 1975) that the name was re-designated to 2313 South Alberta Light Horse Cadet Corps. With the passing of Bill C16 females were officially allowed to enroll as cadets. Prior to this year, females who did parade (some as early as 1970) were known as KADETS, pronounced kaydets.
In a message to D Cadets 37, dated 19 January 1977, it was stated that there would be a change of support base from CFB Calgary to CFB Suffield.
In Nov 1994 2313 SALH RCACC came under the command of 2Lt Miles Johnson, a serving member of the City of Medicine Hat Police Service.
Due to the recent downsizing and restructuring of the Canadian Forces, plus the closure of some bases in support of a super base in Edmonton, the support for the Medicine Hat Cadet Corps has moved from CFB Suffield to CFB Edmonton.
September 1997 The Medicine Hat (DownTown) Kiwanis entered into a co-sponsorship with the South Alberta Light Horse and the name once again was changed to 2313 (Kiwanis) South Alberta Light Horse Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.
As the Nominal roll for the training year was filled out 13 Dec 1997, the figures of the cadets on strength numbered 144; 1 third being female. The figures reached a high of 150 prior to spring break, 1998. The corps maintains a supportive relationship with the local branches of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 6 in Redcliff, and Branch 17 Medicine Hat. Both continue to be supportive financially and morale wise for the cadets and officers.
Sept 1997-1999 there was an attempt made to re-organize the Cadet corps in Bow Island, which at one time housed South Alberta Light Horse "C" Squadron. It was formed as a satellite corps of 2313 SALH RCACC (Kiwanis).
28 May 1998 the corps celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their affiliation with South Alberta Light Horse "A" Sqn, Medicine Hat. In honour of this milestone Anniversary, 2313 SALH (Kiwanis) RCACC took to the streets of Medicine Hat. In an orderly fashion, they marched down River Rd SE and First St. SE, arriving at City Hall and greeting Mayor Ted Grimm, who was to inspect the troops. 106 cadets were on parade for this event.
Following the inspection, cadets were presented with awards for their achievements in various categories. The awards which brought everyone close to tears was a Life Saving Pin and Commendation Certificate presented by St John's Ambulance to C/Cpl Lee Pierce, in recognition of his quick thinking and application of the heimlich maneuver, subsequently saving the life of his four-year old brother, Sloan.
In September of 1998, due to the large amount of cadets enrolled, the corps in Medicine Hat began parading on both Thursday and Friday evenings. The corps divided into two squadrons ("A" Sqn under the command of Lt Don Girling and "B" Sqn under the command of Lt Pat Johnson).
The 1998 - 1999 Training year began as it had ended; however, by November the satellite corps of Bow Island was experiencing great difficulty. A problem with staffing and declining numbers resulted in aborting the mission and the cadets from Bow Island came to Medicine Hat to parade. Unfortunately only two of the Bow Island cadets remained with the corps.
At the end of the 2002 – 2003 season due to natural wastage it was decided to amalgamate both Squadrons and just have ‘A’ Sqn.