Authored by: Richard Hunt, LCOL (Ret’d) (alumni 1967-1978)
It was sometime in the early winter of 1996 when I received a call from John Jamieson informing me of Corps alumni getting together to discuss ways and means to help raise funds to directly support the Corps. The gathering happened in the basement of John Jamieson’s house with Gary Payne (then Vice President of the Manitoba Division of the Navy league of Canada), Barry Webb, Bob Webb, Kerry Knight, Ian Burke and Neil Johnston (then Corps Commanding Officer) in attendance. Following reminiscing of days past, the group eventually moved into discussions related to the primary reason for the gathering. Herein it was learned the Corps needed an additional funding source to help the Corps effectively deliver its program to the cadets. The Corps believed its sponsoring Navy League Branch (Greater Winnipeg Branch) could not adequately support John Travers Cornwell VC due to the financial demands placed on the branch in supporting two other Sea Cadet Corps (then RCSCC Crusader and RCSCC Qu’Appelle) plus a Navy League Cadet Corp (NLCC JRK Millen). The notion of forming an Alumni Committee within the existing Navy League Branch was discussed but it was believed the committee would not be able to function autonomously for John Travers Cornwell VC and its efforts and resources may eventually be spread across the Greater Winnipeg Branch as a whole. At this juncture the suggestion of forming a separate Navy League Branch to solely sponsor the Corps was raised. Most believed this suggestion had merit and asked Gary Payne to pursue this notion further with the Navy League of Canada Manitoba Division President (at that time, Ed Wilson, also an alumni).
On reflection, the concept of forming another Navy League Branch within the City of Winnipeg to solely sponsor John Travers Cornwell VC was a whirlwind of events. The next thing I remember was meeting again with the august group of late 1996 to begin the process in forming a new Navy League Branch within the City of Winnipeg for sole sponsorship of RCSCC John Travers Cornwell VC. With the assistance of Gary Payne, a committee was formed to complete the Navy League of Canada paperwork to obtain a Navy League of Canada Warrant to form and operate a Navy League Branch. Along with myself, the committee included John Jamieson, Kerry Knight, and Ian Burke. On January ??, 1997, the National President of the Navy League of Canada signed a Navy League of Canada Warrant approving the formation of a Navy League Branch within the City of Winnipeg to operate and sponsor RCSCC John Travers Cornwell VC. As part of obtaining a Navy League of Canada Warrant, the committee had to identify a branch name. Following discussions, the committee agreed on the name “CORNWELL (WINNIPEG) BRANCH” for it was believed the name aptly reflected its relationship to the Corps and use of (WINNPEG) clearly defined its location (so as not to be confused with other locations such as Cornwell, Ontario).
INAUGURAL BRANCH MEETING
The inaugural Branch meeting was held in the Ante Room of the old HMCS Chippawa on January 9, 1997. In addition to the above committee, those attending this inaugural meeting included: Elsie Edwards; Brenda Forsyth; Jack Templeman; Barry Webb; Robert Webb; Hugh Walker; Denise Whynot; and Marie Zorniak. Also in attendance was Gary Payne (Vice-President Manitoba Division, NLoC); Lyla Bilton (Sea Cadet Chairperson Manitoba Division, NLoC) and LCdr Neil Johnston (Commanding Officer – RCSCC John Travers Cornwell VC). Topics during this meeting included election of the Branch Executive (i.e.: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer); discussions on the Branch’s role in relation to the Corps; establishing Branch sub-committees (i.e.: membership, fund raising, alumni); financial matters; membership fees; and scheduling the Annual General Meeting. This group can be considered to be the Branch’s founding membership which set in motion the successes the Branch achieves today.
Over the years the Branch has undertaken many types of fund raising activities that have included Raffles (Grey Cup Tickets, Computer); and Events (Beer Tasting; Bud, Spud and Beef, participation in the Boat and Recreation Shows, Meat Sales, Cornwell Comedy Nights at Rumours Comedy Club, Silent Auctions, etc) supplemented by various donations.
The Branch has sponsored / supported the Corps through the ongoing provision and/or the purchase of sports equipment, band equipment, seamanship / training equipment, food for the annual Christmas Service and end of cadet year BBQ, scholarships and bursaries, etc.
Since its inception, the foundation established by the Branch’s founding membership has and continues to be the drive of Branch memberships that have followed. The ongoing success of the Cornwell (Winnipeg) Branch is indicative of the time donated and unnerving devotion to the Corps by all of its Branch memberships both past and present. While the origins of the Branch were rooted by Corps alumni, it’s through the collected effort of both Corps alumni and non-alumni members that continues to nurture future seeds of success for the Branch.
BRANCH EXECUTIVE 1997 TO 2020
THE BRANCH...ALWAYS STANDING THEIR STATION
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