On the 10th September 2009, Flight Lieutenant Alyn Thompson RAFVR (T) celebrated 25 years in the post of Officer Commanding of 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron (Sqn), becoming one of the longest serving Commanding Officers in the history of the Air Training Corps.
1211 Sqn was formed in April 1941 and throughout its 68 year existence has only had seven commanding officers. Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Alyn Thompson, who lives in Sinfin, Derby, has been the longest serving of them all, surpassing Flt Lt C.R. Poynton D.F.C., who served for 23 years as Sqn Commander from 1947 to 1970.
At a special dinner at the Royal Hotel in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, to celebrate 1211 Sqn’s recent success in winning the national Air Training Corps trophy, the Morris Cup, Flt Lt Thompson was presented with an engraved ‘Silver’ plate and a bottle of ‘25’ year old single malt whisky, to celebrate his amazing achievement.
Flt Lt Thompson said, “I had actually forgotten the significance of the date and would like to thank everyone for the gifts and well wishes, I was not expecting any of it. 25 years is a long time and I could not have achieved this without the dedication and support of all of the volunteer staff and committee members, both past and present, that have served at 1211.”
Flight Lieutenant Alyn Thompson (centre) receives his ‘25’ year celebratory gifts from Flight Sergeant Richard Gaskell (at left) and Sgt James Galliers-Parker (at right)
Alyn Thompson first joined 1211 (Swadlincote) Sqn as an Air Cadet, in 1970 and became the Sqn’s first ever Cadet Warrant Officer in 1975. Alyn was appointed a commission in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) (RAFVR (T)) in 1980 and took command of 1211 Sqn on 10th Sept 1984, aged 27, becoming the youngest Sqn Commander in the ATC at that time.
Alyn was influential in the 1980’s and 1990’s in taking the Sqn into Europe, competing in numerous long distance “medal marches” and visits to the German Luftwaffe. In recent years, his influence has seen 1211 Sqn spreading its wings further afield with cadets and staff travelling to Israel, India, Ghana, Canada and Singapore. Alyn is also an integral member of the UK hosting team for the International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) which organises for air-minded cadets from other countries to visit the UK.
Flt Lt Rob Moore, from Chellaston, Derby, who is the Sqn’s Operations Officer said, “Despite staff and cadets coming and going, the one consistent factor over the last 25 years has been Flt Lt Thompson. His presence and the stability and continuity that this has brought, has been key to the growth, development and success of 1211. As such we are now officially one of the best Air Cadet Squadrons in the country.
Flying Officer Ruth Morgan, from Newhall, Swadlincote, who is the Sqn’s Training Officer, added “Every success, achievement and step forward that 1211 has gone through in the last 25 years has usually started with Alyn, coffee in hand, muttering the dreaded words. ”I have an idea….”. Under his guidance and leadership, the ideas that Alyn dreams up are turned into reality by his volunteer team and are developed until success has been achieved. Alyn has vision, energy, drive and commitment that is unsurpassed in the ATC.”
Through his leadership, loyalty and commitment to 1211 Sqn and the Air Training Corps, Flt Lt Thompson has been responsible for changing the lives of hundreds of young men and women from Swadlincote and surrounding areas and is likely to continue doing so for many more years to come.
By Flight Lieutenant Rob Moore RAFVR (T)
Sqn Operations Officer
1211 (Swadlincote) Sqn