Despite torrential rain, 100 Air Cadets from 126 (City of Derby) Squadron were on parade on Sunday to welcome the Commander in Chief Air Command Sir Simon Bryant to their squadron.
Air Chief Marshall Sir Simon Bryant arrived in Derby by helicopter. Due to a mix up over the helicopter landing location, the CinC Air Command made a quick decision to land on a nearby cricket pitch. A helpful cricketer, who was in the pavilion playing a game of cards after rain stopped play, kindly gave the CinC Air Command and his wife a lift in his car to the nearby squadron.
The Commander in Chief Air Command was visiting 126 Squadron, one of the best air cadet units in the country, to see for himself what the Air Training Corps has to offer young people in local communities.
126 (City of Derby) Squadron performed an immaculate march past with smiles on their faces despite the pouring rain. After the march past, the CinC Air Command was invited to tour the squadron to witness the many varied activities that the squadron has to offer. Air Chief Marshall Sir Simon Bryant stopped in the rain to chat with Cadet Tristan Gillett in the leadership team who was teaching a group of Junior cadets how to build basic structures from poles and rope. He then watched the squadron corps of drums perform their latest routine before moving on to the Catering Support Flight. The CinC Air Command was very impressed with the asparagus quiche that had been expertly prepared and cooked by Cadet Corporal Rebecca Davies.
ACM Sir Simon Bryant took tea with local dignitaries who actively support 126 Squadron. The VIP guests included HM Lord Lieutenant for Derbyshire Mr William Tucker, the Mayor of Derby Mr Les Allen and the Deputy Chair of the Derbyshire County Council Mr Chris Jackson. The Regional Commandant Group Captain Brett Morrell and Wing Commander Nigel Dickinson were also in attendance.
The high point of the visit was a demonstration by the 126 Squadron Rifle Drill Display Team. They performed to an amazingly high standard even though each movement was made in a series of very large puddles. CWO Elodie Marsh explained to the CinC Air Command that the Rifle Drill team will perform this year at Buxton Military Tattoo and RAF Wittering Families Day.
At the end of a very historic day for 126 Squadron, all cadets, staff and VIPs gathered together in a warm dry hall where the CinC Air Command gave his final address. He spoke of the range of activities that 126 Squadron performed to such a high standard. He said, “It’s wonderful to see the smiles on your faces. Its hard rain and you were still enjoying it.” Finally, he complemented the squadron on its drill standards saying the drill was “up to the standards of anything he had seen, full stop.”
Before the CinC Air Command returned to the helicopter that was waiting for him on the nearby cricket ground, CWO Charlotte Chetwyn presented the CinC Air Command with a 126 Squadron whisky glass. Cadet Flight Sergeant Joshua Bray presented Lady Helen Bryant with a bunch of flowers.
Officer Commanding 126 (City of Derby) Squadron, Sqn Ldr Ian Marshall said, “this has been the most important day in the history of 126 Squadron. We were very honoured to have a visit from such a senior RAF officer. The cadets performed everything to an impeccable standard. I think this will be a day that we will all remember for the rest of our lives.”