This year, 2016 the Air Training Corps is celebrating its 75th Anniversary. The Corps was officially formed on 5th February 1941, within a month there were more than 400 squadrons and 1188 (Coalville) Squadron was one of those. The Royal Warrant was issued to on 10th March and the squadron came into being. 1188 (Coalville) Squadron is now the only squadron still running in North West Leicestershire.
Mr Raymond Walker and the Commanding Officer in her vintage uniform Flt Lt Rebekah Harrison-Page holding the original Royal Warrant.
The aims of the corps are still the same today as they were when the Air Training Corps was formed:
1 to promote and encourage among young man and women a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force
2 to provide training which will be useful both in the services and in civil life
3 to foster a spirit of adventure
4 to develop the qualities of leadership and the good citizenship.
1188 (Coalville) Squadron celebrated its 75th birthday in style. The squadron hosted a party at The Palace in Ibstock, for current members of the squadron and former members as well. There were cadets or staff there from every decade since the squadron started, including a founder Cadet Mr Raymond Walker. Mr Walker was one of the first 80 cadets to join the squdron in the summer of 1941, when the squadron was based at the old Bridge Road School. He applied the join the RAF in 1942, he was accepted but told we would have to wait 6 months as there was a delay on aircraft production. He was eager to do his bit and joined the fleet air arm, serving until the end of the war.
Even the photographer was a former cadet ,Alistair from The Studio 17 based in Coalville.
Music for the night was provided by the Hathern Concert Brass, the band spent a considerable amount of time practising their repertoire which included 633 squadron Dambusters and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines as well as Happy Birthday and Congratulations.
There was a hot buffet, a disco and a cake decorated with a Spitfire. The walls were adorned with photos and newspaper cuttings detailing the squadron’s history.
The trophy winners and the VIPs who presented them including the Squadron Commander in her vintage uniform
During the evening the Squadron trophies were presented:
Air Commodore Andrew J Griffin presented The Vin Shepherd Cup for Best Attendance to Sergeant Hargadon, The1188 cadet, Drill and Ceremonial Award to Corporal Potter, Most Enterprising Cadet to Sergeant Setchell and Best Sports Cadet to Cadet Harrison.
Major Richard Bream, the Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire presented The Squadron Shooting Award for the second year in a row to Flt Sergeant Graham, The Leon Poxon Memorial Air Rifle Trophy also for the second year in a row to Sgt Benjamin and The Sharlot Hammond Trophy for Adventure Training to Cadet Sharpe.
Squadron Leader Julie Rayson-Flynn, the squadron’s wing staff officer presented The Community Award to Corporal Simpson, The British Legion Annual Attendance Shield to Flt Sergeant Robinson and The RAFA Cup , for Cadet of the Year to Flt Sergeant Graham.
Flight Lieutenant Rebekah Harrison-Page presented The John Bancroft Endeavour Trophy to Mrs Daphne Robinson on behalf civilian committee for all their hard work trying to raise £10 000 for the Squadron.
Mr Raymond Walker, the founder cadet presented The Most Promising New Cadet Trophy , awarded to Cadet Sharlot.
The Myles Murray Trophy being presented for the first time.
Mr Paul Murray and Miss Laura Murray presented The Myles Murray Trophy for the very first time. Myles Murray was a former cadet on the squadron; He was tragically killed in a motorbike accident last year. His father and sister presented the trophy in his memory. The trophy was presented to the cadet with the smartest uniform ,as Myles was always very smart. It was awarded to Cadet Eyres.
Former members of the squadron, both staff and cadets presenting every decade since the squadrons formation!
Flt Lt Rebekah Harrison-Page RAF VR(T), the commanding officer who had dressed in vintage 1940’s uniform for occasion said “ The civilian committee, staff and cadets have worked hard to prepare for this evening and it has been a huge success. It has been a chance for former members of the squadron to reminisce as the current cadets celebrate their achievements of this last year”.