Air Cadets paraded through the streets of Corby on Sunday 6th February 2011 to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Air Cadet Organisation, which fell on 4th February 2011.
The Cadets formed up at 10.00am in the car park at The Raven Hotel on Rockingham road before marching proudly to Saint Andrew’s Church of Scotland on Occupation Road. Once at the church the Cadets formed a guard of honour, with their Squadron Standard flying in the wind along side the RAF Association standard and the Union Flag.
Inside the church the Reverend Peter Mills, a retired RAF Air Vice Marshall, greeted the Cadets and taught them of the importance of embracing change and advancement as he reminisced about changes in the church, the Air Cadet Organisation and the RAF over the years.
The Air Cadet Organisation was first formed on 4th February 1941 by Air Commodore John Adrian Chamier, who is known within the organisation as “the father of the Air Training Corps”, for boys aged between 13 and 22 to assist with the war effort and to begin training in aviation at an early age. Air Commodore Chamier set out three aims of the organisation which remain at the Corps’ heart even today:
• To promote and encourage among young men [and women] a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force.
• To provide training which will be useful both in the Services and civilian life.
• To foster the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship
These aims were approved by King George VI himself and were set out in a 1941 Royal Warrant.
422 (Corby) Squadron was established in March 1941, shortly after the initiation of the Air Training Corps, and the Squadron will be hosting a celebratory dinner at the Grampian Club in Corby on 1st April 2011. When the Air Training Corps first opened its doors to girls in 1984, 422 (Corby) Squadron was one of the first units in the country to follow suit, allowing its first female members to join in the very same year.
Although not a recruiting organisation for the RAF, the Air Cadet Organisation retains its close links with the service with regular careers visits as well as week long camps and flying training on RAF stations. In 2010 Cadets at 422 (Corby) Squadron collectively benefitted from more than sixty flights at various RAF stations.
Cadet George Baker (13) said, “I have been an Air Cadet for a good few months now and I cannot believe how much is on offer to us. It seems amazing to me that this has been going on for 70 years and I hope it continues for many years to come.”
The Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Robert McKellar said, “After 70 years 422 (Corby) Squadron is still growing and flourishing. We now have 66 Cadets and the number is increasing by the week. The organisation has done an excellent job at serving the youth of Corby in the decades gone by and it is dynamically evolving to deliver high quality training to Cadets in the 21st Century.”
The Air Cadet Organisation provides its members with thousands of pounds worth of flying, gliding and target shooting training every year absolutely free of charge. This is in addition to adventure training, the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh´s Award, seven major sports and BTEC Vocational Qualifications.