July 2015 sees Civilian Instructor (CI) Ken Turner retire from voluntary service with 1936 (Newton) Squadron RAF Air Cadets.
CI Turner was first encouraged to become a member of staff back in 1982, by the then Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant John North. Ken’s daughter was interested in becoming an Air Cadet but, surprising by the inclusionary stance of the modern day Air Cadet Organisation; females were not allowed to join. Thankfully, the wheels of change were in motion in 1982; with 126 (City of Derby) and 1936 (Newton) Squadrons selected to trial the new recruitment policy. Ken and his family lived in Hucknall and decided upon Newton, which at the time had an active RAF base and was also the home to Headquarters Air Cadets before its move to RAF College Cranwell.
When asked how he became a CI, he said, “by the time I’d driven back home after dropping my daughter off and having a cuppa, it was time to drive back to collect her. I thought that, as was an ex RAF service man, I could just stay at the Squadron and read some books.”
Ken would regularly see cadets whom had been summoned to see ‘The Boss’ and would offer advice to those cadets, on drill and deportment before speaking to the Officer Commanding (OC). Flt Lt North quickly spotted Ken’s talents and signed him up.
Ken joined the Royal Air Force in 1955 as a survival equipment fitter, or ‘Squipper.’ On his decision to join, Ken said, “I worked down the pit at Linby aged 15 in 1955 and only lasted around 8 weeks as it turned out I was colour blind.”
Further to this, he adds, “my colour blindness was discovered after an explosive charge was wired incorrectly…it started coming out of the seam anti-clockwise!” In his own inimitable style, Ken laughs that time off as follows, “I was never colour blind; I could always tell the difference between green grass, brown shoes and a red post box.”
After leaving Linby he joined the RAF and had 5 great years there.
He left in 1960 and took up a similar role at Rolls Royce in Hucknall, where he stayed until his retirement in the early 2000s. Ken achieved and took part in a lot of activities with the company, some of which were deemed as secret all those years ago.
Ken has been the designated instructor for weapons and shooting on the Squadron at Newton. He leaves behind his eighth OC, Flt Lt Liam Waring RAF VR(T).
On Ken’s departure, Flt Lt Waring said, “Ken has been a pillar of this Squadron for over 30 years. He was here as a staff member when I was a youngster. His knowledge, personality, drive and helpful nature are truly inspiring and we all wish him the best in his retirement.”
Ken has often said of the Air Cadets, “the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.”
Good luck for the future Mr T! We’ll all miss you!!!