April 8th saw Cadets, Staff and Committee Members of 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron, Air Cadets celebrate their 75th Anniversary by tucking into birthday cake supplied by their leaders after the 80 Cadets on parade at their Eureka Park Headquarters gave a rousing but slightly tuneless version of ‘Happy Birthday’
The Twelve-Eleven Squadron started life in 1941 at the Town Hall on the Delph and was originally formed along with other units to “Meet the needs of the nation at war”. Formed by the District Council along with MP Herbert Wragg, the first Commanding Officer (CO) was Flight Lieutenant James Sitch who flew during the First World War.
Current CO, Squadron Leader Alyn Thompson, who was at pains to advise us that he was not on those first parades, paid tribute to those staff and Cadets who started 1211 all those years ago. “Although the aims of the organisation have changed over the years, the feeling of camaraderie and belief in what we are achieving remains the same. Swadlincote and District can be very proud of its Air Cadets Squadron which through so many staff teams has achieved great things, both as a unit and for hundreds of individual cadets.”
Recently returned from a week long camp spent with the Royal Navy in Portsmouth the Squadron are again recruiting youngsters aged 12 (In year 8) to 16, on Tuesday 26th April at their Eureka Park Headquarters.
New youngsters aged from 13 are being invited down at 7.30pm to find out more about the Award Winning 1211 Squadron when staff and Senior Cadets will explain what being a Cadet is all about with opportunities ranging from Adventurous Training and Overseas Visits to Flying and B-Tec qualifications.
Squadron Adjutant Ruth Morgan told us, “Our Cadets get chances to take part in activities which are just not available to anyone else in the South Derbyshire area. Where else can a young teenager take control of an aeroplane and do aerobatics with a Royal Air Force Pilot for free? Swadlincote Cadets gain training which is incredibly useful not only if they join the military but also in civilian life.”
Squadron Operations Officer, Alex Moss added, “Our job at 1211 Squadron is to take every available opportunity for all of our Cadets, whether it’s a flight in an Air Force aeroplane or putting them forward for qualifications in the B-tec scheme. We are one of the best Air Cadet Units in the UK and the reason for that is because our training programme is so varied. Last year we had Cadets in, Germany, Cyprus and Gibraltar. Many gained Leadership qualifications in Public Services, Aviation Subjects and Music!”
So, if you are aged 13-16 and want to become a Glider Pilot before you can start to drive, call in at the 1211 Headquarters on John Street in Eureka Park on Tuesday evening 26th April at 7.30pm.
Sqn Ldr Alyn Thompson
Officer Commanding 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron