Air Cadets from Nuneaton and Bedworth will be celebrating the 70 th Anniversary of the formation of their Squadron and are urging their former colleagues and friends to join them for the special celebrations.
The Air Cadet movement came to Nuneaton 70 years ago when 121 Squadron, was inaugurated on the 9th May 1939 at King Edward VI Grammar School as a unit of the Air Defence Cadet Corps. Within the borough, enthusiasm for the Corps grew and in February 1941, 121 (King Edward VI School) Squadron became part of the newly formed Air Training Corps and a second unit No. 411 (Borough of Nuneaton) Squadron was formed.
In the early part of the war as Spitfire pilots battled in the air, the War Office was desperate for airman, and as such the Air Training Corps was truly a pre-entry service training organisation. After the war in April 1946, the two Nuneaton based Squadrons were amalgamated to form 121 (Borough of Nuneaton) Squadron which set up its headquarters at the Pingles Fields now part of the Ribbonfields estate.
After the war, the ATC changed significantly, and although its links with the Royal Air Force are as strong as ever, it is no longer a recruitment organisation. Today 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron is part of a flourishing uniformed youth organisation which provides its young people with an extensive syllabus of citizenship, academic and adventurous training including nationally recognised BTEC and DofE Awards. The ATC is also unique in so much as it’s the only youth organisation which provides the opportunity to fly in RAF aircraft and undergo glider pilot training.
Now that the Squadrons 70 th Anniversary looms, the Squadron is keen to track down former cadets from both 121 and 411 Squadrons so that they can be part of an event planned to commemorate the Anniversary.
On Friday 6th February 2009, 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron will be holding an event to celebrate the start of its 70 th Anniversary year. This event will be held at the Bedworth Ex-Servicemen’s club, Rye-Place Ringway, Bedworth starting at 19:00 hrs.
Music provided by Woody’s War Department, will help to take us all back in time to the early war years when the Air Cadet movement was formed. And a buffet will be provided.
Tickets for this event @ £10.00 can be obtained from the Squadron HQ on the Ribbonfields of Attleborough Road, Nuneaton. Please visit the Squadron HQ on any Tuesday or Friday evening between 19:00 and 21:30 hrs to get your tickets or phone the Squadron HQ on 02476381114 between these times.
Above - Members of 121 (King Edward VI School) Squadron ATC on camp at RAF Madley in 1943. Front row 5 th from left Flt. Lt. W.H.M Branston, OC 121 Squadron (1939 ~ 1946). 2nd from left Cadet Cpl Doug Watson who later became a Civilian Instructor with the squadron and is still with the unit today. Doug is affectionately known by Cadets and Staff as the Squadrons ‘Oldest Cadet’
Right - John Phillips a former cadet of 411 (Borough of Nuneaton) Squadron, who said. “I remember being at the first recruiting meeting for 411 Squadron in 1941. It was several weeks before we got our uniforms. Like many other youngsters at that time I was mad about flying and keen to join up as aircrew. We all flew regularly at RAF Bramcote 5 OTU on Wellingtons often with Polish aircrew. We also flew in Ansons and Oxfords from 1941 onwards. Most of us went on to join the RAFVR.
Are you an ex member of 121 or 411 Squadrons? If so why not have a look at some of the old camp photographs in this drop down list and see if you can spot yourself, some of them go back as far as 1942.
If you have any photographs of 121 or 411 Squadron especially any depicting activities in the early years 1939 ~ 1950 please send them in to the webmaster for inclusion on the Squadrons website.
Flight Lieutenant Ian Crewe Officer Commanding 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron said, “One of the problems with an event of this kind is that since 1939 literally thousands of young people have passed through our door and then dispersed to all parts of the country or the world. We would especially like to hear from those who were members of the Nuneaton Squadrons between 1939 and 1945 and would also like to hear from anyone who may have any information, photographs or indeed memories of their time in either Squadron. Over the last 70 years the Squadron has contributed to the training and education of many young people and supported our local community. The uniform and objectives of the Air Cadet movement have changed but the enthusiasm and commitment of it members remains as strong as ever. We hope to see as many former members and friends of both 121 and 411 squadrons in attendance at the event on Friday 6th February to help us to look back and celebrate the achievements of Nuneaton based Air Cadets between 1939 and 2009.”