Over 250 Air Cadets and adult staff from all over Warwickshire & Birmingham paraded through the town of Daventry on Sunday 4 th February 2007 to commemorate the 66 th anniversary of the formation of the Air Training Corps in 1941.
The Air Cadet parade marched through the town to the Holy Cross Church where the Wing Padre Rev Brian Castle conducted a service.
During the service Wing and Squadron Banners were presented and the chaplain reflected on the successes of the Corps during the last 66 years.
Three young Air Cadets also rang the church bells before and after the service, which gave an extra special meaning to the event. Flight Lieutenant Paul Hincks of 121( Nuneaton ) Squadron who scaled the Holy Cross Church tower to see the cadet campanologists in action said, “The cadets had trained very hard for over four months to achieve the standard required to ring the bells unassisted. It certainly looked as though it took an immense amount of skill and physical effort to keep the bells under control and they definitely produced a wonderful sounded”.
The parade organiser Squadron Leader Martin Harrison said, “Once again it has been an impressive turnout of cadets and staff of the Wing who have supported what is one of the most important events on the Corps calendar. I am always very grateful when cadets and staff give up their valuable Sunday afternoons to support occasions such as this. I am also very glad that so many high profile VIP guests were able to be present and support us, their presence always adds an extra special touch to the formalities”
Although the 5 th February 1941 marks the 66 Anniversary of the Air Training Corps our local Nuneaton Squadron will be celebrating its 68 th Anniversary this year. The Air Cadet organisation became established in Nuneaton on 9th May 1939 with the founding of No. 121 ( King Edward VI School ) Squadron, 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.
After the war the number of cadets reduced as the need to recruit for the RAF diminished. On the 8 th November 1946 the two Nuneaton Squadrons amalgamated under the command of Flt. Lt Branston RAFVR(T) and became No. 121 (Borough of Nuneaton ) Squadron. The Squadrons title was later revised to No. 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron, a title that remains to this day. On the 28 th January 1949 the squadron moved to a new location in the Pingles Fields off Attlborough Road (now known as, the Ribbonfields).
Over the last 68 years the Squadron has contributed to the education of many young people between the age of 13 and 22 and continues to make a significant contribution within the local community.
Following the church service there was a march past at which the salute was taken by an impressive array of VIP guests including Her Majesty's Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire Colonel Richard Gill, Her Worship the Mayor of Daventry Cllr Mrs Deana Eddon, Chairman of Daventry District Council Cllr Mrs Pam Betts, Commander James Hayward the Commanding Officer of HMS Forward, Squadron Leader Brian Shorter Central & East Assistant Regional Commandant and OC Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing, Wing Commander Pravin Ladwa and his deputy, Squadron Leader Martin Harrison. They were joined by ‘old boys' of the Wing two of whom were first day cadets joining the Corps on 5 th February 1941 , former Wing Commander George Hanson and Flight Lieutenant Ray Baugh.