1401 Cadets Donate Historic Model to RAF Benson
Cadets and Staff from 1401 (Alfreton & Ripley) Air Cadets met with the Station Commander and Station Historian of RAF Benson to present a model diorama about one of RAF Benson’s own World War II pilots.
Earlier this year, a small group of cadets from 1401 Sqn started work on a model diorama which would be entered in the upcoming Wing Field Day Competition. The subject for this year’s diorama category was aircraft used in a reconnaissance role. After some discussion the group decided upon telling the story of Flight Lieutenant Alastair Gunn, who was shot down over Norway whilst flying a Spitfire on 5th March 1942. Flt Lt Gunn was subsequently captured and taken to Stalag Luft III PoW camp, Sagan, Poland. He later took part in the famous Great Escape but was recaptured and unfortunately executed by the Gestapo as an example to other PoWs.
The diorama placed 2nd in it’s category at the Trent Wing Field Day Competition and squadron Staff later contacted the ACLO at RAF Benson and asked about donating the model diorama to the Station Museum. The squadron was invited to the Station to present the item to the Station Commander, Group Captain Simon Paterson and Station Historian, Michael Prendergast. Both of them were very impressed with the standard of the model and thanked the cadets for allowing them the privilege of taking ownership of such a fine model depicting part of RAF Benson’s history.
For the remainder of the visit the group were treated to talks from The RAF Regiment regarding their role in the RAF and witnessed QTS personnel practicing their drill movements. Along with a visit to Air Traffic Control and Mechanical Transport, where cadets were able to operate a mobile crane. The group also visited Fuel and Lubricants section where they enjoyed an interactive demonstration of how unserviceable equipment is disposed of. Finally the Cadets were able to have an up close look at Puma 2 and Chinook Helicopters from 33 and 28 Sqn.
The squadron would like to thank all the staff and station personnel from RAF Benson for allowing the squadron to visit and providing such an informative and enjoyable day for the cadets.