The sound of drums could be heard right across Rushden yesterday (Sunday 7 February), as cadets from neighbouring Squadrons joined together to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Air Training Corps.
Over fifty cadets and adult staff from Rushden’s 858 Squadron and 378 (Mannock) Squadron, which is based at Spring Gardens in Wellingborough, joined together to mark ATC Sunday, an annual anniversary event celebrated right across the country.
Leading the parade was Flight Lieutenant Colin Harmer, Commanding Officer at 858 Squadron, based on Victoria Road in Rushden.
Flt Lt Harmer said: “Bringing the two squadrons together to mark ATC Sunday gives us the opportunity to show just how committed and passionate our cadets are, as well as how we cooperate locally as an organisation. I would like to say thank you to the people of Rushden for taking the time to watch our cadets parade through their town and for continuing to support the work of the Air Training Corps locally.”
Following the parade through Rushden, the cadets, along with their volunteer staff, and local parishioners, gathered at the Mission Church on Wellingborough Road where the Squadron Chaplain, Rev Ian Fall, led a service marking ATC Sunday.
Flying Officer Philip Warr, Officer in Charge at 378 (Mannock) Squadron, said: “As well as the 75th anniversary of the Corps as a whole, this is an exciting year for Mannock Squadron as we celebrate our 75th anniversary too.
“For the last 75 years the RAF Air Cadets has worked with, and supported, many young people. We are incredibly proud of our history and the organisation will be hosting a series of events and activities over the year to officially mark it.”
The Air Training Corps was formed by Royal Warrant on 5 February 1941. Initially the ATC was only open to boys, but this changed in the 1980s and now the RAF Air Cadets, which also incorporates the RAF sections of the Combined Cadet Force, is open to boys and girls aged from 12 to 17. In December last year HRH The Duchess of Cambridge became the ATC’s new patron and honorary Air Commodore-in-Chief, a role previously held by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh for over 60 years.