Derby Squadron under the Lees Trophy Microscope

Last week saw 126 (City of Derby) Squadron, Royal Air Force Air Cadets, participate in the final inspection of the Sir Alan Lees Trophy Competition. The cadets were inspected by the Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty for the final leg of the competition. to find the best Squadron in the whole Air Cadet Organisation for the preceding year.126 DSCF3590

Every year Air Cadet squadrons have a chance annually to win the two most prized trophies in the Corps. The Sir Alan Lees trophy is awarded, by the Commandant Air Cadets, to the squadron with the best statistics, overall impression when inspected and is then crowned the best unit in the Air Cadet Organisation. The Morris Trophy is awarded to one of the 6 regional candidates upon inspection by the Commandant.

The Lees Trophy was first awarded by Air Marshal Sir Alan Lees in 1949, and has been awarded on an annual basis ever since. There are currently nearly 1000 Squadrons in the Corps, so competition is tough!

There are several stages to the award process. Firstly, each Wing will nominate one of its Squadrons to represent the Wing in the next stage. This may or may not involve an inspection from the Wing Commander. Next, all of the Wing nominations within a region are inspected by the Regional Commandant, and the best Squadron will be selected to represent the region at Corps level. Finally, each of the six regional nominations is inspected by Commandant Air Cadets and a winner will be decided. That means that the squadron have managed to get through to the top 6 in the Air Cadet Organisation which is an achievement in itself!126 DSCF3603

The Commandant Air Cadets inspected the entire squadron who put on a fantastic show, alongside the banner party. She then took a tour of the squadron and was led by Cadet Warrant Officer Amber Short. The tour was designed to show what we do on a normal parade night when we have projects which shows the Squadron’s capability off and the variety of activities the cadets can take part in. From shooting to rifle drill, archery to the flight simulator and catering to nutrition there really is something for everybody.

The squadron said goodbye to three cadets that night. Cadet Warrant Officer Esmee Marsh, Cadet Flight Sergeant George Burke and Cadet Reece Shelton left the Squadron with seven years’ service each due to them all turning 20 years old. The Air Commodore made the presentation to the cadets with their commemorative glasses and went on to thank the Squadron for having her and showing her everything Derby Squadron has to offer.

After the cadets were dismissed the Air Commodore met the Civilian Committee, Senior Cadet Non Commissioned Officers, the Mayor of Derby, Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire and the High Sherriff of Derbyshire. It was great to have the support of the dignitaries and showed that they value the Squadron.

Officer Commanding Squadron Leader Ian Marshall RAFVR(T) MBE said, “I could not be more proud of how the cadets performed on the night. We are privileged to have come so far in the competition and can’t wait to see how we fare against the other Squadrons. Regardless I am pleased to command 126 Derby squadron and commend the cadets and staff for all their hard work.”

The final result of the Sir Alan Lees Trophy will be announced at the end of July.