Air Cadet 75th Anniversary Torch Relay Passes Through Herts and Bucks


Air Cadets from Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire (Herts & Bucks) have taken part in a National Torch Relay to celebrate the RAF Air Cadets 75th anniversary.

Starting in John O’Groats and finishing at Lands End, the torch is visiting prominent addresses such as Buckingham Palace and Blackpool Tower, as well local landmarks and cadet activities such as gliding schools, shooting ranges and RAF bases and more.

The torch began its leg through Herts and Bucks on Tuesday 9 August, at the handover from South and East Midlands Wing hosted by 5F (Northampton) Squadron. The torch then began its 24 hours around the two counties with six torch bearers, who are among the most dedicated cadets in the Wing; Cadet Warrant Officers Glanville and Roberts, and Cadet Flight Sergeants Britten, Bucknall, Hough and Peters.

After leaving Northampton, the torch made the journey to Snozone in Milton Keynes and was met by Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty. Whilst there, the Commandant met with Cadets from 2366 (Bletchley Park) Squadron, before taking to the slope with torch and its six bearers.

From there, Air Commodore McCafferty joined the torch in the minibus with the cadets to travel to RAF Halton for a tour and some photo opportunities within Halton House Officers’ Mess, before meeting with the Air Cadet Organisation National Marching Band. The torch and bearers departed, on a tight time schedule, to RAF High Wycombe for a tour around Bomber Harris’ Office and a visit from Deputy Commander Operations, Air Marshal Stuart Atha.

Next on the list was the de Havilland Aircraft Museum, where the torch was met by Cadets and Staff from 57 (Potters Bar), 2203 (Hatfield & de Havilland) and 1166 (Welwyn Garden City) Squadrons. The Cadets were treated to a tour of the museum after closing time and a photo opportunity with the torch and the museum staff.

The last stop of the day was at Paradise Wildlife Park. The torch party were met by Tyler and Aaron, whose family run the Wildlife park, and were taken to the Meerkat enclosure. Paradise Wildlife Park offer animal experiences to regular visitors and thought the Cadets would appreciate the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Meerkats. Even though the Meerkats weren’t interested in the torch, it is an experience the Cadets will remember!

Day two began early Wednesday morning with a trip to Lee Valley White Water Centre. The cadets were kitted out in wetsuits and lifejackets before competing against one another on the Water Wipeout, to ‘win’ the 75th Anniversary Torch! Cadet Flight Sergeant Bucknall won by a narrow margin and was presented the Torch by Squadron Leader Iain Hutchinson RAFVR(T), who was the project officer in charge of organising the Herts & Bucks leg of the national relay.

The final destination of the torch on its tour around Herts and Bucks was RAF Henlow, where the torch and bearers were met by the RAF Police Dog Display Team and a representative from the Centre of Aviation Medicine. More posing for photos ensued before moving on to the official torch handover to Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing, in front of the Station’s gate guardian, with music provided by the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment Marching band.

After the handover, the Cadets were invited to lunch in the Officers’ Mess at RAF Henlow, with the new Station Commander, as well as Air Cadet Liaison Officer (ACLO) Flying Officer Lucy Bawden and ACLO team member Corporal William Weir.

Squadron Leader Iain Hutchinson RAFVR(T) said: “Our torch bearers did a brilliant job and were exceptional ambassadors for their squadrons, Herts & Bucks Wing and the Corps. They really show what young people can achieve”

The torch has even been fitted with a tracking device so its progress can be followed around the country at