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739 Squadron Celebrates 75 Years of History.

2016-02-08 09:24:47
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By Flt Lt Steven Lewis RAFVRT, Officer Commanding - 739 (Scarborough) Squadron

On Friday 5th February 2016 the Air Training Corps turned 75 years old!

When the government took direct control of the Air Defence Cadet Corps under a Royal Warrant in 1941, renaming the organisation the Air Training Corps; 739 Scarborough High School Squadron was also founded on the same date - along with another Squadron in the town - 313.

Squadron Photograph of 739 (Scarborough High School) Squadron in 1942

Today 739 Squadron is an open Squadron - anyone in the town can now join.

As luck would have it the 75th anniversary actually fell on our own parade evening this year so we decided to do something special to mark the occasion.

Several local dignitaries were invited along with all previous Commanding Officers to come along and have an insight into the activities we provide.

Our hard copy archives and the retired Squadron Banner.

Cadets preparing for the evening.

Cadets ready for the history video.

Guests watching the AED demonstration.

Guests watching the AED demonstration.

Our recruitment banners. Left is the Squadrons own design, centre is the old ATC one and right is the new staff recruitment banner only collected this week from Wing HQ.

Invited guests and some of the cadets.

From Left to Right:

Flt Lt Steven Lewis; OC Sqn, Flt Lt Sue Balmford; Wing CPA & Previous OC Sqn, Mr Robert Goodwill MP for Scarborough & Whitby; Squadron President, Cllr John Ritchie; Deputy Mayor for the Borough of Scarborough, Mrs Marilyn Ritchie; Deputy Mayoress, Wg Cdr Stephen Wiggins; OC Central & East Yorkshire Wing ATC

The invited guests and all the cadets and staff were shown a video which marked the culmination of a project over the last 12 months to fully archive digitally our historical records; most of which are now available to be viewed by all on our website www.scarboroughaircadets.org.uk.

We have invested in new equipment heavily over the last 6 years, so we just had to show it all off! The guests were shown a demonstration of our emergency Life Skills equipment; some of which was funded with support from the Mayoress's fund last year which represents an investment of over 2,000.


They were shown a simple radio exercise involving a game of minesweeper; using new radios which cost over 1500.


Our new state of the art flight simulator; which cost 2500 and was majority funded by RAFA Scarborough Branch was up and running and the guests spent a lot of time talking to the cadets about it and viewing their flying skills - several members of the RAFA were present and it was pleasing to see them experience the joy that they have brought the Squadron by its very generous donation. Future plans include purchasing a full frame including seat for us to build a fuselage around it.


Our latest investment of nearly 1500 was on a Mobile Team Activity Team building set from MTa Learning. MTa is used by the Royal Air Force and experienced by cadets attending the Regional Activity Centres of the Air Cadet Organisation and MTa Learning have been extremely supportive in helping provide this equipment at a generous discount and ongoing support in its use - we highly recommend them to all Squadrons!


Naturally we also provided refreshments for our guests and hardworking cadets and this was generously funded by the Civilian Committee with them also preparing it for the evening.

The Officer Commanding had been informed on Monday 1st February that after nomination and a selection interview with Officer Commanding Central & East Yorkshire Wing; Wg Cdr Stephen Wiggins; that Officer Commanding RAF Fylingdales; Wg Cdr Dave Keighley had selected Cdt Sgt Alice Nisbet to be his Station Commander's Cadet for 2016. Naturally we decided to announce this on the evening - but it was extremely hard to keep it a secret during the week. Alice had no idea she had been selected and was under the impression it had been one of the other two candidates - but we were under no such illusions. Flt Lt Steven Lewis said:

"Alice represents everything that is good about the Air Cadets; she has been on this Squadron only two and a half years and in that time has grown into a well rounded, mature young lady who always leads by example and is definitely one to follow. She is keen, committed and has gone from being a rather timid young girl into a confident, outgoing and organised young woman.

When I was asked who I wished to nominate I did not even have to think - it had to be Alice as the Air Training Corps has had such a dramatic and positive impact on her and we are so proud of her and her achievements. Her parents already knew; and I am sure they are even more proud of her themselves. I have also nominated Alice for a Commandant Air Cadets Certificate of Good Service as she is thoroughly deserving of the accolade."

Alice will go on to support Wg Cdr Keighley for the rest of the year and with whom we have developed a very good working relationship through his and his staff's support for the Air Cadets locally. She will escort him at formal public events that he is invited too; and other on base events as well.

Flt Lt Steven Lewis & Cdt Sgt Alice Nisbet; SCC RAF Fylingdales 2016

Two cadets also celebrated their own birthdays on this day - Cdt's David Billngham and Emily Orviss - so naturally we helped them celebrate as well!

Cdt Emily Orviss cuts the cake.

Overall this was a successful evening and we hope our guests went away with an insight into "what we do" which is:

To promote and encourage amongst young people a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force.

To provide training useful in services & civilian life.

To foster the spirit of adventure & to develop the qualities of leadership & good citizenship.

During conversations the invited guests commented extremely positively on what we do, and on our history - which we honoured on this day; the 5th February 2016. Several other events during the course of the year are planned; including an open reunion event for all former cadets and staff during the summer, which is likely to include activities and a hog roast.

Flt Lt Steven Lewis "I was a cadet during the 1990's. It had a major impact on my outlook in life and the experiences it provided me - the pinnacles being flying solo in a Vigilant glider and achieving Cadet Warrant Officer.

I am a very proud OC of the Squadron; that I am able to provide this generations youngsters with the opportunities they deserve; and that we are helping mould outstanding young men and women; like Sgt Alice Nisbet, Cadet Warrant Officer Roxanne Mennell; who will be joining the staff later in the year, ex Cdt FS Dominic MacAleese who joined the Royal Air Force as an Officer last year and ex CWO Carl Griffiths who is currently training in the Royal Air Force to become a policeman; to name just a few of our success stories of recent years. They truly make our volunteering worthwhile.

My only hope is that in the future; that as they grow older; they will also reflect back on their time as an Air Cadet with the same positive feelings I had and perhaps choose to return to us in the future and help mould the next generation. Because as the Squadron motto says 'Together we Achieve'."

For more information please visit the Squadron website

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