The Air Cadets. The new name for the Air Training Corps...


But, that is not what we started out as....


Air Commodore Sir John Chamier is affectionately known as the "father of the air cadet movement". He joined the Royal Flying Corps (the forerunner of the Royal Air Force) where he served as a pilot in World War I, transferred to the Royal Air Force in 1918 and after retiring from the service in 1929, became Secretary-General of the Air League - an organisation made up of people who wanted to make the British public aware of the importance of military aviation. With the clouds of war beginning to form over Europe, and the personal memory of how young men with only a few hours of training had been sent into air combat only to fall victim to well-trained enemy aviators, he conceived the idea of an aviation cadet corps.


In 1938 by Air Commodore Chamier set up the Air Defence Cadet Corps, to train young men in various aviation-related skills. The ADCC proved popular, with thousands joining up. On 5 February 1941, in order to give part-time air training to teenagers and young men who might later join the Royal Air Force, the ADCC was formally established as the Air Training Corps by Royal Warrant.


King George VI agreed to be the Air Commodore-in-Chief. Within the first month of its existence, the size of the ATC virtually doubled to more than 400 squadrons and continued to grow thereafter. The first 50 squadrons that were formed retain an F to show they are "founder" squadrons – 4F (Ilford) Squadron being one of these founder squadrons.


The Air Training Corps is formed of six Regions across the United Kingdom and each of these regions are made up of five or six wings. As of March 2013 there are over 900 ATC squadrons and detached flights with over 40,000 cadets.


4F (Ilford) Squadron...


4F Squadron is within the London Wing which, in turn, is part of the London & South East Region.


The staff who run the squadron are of 3 types: commissioned officers, senior NCOs and civilian instructors (CIs). All uniformed staff attend training courses run by the RAF at the ATC Adult Training Facility, RAF Cranwell, usually within a year of appointment, with further courses as they progress up the rank structure.


The squadron has a civilian committee. The job of a civilian committee is to manage the financial resources of the squadron, since the uniformed officers and civilian instructors in the ATC have no financial responsibilities and need money to manage and provide cadet activities. The civilian committee works closely with the squadron commander and other staff and monitors the welfare of cadets. The civilian committee provides a link to the Wing Committee and the Regional Chairman.


The ATC is a charitable organisation as is 4F Squadron. The Royal Air Force provides funds for a few of the key activities such as flying and glider pilot training, but the great range of other activities offered by the ATC have to be financed from other sources. Here the civilian committee plays its part to seek and manage the necessary finance by way of fund-raising.