No17 (Coningsby) Sqn ATC

It has been a busy time at 17 Sqn recently.  We have had our Awards and Trophies presentation evening, presented by Wg Cdr Claire O’grady,  who said, “It was a tremendous honour to present awards
to the cadets. 

 

The evening recognised their individual talents and hard work over the past year. To see these efforts rewarded in front of family and friends was fantastic. All of the cadets can be justifiably proud of all of their achievements.  Well done to all!

In addition to the regular awards, CWO Robert Davies who has been on the Squadron from February 2012 until June 2017 and is leaving us due to his parents moving, was presented with a special print to remember us by.  We wish him all the best for the future as he has now transferred to 2379 (Dawley) Sqn.

A recent high point of for the cadets of 17 (Coningsby) Sqn was the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which was attended by The Duke of Cambridge, veterans of the Second World War, along with Air Cadets ambassador Carol Vorderman and actor Martin Shaw. Our cadets helped out throughout the event. In between their duties it meant they had a front row view of the air display. In addition to that they met and mixed with the veterans. FS Christopher Sykes recorded his thoughts from the event.

“The most close to home moment of the entire event was towards the end where HRH spoke to one veteran and asked, “So were you 18 when you joined the Air Force?” to which the gentleman replied with “Near enough” and laughed it off with a smile. I had known previously that men had lied about their age so they could go and fight but in this case, it sunk in and it sunk in two ways. Firstly, the way this gentleman just laughed it off and wanted no attention or praise for it he did it to serve his country and wanted nothing specifically in return. The second way it sunk in is I am now the age he would have been when he went to a war zone; a war zone where the future of Europe depended on young men, flying a warplane with the aim of fighting. He was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice at an age where I almost take the fact that I will be here tomorrow for granted. I cannot imagine the things he would have seen and the emotions he would have felt in that cockpit flying at not only high speeds and altitudes but while other aircraft are trying to pluck you out of the sky for good. 

A common theme I found amongst the veterans is how in the moment they weren’t necessarily afraid to be that in the belly of a Lancaster bomber or the cockpit of a spitfire, in the moment they were just doing a job, they had been given a task and they completed it. 

Talking to the carers that accompanied them however the image changed. While most the time they remember the friends, they fought with and the work they did to save the UK and Europe, some of the gentlemen can suffer from loneliness and sometimes remember some parts of war they will never be able to forget. In an age that often fails to remember the work they did it is even more important that we listen to them and put on events like the BBMF 60th so that they can have the company of their friends and share the parts of their stories that no fiction book can ever beat.”

The Corps is open to all young people between 12 and 17 and provides a wide range of activities. We are continually looking to recruit not only young people but adult volunteers. If you are interested in finding out more please call on 07928 214981 or email oc.17@aircadets.org

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