Air Training Corps 75th Anniversary Torch Relay
To mark the 75th anniversary of foundation of Air Training Corps and RAF Air Cadets, a special torch is being taken around the country by different squadrons, accompanied by a GPS to record its journey.
This week at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, Cadet Lewis 2531 (Woodham Ferris) Squadron handed the torch to Terry Dann (ex ATC cadet), with Flt Sgt Barclay 2531 Burnham DF watching on.
Terry transported the torch in his Beagle Terrier, an ex RAF Auster AOP 6 VF571 celebrating its own 70th anniversary this year, which was converted to a Terrier in 1962.
The flight from Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome went over two special sites associated with aviation history and the ATC, in addition to Stow Maries itself.
The torch was flown from Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, near Maldon, which was opened on 15 September 1916 with ‘B’ Flight of No 37 Home Defence Squadron taking up residence. By the time it closed on 17 March 1919 it was home to all three flights and the HQ of No 37 Squadron, with permanent buildings.
Terry then flew the torch over the WW2 airfield at Bradwell Bay, which opened on 15 April 1942, with the arrival of 418 (Canadian) Squadron with Boston’s. 1207 (Maldon) Squadron researched the history of this airfield some years ago, and presented a plaque to the Village Hall commemorating the 27 Squadrons which were based there.
Sometime later this research was used to identify the 137 personal who had lost their life flying from this airfield, including Cpl Hull of 1207 (Maldon) Squadron, and are remembered on the memorial which was then built on the airfield. A 70th anniversary to commemorate the closure of the airfield was arranged last year by 531 Burnham DF.
The torch was then flown over Southend Airport the home of 1312 (Southend) Squadron, which had opened as a RNAS airfield in May 1915 with Bleriot Parasol aircraft, it was passed on to the RFC on 29 September 1916 with the arrival of ‘A’ Flight of No 37 Squadron, which moved to Stow Maries in May 1917.
Once Terry’s flight was complete, he returned to Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome where the torch was handed back to Cadet Lewis to continue its journey.
Today Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome is run as museum by a charitable trust with a number of replica WW1 aircraft in residence, many of which are airworthy, and Essex Wing Air Cadets help out there regularly, with 2531 Squadron as the lead.
If you would like to see aircraft in flight at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, make sure to come along to our next flying day on the 28 August. More details and tickets.