Wing News

70th Anniversary Parade

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On Sunday 6th February two hundred cadets from all corners of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight converged with their staff at Southwick Park, formally HMS Dryad, near Portsmouth to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Air Training Corps.

They marched through a cold and wind swept Southwick Park for a church service conducted by The Reverend Bernard Clarke RN who entertained the cadets with tales of his time on aircraft carriers and their hosting of Royal Air Force Harrier Squadrons.

After the service the cadets reformed and marched passed Group Captain McLean RAF Officer Commanding the Defence School of Personnel Administration.

With the parade dismissed the cadets and staff enjoyed a welcome hot meal of chicken curry or lasagne in the junior ranks mess. They then had an opportunity to visit the war rooms used by General Eisenhower and his staff in the planning of the D Day landings in Normandy in 1944. The rooms now part of the officers mess on the base include the original massive map of southern England and Wales and the northern coast of France detailing the plans.

Cadets were told how the toy maker Chad Valley built the map which actually included the whole European coast from northern Norway to Spain. After erecting the required pieces for the invasion the rest were burnt and the installers kept at the base until after the invasion.

The event was organised by Squadron Leader Brian Swan who said “It is an excellent opportunity to bring so many cadets together at such an historic location to allow them to celebrate in such a fantastic way.”