Britain’s very first squadron of the Air Defence Cadet Corps (the forerunner of the Air Training Corps) was formed in Leicester. No 1F Squadron was registered on July 26, 1938. The original ADCC arose from a suggestion by Air Commodore J A Chamier, Secretary of the Air League. The proposal was to raise on military lines, squadrons of young men and train them in the broad principals of aviation, short of actual flying instruction. The Air League sponsored the scheme but the administration of individual squadrons was left to local committees.
The purpose of the ATC was “to provide potential personnel for the Royal Air Force and the primary aim was to fit as large a percentage as possible for air crew duties.”
Today, Air Training Corps squadrons flourish in many cities and towns. Leicester can therefore be rightly proud that it recognised from the outset the value of such a training scheme. Leicester’s ATC Headquarters was in an old hosiery factory at 51 Oxford Street and the squadrons were distributed across the city. Each squadron had a chaplain, a medical officer and paraded and trained at a local school.
By 1943 there were nine ATC squadrons in Leicester; No 1F Squadron (City of Leicester), No 51 Squadron (2nd City of Leicester), No 1181 Squadron (3rd City of Leicester), No 1434 Squadron (Leicester Schools), No 1461 Squadron (South Leicester), No 1462 (North Leicester), No 1947 Squadron (East Leicester), No 2076 Squadron (Deferred Service Airmen) and finally No 2070 Squadron (West Leicester).
Every Sunday, the cadets, who were aged between 15 and 18 marched to Leicester Cattle Market to drill under an eagle-eyed Warrant Officer. They also undertook aircraft “patching” duties at Desford Airfield and would also fly Tiger Moth aircraft.
Shortly after WWII, there was no longer a need to recruit and train personnel ready for service with the RAF and on 1st July 1945, 1947 (Birstall) Squadron expanded and received its own detached flight in the form of 2070 (Glenfield) DF. 2070 would remain as a detached flight for three years until March 24th 1974.
The squadron sits in the heart of Birstall, on the school site of Riverside Academy. Whereby, we have access to the outdoor areas the school has to offer to carry out a variety of the activities undertaken by cadets.
The staff team continue to grow the squadron in a positive manner, engaging with cadets to help them achieve their best through the cadet syllabus, help build strong individual characters, help build good mental wellbeing and help the cadet Be the Best they can Be.