Based on their training and activities within the community the high flying Unit undertook a series of formal inspections, culminating in a visit from the head of the RAF Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty CBE RAF who travelled from the organisation’s headquarters at RAF Cranwell.
The Squadron undertook a formal parade and then showcased the best that the Squadron has to offer, and this, along with their consistent and diverse training, led to them being named as winners of the title, The Best Large Squadron in the United Kingdom.
Squadron Executive Officer, Rob Moore told us “We are obviously very proud of all of our staff, cadets and support team for this incredible achievement, and pleased that what we have believed for many years has now been found to be true!”
Having steered the Swadlincote Squadron to the heights of success, Squadron Commander Alyn Thompson relinquished his post as Officer Commanding after 33years at the helm. Alyn has moved on to the Sector Officer post at their Wing Headquarters where he oversees seven units (including 1211), so he is still very much on the scene at the unit. On leaving his post, Alyn told us “Not only have we accomplished this within our own organisation, I am proud to have done this as a representative not only of Swadlincote but also Derbyshire as a whole.”
Incoming Squadron Commander Ruth Morgan told us, “Our Cadets get chances to take part in activities which are just not available to anyone else in the South Derbyshire area. Where else can a young teenager take control of an aeroplane and do aerobatics with a Royal Air Force Pilot for free? Swadlincote Cadets gain training which is incredibly useful not only if they join the military but also in civilian life. We have proven that we are currently the best Squadron in the ATC and we intend to make sure that our Cadets go from strength to strength”
Squadron Operations Officer, Alex Moss added, “Our job at 1211 Squadron is to take every available opportunity for all of our Cadets, whether it’s a flight in an Air Force aeroplane or putting them forward for qualifications in the B-TEC scheme. We are one of the best Air Cadet Units in the UK and the reason for that is because our training programme is so varied. Last year we had Cadets in, Germany, Canada and Belgium. Many gained Leadership qualifications in Public Services, Aviation Subjects and I am particularly proud of those who had Music qualifications through our most excellent band!”
The Twelve-Eleven Squadron started life in 1941 at the Town Hall on the Delph and was originally formed along with other units to “Meet the needs of the nation at war”. Formed by the District Council along with MP Herbert Wragg, the first Commanding Officer (CO) was Flight Lieutenant James Sitch who flew during the First World War.