To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force, The 100th Anniversary of the end of World War One and the 75th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid, Derbyshire Masons with special guest, Squadron Leader George “Johnny” Johnson MBE DFM made generous presentations to Derbyshire Air Cadets.
Looking for a fitting tribute to mark the various anniversaries the Provincial Grand Master of the Masonic Province of Derbyshire decided to present to all Air Training Corps Squadrons within Derbyshire, a cheque for £1,000. In addition, the squadrons each received a framed print of a Lancaster Bomber signed and presented by Squadron Leader George “Johnny” Johnson, at 96 years of age is the last surviving member of the aircrews that participated in the Dambusters Raid during the Second World War.
“ This is a fantastically generous gift that will certainly help as my squadron is desperately trying to update our IT capability” said Flight Lieutenant Steve Broomhead RAFAC, Officer Commanding 1890 (Dronfield) Squadron. “The IT is now so important to the running of the squadron both in our administration and for the studying and gaining of cadet qualifications on line. The icing on the evening’s cake was receiving the signed print from, and meeting with, Johnny Johnson, such an inspiring gentleman”.
After the Presentations, Squadron Leader Michael Roe, RAF Rtd, gave an interesting talk about his long and distinguished flying career in the RAF.
To cap it all, four lucky cadets will receive a flight in an historic two seater chipmunk aircraft.
In a short but entertaining speech, Johnny Johnson paid tribute to those he flew with told the cadets that they were the RAF’s future and that the future was looking to be in good hands.
After the Presentations and speeches, The Derbyshire Provincial Grand lodge of Freemason’s presented Johnny Johnson with a cheque for £1,000 for his Charity, Group 617.
The evening ended with a dinner for all present that included the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Civic representatives of Derby and Derbyshire and representatives of the Royal Air Forces Association and the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.
Wing Commander Andy Pass, Officer Commanding South & East Midlands Wing, commented: “ This was an extraordinarily generous gift to the fifteen squadrons from across the county. The money will be of great benefit to the cadets at the squadrons and it will be spent wisely on equipment that will greatly enhance the squadron’s ability to deliver the World class cadet experience for which the RAF Air Cadets are renowned”