Wing 60th Anniversary Church Service
The Air Training Corps, The premier national youth organization in the UK, reached the grand old age of 60 on the 5th of February 2001. This was the anniversary of the signing of the Royal Warrant by King George VI, although the organization had existed as the Air Defence Cadet Corps from 1938.
To celebrate this Jubilee, Wing Commander George Campbell, the staff and cadets of Glasgow and West Scotland Wing had invited the Lord-Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, the remaining 5 Lords Lieutenants who cover the Wing area and the Provost of Paisley to a Service of Thanksgiving in Paisley Abbey at 2:30pm on the 2nd of September this year. Provost John McDowell and Renfrewshire Council honoured the Wing with a Civic Reception held in Paisley Town Hall after the parade.
The day started for both staff and cadets at 10am when they all assembled outside the Wing Headquarters on Hawkhead Road, Paisley. In the morning the final touches were made to the organisation and a dress rehearsal was carried out. After lunch the parade formed up with three squadrons each of three flights, each of 30 cadets. The Corps banner was marched onto the parade to the sound of a lone piper, then the parade set off at 1:40pm (13:40 hours) to march along Hawkhead then Glasgow Roads led by the Wing Commander George Campbell to the Abbey at Paisley for the service. This was the largest Air Cadet parade to march through Paisley since the end of the Second World War, and was also notable for the smart turn out of all involved.
The service was conducted by the Reverend Alan Birss of Paisley Abbey who is also the Wings' Assistant Chaplain, assisted by the Reverend Colin Brockie who took has just taken over the Chaplaincy of the Wing. This year saw Reverend Arthur M Lawless (who has served with or in the Corps from its very beginning, 60 years ago) is stepping down as Wing Chaplain. Unfortunately due to ill health he was unable to take an active part in the service, though he will remain as Squadron Chaplain with 62 Squadron, based at Crow Road, Glasgow.
After the service there was a formal march past in front of the Abbey at 3:45pm (15:45 hours). The march past was led by Wing Commander Campbell with the salute been taken by Provost J McDowell of Paisley, Brigadier D Hardie, Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire and Group Captain R Kemp, Inspector Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
While there were over 300 cadets and staff taking part in the parade itself they were representing all of the 26 squadrons and 1100 personnel who make up the Wing that stretches from Girvan in the south to Oban in the north and east as far as Cumbernauld.
The Air Training Corps was formed in the dark days of WWII on 5th February 1941 by his majesty King George VI. From the 50 original squadrons, the Corps has grown to over 1000 squadrons and 50,000 staff and cadets spread all over Great Britain today. Glasgow and West Scotland Wing, which covers the Strathclyde area, was formed on 7th June 1948 by the merger of the Glasgow City and the West of Scotland Wings with a total of 19 squadrons. This was later expanded with the amalgamation of the Ayrshire Wing in the 1960s.
Though the Corps was originally formed with the aim of recruiting officers and men into the Royal Air Force, this has now changed. The Corps now is now encouraging good citizenship and responsibility amongst its members. Even so 40% of those joining the RAF come from within the ranks of the Cadets. The Air Cadets today are young men and women aged from 13 to 22 years old who can take part in a wide range of activities with the aid of adult staff, during Squadron meetings and at other times. All the time living up to the Corps motto of "Venture Adventure".