Celebrating their 75th Anniversary, RAF Air Cadets from across Kent have taken part in a torch relay that is crossing every county in the UK. The Torch toured Kent on Monday 15 August,
In preparation for its day in Kent the Torch was picked up by RNLI Lifeboat on Sunday 14th from Essex. Thanks goes to the Gravesend Lifeboat Crew, who took a Gravesend Cadet to Tilbury on their Rib to collect the Torch from the cadets of Essex.
Monday started with a trip to Ebbsfleet Station where the Torch was escorted by Sergeant (ATC) Darren Doggett, and his Daughter Natalie, a Cadet Flight Sergeant with 1242 (Faversham) Squadron on the Javelin High Speed train to Ashford. From Ashford it visited the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-Le-Ferne and then onto Dover Castle and the Louis Bleriot Memorial by 1938 Hillman Staff Car.
Picked up by a Defence Fire School Saxon Fire Engine it then travelled to Deal, visiting the Burma Star memorial and then onto the Manston Aviation Museum. Next stop Herne Bay with a photo op next to the Barnes Wallis memorial (bouncing bombs). By inflatable rib it took to the water along the Swale from Herne Bay to Faversham, and then was taken via one of the successful cross-channel swimming cadets from Faversham to Harty Ferry. On reaching land the torch was met by the local constabulary for a quick tour of the old RAF Eastchurch site on the Isle of Sheppey before dashing off to the Kent Air Cadets Headquarters in Maidstone. It flew from Rochester to Headcorn by Tigermoth, and arrived at Biggin Hill by Dragon Rapide and Cherokee Warrior from EFG Flying School.
At Biggin Hill the torch visited the Heritage Hanger and the RAF Chapel, then on to Crayford for a photo op next to Captain Crayford and Propella, two sculptures celebrating Crayford’s aviation past. To finish off the day the Torch arrived at Woolwich Barracks where the Torch was handed over to a London Wing Squadron, 56 (Woolwich) Sqn. All in one day!
The Air Training Corps was formed on 5 February 1941 by a Royal Warrant Issued by King George VI and currently consists of over 42,000 cadets across the United Kingdom. In Kent, there are 1,206 cadets who attend meetings twice a week at one of the county’s 34 squadrons, assisted by 302 adult volunteers.
The torch relay started in John O’Groats on 12 July and will finish at Land’s End, having travelled across the country, visiting many landmarks and events cadets and staff have laid on and are taking part in to celebrate the Air Cadets 75th Anniversary. The journey of the torch can be followed on Twitter @Kentaircadets and @aircadetslaser.
Wing Commander Russell Goodayle, Kent Wing’s Officer Commanding, said, “For Kent cadets and staff, the torch relay is the latest of many events we have taken part in celebrating the 75th Anniversary. I am extremely proud of my cadets and staff and the work they do”.
For more information on the Air Training Corps in Kent or if you are interested in joining such a great organisation, visit www.kentaircadets.org.