The Air Cadets Return To Princethorpe
This autumn the Air Cadets have returned to Princethorpe College as one of Coventry’s oldest Air Cadet Squadrons, 84 (Coventry Airport) Squadron, formed 75 years ago in 1945 and based at Coventry Airport since 1963 has relocated to the College campus.
Princethorpe has previous connections to the Air Cadets having been the home of a Detached Flight of Southam 2028 Squadron back in the early 1970s, which went on to become 2514 Princethorpe Squadron, so the College is delighted that 84 Squadron is choosing to make its new home with us.
Trawling through the archives has uncovered plenty of fascinating references to the Air Cadet’s previous incarnation here.
First mention is way back in July 1969 when the Southam Air Training Corps Officers and Cadets visited the College to give a talk to the boys, the talk was followed up with a visit to 2028’s headquarters in Southam. The first pupils joined the squadron in the September with the creation of a Detached Flight based here at the College (one that is too small to operate individually so instead acts as a satellite of a larger squadron).
By February 1970 the boys had received their first uniforms and by April most had their First Class Wings, showing they had completed their initial training, allowing them to visit RAF camps for events. By July 1970 the Detached Flight had had four NCOs based at Princethorpe who took on the training of the boys.
In January 1971 the ATC got its first headquarters in the village at the ‘Old School’. Previously they had been meeting in classrooms (and in the tower briefly).
The air cadets took part in many different activities with gliding, flying, shooting, night exercises and even morse code mentioned alongside the regular drills, lectures and parades. They also enjoyed visits to RAF camps and there is even mention of the Air Cadet international exchange programme.
In March 1973 the Detached Flight was visited by Squadron Leader Swift with regards to becoming an independent squadron and shortly afterwards they became 2514 Princethorpe Squadron.
Members of the ATC are also mentioned in the Prize Giving Programmes from 1971-1974.
In 1975 Flying Officer Penn (who appears to have been involved from the start of the ATC) left to join another squadron in Coventry. He was replaced by Flying Officer Hall. According to the article at that time there were 20 boys from Forms C to E involved in the Air Training Corps and it was a stable number. They had plans to refresh their HQ and build a new cadet room after exams.
From there the story goes cold as there is then no further mention of the Air Training Corps in any magazine or Prize Giving Programme after 1975.
Southam 2028 Squadron’s website refers to 2514 Princethorpe Squadron, stating that in school holidays cadet members often disappeared to the four corners of the globe, sometimes never returning, and attributes the squadron’s demise in part to that.
Extracts from the archive can be seen here:
Do you know what happened to the squadron? Or can you tell us any more about their previous time here at the College? Our archivist, Janette Ratcliffe, would be delighted to hear from you please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you know anyone who would be interested in joining the Air Cadets then 84 Squadron will be meeting every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning at the College, further information is available from email@example.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/84SqnATC/