|The Air Cadet Movement owes
much of its existence to Air Commodore J A Chamier,
known as the father of the Air cadet movement. The
son of a Major-General and himself originally an Army
officer, he learned to fly and was loaned to the Royal
Flying Corps (the predecessor of the Royal Air Force)
during World War 1. Upon its formation he joined
the Royal Air Force in 1919 and eventually retired from
service in 1929 when he became Secretary-General of the
Air League - an organisation made up of people who could
see a strong future for aviation.
Chamier decided to start an aviation cadet corps and in
1938 the Air Defence Cadet Corps (ADCC) was formed.
The idea was to recruit and train young men from
throughout the country in aviation skills. There
was a huge recruitment for highly skilled aviators and
support personnel if air combat power was going to be
used as a military resource.
The ADCC was organised and run by local people in many
towns and cities and Air Commodore Chamier's idea seemed
to capture the mood of the British people. In
their eagerness to help the nation preparation for war,
young men rushed to join the corps in their thousands.
The cadets were asked to pay a weekly subscription of 3d
(old pennies) which today is equivalent to 1 pence.
Each subscription's aim was to prepare cadets for
joining the RAF or the Fleet Air Arm. They
provided training in flying, military skills and
instructed them in drill, dress and discipline .
Physical fitness was very actively promoted.
Cadets undertook PT, team sports and athletics.
Long route marches, shooting practice, camping skills
all soon became standard squadron activities too.
At this time, however, ADCC activities were severely
restricted because of the approach of World War II.
Many ADCC instructors and squadron officers were called
up into regular service. Buildings were also
commandeered by either the Service or local government
for war work. Cadets were used to carry messages,
they helped with clerical duties, in providing extra
muscle in handling aircraft and in the movement of
stores equipment. In 1940 the British Government
took over control of the ADCC. This resulted in a
number of changes to the Corps, and brought about the
birth of a completely new organisation, called The Air
On the 5th February 1941, the Air Training Corps was
officially established, with King George VI agreeing to
be the Air-Commodore-in-Chief, and issuing a Royal
Warrant setting out the Corps' aims. The number of
young men responsible to the formation of the ATC was
spectacular. Within the first month the size of
the old ADCC had virtually doubled to more than 400
squadrons and after 12 months it was as about 8 times as