On Sunday the 4 February 2024, cadets and staff from South East Scotland Wing travelled to Kelso to celebrate the 83rd anniversary of the formation of the Air Training Corps on the 5 February 1941. The ATC Sunday Parade is an annual tradition for many in the ATC, with similar events occurring across the country.
Kelso was chosen as the host for this year's parade as South East Scotland Wing has a growing local squadron in this expanding area, so it was an ideal opportunity to showcase the Royal Air Force Air Cadets.
In attendance was Air Officer Scotland (AOS), Air Commodore Bill Gibson MBE ADC, as well as the Regional Commandant for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Group Captain Sohail Khan.
The day consisted of an inspection conducted by the guests of honour and the SESW Officer Commanding, Wing Commander Barry McAdam. This provided an opportunity for them to speak to each of the cadets on parade about their enjoyment within the Air Cadets and what their future ambitions are.
Following a morning of activity cadets and staff began the parade, marching through the town of Kelso finishing outside the St Andrews Church (Kelso). The church service provided an opportunity to reflect on the formation of the ATC and look forward to the future of the organisation. AOS said a few short words congratulating the cadets on their incredible turnout and shared this optimism for the Air Cadets.
Group Captain Khan, Regional Commandant Scotland & Northern Ireland said:
Alongside Air Officer Scotland and local dignitaries, it was with great pride that I was able to support the South East Scotland Wg Parade and celebrations to mark the 83rd Anniversary of the formation of the ATC. This was my first ATC Sunday celebration since taking up the role of Regional Commandant, and my first since my own cadet service some years ago.
The commitment and dedication of the cadets and staff was clear to see in the quality of the Parade, with over 150 blue uniforms marching down Kelso town centre. The Parade was just one of many examples to the local communities around Scotland and Northern Ireland of the vibrancy of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, and the opportunities that the organisation offers to volunteers and young people.
Air Officer Scotland, Air Commodore Bill Gibson said after the parade:
Thank you very much indeed for inviting me to the South East Scotland Wing Parade. I thoroughly enjoyed my day with the staff and the cadets. The high standard of drill and dress was certainly showcased throughout the event. It was a pleasure to recognise some outstanding individuals with promotions and presentations as part of this special event.
Officer Commanding South East Scotland Wing followed up by saying:
It was great to have the opportunity to celebrate the formation of the Air Training Corps while engaging with the community of Kelso. Both Cadets and CFAV's were outstanding in their deportment and was also significant that Air Officer Scotland was present during his first week in post. We were made very welcome by the provost of Kelso who was present throughout the day as we build our connections in the area and grow our offer to young people in the Scottish Borders.
The cadets also enjoyed the day, with the pride showing through. CWO Finlayson of 1271 (Bathgate) Squadron commented:
The ATC Sunday parade in Kelso was a great experience, seeing the squadrons in South East Scotland come together to parade was amazing meeting up with friends and supporting this great event. During the parade, I enjoyed the march through the town of Kelso and I was lucky enough to be promoted during the church service to the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer by Air Officer Scotland, making the event one to remember. I feel proud to be able to represent the ATC during the parade and continue to show what it means to be a part of the ATC.