NEWS

OCTOBER 16TH 2018

Derbyshire Air Cadets given £1,000 to mark RAF100

IMG 0030

The Commanding Officers of all the Derbyshire Air Cadet squadrons

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One and the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid, Derbyshire Freemasons have made a generous donation to Air Cadets in Derbyshire. 

Looking for a fitting tribute to mark the various anniversaries, the Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire Freemasons, Steven Varley decided to present to all Air Cadet Squadrons within Derbyshire with a cheque for £1,000.  

In addition, the squadrons each received a framed print of a Lancaster Bomber signed and presented by Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE DFM, who at 96 years of age is the last surviving member of the aircrews that participated in the Dambusters Raid during the Second World War. These prints will no doubt be treasured by future generations of Air Cadets.

Squadron Leadet George 'Johnny' Johnson

Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE DFM

The presentation ceremony was attened by Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE DFM. He was just 21 years old when he took part in Operation Chastise, otherwise known as 617 squadron’s Dambusters raid.

617 Squadron was based in Lincolnshire but used the Derwent dams during training so he is no stranger to the county, albeit in those days he was seeing Derbyshire from the air. The connection to Derbyshire also includes Barnes Wallace, the engineer who designed the bouncing bomb and who was born in Ripley.

Wing Commander Andy Pass, Officer Commanding South & East Midlands Wing, said: “This was an extraordinarily generous gift to the fifteen squadrons from across the county.   The money will be of great benefit to the cadets at the squadrons and it will be spent wisely on equipment that will greatly enhance the squadron’s ability to deliver the World class cadet experience for which the RAF Air Cadets are renowned”   

 Flight Lieutenant Steve Broomhead RAFAC, Officer Commanding 1890 (Dronfield) Squadron, added:“This is a fantastically generous gift that will certainly help as my squadron is desperately trying to update our IT capability

“ IT is now so important to the running of the squadron both in our administration and in the gaining of cadet qualifications. The icing on the evening’s cake was receiving the signed print from, and meeting with, Johnny Johnson, such an inspiring gentleman”. 

 After the Presentations, Squadron Leader Michael Roe, RAF Rtd, gave an interesting talk about his long and distinguished flying career in the RAF.

Four lucky cadets will also receive a flight in an historic two-seater Chipmunk aircraft.

In a short but entertaining speech, Johnny Johnson paid tribute to those he flew with and told the cadets that they were the RAF’s future and that the future was looking to be in good hands.

 After the Presentations and speeches, Johnny Johnson was presented with a cheque for £1,000 for his own Charity, Group 617.

The evening ended with a dinner for all present which included the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Civic representatives of Derby and Derbyshire, and representatives of the Royal Air Forces Association along with East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.

All of the donations were funded by the Freemason’s Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity which regularly gives funding for many worthy causes throughout the county. All of the funds are collected from donations made by their members.

“This was an extraordinarily generous gift to the fifteen squadrons from across the county.   The money will be of great benefit to the cadets at the squadrons and it will be spent wisely on equipment that will greatly enhance the squadron’s ability to deliver the World class cadet experience for which the RAF Air Cadets are renowned.”