107 Aberdeen Squadron Air Cadets
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History from 1939-1969

107 (Aberdeen) Squadron ATC was formed on 5 February 1941 but can trace its history back to April 1939 as 107 (Aberdeen) Squadron of the Air Defence Cadet Corps (ADCC).

The Aberdeen ADCC

The Air Defence Cadet Corps was established in late 1938 as a private organisation under the auspices of the Air League of The British Empire.   The ADCC was the brain-child of the Secretary-General of the Air League, a retired RAF officer Air Commodore J A Chamier.   The Air League promoted the importance of British aviation and believed in the value in fostering the spirit of aviation in young men and thus, the ADCC was formed.   By the end of 1938, 42 squadrons had been registered.

In early March 1939, moves were afoot in Aberdeen to start up an ADCC squadron and on 24 March the Aberdeen Cadet Council was formed with the specific aim of establishing the first squadron in Aberdeen.   On Wed 12 April 1939 a telegram was sent by the Aberdeen Cadet Council to the Air League requesting permission to establish the first Air Cadet squadron in Aberdeen.   The £200 guarantee required by the Air League was offered by members of the Aberdeen Cadet Council.   The Air League granted permission and "107 (Aberdeen) Squadron" was established, and affiliated to 612 (County of Aberdeen) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force.   OC 612 Sqn, Squadron Leader F.  Crerar was given authority to appoint a commanding officer for 107 Sqn and in early May, a retired officer, Harvey Goodwin MacKintosh was appointed and commissioned by the Air League in the rank of Squadron Leader.

By late May 1939, over 200 applications (14-18 years old) had been received from local boys to join 107 Sqn and 100 were shortlisted for enrolment on 6 June; all were interviewed and medically examined at Fairfield House.   Headmaster reports were received for all.   Medicals were "swift but thorough" and included a test for colour blindness.   107 Squadron's very first parade was Tuesday 6 June 1939.   Exactly one week later, on 13 June, the first parade of 102 (Aberdeen Airport) Sqn ADCC [now 102 (Dyce) Sqn] was held at Dyce Airport under command of Squadron Leader Eric Leslie Gandar-Dower.   At this time, neither 107 Sqn or 102 Sqn cadets had been issued their uniforms these would arrive in mid August.

By the outbreak of war on 3 Sep 1939, 172 ADCC squadrons were in existence across Britain.

107 Sqn shared headquarters with 612 Sqn RAuxAF at the old mansion of Fairfield House, Aberdeen.   Many cadets and staff of 107 Sqn would have joined 612 Sqn and subsequently the war effort from 1939.   ADCC Officers had to pay for their own uniform, as did many of the cadets, however the Air Ministry paid 3's 6d for each enrolled cadet.   Subscriptions were 3d (old pence) per week.

The role of the ADCC was to attract and train young men who had an interest in aviation with a view to them joining the RAF.   When war broke out in 1939, 107 Sqn cadets helped out at Dyce Airport (formerly RAF Dyce) in their spare time, running messages and providing very welcome labour support to aircraft ground handling.

Very quickly, the Air Ministry realised the value of the ADCC and took over control in 1940.   The War Cabinet recommended the formation of the Air Training Corps on 5 February 1941 with King George VI as its Air Commodore in Chief and Air Commodore Chamier its first Commandant; 107 Sqn ADCC was re-formed into No.  107 (Aberdeen) Squadron ATC.   OC's of ADCC squadrons (including Sqn Ldr MacKintosh) were all granted commissions in the RAF Training Branch on 1 Feb 1941; thus they transferred from the ADCC (Air League) to the ATC (RAF).

The War Years

107 (Aberdeen) Sqn ATC "stood-up" on 5 Feb 1941.   The Air Ministry provided much support for recruitment and training of the cadets and by 1942 the strength of the ATC in Britain was recorded as 210,000 cadets with around 1600 squadrons (about 1 in 4 of all young men aged between 16 and 18 years in the country).   It is believed that 107 Sqn recruited 150-200 cadets per year during the war.   The ATC headquarters remained at Fairfield House and, to cope with demand, 151 Sqn ATC and 1741 Sqn ATC were formed to co-habit the property with 107 Sqn.

Two of the "founder" cadets who transferred from the ADCC to 107 Sqn were Forbes Main and Alexander (Sandy) Dale.   Forbes Main left the squadron to fly operationally during WWII and, in 1991 attended the squadron's 50th Anniversary Dinner.   Sandy Dale joined the Fleet Air Arm as an Observer during WWII before re-joining 107 Sqn on cessation of hostilities.   He remained with the ATC until the 1990s and was OC 107 Sqn (1953-1960), OC Aberdeen Wing (1968-1984) and Chairman 107 Sqn (1985-1992).

612 Sqn RAuxAF left Fairfield House on active war duties (maritime reconnaissance and patrol for Coastal Command).   They spent most of the war flying patrols against U-boats and enemy shipping and were disbanded, along with all other Auxiliary flying squadrons, at the end of the war (612 Sqn subsequently reformed between 1946 and 1957).

Sqn Ldr MacKintosh remained as OC 107 Sqn full time until the end of the war and ensured a vibrant and busy headquarters.   Fairfield House, drill hall and adjoining lecture rooms were in use 7 days a week.   Aberdeen Area HQ was at 14 Bon Accord Square, Aberdeen.   151 & 1741 Sqns were disbanded at the end of the war.

Official records show that over 400,000 cadets from across Britain joined the services during the war.   In 1945, Marshall of the RAF, Lord Portel said,

"In maintaining the flow of men to the RAF,
the ATC has made a decisive contribution towards victory."

1945 1949

Flt Lt Charles George Fraser took command of the squadron after the war and remained in post until 1953.   There was a great change in the RAF and consequently the ATC reduced its strength to settle at 57,000 cadets across Britain.   In the post-war years 40-60 young men would join 107 each year.

On 10 May 1946, 612 Sqn RAuxAF were re-formed as a fighter squadron flying from RAF Dyce and using Fairfield House as their headquarters once again.   Sqn Ldr R Russell was the new CO at 612 Sqn and the first pilot to join was a Civilian Instructor of 107 Sqn (and ex-cadet of 1741 Sqn ATC).   As 612 Sqn's activities and strength increased 107 Sqn gave up some of their accommodation even 107 Sqn's officer's mess was handed over for the use of both units! A new hut (Coach House) was built in the grounds of Fairfield House for use by 107 Sqn to replace some of the lecture rooms and office space now used by 612 Sqn inside the main house.   ATC Wing's were formed in 1948 and "Aberdeen Area" became Aberdeen and North East Scotland Wing and initially shared accommodation at Fairfield House before moving to larger accommodation at RAF Dyce.

In July 1947, OC 107 Sqn made a request to the Local Committee to purchase bagpipes and to establish a Pipe Band.   The Pipe Major was Mr William G.  McKay and the band went on to gain a tremendous reputation within the ATC.

In 1948, 107 Sqn went off to Annual Camp at RAF Leuchars and this is the earliest camp photo in the squadron archive.   The photo was sent to us by Derek Watson who was a cadet with the squadron 1947 1950; He is 6th from right front row.   The photo shows some 12 staff and 84 cadets, 44 of which belonged to 107 Sqn.   During this camp, Cdt Derek Watson was one of the lucky ones who flew over Germany in a Lancaster the war damage still very apparent.   Also present at this camp were cadets Ron Mowatt and James Davidson.

In 1949, Cdt Alexander (Sandy) Reid joined the squadron and remains a member of the ATC today.   After many roles including OC 663 Volunteer Gliding School and Chairman of Aberdeen Wing, he was elected as Honorary President of 107 Sqn in Dec 2007.

The squadron paraded one night per week plus every Sunday morning with Saturday and Sunday afternoon reserved for the flying and gliding programme.

Flying training was held at RAF Dyce in Tiger Moths, Avro Ansons, Airspeed Oxfords and later Chipmunks.   Ground instruction was given in the "Link Trainer" as early as July 1949.   The gliding programme included a basic slab-sided fuselage "Primary" glider for ground hops and tow cable familiarisation and "Kirby Cadet" gliders were towed aloft by an old converted barrage balloon winch truck.

In 1949 and 1950 the squadron went to camp at RAF Driffield and RAF Rufforth respectfully and cadets attended massed band events at RAF Turnhouse in 1951.   Around this time the strength of the ATC in Britain was around 54,000 cadets.

1950 1959

RAF Flying Scholarships, using the de Havilland Chipmunk, were introduced in 1950 and cadet Sgt George Black, of 107 Sqn, was awarded the first scholarship in Scotland.   Sgt Black achieved his Private Pilot's Licence and joined the RAF for National Service the same year.   Black completed 37 years service with the RAF and retired in 1987 in the rank of Air Vice-Marshall.

On the night of 31 March 1951 a fire raged through 107 Sqn's Coach House in the grounds of Fairfield House destroying much of the squadron's property, equipment and records.   Over the next three years 107 Sqn were somewhat displaced as a result of the fire and struggled to find adequate space within the complex of Fairfield House.   This was exacerbated by the establishment of two new Auxiliary squadrons (2612 & 3612 RAuxAF Sqns) which also used Fairfield House as their HQ.   The ensuing battle for occupancy was elevated to AOC No.  66 Group!

Despite the fire, 107 Sqn went on to become the best squadron in the Wing during 1951, and represented the Wing at the (Scottish) Group Drill Competition.   In 1951 the squadron band received its first instruction from the Pipe Major of the Gordon Highlanders and later the same year the 107 Sqn Pipe Band attended the Farnborough Air Show.

In 1952, the squadron took part in the Royal Review of the ATC at Holyrood Palace and RAF Turnhouse.   In June, the squadron was inspected by Air Cmdr Sir Ian Forbes-Leith who presented a flying scholarship badge to Sgt W Christie.   In July, Sgt Christie travelled to Canada on an International Exchange visit.   This was five years after the first exchange visits with Canada were established and five years before the International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) Association was established.   Following Sgt Christie's lead, two other cadets (Cdt P J Hunter & Cdt M S Donald) completed their Flying Scholarships in Oct '52 at RAF Turnhouse.

At precisely 1100hrs on 2 November 1952 the squadron showed off its achievements when it was inspected for the "Sir Alan Lees" national efficiency competition.   The march past was led by the squadron pipes and drums.

On 31 July 1953, Flt Lt Fraser OC 107 Sqn died suddenly at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Fg Off Sandy Dale was immediately appointed Acting OC Sqn and then promoted to Flt Lt and OC Sqn with effect from 1 Aug 1953.

1953 was Coronation Year and 107 Sqn sent cadets to London for the festivities.   Cadets included Eric Wallace and John Lawrence.   Coincident with the Queen's Coronation 107 Sqn's band led the RAF Contingent in a parade down Union Street, Aberdeen.   A few days later the squadron band played at Pittodrie Stadium, home of Aberdeen Football Club as part of the Festival of Youth.

At this time, the pipes and drums of 107 Squadron were well regarded and had been training and performing as a band for at least four years.   Within two months of the Coronation, together with musicians from 2240 (Ballater) Sqn ATC, the band marched past Crathie Kirk, Deeside, in front of HM The Queen.   This was not the end of the band calendar for 1953.   In Nov '53, seven cadets from 107 Sqn formed part of the ATC Massed Pipes and Drums at the Festival of Remembrance for the Royal British Legion held in the Albert Hall, London.

As OC Sqn, Flt Lt Dale had a huge responsibility to maintain what was clearly one of the best squadrons not only in the Wing but in the (Scottish) Group .   One of his first tasks was to start planning for a new headquarters which would be opened at Whinhill Road, Aberdeen in late 1954.

The next few years would be a turning point when the squadron took on new activities such as shooting and sports as well as keeping the main activities of flying, gliding, ground training, drill, and of course the sqn band.   By 1956 Flt Lt Dale had strengthened the squadron to more than 120 cadets and was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader.

In 1956 the squadron made early wins at the Aberdeen Wapinschaw and the Wing "Robb Musketry" shooting competitions held at RAF Dyce and Blackdog ranges.   In 1958, Cdt John Davidson was selected for an overseas flight to RAF Gibraltar and Cdt Robert Murdoch won a Gold Medal for 100m breast stroke at the ATC national swimming championships perhaps the first Corps Sports Blue achieved by 107 Sqn.   In 1959 our cadets participated in a "Boxing" course held at RAF Turnhouse.

1958 saw a step change in formal powered flying training within the ATC and Air Experience Flights (AEF) were established across the country with a fleet of 50 new de Havilland Chipmunk T.10 aircraft.   By this time the ATC gliding infrastructure had already grown to 27 Volunteer Gliding Schools (VGS) using Sedbergh and Cadet Mk3 airframes.

1960 1969

In December 1960, Sqn Ldr Sandy Dale handed over command of 107 Sqn to Flt Lt Robert McHattie.   Sqn Ldr Dale became a Wing Staff Officer (1960-1968) before being promoted and appointed in 1968 as Wing Commander and OC Aberdeen Wing.

Flt Lt McHattie was a formidable officer who had already served 10 years in the ATC as an officer (VRT) and as a Lancaster captain in Bomber Command during WW2.   He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) after his first successful tour with 101 Sqn RAF during 1944.

Around the time of the transfer of CO's in 1960, cadet subscriptions were increased to 6d (old pence) per week to cover rations at summer camp and the sqn Social Club.   The link trainer was moved into a bay in the drill hall to make way for improved canteen and social club facilities and the basement of Fairfield House was used as lecture theatre & cinema and for social events.   The Fairfield Drill Hall was used every Wednesday and Sunday and the small bore range at Fonthill was used alternate Wednesdays and Sundays.   On 27 May 1960, Alexander (Bert) Collie was promoted to Cadet Warrant Officer the first 107 Sqn cadet to receive this rank.   Bert Collie later became Wing Commander of Aberdeen & NE Scotland Wing.

Enrolled strength was 55 cadets in May 1961.   At this time, 107 Sqn had a mounted jet engine which was used for propulsion instruction.

In 1960, the Sqn Pipe Band had 18 members and an inventory of 9 pipes and 5 drums.   The same year, the MacRobert Trust granted £105 towards maintenance of the ageing equipment however the death knell of the band had already sounded.   1961 saw poor band attendance and various newspaper adverts were made to try and encourage new musicians to join.   Attempts to keep the band alive were in vain and in early 1962 the band was dissolved.   Pipe Major McKay left the ATC in May 1962 after 15 years dedicated and loyal service.

Band instruments and accoutrements were variously loaned out, sold and disposed of over the next decade or so.  The Mace is still held at 107 Sqn.

On 12 Feb 1962, Flt Lt Monaghan, Pipe Major McKay and Miss Robb attended St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh for the dedication of the new ATC Corps Banner.   Cdt F/Sgt Ritchie was selected for the colour party.   The Corps Banner was presented to the ATC by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and had been formally dedicated at the RAF Church of St Clement Danes in London on 4 Feb 1962.

The 1960s was the first of two great decades of excellent shooting proficiency for the squadron which first went to the Inter-Services Cadet Rifle Meeting (ISCRM) at Bisley Ranges in 1961 and continued, with perhaps only the odd year of absence, until at least 1977.   Rifle training was held at Fonthill, Bon Accord and Portlethen ranges and mostly under the direction of Flt Lt Paddy Monaghan.   In 1962, 6 cadets were enrolled in the Portlethen Rifle Club where their personal skills could advance further.   The squadron started to win Bisley trophies in 1963 and 1964.

In 1963 the squadron won the Bossum and Boulter Trophies at Bisley.   In 1964, Cdt Robert Warman won the Bossom Trophy for the highest aggregate score by a cadet and the Challenge Trophy for the highest score at 300 yards.   He also achieved a silver medal, ATC shooting blue and Cadet Hundred badge.   Cpl B.  Hunter won the Patrotic Shield, an ATC shooting blue and Cadet Hundred badge.   Cdt Sgt Dundas won a medal after a shoot-off at 200 yards.   Warman, Hunter and Dundas were all awarded the RAF Small Arms Association (SAA) Certificate of Merit.   The 107 Sqn team were considered one of the best at Bisley in 1964.   From 1965, shooting classes were run by Flt Lt Monaghan on Tuesday evenings.

During 1964, a Typhoid epidemic in Aberdeen prevented 107 Sqn cadets attending Summer Camp however in compensation, adventure training activities were arranged at Lochnagar (twice), Glenmore (northern Cairngorms) and at Linn-of-Dee (Braemar).   107 Sqn are known to have climbed Lochnagar and Mount Keen during the mid 1940's!

Towards the end of 1964, Flt Lt Stewart Adams took over as OC 107 Sqn.   Adams was an officer in the ATC 1954-1958 and was again appointed to a commission with 107 Sqn in Jan 1964.   Flt Lt Adams went on to command 107 Sqn for 9 very successful years.

1965 brought more shooting, including the Aberdeen Wapinschaw competition, summer camp at RAF Wattisham and 3 cadets were selected for overseas camp at RAF Bruugen, Germany.   By this time the squadron had developed social links with the Women's Junior Air Corps (JACS).  The JACS had been attending 107 Sqn Christmas parties since 1961, and had been using Fairfield Drill Hall on Fridays since 1963.   They were also allowed to join 107 Sqn badminton club on Sundays.

107 Sqn enrolled strength was 45 cadets in Nov 1965.   Around this time, the squadron's catchment area was much wider than it is today; it included Portlethen, the eastern villages of Deeside and much of Aberdeen City.

1966 was the year of that now infamous football World Cup and on 15 July, 107 Sqn cadets attended the South Korea Vs Chile match whilst attending summer camp.   The score was 1:1 and South Korea qualified for the quarter finals!

In 1967, after 7 previous attempts, 107 Sqn won the 'ATC Scotland Trophy' as the best all-round squadron in Scotland and were the "Lees Representative" in the Sir Alan Lees ATC national efficiency competition.  107 Sqn were already building an impressive history in efficiency competitions.

1970 1979

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