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As April arrives it seems to be time for me to take up my crayons in order to do my write up for the Units Website.  I would like to say that I instinctively remembered this task however I was helped by Sergeant Dan Collins broadly hinting that it was the end of March! 

March was a very busy month (aren’t they all) especially for individuals with Cadets representing Wing and Region at various sports, others away on Wing NCO Courses (Well done Cpl Hubbard and ​Sgt Lister) and six 1211 band members at the Regional Band Camp.  It will interest you (or not) that there were only 30 Cadets at that particular camp and 20% were ours!  Not bad for an area that has around 180 Squadrons. 

As you are aware, one of our ambitious staff thinks it’s a good idea for the senior cadets to take part in the Belgium Death March.  What larks!  The Death March consists of 100 kilometres within 24 hours…  As a practice, the more foolhardy of our Unit took part in a training day around Carsington Reservoir on 1st April (How appropriate)  I was of course there to greet the survivors, sorry I meant the intrepid and valiant walkers offering wise advice and bandages. 

2017 will hopefully be a good year for flying (Weather notwithstanding) and Sgt Hughes has led the way with the first of this year’s Flying Scholarships taking two weeks out in Dundee learning to fly in a light powered aircraft.  For those of you who may be slightly envious, these opportunities are available to all and this is when turning out for parades, carnivals, open days and poppy collections stand in your favour…. Think on! 

Up and coming is the Morris Cup parade for the Regional Commandant on 19th April.  Yes, I know it’s a Wednesday!  Yes, I know it’s in the middle of the Easter holidays!  However, we have been selected as the top Squadron within the South and East Midlands (Naturally) and by showing the Group Captain that we can show off our skills and enthusiasm despite the difficulties of timing, then we can prove that we are also the best Squadron in his Region!   When I tell you on final parade that this is the most important inspection of your Cadet life, then that is in fact the case and I know that each of you will rise to the occasion.  For those of you, who are away on holiday, don’t forget to pick up some souvenir fudge for the staff! 

Finally, our new T Flight intake has now arrived.  Please make them feel welcome.  Don’t forget how you felt about coming into 1211 on your first night.  Also the recruitment window is open for three weeks until 25th April so if you have friends or relatives that are interested in joining the best ATC Squadron in the UK then bring them down.

Sqn Ldr Alyn Thompson RAF VR(T)

Bosses Blog - May 2017

Bosses Blog - March 2017

Bosses Blog - May 2017

What a month! April 2017 must be one of the highest achieving months in our history! Starting with Sgt Izzy Hughes; she became the first girl in 1211 history to gain a Flying Scholarship. Who said it was a dark day in the eighties when girls first gained entry into our organisation? Ms Hughes then goes on, within a matter of days to become the first ever 1211 Cadet to become the RAF Wittering Station Commanders Cadet. As if that wasnt enough for one month, Sgt Hope Lister becomes the Derbyshire Royal Air Forces Association's Cadet of the Year!

Surely that would be enough for any Squadron Commander, having these two SNCO's representing the whole of the Unit at such a high profile level. However, we are the Swadlincote Squadron and our Cadets can achieve great things especially when it came to the Morris Cup inspection where, despite half of the Cadets being away on holiday, having to parade on a non-parade night and your illustrious CO with no voice (I noted those of you who sniggered) the team rose to the challenge and swept the Regional Commandant off his feet not just with the parade but also by your sheer enthusiasm during the activities.

Imagine my pride in ALL of you when the message came through to say that 1211 Squadron had left all of the other Units within the Central and East Region standing and that Group Captain Gorman had selected us to represent the Region in the final of the trophy.

In short, that means that our Cadets are numbered as a Squadron who are in the top six Units in the entire Corps. Let us not forget that the ACO numbers nearly 1000 Squadrons and you outperformed 994 of them. No matter where we come in the final round, no-one can take that away from us.

2017 is going to be a great year for 1211 Squadron and as I put my blog crayons down, I remain very proud to command the best ATC Squadron in the UK.

Sqn Ldr Alyn Thompson RAF VR(T)

Bosses Blog - April 2017


1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron

As 22nd June gets closer as the date I finish as OC 1211, I still have Sgt Collins asking for my blog
update which is late again.  So for the last time I take up my crayons for the Units Website.   

May was the usual busy month with a second place in the Wings athletics competition.  It seems
odd that we came in second out of 29 Squadrons and we have become so successful that we look
at that result as not being quite enough!  However, it was, realistically, an excellent piece of work
with everyone giving all they had and a crop of 1211 Cadets once again representing the South
​and East Midlands Wing at the Regional competition. 

Wing Camp at the end of the month was also an excellent time for our troops and in particular, I was really pleased that (as far as I know) that not one of our cadets reported to the medical centre, which considering how tough the camp can be is an excellent result!  Having said that, if one of you did report to Flt Lt Hargreaves and his team, don’t tell me, as I am happy with blissful ignorance. 

I am sure that the world is aware of our Morris Cup progress and how pleased our Regional Commandant is with 1211.  We are now officially one of the best three Squadrons in the UK with Commandant Air Cadets coming to inspect on the 20th June.  My expectation is that ALL of our Squadron will be on parade, for what is one of the most important nights of our history and let's see if we can beat our rivals for the most important trophy in the Air Training Corps 

I am sure that you are now all aware that my final parade as the Officer Commanding will be on the night after our inspection and I can only apologise that you have to stand for another evening as I hand over to Flt Lt Morgan. 

I shall take this opportunity to say that it has been a privilege to command 1211 and that I have always (nearly) been extremely proud of all the Cadets, Staff and SST, not just you, the current team, but all those who came before you and who I have had the pleasure to command. 

I shall, as I keep having to remind everyone, remain as your Sector Commander and shall watch with interest as you go on to even greater glory with your new Squadron Commander, Flt Lt Ruth Morgan in whom I have the greatest of trust. 

 Sqn Ldr Alyn Thompson RAF VR(T) 

Foolishly, at the 1211 Squadron Staff Conference in January, I offered to do a write up for the Units Website on the basis that there was nothing interesting to read on the site.  What I thought was a throwaway comment was instantly picked up by the rest of the staff with comments of, “You will have to type it and can’t use a crayon!” also “How did you know that we have a website?” and “The Squadron Commanders monthly blog!  That’ll be interesting…. probably.”

Staff support notwithstanding, we have already got through two months of the year and I would like to look at where we stand at the moment. The Staff Conference went well with the 1211 team organising our external programme for 2017 with the emphasis being on ensuring that our Cadets have as many opportunities as possible put their way.  We also looked at 2018 with another trip to Belgium for the 100 Anniversary of the end of the First World War (and along with that, if enough Cadets are interested, a visit to Euro Disney)

I think we would all agree that the Squadron got off to an immense start to the competitive year with our Cross Country Team’s outstanding win at the Wing Championships!  There is no doubt that many of the Wing Squadrons see us as the Team to beat and I enjoy the tougher competition, especially as we look back over our shoulders at them from the finish line!  I particularly enjoy the Cross Country Competition as that was my particular sport as a Cadet.  (Oh yes it was)

We are currently going through a three year cycle when a series of the senior cadets leave.  On the one hand, this is unfortunate, particularly for those who go without having reached their potential!  (I regret no longer being a teenager and knowing everything!  Parents will understand that better than their Cadets) On the other hand their loss is an opportunity for our younger cadets with NCO places available, not to mention extra places on Camps and Courses.

As I usually say at my Question and Answer Sessions to all of our Cadets, Please, take advantage of what our organisation has to offer.  If you leave, without a B-TEC, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, at least one flight in an RAF aircraft and at least one week away with the Squadron then you only have yourself to blame.  As your Squadron Commander, my job is to make sure that you have far more opportunities than you could possibly get elsewhere, but I cannot make you take them.

2017 is going to be an excellent year for all of us and each of you should be asking yourselves, “What do I want to do with the Squadron this year?” and if you are unsure as to whether it’s possible, then just ask any staff member and if you’re not happy with the reply, come and see me!

Blog complete for 1st March.  Not too bad without a crayon!

Sqn Ldr Alyn Thompson RAF VR(T)