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The Air Training Corps, promoted and supported by the War Office was born on 5th February 1941out of the Air Defence Cadet Corps initiated in 1938 by The Air League, a charity devoted to encouraging air mindedness in boys.

In April of that year following much interest generated in the Clacton area, recruiting started at the Odeon Cinema with the object of forming a Fight attached to the Squadron already established in Colchester. There was a high level of support from members of the Council, churchmen and school heads and by the end of a week a total of 70 cadets had been signed up. As Clacton was a wartime emergency area and as many schoolchildren had been evacuated this was quite an achievement.

By September 1941 numbers had increased to warrant elevation to Squadron status and parades were held in Clacton, Walton, and Thorpe-le-Soken and by the end of October the Clacton and District Squadron was allocated the number of 1830. The Squadron consisted of three Flights and operated in Clacton, Frinton, Walton, Thorpe and surrounding villages under the command of Flight Lieutenant Dennis Heightman. The Squadron even had its own aircraft, a ‘Flying Flea’ donated by Captain G. Pennell Royal Flying Corps and presented through the Clacton Rotary Club.

Throughout the war the Squadron was active in the local community war effort and took part in many fund raising activities and parades; numbers remained steady, and cadets did well in examinations and practical training assessments. By mid 1943 over 30 members of the Squadron had bee enlisted into to the Royal Air Force. With peace in 1945, 1830 Squadron took part in Clacton’s victory parade.

With the ending of hostilities and an increase in competing activities, interest in Service orientated organisations declined and Clacton could no longer maintain a Squadron of its own and 1830 was disbanded in 1946.

In 1966 Flight Lieutenant Percy Wheatley Officer Commanding 308(Colchester) Squadron and Peter Giddings hosted a meeting of interested youths in Clacton and in 1967 once again the Air Cadets were represented in Clacton.

Flying Officer Guy Twiss and Pilot Officer Peter Giddings reopened the unit as a Detached Flight of 308 Squadron.  Two years later Peter Giddings took over when Guy Twiss left the district. Despite frequent changes of meeting places the Flight prospered with many cadets joining the Royal Air Force and others following careers in civil aviation. The early seventies saw cadets from Clacton helping with the excavation of a crashed Halifax bomber and a Hurricane from below the beach at Walton Naze that now takes pride of place in the entrance hall of the Battle of Britain section of the R.A.F. Museum at Hendon. The Flight was active in support of the Royal Air Force Association Battle of Britain appeal and in 1982 was honoured by the presentation of a certificate of Affiliation to Clacton branch of the Association. The Air Cadet Organisation is the leading youth organisation in the U.K. to promote the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and in 1976 participating cadets from Clacton accompanied by Peter Giddings were proud to be presented to Prince Philip at an award rally at Danbury. Other notable events included winning the tendring district night scheme for two years running and representing the district at an orienterring weekend at Sandringham.

In 1983 on the retirement of Flight Lieutenant Peter Giddings command was taken over by Flying Officer Alan Clarke. In March 1989 he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant at the same time as the unit was upgraded from Detached Flight to be reformed as Clacton Squadron retaining the original 1830 Squadron number.

The leadership of the Squadron changed again in 1992 when Flight Lieutenant Glyn Cheeseman was appointed by transfer from Colchester Squadron. One of his first duties was to provide a guard of honour at the final reunion meeting of 501(City of Gloucester)Squadron Auxiliary Air Force held at St Osyth. 501 Squadron were stationed at R.A.F. Station Bradwell in 1944 equipped with Tempest aircraft tasked with destroying V1 flying bombs. So that their Squadron crest should not disappear following the disbandment of 501 Squadron in 1957 and the demise of surviving members a letter of affiliation was presented to Glyn Cheeseman authorising Clacton Air Cadets to incorporate the 501 crest of a boars head and motto (Nil Time) into a badge for 1830 Squadron ATC. The motto was translated from the Latin to ‘Fear Nothing’  

Since the re-formation in 1967 as a Detached Flight the cadets met in rented or shared accommodation, which entailed several changes of venue. Promotion to squadron status allowed the Civilian Welfare Committee of the Squadron whose responsibilities include the provision of headquarters to seek a suitable site and after lengthy negotiations a purpose built building (The Venture Centre) was erected at Plough Corner Little Clacton. The name of the Squadron was changed at the same time to 1830(Tendring Hundred) Squadron to reflect the larger catchment area.

The leadership of 1830 Squadron changed yet again last year when Flt/Lt. Glyn Cheeseman returned to serve with Colchester Squadron and his duties were taken over by Flying Officer Tony Rivett. As a part of the cadets’ good citizenship commitment for 2007 a special effort to support the annual Battle of Britain Appeal was made. Led by squadron Warrant Officer Ron Rogers and by holding two sessions of car washing, selling Wings Appeal flags at the Clacton Air Show, and during Battle of Britain Week, with the kind permission of Morrison’s plc. At their local stores raised over £2,000 and were judged ‘Top Flight’ London and South East Region Winners 2007’ by the Royal Air Force Association, beaten nationally by only one other squadron.

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