The aims of the Air Training Corps (usually known as the Air Cadets) are to:
- Promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young people
- Provide training which will be useful in the Services and civilian life
- Encourage the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship
And there’s one more important thing – it’s a lot of fun!
Dorset and Wilts Wing of the Air Training Corps is one of 36 Wings in the UK, and has a total of 31 units covering the whole of the two counties.The Wing is part of the South West Region of the Air Cadets.
Dorset has a very strong claim to be the founder of the whole air cadet movement.Most people â€“ even members of the Air Training Corps – have probably never heard of the Bournemouth Young Airmenâ€™s League.Â It was founded in 1928 by two individuals with the vision and determination to create an organisation that would foster an interest in aviation.Â From small beginnings, with a membership of just six boys, one small model and no funds, it can lay claim to be the inspiration for two national organisations that succeeded it.
Although the BYAL later closed, the idea had taken root and â€“ in 1938 â€“ the Air Defence Cadet Corps was formed.Â This was organised by the Air League, and three of the first units to be formed were 130 (Bournemouth), 149 (Poole) and 171 (Christchurch).Â For the first time, cadets and staff had an RAF style uniform, and were able to take part in the kind of activities such as flying and gliding that have always been associated with air cadets.Â By 1939, the ADCC had over 200,000 cadets in 200 squadrons.
On 5th February 1941, the ADCC was reconstructed as the Air Training Corps.Â The three existing units became squadrons of the Air Training Corps, and were rapidly followed by many others.Â Bournemouth and Christchurch Squadrons were â€“ at that time â€“ in Hampshire, but later were transferred to Dorset.
Today, the Air Cadets continues to thrive, and offers a wide range of activities including flying, gliding, shooting, adventure training, Duke of Edinbughâ€™s Award, BTEC studies, sports, camps â€“ both in the UK and Overseas, aero modelling, first aid training and fieldcraft.Â There is also training in a wide range of aeronautical subjects.