The Air Training Corps


Who are we?

The Air Training Corps is an organisation that was developed to encourage and help assist young people to have a career in the Royal Air Force or similar aviation careers. We have three main aims:

  • To promote and encourage among young men and women a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force.
  • To promote training which will be useful both in the services and in civil life.
  • To foster the spirit of adventure and┬ádevelop qualities of leadership and good citizenship.

The History of the Air Training Corps

Air Commodore John A Chamier is known as “The father of the air cadet movement.” He knew that in the First World War, young men with only a few hours training were chosen to go into air combat against highly trained aviators. Victory in the air would require intense training, not just a few hours.

In 1938, Chamier began to set up an Air Defence Cadet Corps (ADCC), organising squadrons of young cadets all over the country with the help of adult volunteers.

With Britain’s eagerness to try and be more prepared for another war like World War One, cadets joined the Corps in thousands.

It was hard to find people to set up and run new squadrons because it was a difficult job, so as an encouragement, the ADCC HQ announced that the first 50 squadrons formed would be allowed to put an F after their squadron number, and be known as ‘Founder Squadrons.’

Squadrons gave cadets experience similar to what they would experience in the Royal Air Force: drill, discipline, how to wear the uniform and how to behave on RAF stations. They were also encouraged to take part in activities such as shooting, camping and flying.

In the Second World War, cadets of the ADCC helped with office work, handling aircraft, loading ammunition, help in stores and equipment, and many other things. There were many excellent reports of the good work the ADCC was doing in the war; so many cadets began to prepare for service in the RAF. Already with a good background of what the RAF is about, they passed through basic training very quickly.

The ADCC was providing the RAF with ready-trained soldiers, which meant that Britain would be much more prepared for war. In 1940, the government realised the importance of the ADCC, and in 1941 they took it over and it became known as the Air Training Corps (ATC), and George VI became the Air Commodore-in-Chief of the ATC. The ATC brought new regulations and improvements from the old ADCC, and after 12 months it was about 8 times as big. The ATC continued to improve, and evolved into the ATC we know today.