Saturday 18th June saw 211 (Newbury) Squadron’s 70th Anniversary Reunion and although it started with a heavy shower the sun soon came out again on what proved to be a very successful and enjoyable day.
Over thirty ex cadets joined current staff and cadets to celebrate the Anniversary. Amongst the ex cadets were four who had joined in the very first year of the Squadron, 1941; Jack Nickson, Bill Lloyd, Alfred Wells and Alan Sheppard were thrilled to meet up again and chat about the early days as cadets. Jack Nickson a retired local doctor gave a short talk recalling his memories as a cadet in the Squadron and the Home Guard Unit, where as a Sgt in the ATC he retained his rank above ex soldiers who had fought in WWI; something that Jack still found very strange. Clive Newton who was a cadet during the 1950’s also talked to everyone about his memories and particularly the success of the Squadrons Drill Team and the first ever continuity drill demonstration.
After enjoying a buffet lunch the guests were able to browse through the extensive photographic archive detailing the development of the Squadron since 1941 to the present day. To help celebrate the Squadron’s anniversary, the archive was recently digitised and released via Facebook to help keep in contact with ex-cadets.
Later in the afternoon everyone gathered outside in the sunshine to receive a birthday gift; the Avro Vulcan XH558 made a special detour in her schedule, to fly over 211 Squadron, which has been active in supporting the Vulcan to the Sky Trust over the last two years. XH558 was received with cheers and clapping as she flew over – a very special Birthday present!
The Reunion continued in the evening with the cadets, staff and guests gathering to continue their reminiscences at Ace Space in Newbury which until 2009 had been the RAFA club. It was a very successful day made even more memorable by the appearance of the Vulcan XH558.
During the afternoon, Bill Lloyd was interviewed by Newbury Sound about his experiences as an Air Cadet in the 1940’s.