Obviously ATC squadrons will have hundreds, if not thousands, of former Cadets. All of these ‘veterans’ have played their own individual part in making your squadron what it is today.
But, taking things back to the birth of the Corps, back to 1941: we’re very-privileged on our squadron to actually know of three true veteran founder members of the unit. These highly-respectable gentlemen are obviously getting on in years, and are complimented by (so far) just a single 1950s-era ex-Cadet (perhaps an opposite age-distribution to that which might have been expected).
So: just how common is this? Do most (all?) squadrons have original founder veterans that they are aware of, that can be called upon as VIPs or even just as special visitors who remain associated with the squadron? I’d be very surprised if I was to find-out that our situation was unique, but you’ll all put me right on that, I’m sure.
Very privileged indeed Wilf, three founder cadets is quite something.
On my last Sqn, we had one and he was indeed cadet number one, the very first person through the door when the Sqn initially stood up. Grand old boy, still came to Sqn dinners at which he’d bring out his old wartime photos. He went on to be a navigator on Mosquitos.
one of our CIs (who is a former CO of the Sqn) knows and meets regularly over “afternoon tea”(or a beer) with the founding CO of our Sqn.
some of out community events he tends to pop up at (model shows etc) and always stops to say hello although he hasnt had any formal invitation or involvement with the Sqn in my time…
We’ve got 4 founder members still knocking around - we’ve also provided the Guard of Honour at a few over the last 10 years too. We invited them along to the Squadron’s anniversary in 2011 and they all came and told us of literal war stories!
It’s a real privilege to still have these chaps around, so we try to get them along to special events - although more often than not, ill health or it being passed their bed time seems to prevent it happening.