450 SQN Crest




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Formed on 5th February 1941, the Air Training Corps, also known as the Air Cadets, is a cadet organisation active across the United Kingdom. It is a voluntary movement that is part of the Royal Air Force. It is open to both boys and girls, from the age of 12. Depending on status, cadets can stay until their 20th birthday.


The Royal Air Force supports many of the activites that cadets undertake, including Air Experience Flying and the opportunity to spend a week on annual camp at a RAF Station, either in the UK or overseas.


Other activities include Gliding, Shooting, Adventure Training, Camping, Fieldcraft, Sports, Drill, Projects, Band, Aviation related studies, Competitions, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, First Aid, Leadership Training and Initiative Exercises. This list is just a few of the things that are on offer.


The Air Cadets has its Headquarters at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire and the current Commandant is Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty. The Air Commodore in Chief is HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

The motto of the ATC is 'Venture Adventure'. The three aims of the ATC are:


* To promote and encourage amongst young men and women a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force


* To provide training which will be useful in the Services and Civilian Life


* To foster the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and

good citizenship

Most activities that cadets have the opportunity to undertake are free, as is the issue of uniform. There is sometimes a small charge for transportation to some events (particularly annual or overseas camps) and for messing whilst away on duty.


There are over 900 ATC Squadrons, with some 41000 cadets and more than 9000 adult staff. Cadets and the majority of staff are civilians, but some staff are reserve or regular RAF personnel.


There is a lot to gain from being an ATC cadet - as well as all the fun and excitement, the ATC can provide flying or gliding training, the Duke of Edinburgh Award and even a BTEC in aviation studies.


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450 (Kenley) Squadron is an active and successful Air Cadet Squadron based at the former Battle of Britain Spitfire and Hurricane base, RAF Kenley, in Surrey.


There has been an Air Cadet Squadron serving the Kenley area since March 1941, only a month after the formation of the ATC. Initially the Squadron was based in Caterham and then in Whyteleafe, before moving to RAF Kenley in 1946. We now occupy our 6th premises and had an extensive rebuild in 2007. Along with 615 Volunteer Gliding Squadron and the Kenley & Caterham RAFA, we are the only RAF presence at Kenley.


When we were formed, we were originally 450 (Warlingham and Caterham) Squadron - so taking the first three letters from each, we were and remain, affectionately known as 'The Warcats'.


450 Squadron is one of the larger Squadrons in the Wing, regularly parading over 50 cadets. We currently have 2 uniformed members of staff and 4 Civilian Instructors. We meet every Monday and Friday, including school holidays.

Cadets get the opportunity to learn about and sit exams in aviation topics, including the Principles of Flight, Airmanship and Aircraft Handling. By passing these exams cadets proceed up our classification system.


The most popular activites are Flying, Gliding, Shooting, Adventure Training, Camping, Fieldcraft, Sports, Drill, Projects, Band, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, First Aid, Leadership Training and Initiative Exercises. This list is just a few of the things that cadets do.


450 Squadron takes part in Surrey Wing organised inter-Squadron yearly sports competitions which are 5 a side football, Athletics, Swimming and Cross Country. We are usually also involved in rugby, football, hockey and netball competitons.


As well as sports competitions, we also feature in the 'South Downs Trophy' which is an inter-Squadron Map reading / Orienteering day at various locations throughout the South Downs. There is a Drill competition, which is always popular. At the end of the summer we take part in the Aeromodelling Aircraft Recognition and Photography competition and have also achieved great success in this. Lastly towards the end of the year there is the 'Bray Trophy', which is a test of a Squadron's fieldcraft skills.


It is not only competitions where 450 Squadron thrives. Since 2002 it has been a feature of the Squadron's summer programme to run a week long Squadron camp to the Isle of Wight, where cadets get the opportunity to navigate the coastal route of the island on foot. The Squadron takes part in week long 'Annual Camps', where cadets stay on a Royal Air Force Station during Easter, Summer or Autumn school holidays. But that is not all - certain cadets who prove themselves as hard working, reliable and worthy, will be offered a place on an overseas camp. Cadets from 450 Squadron have recently attended RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus or JHQ Rheindahlen in Germany.


We will always take part in the Battle of Britain parades in September and Remembrance Sunday in November. At Kenley we also have another parade in August to commemorate the biggest air raid suffered by Kenley in August 1940.


There simply is not enough space to record all of the activities on offer, but it is a fact that 450 Squadron gets involved in the very best of what is on offer and cadets gain skills, enjoy experiences and take with them memories not available elsewhere.


To read a page about the History of RAF Kenley, click here and to see some 'pre website' and vintage photographs of 450 Sqn, click here.