Information About Us

The Air Training Corps is a national organisation with its Headquarters at RAF College Cranwell. The country is split into six Regions (Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales and West, North, London and South East Region, South West Region and ours with is Central and East Region). In each Region it is then split up into Wings, our Region has 6 Wings; Trent, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing, South and East Midlands and our wing; Norfolk and Suffolk. In Norfolk and Suffolk we have 30 Squadrons, which includes 28 squadrons, 1 detached flight and No2 Overseas Gibraltar Squadron. As a nation we are like a massive family with over 40'000 Air cadets ages 12-20 and 20'000 adult staff members.

Cadets of all nationalities, backgrounds and abilities are equally welcome. Differently abled Cadets are also welcome, this is providing their handicap doesn't prevent them from partaking in a reasonable number of activities, or is likely to put them or any other cadet in danger. All of our members of staff are open and willing to help anyone who wants to join, regardless of their abilities, they're treated the same as everyone else. At the moment we have a partially sighted cadet at Beccles, he is the most wonderful and determined boy who wants to partake in whatever he can, the other year he came 4th out of 10 in our Inter-Squadron Swimming Championships. He refuses to let himself be different and be treated any differently to anyone else. We love how inspirational and determined he is, he has an encouraging way about him towards the other cadets and every week we see improvements. 

Although we are connected with the Royal Air Force the cadets are no liability to join the Services. Many of our past cadets from the squadron, and the wing have gone on to successful careers in not only the RAF, but the Army, the Navy and the Marines. Some others go off to university, where some join the Police Force. All of the possible careers choices are open with involvement in the air cadets, the experiences and activities you do through the Air Training Corps gives you that extra edge and advantage in life, whichever path you wish to take. 

Air cadets is a 'military' youth organisation and therefore there are high standards to maintain. You are encouraged and expected to take a pride in your uniform and appearance, be well mannered and self disciplined - you will be joining something you can be proud of. Also, there is an expectation that you would take part in as many activities as possible, try something new and achieve in something you know you excel in - most cadets don't need too much persuading with this.

"The more you put into the Air Cadets, the more you get back out"

For Parents

We are very glad that your child might be considering joining the air cadets and especially here at 759 (Beccles) Squadron. Hopefully this page should answer some of the questions and queries you or your child may have about the air cadets and give you a guide to what we do and how your son or daughter can get involved with a national organisation. 

Flying Officer Dobson, (Acting) Officer Commanding 759 (Beccles) Sqn, is always available on a Friday Evening Parade Night should there be any more question this page does not answer. You can be greatly assured that they are wanting to join an excellent youth organisation that has so much on offer for all ages, interests and abilities. All of our adult staff on the squadron, all of whom are volunteers, are highly trained to ensure that all activities we have on offer for the cadets are educational, effective, fun and most of all safe.

There are so many options out there in the Royal Air Force Air Cadets for them to take part in. Our News section shows you the recent activities our cadets have been up to. 

Parents Responsibilities

There are certain elements that come with cadets that parents have to be responsible for. The first is the transport of your cadet to and from the Squadron safely. Secondly, each cadet gets issued uniform, there are three different types of uniform. It is important that the uniform is looked after and only used for air cadet activities. Most cadets keep the upkeep and maintenance of their uniform to themselves, so don't feel offended or upset if they don't want you to iron it for them. Cadets will become proud of their uniform throughout their time in the air cadets and are highly encouraged to keep it in good order themselves as our Cadet NCOs provide a good level of uniform preparation training when they get their uniform. The uniform given does not have to be paid for as it is a loan, when they decide to leave, they are asked to bring all of their issued uniform back. There is an exception to this, Parade Shoes and Boots are not normally issued, if the Squadron has a cadets size they will be given them but a deposit is asked for upon the receival.  If the Squadron doesn't have the size required we will see if we could find a pair, or you can go out and buy your own. 

There is also the responsibility to pay the Subscriptions (SUBS) on time and there is more on this below. 

Subscriptions, Costs and Hardship

All Youth organisations need funding. We are luckier than most because The Royal Air Force provide a great deal of funding, from the money for and the issue of uniform, the upkeep of the Squadron, Flying, Gliding and several other activities that your child can take part in. 

The funding, money and fundraising on the Squadron is looked after by our Civilian Committee, also volunteers who are responsible for the raising and spending of these "Non Public Funds" we receive from the RAF. Some of the money the Squadron gets for and from each cadet goes towards funding Wing level activities, such as Wing Sports and our Annual Wing Field Weekend. Subscriptions, or SUBS as they are more commonly known are up to the discretion of the Civilian Committee. Our Squadrons Civ Com have decided that our SUBS will be twenty five pounds per quarter (so twenty five pounds every three months). Or you can pay by standing order and this works out to be just over eight pounds a week, for more information on this come in and see the CO to get a Standing Order Form. These payments are required whether your child attends all the parade nights in the quarter or not. 

Sometimes, the more your child is involved in cadets, the more it can cost. General funding is by the SUBS you already pay, but camps in the UK and abroad that are offered along with adventure training activities, weekend camps and Duke Of Edinburgh (among others) may lead to additional costs which you will be asked to pay. These will always be the minimum if we can make it that way, and where possible can be slightly funded by the squadron. 

We also realise that there are cases of hardship among parents who are out of work or have large families, or for whatever reason it may be, and we can address genuine hardship in several ways so that you son or daughter doesn't miss out on the activities we have on offer. Please come in and talk to Flying Officer Dobson in confidence if you do have any problems. 

Helping the Squadron/Civilian Committee

We are always looking for volunteers to come and join our Civilian Committee. You are the biggest source of new volunteers for the squadron. If you feel you might be interested in joining the squadron staff either as a Civilian Instructor, Uniformed Member (whether that be a commissioned officer or and Adult NCO), or a member of our Civilian Committee please contact the Commanding Officer of the squadron who will be pleased to talk to you about this.

There is no doubt that being a part of this national organisation can be as rewarding and worthwhile for the adults involved as well as the young people. 

For New Cadets

Welcome! We are an organisation whose aims are to promote and encourage among young people a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force, to provide training which will be useful both in service and civilian life and to foster the spirit of adventure and develop the qualities of leadership and good citizenship.

At Beccles Squadron we're like a family. We are a small number but growing in size each year. We offer and encourage you to do a variety of activities, some you will be great at, some will take more time and challenge you. We encourage you to try something new, but also excel at what you know you're good at.

Currently at the Squadron we have a wide range of ages, abilities and personalities. Ranging from 12 - 18 at the moment, we have new cadets join us all the time and just slot right into place here. Everyone has their own thing they know they're good at, currently we have some keen sportsmen and women, ranging from runners, to swimmer, hockey players and football stars, and we offer all of these sports to you. We have a range of abilities which everyone can fit into. We provide a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere in which you can excel and progress through cadets.

What Happens When I Join?

When you first join us here at Beccles there is a short 6 week settling in period, where we see if you like it here at the Squadron. For most, this six weeks goes quickly and we see how well you settle into the Squadron and for you to find out whether you really want to be a part of The Air Training Corps. Some young people do decide they don't like it and then leave within the first few weeks - that's fine - cadets is not for everyone, and if it's not for you then all you have to do is come and talk to the staff.

We hope you will settle in well, enjoy your introduction period and stay with us. After your 6 weeks you will then be issued uniform by one of the NCOs, you will get 3 sets of uniform along with a help sheet to guide you along the way. The uniform clothing side of the uniform is all free of charge, as it is issued on loan to you. If we have Parade Shoes or DPM Boots in your size we will give them to you, but a deposit is required and this is decided by the Officer Commanding. When you leave, if you wish to give your shoes back, you will get most of the deposit back again. If we don't have your size, we can either try and find them for you, or you can have a look on ebay or pop into Beckett's in Norwich to find them, the staff there are friendly and so helpful for new cadets. You learn to have a pride in wearing your uniform, but the key is to look after it and keep it maintained to its highest standard. Uniform can be expensive so please take good care with it as when you leave after your cadet career we ask for it to be returned. 

A few times a year we hold an introductory weekend for new cadets that is designed to give you some of the basic training required in the air cadets. On this weekend we normally cover elements such as:

  • Uniform ironing, polishing and upkeep
  • Drill and Discipline
  • Ranks and the Rank Structure
  • Corps Ethos and The Aims of The Air Training Corps
  • Some rules and regulations
  • Finally, something from the First Class Book, which could either be Airmanship, Map Reading or Radios and Communication. 

Don't be put off by the idea of having lessons and teaching elements in the Air Cadets. These topics you cover enable you to go and do all the fun activities such as flying. Also, at the end of the classifications when you have reached Master Air Cadet, you receive a BTEC in Aviation Studies and have the opportunity (if you would like this) to go and do the Air Cadet Method of Instruction Course to become an Instructor Cadet and have the possibility to teach other cadets. 

The key is to remember that even though we are a national youth organisation, we do also have connections to the Royal Air Force. They pay for your uniform, our Squadron building, the flying and gliding programmes as well as heavily subsidise our summer camps among other things. We expect all of our cadets to be smart and tidy every parade evening and also when they are out and about doing activities, but most of all to wear the uniform with pride. We also expect good manners and good behaviour, not just on Squadron and on cadet events, but also in and around the local community as well. Finally, you need to have a loyalty to the Squadron and the Air Training Corps. These are the qualities which will stand you in good stead in later life.

What's in the Air Cadets for Me and my Future?

Even though as a youth group we are connected to the Royal Air Force, you are under no liability to join the services. In the past we have had many cadets go off to join the services, this is not just the RAF, but the Army, Navy and Marines too. We have the RAF Recruitment come over from Norwich to do a talk about the RAF, but if this isn't the force you want to join, the staff will do whatever they can to get you the information for any of the other services. Other of our past cadets have gone off to Universities across the country and also in Civilian job roles such as an Air Traffic Controller at an Airport. The training and experiences you receive in the Air Cadets will give you an advantage in life after cadets. 

There is a structured training programme set up by our Squadron Training officer that provides a range of aviation subjects which leads you through your classifications and on completion of Master Cadet (the highest classification available) you receive a BTEC in Aviation Studies, which is a Level 2 BTEC that is equivalent to 2 GCSEs grade A* - C. There isn't just this on offer though, at Beccles we offer and encourage cadets to do the BTEC in Personal Development as well as the BTEC in Music if that is where your interests lie. 

But, it's not all academic... At the moment we have a lot of keen sportsmen and women and the air cadets can fulfill everyone's sporting desires; from running and cross country, athletics and swimming to netball, hockey, football and rugby. As a Wing we also run a CSLA course to give you something extra for later in life if that's what you want. On Squadron we are lucky enough to have our own range which means shooting is available. Other activities include, flying along with various scholarships, adventure training and field craft, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, leadership training, initiative and team building exercises, summer camps, overseas camps, the International Air Cadet Exchange Scheme, drill courses, Junior Leaders Courses, and so many more. At Beccles we try and give you as wide a range of opportunities to fit your interests, but also to get you to try something you probably couldn't have done before. 

Hopefully this has given you enough information that can convince you how rewarding the Air Cadets can be for you. 

The more you put in, the more you get out of the cadets. We purely ask for dedication and time, this is all for you after all.