6 Wing AAFC Cadets having a ball
Celebrating the AAFC’s 75th Anniversary
Cadets and staff of 6 Wing have been busy this year commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the wartime Air Training Corps (ATC), its successor the AirTC, and the modern Australian Air Force Cadets (1941-2016).
Notably, on 11 June, 6 Wing exercised its Freedom of Entry to the City of Adelaide, “with swords drawn, drums beating, band playing and banners flying” – a privilege which was originally granted to 6 Wing on 12 July 2003. It’s certainly a unique opportunity to stop Adelaide traffic and march on King William Street.
The next major item on the agenda is a 75th Anniversary Ball.
In February 1941, the War Cabinet approved the formation of a cadet corps to be known as the “Air Training Corps” (ATC) as part of the RAAF Reserve. The original staff commenced duty on 11 June, and the six ATC Wings came into being from 12 August – and all were fully formed by 1 October.
In the Air Training Corps, only male cadets between the ages of 14 and 18 years were allowed to serve, undertaking pre-entry training for RAAF air and ground crews during WWII.
75 years later, the same organisation is known as the Australian Air Force Cadets, with both male and female cadets aged between 13 and 20 years.
From 1941, the Royal Australian Air Force had a facility at the old King’s College in Barton Terrace, that supported the then Air Training Corps in South Australia – notable for the jet aircraft parked outside.
Many AirTC units relocated to different areas, some disbanded, and others reformed as AAFC units. For example, ‘No. 1 Flight’ of the SA Squadron, Air Training Corps was founded in North Adelaide in 1946 – today it operates as 601 Squadron based at Keswick Barracks south of Adelaide.
Since its inception in 1941 in response to the need for wartime aircrew, the ATC/AirTC/AAFC has trained and prepared thousands of young Australians to take responsible positions in the general community and the Australian Defence Force.
Whilst the reason for the AAFC’s existence today is very different from its wartime formation years, there are still some common threads that have bound the two organisations over the past 75 years.
The AAFC is about youth development – at the time of the 70th anniversary ball in 2011, one former cadet who joined in 1945 described the emotion of flying in an Avro Anson at Mallala, and described how exhilarating it was for him to take the controls of the aircraft, especially considering he had never even seen an aeroplane up close before.
Today, our cadets still want the same thing – to be able to fly in Service aircraft.
An anniversary event is an opportunity for cadets and staff, both former and current, to reflect with pride on their involvement and service, and remember the cadets and staff who are no longer with us.
These images show the 70th anniversary ball held in 2011. The AAFC 75th anniversary ball to be held later this month and should prove to be just as glamorous. We hope to bring you fresh photos from this new milestone occasion. Stay tuned.
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The Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) is a youth oriented organisation which operates in a military and aviation environment. For recruitment enquiries in South Australia pls contact: