Council meetings

Agenda item

Civic Adoption 1475 Squadron ATC


            The formal civic adoption of  ATC 1475 Squadron was proposed by the

            Mayor and seconded by the Council’s Reserve Forces and Cadets

            Association representative, Councillor Pauline Morrison.


            In response Squadron Leader Kevin Mehmet MBE RAFVR(T)

            delivered the following address:


            “Your Worshipful the Mayor, Chairman of Council, Councillors and

            Members of the London Borough of Lewisham.


            Thank you for inviting me here this evening to address you all.  I know

            this is a privilege rarely granted and I am deeply honoured to be here

            representing my unit.


            Mr Mayor, one of your predecessors, Alderman Henry Edwin Brown

            JP, with the full support of this chamber on Thursday 12 June 1941

            constituted an air cadet unit to be known as No 1475 (3rd Lewisham)

            Squadron of the Air Training Corps.  Since then over 6100 cadets have

            passed through the unit and today, exactly 70 years and 17 days later

            I stand before you as the commanding officer of that very unit

            which is currently, out of 930 Squadron’s, the best in the United

            Kingdom having won the ATC’s coveted Sir Alan Lees Trophy.  From

            then to now, 1475 Squadron has proved itself to be a successful and

            effective unit and I assure this chamber that we have not forgotten

            where we came from.  The Squadron Band leading the

            Lewisham’s Remembrance Day parade is testimony to that.


            Regrettably, we moved out of Lewisham in 1956 – albeit just 10 yards

            outside the boundary on Lordship Lane, but we have maintained our

            links with our founding Borough all these years.  My first personal

            experience of that association, as the newly appointed CO, was when

            Cllr Peggy Fitzsimmons, then as Mayor paid us a visit to review our

            annual parade in 1986.  [Cllr Fitzsimmons do you recall that visit?]


            It is our priority to give our cadets opportunities to supplement their

            education in the hope that they will grow to be good citizens and make

            a valid contribution to their   community.  About two thirds of our cadets

            come from Lewisham.  1475 Squadron is proud to be able to serve this

            Borough through the young Lewisham citizens in its cadet ranks and in

            turn to encourage them to serve their community.  All with the

            support of our parent service the Royal Air Force.


            Lewisham has never let us go.  You have nurtured a sense of

            belonging to the heart of the Borough.  I am delighted to say that the

            association is firm and strong.  In April 2010 when Cllrs Barrie

            Anderson, then Chairman, and Sylvia Scott came to our HQ to present

            me with a life time achievement award for service to young people, I

            asked Cllr Scott why does the Borough maintain such a support for us

            even though we are outside the borough -  albeit just 10 yards.  Cllr

            Scott replied “…because you’re OURS, that’s why.  Well we are happy

            with that and honoured to be yours and this adoption will cement that

            relationship.  I am grateful to you Mr Mayor for proposing this adoption

            Cllr Pauline Morrison for seconding it.  I also thank Cllr Morrison for

            maintaining the liaison with the Squadron and providing us support on

            Council’s behalf.  I also thank Mr Derek Johnson for administering that

            support.  Lastly, a very special thank you to the members of this

            chamber and the citizens of Lewisham for bestowing this tremendous

            honour of adoption on 1475 Squadron.


            On behalf of the Trustees, Committee, Officers, Staff and Cadets, past

            and present of 1475 Squadron ATC, know that I am deeply honoured,

            touched and flattered by this adoption and the gesture behind it;

            especially coming in this our 70th anniversary.  I record my heart felt

            gratitude to you all.  Thank you.”


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