The First Parade of 1344 (2nd Cardiff) Squadron was held on Monday August 26th 1941 at the old Cardiff Technical College (now University of Wales Institute of Science & Technology - UWIST) on King Edward V11 Avenue. Eighty five Cadets transferred from 30F Squadron.
By September 1942 some 370 Cadets had been enrolled. The minimum age for enrolment was 16 years. All young men were working at that age. A High School education was a rare thing. All could, and most did, leave school at 14 years.
More than 100 Cadets would attend an average Parade. Parades were held on Monday and Wednesday evenings in Summer time or Sunday afternoons in Winter, when parades were held outdoors in daylight. There was a total blackout at night, where no lights could be shown from buildings and there was no street lighting at all.
There was an assembly parade at the beginning of the evening, then the Cadets dispersed to their various classes for instruction in Drill, Morse Code, Mathematics, Navigation, Aircraft Recognition, Engineering Studies & Welding, and Wireless. At the end of the evening there would be a dismissal parade when announcements for the coming week were made and the roll called.
Examinations were set and on their results recommendations were made to the Royal Air Force for commissions when boys registered for National Service.
Uniforms were made of coarse material. Tunics were hot and buttoned up to the neck. Little "Chip Bag" caps balanced precariously on the side of the head. Many fell off during a parade. One Sergeant was always detailed to pick them up.
All Cadets would be called up for National Service at 18 years but not all joined the Royal Air Force. Some would go into the Army, some would even go into the coal mines as "Bevan Boys". Most volunteered for the Royal Air Force at 17 ¼ years old to increase their chances.
Members of the Sqn
The officers of 1344 (2nd Cardiff) Squadron Air Training Corps were:
Commanding Officer - Flight Lieutenant A.E.Gibbon
Adjutant - Flying Officer H.A.Davies.
Flying Officer A.W.Baker.
Flying Officer W.M.Colley
Flying Officer C.Merrifield
Flying Officer D.H.Morgan
Flying Officer H.L.Tredree
Equipment Officer - Flying Officer F.Pascoe
Flying Officer A.W.Baker was in charge of all new recruits, Flying Officer H.L.Tredree taught Radio and Morse, Flying Officer C.Merrifield, also known as Captain Merrifield from his previous career at sea taught Navigation and Flying Officer F.Pascoe was "Gunnery Officer". Later they were joined by Mr. Alty who taught Engineering and Welding.
CADETS WHO TRANSFERRED FROM 30F TO FORM 1344 (2nd CARDIFF)
A FLIGHT - CLARGO J.A, COLES G.J, DERRICK W, DONOVAN J.H, DUNSTIN G.E, EIDE O.S, FOWLER H, GRIFFITHS W.O, HARRIS P.A, HAYES A.T, HUGHES W.L, JOHANSON W, JONES A.M, LEWIS J .H, MEEK L, MORGAN F.H, NOWELL M, OXENHAM D, PONSFORD H.W, RAVENHILL K.W.J, ROBERTS W.A, ROBERTSON R.F, STACEY W.H, STAFFORD J, STRAWBRIDGE G, TEAR T.C, THONGER F.J.J, WATKINS W, WILLIAMS J.W, YOUNG J.V.
B FLIGHT - BLACKMAN D.G, COPE R.W, CROSS S, EDWARDS J .C, EDWARDS T. C, ELTON C.A, EVANS R.D, GREEN V.T, GRIFFITHS R.A, HARRIS E.T, HUGHES K, HUMPHREY B. V .C, IONS C.J, JENKINS A.J, LAIDLAW T, MORLEY H.F, NELSON V.C, O'SULLIVAN T, PAYNE R.H, POWELL H.H, REAVY E.J, SIMS A.J, SCOURSE E.F, MIRTHWAITE L, THOMAS D.V.K, TOMPKINS J.H.F, TUGWELL R.W, WILKINS R, WOOD A J.
C FLIGHT - ALLEN R.G.J, BESANT R.L, BIRD V.F, BRANSON S, BROWNING W.J, CUMMINS W.D, DARBY F.G, DAVIES W.C, EVANS, EVANS F, FANCETT L.R, FISHER W.H, HARRINGTON R.J, HOPGOOD A.C, INCH C.T.I, JACKSON R.T.P, JENKINS D.R, JOHN W.G.F, JONES A, LANDSOOWN R.B, LEWIS F, McGILL C, MORGAN S, MORLEY R.J, MARCH D.J, NICHOLLS D, NIGHTINGALE A.G, NORMAN D.J, OATEN K.W.A, PRICE G.M, REYNOLDS R.G, TUCKER K, WILLIAMS S, YORATH C.J.L.
SPORTS PARADES and SOCIAL EVENTS
There was regular swimming instruction at Guilford Crescent Baths and Swimming Galas between the Cadet Units in the City.
Cadet Boxing Championships were held at the City Hall in May 1943.
There were many Athletic Meetings between Squadrons in the area. A Sports Rally was held at the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ground in Amroth Road in Ely in September 1943. Athletic meetings were also held at Bridgend in 1944 and in Mountain Ash in 1945. There was also a large Inter-Squadron Sports Meeting held at Jenner Park in Barry in 1942.
The Wartime Cadets attended many military parades. Drumhead Services held by many Army Regiments and Battalions and other Service Units passing through the city en route to the War.
Cadet Units were present at the Remembrance Day Parades throughout the War Years also attending Drumhead Memorial Service for the Royal Artillery in 1945.
Cadets also attended many propaganda Rallies held during the War. "Salute the Red Army" held at the Capitol Cinema in February 1943," Salute to Freedom in Czechoslovakia" also in the Capitol Cinema in October 1943.
There were also more fun things to do. The Air Training Corps held a Gymkhana at the Bishops Field in Llandaff where "The Great Marco" rode a motorcycle blindfolded around an obstacle course. There was programme selling at Ninian Park Football Ground when the United States Army fielded two "All American" teams - The Crimson Tigers versus The Blue Devils in 1943.
Cadets turned out to give drill displays at events such as "Holidays at Home" which was held in Birchgrove, Rhiwbina at Heath Park.
Many people turned out to see these events. Remember there was a war on. It was a drab and grey time, with very little entertainment, so a parade with a band or a sports event or an exhibition was an important event not to be missed.
Transport during WW2 was difficult. There were no private cars as such as there was no petrol for private use. The only cars on the roads belonged to people in essential services, Service personnel, Air raid wardens, Fire and Ambulance personnel etc. There where enormous queues for trams and buses. Passengers sitting and standing were packed in like sardines. A few lucky Cadets had pre-war bicycles, but no Cadet ever walked home-they marched, even when they were off duty. It was wartime and they were in uniform.
Visits were made however to aircraft factories and aerodromes, where experience was gained on the Link Trainer. The Cadets were enthusiastic and received very useful training.
Cadets, even in wartime managed to attend some Annual Camps. There is one recorded Camp for Cardiff Cadets at Royal Air Force, St Athan in1943, but records of Annual Camps between 1940 and 1945 are not very well documented, so it is difficult to find out if there were any others, and at which Royal Air Force stations they were held.
All this was very serious stuff, but the Air Cadet in the War Years also had a social life.
With the cessation of hostilities in 1945, came the grounding of Air-crews and more selective recruiting into the Royal Air Fore. Consequently interest began to flag and numbers dropped. The wartime demand to be in uniform ended, and interest, not least among the officers, declined.
A meeting was called for October 1945 when full reports of Officer and Cadet strengths were presented to the Wing Commander. The outcome of the meeting resulted in the disbanding of the Cardiff Wing, and all Cadets being posted to 30F Squadron, the Senior Squadron. Very many officers took advantage of the occasion to resign their Commissions.
Thus 1344 (2nd Cardiff) Squadron became defunct with the other, now surplus Cardiff Squadrons.
Of the 615 Cadets who passed through 1344 (2nd. Cardiff) Squadron between August 26th 1941 and December 1945 only 24 remained on strength.
The Final Parade of the Squadron was held at Cardiff Technical College on Wednesday December 5th 1945. On that unhappy day the 24 remaining Cadets were formally transferred to 30F Squadron. Present at the Final Parade were:
Flight Lieutenant H.A. Davies - Commanding Officer
Flying Officer A.W. Baker - Adjutant.
Cadet Flight Sergeant G. Dowers.
All the Squadron books, registers and records were formally handed over to Flying Officer A.W.Baker, who was transferring to 30F Squadron.
The Squadron was officially placed on the Suspense List and 1344 (2nd Cardiff) Squadron, Air Training Corps ceased to exist
Even in The Barren Years the 1344 Number was not lost or forgotten.