2175 (Rolls-Royce) Squadron

Air Training Corps


Squadron History

The squadron has existed since 1947 at which time all the staff and cadets were employees of Rolls-Royce which meant that it was a "closed" squadron. Originally the squadron Headquarters was situated inside the factory confines consisting of one wooden building or the "Hut" as it was affectionately known by the cadets of the day.

Shooting was the mainstay of squadron life at this time with the squadron building a reputation which it maintained for many years under the leadership of the squadron commander Flt Lt C F Brown, who served as CO for seven years. He also led the squadron in building an exact replica of the Pilcher glider for the centenary exhibition of the Royal aeronautical society in 1966. In 1970 the squadron was named as the best ATC squadron in the Region for Cadet Examination Results. 

As the years progressed the squadron became "open" allowing cadets who had no Rolls-Royce connection to become members of its ranks, the main catchment areas being Penilee, Hillington, Cardonald and Renfrew. However, the squadrons ties with Rolls-Royce are as strong as ever and today ex-cadets Steven Sim and Neil Surgenor work for the company after serving apprenticeships at Rolls-Royce Hillington. The continuous co-operation, support and assistance the squadron receives from Rolls-Royce contributes greatly to the success of the squadron.

A significant change took place in 1971 around the time of the collapse of Rolls-Royce which resulted in the squadron losing its uniformed staff with the exception of Flg Off William Brad, who became the commanding officer for a number of years. 2175 struggled on for a time attempting to rebuild itself under the guidance of Bill Brad who did an excellent job assisted by a few of the ex-cadet NCOs who were appointed as civilian instructors. After his retirement a few temporary COs took command, namely Frank Bailley, an ex-cadet who had returned from commissioned service with the RAF and also Bill Kilpatrick who also had an ex-service background.

However, it was not until Bill McConnell appeared on the scene around 1975 that the fortunes of the squadron changed for the better. Bill was a Rolls-Royce man which re-established the link with the company which was missing during the interim years since the 1971 collapse. Being a man of vision and foresight as well as having the management pull within Rolls-Royce, he persistently steered the squadron forward towards one success after another. Most notably was Bills triumph in having, after many battles, the squadron relocated in brand new premises to its present position just outside the Rolls-Royce perimeter. His leadership, honed after many years combined service in the RAF and Police, the assistance of the company and most importantly the endeavour of the cadets resulted in the opening of the new squadron HQ on the 20th November 1977. The official opening of the HQ was by Don MacLean, Wing Commander RAF Retd who was managing director of Rolls-Royce Scotland. The squadron went on to build its own indoor .22 rifle range designed on the Wessex tube range principle. A fine facility again constructed by the labour intensive toils of the cadets and staff of the time which regretfully due to the ground movement over nearly 20 years resulted in closure on the grounds of safety in 1999.

Without doubt Bills finest achievement was the forming of the 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron association along with the creation and building of the 602 museum which stands today as a unique tribute to "Glasgow's' Own" and is without equal. Once again this project involved the cadets of the squadron from its inception to completion. It involved many hours of research and study, along with many months of hard work preparing and assisting joiners and bricklayers which culminated in yet another opening. The squadron was the centre of attention when on the 22nd of October it marched past Marshal of the Royal Air Force, The Lord Cameron of Balhousie, during the opening ceremony of the museum.

The coin was finally turned in 1988 when on the retirement of Flt Lt Bill McConnell command was handed over to Flt Lt Joe Mansfield. During this period the squadron took up many Outdoor and Hillwalking pursuits including the Three Peaks Race and the Dales Challenge which we won in 1998.

In 1999, the baton was handed to Flt Lt Gregor Brad, the son of ex-CO Bill Brad. The squadron achieved great success under his command, winning the Wing and Regional Drill trophies and for two years running, the Wing Netball trophy. During this time, the squadron also shared in the individual success of CWO Paula Hastie who won the "Andrews Sash" for the best cadet in Scotland and Northern Ireland Region and CWO Suzanne Callan who won the "Foster Trophy" for the best aggregate score in the the ground training syllabus.

Our next Commanding Officer, Flt Lt Graham Short, transferred from our sister squadron in East Kilbride in 2003. From then until 2005 the squadron gained one of the very first "Junior Leaders" graduates in the country through CWO Bobby Hastie who also won the Adjutant's Shield for the best presentation of the course. We also won the Wing "Excellence in Public Relations Trophy" for three years running.

Sadly, due to the relocation of the Hillington facility to Inchinnan, the squadron had to leave its Rolls-Royce Hillington HQ on the 12th August 2005. As Inchinnan is too far away for our cadets to travel, a new location will have to be found. We are temporarily housed in Whitehaugh Barracks, Glasgow Road, Paisley until a permanent location is found. Yet, no matter how far away we find ourselves from Rolls-Royce, we will always be "the Rolls-Royce" squadron.

See a tour of the old Hillington HQ here.

In 2006, Flt Lt Davie McVean became the youngest CO in many years. He introduced the now annual Dining-In night and we also had the best Cadet in Scotland and Northern Ireland Region, CWO Bobby Hastie.

The squadron is currently run by Flt Lt Suzanne Callan, the youngest and also the first female to run the squadron. Suzanne joined 2175 (Rolls-Royce) as a cadet in 1995 and achieved great success by winning the Foster Trophy, awarded annually to the cadet who scores the highest in the Corps classification training syllabus. She has returned theWing Training Trophy to the squadron as well as an emphasis on the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, with the squadron taking part at all levels and steering 3 cadets to represent the UK on the International Air Cadet Exchange. We have also returned to shooting with a programme for staff and cadets which has now delivered our first 2 Corps marksman awards.

We are proud to say that our involvement in so many varied activities in the past embraced the corps motto of "Venture Adventure" and we hope to live up to the high standard they have set for us.

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