Ron wearing his ATC uniform
Vickers Wellington MKIII
In the summer of 1941 Ron
joined the Air Training Corps 1034 Squadron in Surbiton (England),
he was 14.
‘All us lads together
about fourteen/fifteen we said right, we can’t go anywhere, they
were forming a new Air Training Corps in Surbiton, so we all joined
that. Well we said we don’t know how long this war’s going on, so
we better do something so we trained up.’ (Tape 1, P.4).
‘British youth was among
the most highly regimented in the world. In January 1941 the Air
Ministry had launched the Air Training Corps (ATC) for boys between
sixteen and eighteen. Volunteers were given RAF uniforms and within
six months the ATC had grown to 200,000.’  The aim was to prepare
cadets for service in the RAF or the fleet Air Arm of the Royal
'Well, we all had to
do it in the evenings. A normal day was identification of aircraft,
different bombers, morse code, map reading, navigation, did all
that leads you up to be what you want to be in the RAF. I wanted
to be a bomber pilot, I was too tall to be an air gunner, unfortunately
I passed everything but I was colour blind and you’ve got to know
your colours for landing reasons, still I enjoyed it.'
Ron visited various aerodromes
during his time in the ATC, such as Biggin Hill in Kent. This was
an opportunity to pilot different aircrafts including a Tiger Moth.
' The first plane I went
up in was a Tiger Moth. I was scared because I suppose I was young.
It’s a lovely little plane but its open aired and the instructor
was at the back. God your up there and the wind is blowing everything.
That was a good time, that was because we were up there and as we
were circling around the Gerries were coming over and of course
the navigator said ‘We’ve got to get down and quick’ so that was
exciting.' (Tape1, P.6)
Ron also had the opportunity
whilst in the Air Training Corps to be in a Horsa Glider towed by