Saturday, November 29, 2008
In the 1930's Scout Troops near to airfields and gliding clubs started to include air activities in their programmes and an 'Air Patrols' pamphlet was produced by HQ's. The Air Scout Branch came into being in January 1941, during the Second World War and provided for air- minded youngsters too young for the ATC where the minimum age was 16 at the time. The response was immediate and enthusiastic, with many demands for literature and advice as Troops and Patrols were formed in many parts of the country. Recruitment was little affected by uniform restrictions imposed by clothes rationing and it was possible to introduce a distinctive uniform in which, for the first time, a beret replaced the traditional Scout hat. Air Scouting reached its numerical peak in 1944. With the end of the War in the following year, number began to fall, but there was no lack of enthusiasm in those who stayed on. In October 1950, as a result of successful negotiations with the Air Ministry, a scheme was introduced for Air Scout Troop to be granted Air Ministry recognition provided certain conditions were met. Members of recognised Troops were permitted to wear a special badge and to have the advantage of certain much needed facilities including opportunities for flying experience in service aircraft for Air Scouts who had reached the required standard of training. To begin with, few Troops were strong enough to qualify for recognition but the scheme itself, gave the incentive, so that by 1955, nearly 40 Troops were given Air Ministry recognition. In that year, the Assistant Chief of Staff at the Air Ministry, Air Vice Marshal J.G.W. Weston, accepted appointment as Headquarters Commissioner for Air Scouts. Air Scouts by many of these local clubs.