At the Granada, Tooting

During WWII, in I943,1 was a member of a Scout group in Tooting, London. Enjoyable though it was, it didn’t have the excitement of the various cadet forces. My friend and I thought of the Air Training Corps. We were a little below the minimum age to join but when we applied we must have looked old enough as we were accepted into 34F Balham and Tooting Squadron.

I was a member for five years and during this time we flew at weekends, mostly from Croydon and Kenley, in Dakota, Dominoes, Oxfords and Tiger Moths, the last being bi-planes with open cockpits, and us wearing flying helmets and goggles, plus parachutes, it seemed like real flying.

We learned principles of flight, we square bashed, extra time was spent at band practice and we took part in Spitfire Fund Weeks. The biggest we were involved in was a week’s display on stage at the Granada, Tooting, playing in the interval, a suitable war aviation film being shown at the time.

I reached the dizzying height of Corporal, then in March, 1949,1 had to join the regular forces for my National Service which I chose to do in the Army. I never forgot the good times I had with the ATC and the friends I made – they taught me to be a good mixer. Some years later I joined the RAF as a regular, serving for 22 years.

G Knott, Swindon, Wiltshire.