Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

Air Vice Mar­shal Ross Pater­son, who is the RAF’s lead rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Scot­land had the hon­our of open­ing the cen­tre.

AVM Pater­son was ac­com­pa­nied by Group Cap­tain Jim Leg­gat, re­spon­si­ble for Air Cadets within Scot­land and North­ern Ire­land Re­gion, and Wing Com­man­der Jim Ha­ley, com­mand­ing Air Cadets across the West of Scot­land.

A to­tal of 120 staff and cadets were in at­ten­dance to line the route and pro­vide a cer­e­mo­nial pa­rade and Guard of Hon­our. AVM Pater­son then in­spected the cadets and the wing’s as­sis­tant chap­lain, Rev Aftab Gofar then per­formed a bless­ing of the new wing ac­tiv­ity cen­tre, be­fore the plaque was un­veiled by AVM Pater­son.

He said: “I’m ex­tremely proud and de­lighted to open this new cen­tre, I hope you all en­joy your time here and the cadets ben­e­fit greatly from the train­ing pro­vided.”

A fly­past from HMS Gan­net, of a Sea King he­li­copter, com­pleted the cer­e­mony.

Af­ter a short lunch, the AVM then in­spected the cen­tre. He was very im­pressed by the stan­dard of ac­com­mo­da­tion for the cadets, which con­sists of three six-man rooms with en­suite fa­cil­i­ties. He also got the chance to view first hand cadets be­ing trained on the tu­tor flight sim­u­la­tor; this will en­able them to make best use of their ac­tual flights in the air­craft.

Cadets also demon­strated their use of the hand­held ra­dios, sur­pris­ing the AVM with their pro­fi­ciency af­ter just one les­son.

The cen­tre has been named af­ter Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) Archie McKel­lar, one of Glas­gow’s own fly­ing aces of the Royal Air Force dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. He was born in Pais­ley and was later a pupil at Shaw­lands Academy. He then worked as a plas­terer but joined the Scot­tish Fly­ing Club and ob­tained his pi­lot’s li­cense.

In 1936, aged 24, Archie joined the Royal Aux­il­liary Air Force (Raux.AF) and be­gan pi­lot train­ing. He com­pleted his train­ing in 1938 and was as­signed to No. 602 (City of Glas­gow) Squadron Raux. AF. Also at this time, he was a vol­un­teer mem­ber of the lo­cal 32F (1st Glas­gow) Squadron of Air Cadets, lo­cated next to the Army Re­serve Cen­tre in King’s Park.

Then in 1939 he con­verted to Spit­fires and ex­pe­ri­enced his first com­bat, cred­ited with two vic­to­ries soon af­ter the out­break of war against Ger­man bombers at­tack­ing Royal Navy ships and in­stal­la­tions over north­ern Bri­tain.

Sqn Ldr McKel­lar’s first victory earned him the distinc­tion of be­ing the first pi­lot to shoot down a Ger­man air­craft over the Bri­tish Isles dur­ing the war. He was re­spon­si­ble for shoot­ing down 21 Ger­man air­craft but was sadly killed in aerial com­bat in Novem­ber 1940, just two hours af­ter the Battle of Bri­tain of­fi­cially ended.

He was posthu­mously awarded the Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Or­der for his val­our. Fam­ily mem­bers of Sqn Ldr McKel­lar, his cousins and their part­ners, proudly at­tended the cer­e­mony on his be­half.

Lo­cal Air Cadets from 32F (1st Glas­gow) Squadron were jointly re­spon­si­ble for nam­ing the cen­tre along with 49F Greenock (MacRoberts Re­ply) Squadron. Both squadrons sug­gested the name of Archie McKel­lar as part of a com­pe­ti­tion to name the cen­tre and both squadrons were the first to ex­pe­ri­ence an ac­tiv­ity camp this week­end as their prize.

Flight Lieu­tenant Colin Miller, Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer of 32F, said: “I first heard of Sqn Ldr McKel­lar’s feats through his as­so­ci­a­tion with our squadron. It’s only fit­ting that his de­ter­mi­na­tion and fight­ing spirit live on through this ac­tiv­ity cen­tre to in­spire a new gen­er­a­tion.”

The King’s Park squadron, 32F (1st Glas­gow), is cur­rently look­ing for new mem­bers to join. They of­fer fly­ing, glid­ing, tar­get shoot­ing, sports, camps, adventure train­ing and much more.

Any­one who is at least 12-years-old and in S2 or 13 years and over and is in­ter­ested in join­ing the Air Cadets, can go along to the Army Re­serve Cen­tre, at 155 Car­munnock Road. They pa­rade on Mon­days and Fri­days at 7.30 pm.

Tele­phone 0141 633 3533, email 32@ air­cadets.org or visit them on Face­book, www.face­book.com/32Fsquadron, for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

Fly­ing high Sea King from HMS Gan­net con­ducts a fly­past of the new cen­tre with the cadets watch­ing Fly­ing high Sergeant Chloe McCloud of 32F (1st Glas­gow) Squadron fly­ing the Tu­tor Flight Sim­u­la­tor in front of AVM Pater­son and her In­struc­tor, Sergeant An­drew McGuire of 62 (2nd Glas­gow-North West) Squadron at the new Air Cadet ac­tiv­ity cen­tre

Pic­ture per­fect Wing Com­man­der (Wg Cmdr) Jim Ha­ley shows AVM Pater­son around the new Air Cadet ac­tiv­ity cen­tre is in­spected by the spe­cial vis­i­tors in Cam­bus­lang

Un­veil­ing AVM Pater­son un­veils the plaque at the new Air Cadet ac­tiv­ity cen­tre, next to the ex­ist­ing Cadet Cen­tre on Gil­bert­field Road in Cam­bus­lang

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