RAF Centenary Debate

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Department: Ministry of Defence

RAF Centenary

Mr Gavin Shuker Excerpts
Monday 26th November 2018

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Defence
Gavin Williamson Portrait Gavin Williamson - Hansard
26 Nov 2018, 6:29 p.m.

It is true that Sir Frank Whittle came from Coventry, and I think there should be many more monuments to him in Coventry.

Mr Gavin Shuker (Luton South) (Lab/Co-op) Hansard
26 Nov 2018, 6:30 p.m.

I am sure that the Secretary of State is trying to work out the link between the Hurricane, the Spitfire and Luton, but I will not lead him down that channel. I congratulate him on making the time to look back at the RAF’s proud history, but may I ask him also to reflect on its future? I was fortunate enough to be with the RAF Air Cadets of my old squadron—2465 Icknield Squadron—on Friday night for their annual prize-giving evening. I am also fortunate to have 10F, one of the founder squadrons of the air cadets, in my constituency. Will the Secretary of State confirm the RAF’s ongoing commitment to the RAF Air Cadets?

Gavin Williamson Portrait Gavin Williamson - Hansard
26 Nov 2018, 6:31 p.m.

Very much so; we see the cadets as a way of reaching out to future generations. Many of us in this House will have memories of speaking to our grandparents, who had such an involvement in the different services during the second world war. As that generation sadly passes away, I think of whether my children had the opportunity to be able to speak to those who saw at first hand what total war was, which my children’s generation of course will not.

The cadets are such an important part of reaching out to and inspiring the future generation. I had the great privilege of visiting the Aston University Engineering Academy in Birmingham, which has the most wonderful air cadets unit. There were boys and girls from so many different backgrounds, who were inspired to be involved in the Air Force and to make a contribution. Where they had a passion for science or engineering, they were interested in something that the RAF had given them—a sense of belonging. The RAF really puts a value on their interests and makes them feel that they are part of something that is so much bigger. I was pleased to announce that we will continue to expand the numbers of air, Army and sea cadets. We are hoping to increase the number of placements within school cadet services from 48,000 to 60,000, and we also want to do that for cadet units in the wider community.