From the Burnley Express Archive: Burnley lads were ready to take to the skies

This picture shows a group of eager young Burnley lads ready for something of an expedition.

Fifty years ago, flying remained something special and these boys, together with three of their officers, were off to RAF Lindholme, a station of Strike Command, about 10 miles from Doncaster.

The boys were all cadets from Burnley Air Training Corps, 352 squadron, and they were looking forward to flying, in ATC Chipmonks and RAF Hastings, at their annual camp.

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A busy week was ahead of them. Some of the boys were to fly for the first time and they were to learn how to use the pilot training and the Link trainer. In addition, all the boys will attempt to gain their RAF swimming proficiency certificate, which, at the time, was awarded, in the RAF, only to adults.

Cadets from Burnley Air Training Corps, 352 Squadron, who flew in ATC Chipmunks and RAF Hastings at the annual camp at RAF Lindholme, a station of Strike Command about 10 miles from Doncaster.

Marksmanship badges were also on offer and the Burnley cadets were to use .22 and .203 rifles. Map reading and exercises, over the moors near Doncaster, were planned and the boys were expected to overcome Lindholme’s military obstacle course.

It wasn’t all outdoor stuff. Special training films had been scheduled as were some visits to outside factories with connections to the aircraft industry. Radar and radio installations, hangars and workshops were included in the week-long training programme.

A daily colour hoisting ceremony was to be conducted by the squadron padre, the Rev. R. J. Russon, who is shown in the photograph, and church services were to be held.

For a few of the cadets this was to have been their first camp, which is the highlight of a year’s work at the squadron. It enabled cadets to put into practice, at an RAF station, what they had done in theory during the year.

If you are wondering where the image was taken, the cadets, their officers and Mr Russon were waiting for their coach on Burnley bus station. This building was only six years old when the photograph was taken, as it had first seen the light of day in 1964.

The building had been opened, in the September of that year, by Mr D. K. Ward, Chairman of the Burnley firm of Burco Ltd, the white goods manufacturer. The firm had once employed some 2,000 people but the remnants of the firm were taken over by Glen Dimplex, in 1985, at a time when British engineering firms had little support from their own Government. The firm became part of Morphy Richards, a subsidiary of Glen Dimplex, earlier this century.

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The building behind the cadets is Safeway House as it looked 50 years ago. The Famous Army Stores was, as you can see, one of the tenants, but Safeway, a large supermarket, operated much of the ground floor. The upper floors were occupied by the Inland Revenue.

Lastly, a small fact about the location of the image might have eluded some of you. The boys are standing in Gunsmith Place, the street which took its name from the old Gunsmith Lane, which ran between Church Street and Yorkshire Street.