There can be few Squadrons, if any, who have not had their share of tragedy. At 146 Squadron we remember:
Flight Lieutenant Dr Raymond E Alford BSc PhD CChem MRCS MIMF RAFVR(T)
24 April 1951 – 13 September 2000. Commanding Officer 1984-1988 and 1995-2000.
Ray was the first CO to see the real potential of Northwich Squadron. Hard working and dedicated, he started the unit on its ascent from being an average Squadron to one of the top squadrons in the Corps.
He is remembered in the two trophies which are presented annually, one on the Squadron (for dedication) and one on the Junior Leaders course which he co-founded. The band tune “Alford” was arranged in his memory.
Corporal Victoria (Vicky) Gamble
September 1972 – 13 August 1988
Vicky, a diligent and enthusiastic cadet, a keen sportswoman and a bugler with the Squadron band had just returned from the ATC Adventure Training Centre in Llanbedr where she had completed her Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award Expedition. Walking into town that afternoon she was struck and fatally injured by a motorbike whilst crossing Chesterway.
She is remembered in the place mats used each dining-in night and a mace for the band. The band tune “Victoria” is an arrangement dedicated to her memory.
Civilian Instructor Nigel Jeremy
21 June 1954 – 26 October 2014
Nigel was a regular in the RAF – serving at various bases, including the Falkland Islands. Upon leaving the RAF, Nigel joined 146 in 1994 as a Civilian Instructor. He was promoted to Adult Warrant Officer in 1996, a role he conducted admirably, along with running FCTC and being the drum major for the band, until 2009 when, due to other pressures, he reverted back to being a Civilian Instructor.
He was, of course, extremely active with the modelling section and always on hand to offer advice on the formalities and procedures for dining-in nights and passout parades.
Nigel will be forever remembered at 146, with a commemorative cabinet, holding many of the superb models created by Nigel and the cadets over the years. Also, a sword donated by Nigel is still presented to the best new recruit of each new Entry of cadets.
Reverend Tony Taylor
Unknown – 2010
Tony was Padre for 146 Squadron for many years, before which he was attached to a Glasgow Squadron while working for Missions For Seamen in Scotland.
Tony was active with the Squadron, attending Squadron camps, including Northern Ireland.
Tony and his wife spent long periods of time in Florida, where he would minister to state prisoners. Returning to 146 after these trips, Tony will always be remembered for his welcoming line, “I bring you greetings from America”!
Tony and his wife retired to the Fylde Coast, where he passed away in his sleep, in November 2010.
Flt Lt Ron Hornby RAFVR(T)
26 January 1924 – 20 July 2015
Ron was Commanding Officer of 146 Squadron from 1070-1983, he passed away in 2015 at the age of 91. The previous year, Ron had attending the Squadrons 75th anniversary dinner dance, where he wowed everyone with a performance on the dance floor, dancing with daughter-in-law Marcia.
Ron had a distinguished and decorated career in WWII with the RAF.
He joined the RAF in 1942 – aged 18 and qualified as a Lancaster Flight Engineer. He was assigned to Bomber Command with 463 Sqn RAAF out of Waddington – his skipper was Bill Purdy DFC. He flew 34 operational sorties. Remarkable – many of his friends never returned from theirs. He left the RAF after 5 years – at the ripe old age of just 23!
Flt Lt Roland Beckett RAFVR(T)
23 February 1926 – 10 March 2017
Mr Matthew Dutton
24 March 1973 – 26 August 2018
Matt joined the Air Training Corp in 1987 as a cadet, aged 14, with 2532 (Milton Keynes) Squadron.
In 2011, Matt had moved to the Northwich area and offered to assist as a staff member at Northwich Sqn. He joined at the end of that year as a Civilian Instructor.
Matt was a private pilot for many years, prior to joining 146, and was therefore also an ideal candidate to be a Gliding Instructor at 632 Volunteer Gliding School at RAF Ternhill. He had his checkout flights at 632 VGS Sqn and of course passed them with ‘flying colours’.
Matt was not allowed to fly cadets straight away, due to a previous medical condition, that had to be clear for two years. However, he still did join 632 and conduct ground instructional duties with cadets.
At 146, Matt lectured cadets on flying techniques, propulsion systems and other subjects and he worked tirelessly on Squadron Press Releases to the local media.
Matt was passionate about the Air Cadets, both as an organisation but more importantly as a tool for young person to develop and achieve their ambitions and foster their spirit of adventure.
Matt was very much liked by cadets and staff alike at 146. Always smiling – a cheeky smile – and friendly and with his ‘southerner’ sense of humor! Matt was a quiet, restrained but nonetheless stylish personality to match his smart sartorial style.
Fg Off (Rtd) Brian Curtis
18 September 1929 – 4 October 2018
As a teenager Brian had been a cadet in Rochdale and had also spent several years serving in the RAF before starting his working career in engineering sales. And when he felt he had the time, he joined 146, in 1974, as a Civilian Instructor and was commissioned as an officer in 1982. Upon reaching the regulated retiring age for commissioned officers, Brian retired as a Fg Off. However he did not put his feet up, Brian immediately became a Civilian Instructor.
He remained here and thus had 44 years dedicated volunteer service, to providing training, inspiration and opportunities to literally thousands of teenagers in the local community. Consequently, he was the longest serving member at 146. He was awarded a Long Service Certificate in 1992.
At the Squadron he performed many tasks in his time – he was a Shooting Range Officer, the Sqn Adjutant, lectured of flying subjects, ran the modelling section (Brian was a master modeller himself) and for many years trained a very successful Sqn Table Tennis Team. He attended 13 RAF summer camps ranging from RAF Valley, RAF Leuchars and RAF Akrotiri.
Brian was always cheerful and had many engaging stories from his regular RAF service that would make your hair stand on end – H&S did not seem to exist then!
Brian was a trusted, genuine and much loved member of the 146 family and will be truly missed, In every respect, he is and was the very definition of an Officer and a Gentleman.
Fg Off (Rtd) Eric Lare
1925 – 23 July 2021
Eric Lare, joined Northwich Squadron at the age of 16 in 1941, when the Squadron was still an ADCC unit, before the formation of The Air Cadets. Eric grew up in Barnton, later moving to Hartford, he led a busy life, as an RAF Navigator travelling the world and later an engineer for Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in Northwich.
Eric joined the organisation, with the intention of joining the RAF when he turned 18. He cycled to the Squadron twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Back then, subjects taught to the cadets included meteorology, aircraft recognition, gunnery, airmanship and drill.
Eric was quickly promoted to Corporal and then Sergeant, as his application to join the RAF progressed and he was invited to interview for a place on a University Short Course, training in PNB (Pilot, Navigator, Bomber).
The Squadron was lucky to re-gain a connection with Eric through it’s annual reunions every Christmas and in 2015, Eric acted as Reviewing Officer for the graduation of Number 56 Entry.
Eric unfortunately passed away on the 23rd of July 2021, aged 96. Cadets attended Eric’s funeral to provide a guard of honour.
A trophy for “Best Turnout” is now presented to each new entry of cadets in Eric’s honour. The staff recall Eric always being immaculately dressed, in his ACA blazer