480 Squadron History

The Austin Motor Company Ltd sponsored two Squadrons, No's 480 and 479. In March 1941 the first parade was held and some 350 cadets between the ages of 16 and 19 were evenly divided between the two Squadrons. The late Lord Austin took the salute at the first joint parade. Captain Neville Stack the Chief Test Pilot at Austin was Chairman of the Management Committee with Mr W Wareing as Treasurer. The Company gave premises, which were shared by the Squadrons on alternate evenings.

Extract from ATC Gazette, July 1941: "At the opening of the new HQ, a combined parade of the two squadrons was held in the main yard of the works. Mr L P Lord, works Director, inspected the cadets. The Austin Motor company gave rooms for use as the HQ. Captain Neville Stack, Chairman of the Committee together with other committee members and executives of the company were also in attendance"

Competition between the two Units was lively. Flt Lt Mitchell RAFVR(T) was in command of 480 Squadron and Flt Lt Poole RAFVR(T) had command of 479 Squadron. Growth was rapid and enthusiasm tremendous and, although equipment was slow to appear, the company provided workbenches, engines and tools. Many of the Squadrons Civilian Instructors were company employees who brought technical and engineering experience to the Squadron. On the 18th August 1941 both Squadrons organised an 'At Home' day specifically for parents. No 480 gave a physical training display and 479 provided a drill demonstration. A photograph presented to the Squadron in the 1980's from an ex-cadet showed a party of 480 cadets at camp in 1942 on an unknown RAF Station helping to push bomb trolleys up to the waiting Stirling Bombers. Over the course of the war years, the Squadron provided many recruits into the armed Services. By 1945, the war situation had improved to such an extent that fewer recruits into the Services were required and Squadrons began to disband or amalgamate. The Squadron was amalgamated with 479 (agreeing to take the lower number) and a new Squadron 479 (Longbridge) was formed from the previous 480 and 479 Squadrons.

In 1974, 479 Squadron opened a Detached Flight in Studley and in 1977 the DF gained Squadron status in its own right and was allocated as No 480 (Studley) Squadron with Flt Lt James Linnager as it's first Commanding Officer. The Squadron was based in a classroom at the local High School. Moving to a new HQ in Pool Road November 1979, they were honoured by a visit from a member of the RAF 'Red Arrows' Aerobatic Team who kindly officiated at the opening ceremony. The Squadron was also fortunate enough to be allocated a place for a cadet representative (CWO Barton) to attend the dedication ceremony for the new Corps Banner presented by his Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at St Clement Danes on 17th June 1979.

April 19th 1981 was a memorable day for the Squadron when they received their own Squadron Banner presented to them by the Right Honourable the Marquis of Hertford at his stately home in Alcester. The Marquis was, at that time, Chairman of the Civilian Committee. That year also saw the Squadron acquire a DH Vampire T11 aircraft which was refurbished by the Squadron and used a ' gate guard' until 1991 when the Unit moved to its new location (across the car park). The aircraft was then given to the Yorkshire Air Museum as a gift. To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Corps, the Squadron re-established its link with the Austin Motor Company (now Rover Group). The Company presented the Squadron with a 'Best Academic' trophy, which is awarded annually to the cadet who achieves the highest exam results. The first presentation being given by Mr H Musgrove, Chairman of the Rover Group, who was an ex ATC Cadet and RAF Navigator. To celebrate the Corps Golden Jubilee 1991, the Squadron presented a Stained Glass Window depicting the Corps Crest to Studley Parish Church. In 1993, the Squadron gained approval from WHQ to adopt it's own Squadron Crest and motto " Fortis Juvenale" meaning “strength in youth” as its official heraldry.

In addition to its 'official' crest & motto, the Squadron has an unofficial mascot and nickname. Adopted from a gift (see below) presented to the Squadron by it's German Air Force affiliation, the Squadron, in 1999 adopted the nickname 'The Wolpertingers' after the mythical Bavarian animal which helps lost woodsmen (and cadets)!

Wolpertinger

The Squadron has attended many Squadron organised camps over the years.'- RNAS Culdrose and RAF Stations at St Mawgan, Brawdy, Scampton, Kinloss, Catterick and Gibraltar. They were the first Squadron in the ATC to visit a mainland USAF operational base at Langley, North Virginia, USA in September 1992 where the Squadron spent a week as guests of the 94th TFS who flew Fl 5 Eagle aircraft in the Gulf War. The following year, the Squadron visited the German Air Force at Memmingen in Bavaria. The Squadron continues to visit Memmingen every two years and has established an official affiliation with JaboG 34 the Tornado bomber group at the base. In fact, in 1998 the Squadron hosted a visit to the UK by two German Officers from the base who wanted to see how the ATC functioned both at Corps and a Squadron level.

To celebrate the Millennium, the Squadron took a party of 8 Cadets to the USAF base at Eglin, Florida, USA in October 2000 and whilst there toured the Naval Aviation base at Pensacola and the Special Operations base at Hurlburton Field. Wing camps attended have been at RAF Benson, Lossiemouth, Sealand, Brize Norton, Turnhouse, Scampton, Linton-on-Ouse, Abingdon etc. and have included cadet places on overseas camps at RAF Gibraltar, Malta and Germany.

The Squadron is a keen supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and over the years has obtained: 4-Gold, 1O-Silver, 34- Bronze. The squadron participates regularly in Adventure Training and is unique in the Wing as it provides the cadets with courses on Basic and Advanced Aircrew Survival Training which, after 6-8 weeks of classroom work and 4-5 days practical training in Wales. Completion of these courses allows cadets to become members of the Squadrons elite 'Vulture Club'.

The Squadron has also provided the Wing with many 'Blues' over the years and has represented the Region in cross-country and hockey and swimming. Flt Lt Martin RAFVR(T) and the Squadron WO (W.O.Griffin) are also active on the Wing Leadership training team who train both staff and cadets from across the Wing.

The squadron has an outstanding community spirit. Since 1982 they have annually organised a 30 mile Ejector Seat Push in which half of the money raised goes to a local charity. To date they have raised over £20,000 for charities in the West Midlands. Other community projects include; acting as marshals at the annual village cycle run, organising the 'Clean Village' project for 5 years in a row and visiting the village Old Peoples home and the nursery at Christmas dressed as Santa Claus and his helpers. They regularly assist RAFA with local Wing Appeal collections and will assist in other projects or parades requested by the local council or official groups.

Although not a large Squadron, 480 have always been an active Squadron both locally and at Wing level.