266 (Stockton) Squadron Air Training Corps c1963

Two 1963 photographs of the 266 (Stockton) Squadron Air Training Corps, which met weekly at a property in Yarm Road, near Hartburn Lane. The photographs were originally taken for a feature in the Evening Gazette. The Officer shown is Squadron Leader RJ Gowring, the group’s leader.

Photographs and details courtesy of Frank Connolly.

8 thoughts on “266 (Stockton) Squadron Air Training Corps c1963

  1. The gentleman in the right hand photograph is Squadron Leader Charles W Chesney RAF (Rtd) who was commissioned in the Royal Air Force in December 1941 , gaining S/L rank in January 1953 before retiring from the RAF in April 1959.
    After several years as a Civilian Instructor with 266, Charles also joined the Civilian Committee and was the squadron treasurer before retiring and on ceremonial parades would always wear his RAF uniform and march with the squadron. Both Charles and Bob Gowing were true gents and keen supporters of the air cadet organisation.


  2. The officer in the left hand photograph is Squadron Leader RJ ‘Bob’ Gowing who later rose to the rank of Wing Commander RAFVR(T) and commanded Durham Wing Air Training Corps for several years before retiring and returning to 266 as a member of the Civilian Committee .
    Bob Gowing was unusual in that he wore the aircrew brevet of an Air Gunner and flew with 608 (North Riding) Squadron from RAF Thornaby and took part in many coastal patrols off the North East coast flying in both the Avro Anson and Blackburn Botha . Whilst on a convoy protection patrol off The Humber in 1940 the Anson crew Bob , then Sergeant Gowing , was a member of was attacked by two German Heinkel He115 floatplanes but thanks to skilful flying by the pilot and some expert gunnery by Bob both German aircraft were damaged and fled . Although unable to record a ‘Kill’ I suspect the crew didn’t have to buy the beer in the Mess that night !


  3. I joined 266 in 1964, staying with the Squadron until 1975. There was a detached Flight at Billingham until it consolidated at Norton Drill Hall. Billingham names would include Alan Westgate, Alan Chambers. I well remember Mr Chesney when I first joined, a good man, good Instructor. Colin Godfrey MBE,Cf.


  4. This is a blast from the past. I was in 266 squadron in the early 60’s. Initially at Yarm Rd.
    I also paraded at the North? School in Billingham, as well as the drill hall in Norton. The only name I can remember is Devereux.

    I consider myself lucky to have experienced the training and camaraderie. It was a dream to learn how to use a 303 and assist with the gliders.

    And not a mobile phone in sight.


    • Memories… I joined in 1964 and left in 1975. You might remember Alan Westgate, Alan Chambers in Billingham Detached Flight?


    • I joined in 1964, leaving in 1975. Sounds like you may have been in Billingham Detached Flight, do you recall Alan Westgate and Alan Chambers?


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