Local History Society

 Memories - Evening Institute & A.T.C. in WWII

The School in wartime

There had been an Evening Institute in Arborfield for some years, but it had been moved to Three Mile Cross in the late 1930's. However, it was moved back in 1942, and at the same time, a new Flight of the Air Training Corps was set up. Possibly the move was prompted by the availability of technical instructors based at the Garrison. 

From the 'Reading Mercury of October 10th 1942: 

Arborfield: Air Training Corps

The Evening Institute, formerly held at Three-Mile-Cross, has now been transferred to Arborfield C. of E. School. Instruction at the Institute, which is under the auspices of the Berkshire Education Committee, began on Friday September 25th, and will continue on Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 9. In addition, a flight of the Air Training Corps is being formed as part of the Institute, and it is hoped to enrol 25 boys aged from 15 to 18 years. A highly qualified staff of instructors will teach the following subjects:

Mathematics Mr. W. D. Nation and Mr. R. Taylor;
Navigation and Applied Geography Mr. W. D. Nation;
Morse and Electricity W/O. Calder;
Engineering Mr. G. D. Priddle;
Aircraft Recognition Mr. A. W. Empson.

[NOTE: Mr. Nation was the Headmaster at Farley Hill School].

The Jun 26th 1943 edition celebrated the first year of the A.T.C.: 

Arborfield Air Training Corps

To celebrate its first anniversary, the Arborfield Wing of 2,068 Reading Air Training Corps Squadron presented a musical entertainment at the school. Those present included the commanding officer of the squadron, Flight Lieutenant M. W. Dunn, and Mrs. Dunn, Flying Officer Thomas (adjutant), Canon J. A. Anderson and Mr. W. Darling (managers of the Evening Institute), Mrs. King, Miss Jackson, Miss Finch (W.V.S.), Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Nation, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Verrall, 40 cadets, and a number of parents and friends. Since the removal of the Institute from Three-Mile-Cross, 62 cadets have been enrolled.

From August 17th:

Arborfield: Evening Institute

Term ended at the Evening Institute and Air Training Corps Detached Flight on Friday last week. The organisers are anxious to obtain the services of a teacher in general navigation before the Institute opens on August 30th, and there are also vacancies in the evening classes for boys aged 14, and in the A.T.C. Flight for boys from 15 to 18 years.

The cadets have attended two camps during the summer; six cadets have joined the Air Force as members of aircrew or ground staff; 60% of the Flight have passed the Air Ministry proficiency test.

By October 30th, there were vacancies both for boys and instructors:

Evening Institute

Cadets, aged 14-18, are still needed at the Arborfield Church of England Evening Institute. They can be enrolled any Wednesday or Friday evening from 7 9. There is also a vacancy for an instructor in applied geography and mathematics. Full particulars may be had from Mr. W. J. Verrall, the School House, Arborfield.

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