Air cadets pay tribute to man who led their squadron for more than 25 years

Flight Lieutenant Dave Gamlin
Flight Lieutenant Dave Gamlin

Air cadets are mourning the loss of their commanding officer, who died suddenly last week.

Flight Lieutenant Dave Gamlin, 67, had led 1801 (Alnwick) Squadron Air Cadets since 1993.

Flight Lieutenant Dave Gamlin leads the Air Cadets in a parade.

Flight Lieutenant Dave Gamlin leads the Air Cadets in a parade.

In that time, hundreds of young people from the Alnwick area have benefited from the activities they were able to take part in thanks to Dave’s devotion to the organisation.

Over the years, he became well known as a pillar of the community, encouraging the young Air Cadets to better themselves, gaining awards such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and taking part in parades and commemorations in the town.

He would often be seen at the head of civic and military parades, proudly leading hisCadets.

He developed strong links with RAF Boulmer, and was an active member of the Officers’ Mess there.

Flight Sergeant Rhiannon McGrail said that: “Dave’s leadership of the Squadron was inspirational; he dedicated countless hours to ensure that those under his charge were given every opportunity to better themselves by whatever means possible. He will be greatly missed by all involved with the Squadron.”

Wing Commander Harris, Officer Commanding Durham/Northumberland Wing, added: “Flight Lieutenant Gamlin was one of the stalwarts of our organisation, who believed passionately in the opportunities for development offered by being an Air Cadet.

“His service benefited more than just the young people of Alnwick; he led well over 20 camps for Cadets from across Durham and Northumberland, as well as playing a key role in our leadership development courses.”

Gordon Castle, an Alnwick town and Northumberland county councillor, said: “I have known Dave Gamlin for decades and like many local people saw him as the very embodiment of 1801 Alnwick Squadron ATC, of which I was myself a member when young.

“A fine and conscientious man, Dave knew how the ATC benefited youngsters wanting to be part of a structured environment linked to the nation’s exemplary Royal Air Force.

“He was approachable and greatly respected and will be greatly missed by those whom he led and influenced.

“We should salute his memory. “

Dave’s outstanding service to the organisation over the years was acknowledged with the presentation of a Certificate of Meritorious Service in 2011, as well as a Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate in 2003, and a Cadet Force Medal with a second clasp presented in 2016, representing more than 24 years’ service to the Air Cadets.

He was a teacher at the Duke’s Middle School in Alnwick, and, prior to that, at Cleaswell Hill School.

He later worked for a local funeral director, only retiring from that in 2017.

Dave and his late wife had two children, Wendy and Ken.

A funeral service was taking place today (Thursday) at St Michael’s Church in Alnwick.