The RHS ATC with Spitfire

Were you in the ATC?

Defence of the realm, well Calton Hill anyway

from Bruce Skivington

While clearing out the attic I found this picture. There are others somewhere but this is clear evidence of why the USSR never invaded. Obviously it had been reported back to the Kremlin that any attempt to invade Scotland would have been futile as 1729 Squadron (RHS) Air Training Corps were waiting. Under the supreme command of Fl Lt (Big Dave) Somerville this crack squad trained to SAS (Smoking Alcohol Sex) standards would have been their Bete Noire (as Fifi would have said). Within seconds of them landing Big Dave would have left his usual haunt of leaning on the railings outside House 2 chatting up the young ladies of the US Embassy or relaxing in the palatial surroundings of house 2 (“take the register Bryden bit of a cold today”) and walked leisurely to House 4 where the attic floor was HQ to the squadron. From there assuming it was monday between 3.30 and 5.00pm a full squadron could be despatched.


The US Consulate and RHS Houses

The photo was taken at RAF Wattisham 26 July 1966, at that time a Lightning fighter base. Now home to Apache training Prince Harry is walking the same tarmac as the members of 1729 squadron. Since it is 45 years the identification of all of them is a bit rusty but back row second from right is Ian Duncanson (61-67), 5th from left back row is Robin Mowat (61-66), fourth from left wearing glider pilot wings is the Fl Sgt Marek Glinski (60-66), third from left is Bruce Skivington (61-67). If anyone can fill in any other names or present whereabouts please do.

If you’d like to contact Bruce, or get in touch with other ATC members, whatever year you joined, leave a comment below,  or use our contact form

Did you visit RAF Leconfield, Dishforth or Chivenor with the ATC? Use button to see more on the next page –  View


  1. Hi Alan

    I do remember you. Another member of the class was Glenn Chandler who went on to write the TV programme Taggart and now writes various plays.

  2. Hello Bruce. I was in the same form as you from 1958-1960 Primary 5 & 6 (I think) before my father’s further posting with the MOD took us to Germany with BAOR. Our form teacher was Mr Watson. Other class members I recall were Martin Bryden, Michael Scouller, George Bishop and Colin MacDonald. I corresponded briefly a few years ago with George when he was Chief Accountant for the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. I was an Angle and still have my prize (a copy of Last of the Mohicans) for being 3rd in class in Academic Year 1958/9. I played rugby every Sat. morning for the Junior 5ths and Junior 4ths opposite Holyrood House, and the House team. I remember Mr Scobie?? the Headmaster. Other pupils who immediately spring to mind are, Kenny Fulner and Errol Grieve but racing into my 70s my memory of such a short spell at the Royal High of 60 years ago, is getting very sketchy. I do still remember the refrain Alma Mater atque amibilis from the school song and travelling from Jock’s Lodge to the Senior School at Calton Hill for swimming lessons. Good to find your name on the school website. Yours very sincerely Alan Cottrell.

    1. Hi Alan

      I do remember you. Another member of the class was Glenn Chandler who went on to write the TV programme Taggart and now writes various plays.

  3. I did visit Leconfield with the ATC. I’m in the 1963 photograph, rear rank, third from the left (not including Big Dave).
    Also visited Wattisham in 1962, but that was with another ATC squadron.

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