Drill / Ceremonial


Drill is a powerful aid to discipline and is readily available to all elements of the Air Cadet Organisation (ACO) for that purpose. It develops in our young people a sense of corporate pride, alertness, precision and a readiness to obey orders instantly. Smartness on parade is not only a sign of good discipline, but a basic factor in an individual’s self-pride and prepares them to go about their routine tasks in an orderly and constructive fashion.

In ancient history, the most powerful, efficient and developed empires developed ways of moving organized units of troops from one place to another on the battlefield, without individuals getting mixed up with other units. Otherwise, as masses of people manoeuvred amongst each other, individuals would get lost and end up having to attach themselves to any old unit. A system of flags was developed so people could identify their own units (and side) on the field and make their way to their correct flag bearer if they got separated. But sticking to “formed up” squads was better, forming a box of men who moved as a single body. Overall it meant command systems were effective – men stayed together and could be commanded as units. Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, testifies to the superiority of Roman discipline, and part of that discipline was an ordered method of moving formed up squads from one place to another. This discipline facilitates effective realisation of tactical man-management, and the result is a superior fighting army.

During what historians have reluctantly come to call “The Military Revolution”, European armies between 1550 and 1720 generally became state-controlled, financed and permanent. “There was a resultant loss of individuality, with the need for better organization, good training – especially in drill – and strict discipline”. Training became an institution. Since then, drill has become increasingly important as part of training, discipline and military parades.
Drill in the ATC is formalized with utmost precision in ACP 19 “Drill and Ceremonial”.


2324 is part of London Wing ATC and participates regularly in parades in London and the local area, including the St George’s Day and Battle of Britain parades. Since 1958 St Clement Danes in the Strand has served as the central church of the Royal Air Force where we as a Corps celebrate ATC Sunday on the first Sunday in February.

And, of course, we parade every November in Loughton to remember the fallen from active service, particularly from the two World Wars.

We represent the public face of the Royal Air Force so it is always important that the cadets are smartly presented, with a bearing not only to do the RAF proud but also themselves.