Former Cadet Warrant Officer Alex Dutch has been chosen as the best female Cadet in the Air Training Corps and awarded the highly prized Dacre Brooch. The Brooch is awarded annually to the top female cadet in the Air Training Corps. Alex ended her career as a Cadet Warrant Officer in March 2011 when she turned 20, but is now an Adult Instructor on 241(Woodford and Wanstead) Sqn helping young Cadets to become future Dacre winners.
The award is a culmination of a cadet career in which Alex has achieved far more than the normal achievements and activities of a cadet in the Air Cadet Organisation but also one who has put so much back into the Organisation, her own Squadron and local community.
Alex was a late joiner to the Air Cadets at 15 years of age but has managed to find time to gain a Flying Scholarship, Gliding Wings, Gold DoE Award, a BTEC in Public Services, a Cadet 100 for shooting, has passed the prestigious Junior Leader Course, and is currently an instructor on that course, has completed an IACE exchange to Israel and has been a Cadet Ambassador for the Cadet 150 Events in 2010, meeting the Queen, Prince Charles and giving a presentation to Parliamentarians and London VIP’s at City Hall including the Mayor, Boris Johnson, but to give a full resume of her achievements would take more space than available!
Alex said “I am thrilled to receive this honour, and would like to thank the ATC and especially 241 Squadron for the opportunities I have been given and the people I have worked with and met. I have really enjoyed my time and being able to give something back as an Instructor both on the Squadron and the Junior Leaders Course”.
The Officer Commanding 241 (Wanstead and Woodford) Squadron, Squadron Leader Jerry Godden RAFVR(T) commented: “this shows the quality of the Air Cadets and what young people can achieve in the ATC if they are prepared to take full advantage of all opportunities available to them. Alex is an excellent example of the best of British youth. I am proud that she has received this well deserved honour.”.
Wing Commander Bob Naeem, who is the Commanding Officer of London’s Air Cadets issued the following message to Alex Dutch: “I am very pleased to confirm that you have been selected as this years Dacre Brooch winner which means you are the best female cadet in the UK representing 241(Wanstead and Woodford) Squadron as well as the London Wing. This award is in recognition of all your hard work achieving so much throughout your ATC career. You have excelled in all areas. You have been a good role model for your cadets having set high personal standards “raising the bar” for future cadets wishing to be selected for this prestigious award. Your squadron OC must be very proud of your achievements and pleased that you are remaining with the squadron joining the staff team to continue with the good work”.
The Dacre Brooch is the highest award any female air cadet can achieve. In 1979, Mrs Elizabeth Dacre MBE TD JP presented to the Air Training Corps the dress sword of her late husband, Air Commodore G B Dacre CBE DSO DL RAF. Between 1979 and 1982 the sword was awarded annually to the “ATC Cadet of the Year” (which was won by CWO Paul Davidson from 241 Sqn in 1992). With the advent of girls in 1982, Mrs Dacre presented the Corps with a diamond brooch mounted on a sash, for presentation to the best girl cadet.
Since 1983, the Dacre Sword and the Dacre Brooch have been awarded annually, selection being based on the all-round performance of the cadets nominated by the Regional Commandants. (based upon Wing nominations to Regional HQs)
Air Commodore Dacre was during the 1930s, station commander at RAF Halton. In 1938 Mrs Dacre was appointed Senior Commandant (the ATS equivalent of Major). Her appointment was to the Buckinghamshire Territorial Association and her instructions were to raise five companies of women. For her work in this area, she was awarded the Territorial Decoration, an award rarely given to women at that time. In September 1939 she transferred to the WAAF as a Squadron Officer. She achieved the WAAF equivalent of Group Captain before leaving the service in 1948. Mrs Dacre’s son Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Fraser-Dacre was killed in 1943. In his memory, Elizabeth Dacre presented the RAF with the bronze Dacre Trophy, which is awarded annually to the most proficient fighter squadron. Mrs Dacre died aged 93, in February 1995.
The photo shows Alex recieving a Flying Scholarship Award from the Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton