Lost in the Clouds?
On the Sunday of our Alumni Weekend former members of the Edinburgh University Air Squadron (EUAS) will gather in the Raeburn and Carstares rooms of Old College to remember a time in the 1950s and 60s when EUAS offered flying training to undergraduates and a chance to experience life in the RAF whilst studying at Edinburgh.
The reunion is being organised principally by Ron Gardiner, a combined Arts and Science graduate who initially signed up for the University Officers’ Training Corps (part of the Territorial Army) but was persuaded to switch to the Air Squadron by fellow student Rex Holroyd, and a less than enjoyable OTC winter camp experience in the snow-covered wastelands around Aviemore.
A life-defining experience
As a member of EUAS between 1953 and 1958, Ron logged more than 450 hours’ flying, two-thirds of it flying solo, and was the first Squadron member to be awarded an RAF Instrument Rating (authorising him to fly in cloud).
Regarding his personal and social development, Ron feels strongly that he benefited more from membership of the Air Squadron than he did from his course-related undergraduate experiences - and he learned to fly!
For all this, I owe Rex Holroyd in particular, and EUAS staff and fellow-members generally, an inestimable debt of gratitude.
Were you a member of EUAS?
Ron decided to organise the event to coincide with the Alumni Weekend because it presented an opportunity to extend the EUAS alumni network beyond the small informal gatherings that have taken place between Ron and members from the mid to late 1950s.
If you were a member of EUAS and would like to attend the reunion then please contact us at the Development and Alumni office.
A History of Edinburgh University Air Squadron
In the late 1930s, University Air Squadrons were established within the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve to attract university graduates into the RAF as officers, to give undergraduates an understanding of the RAF and of aviation generally, and to provide basic flying training.
Edinburgh University Air Squadron was initially formed in 1941 at RAF Turnhouse but after merging with Glasgow and Aberdeen was disbanded early in 1946. Later that year it was reformed as a separate unit and it remained as such until the beginning of 1969. During this period, students who applied to join a UAS were required to complete a comprehensive selection process. They were then admitted to the RAF Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) as Officer Cadets.
In January 1969, EUAS ceased to exist as a stand-alone unit, merging with St Andrews UAS to form East Lowlands UAS. This, in turn merged with Aberdeen and Dundee UASs in 2003 to form East of Scotland UAS, based at RAF Leuchars.