All Air Cadets take part in Parades.
A Parade is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “an ordered ceremonial march or procession” or “to cause to assemble in formation as for a military parade”.
There are two types of Parade that Air Cadets are involved with, those where uniform takes a leading role and those which have their basis within the civilian world.
Normally within a uniformed parade there are defined roles for all of the participants including Bands and Standards. A Military Parade has two distinct parts, the Formation and the Inspection/March Past.
The initial Formation of a Parade takes place out of sight of those who are not taking part. Once everyone is ready, the smaller formations march onto the Parade Ground and take up position in their dedicated spot. When everyone is assembled there is then a series of changes to the command so that the most Senior Officer is in Command prior to the arrival of the Reviewing Officer.
It is the job of the Reviewing Officer to inspect the troops assembled and, if required make any presentations to those formed up. Once this has been accomplished the Parade Commander asks permission to March Past in Review Order. This is the time when the whole Parade is marched past the Reviewing Officer with Bands playing and Banners flying.
Examples include the annual Battle of Britain Parade and the Armistice Parade, marking the end of hostilities of World War II. Cadets take part in this parade at local level, as well as the National Parade in London and the Annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
There are other types of Parade, such as Civic Parades, where cadets are invited to take part in a march through a Village, Town or Borough in support of its Civic Leaders. In some instances the Adult Staff of the local Squadron are asked to act in the role of Parade Marshal at these events, but in essence we are guests at these parades and may not take a formal role beyond Marching in the Parade itself.
During all parades, cadets feel very proud to be representing not only their unit, but the Air Cadets as a whole.