Staff Team

Read about our different Staff Members!

They come from all over the UK and each bring their own Unique Qualities to the Squadron. Without them, the Cadets wouldn't get any of the fantastic opportunities they currently do. 

Flight Lieutenant Paul Crabtree RAFVR(T) - Officer Commanding

Born in Halifax but living in Keighley since 2008 when I met my wife Nicola, I've been a Police Officer for 13 years and am currently on Traffic at Bradford. 

I've had two periods of service with the ATC; I joined 250 (Halifax) Squadron in 1993, aged 13. I stayed there until I was 17 and left as a Sergeant. As I encourage all my cadets to "stick with it", I'll explain the reason why I left! As well as the ATC I was a member of The Boys' Brigade which has a strong presence in Halifax. I was a Sergeant there as well and with school work, one had to go. At that time the Brigade had more to offer me, hence the choice. It worked out well for me as by the time I aged out at 20, I had been to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace and had gained both the highest rank and the highest awards available. 

I returned to the ATC in September 2009 as a Civilian Instructor at Skipton Squadron. I applied for uniform service and was successful in gaining a commission in December 2010. Within a month I was posted to Keighley as Commanding Officer and here I am!

As Commanding Officer my role is to coordinate all the staff to ensure that the cadets get the best experience we can give. I expect high standards from all and believe that constant improvement isn't a bonus, it should be our constant aim. I enjoy the satisfaction of "a job well done" and seeing cadets receive awards or try an experience or an activity for the first time. My proudest moments are seeing the whole squadron on parade, especially in public and receiving comments from people about what a credit they are to the youth of today. 

Ambition-wise, I see my place at Keighley staying as such for the foreseeable future - there is still plenty to be done and improvements to be made. I enjoy the challenge that being a Squadron Commander brings (most of the time!) and look forward to seeing 2431 Squadron improve yet further. 

Sergeant (ATC) Nick McCarthy MEng (Hons) AMIMechE AMRAeS

I am 23 years old and I am currently a team leader at Kautex Textron UK. I am originally from Southport in Merseyside.

I have been in the ATC for 11 years since joining as a cadet in 2003 at 611 Squadron (RAF Woodvale). I joined the organisation for the chance to get involved with different activities such as Flying and Shooting. Since then I worked my way through the Cadet Rank Structure before leaving at the age of 20 as a Cadet Warrant Officer. I returned to the organisation as a Sgt (ATC) so as to be able to both further my personal development into a better instructor and better leader, and also to be able to continue providing new experiences for the younger cadets joining the ATC. Since relocating in 2013, I am now a volunteer instructor here at Keighley Squadron.

Personally, I most enjoy the Ceremonial, Fieldcraft and Marksman Shooting elements of the activities on offer in the ATC, as a former Officer Cadet in Manchester and Salford Universities Officer Training Corps. Since returning as an adult volunteer, I have specialised in these areas, now being a fully qualified Arms Drill Instructor able to instruct cadets and staff in both Rifle Drill and Sword Drill.

My role here at 2431 (Keighley) is the Squadron SNCO. My main responsibilities in this position are to be in control of all drill, dress, deportment and discipline. I also act as the first point of contact for the Cadet NCO's, and aid in their professional development.

My aspirations are to continue working both locally, and further afield in training cadets and staff in all elements of drill and ceremonial, having already been in control of graduation parades such as the 100th Air Cadet Leadership Course at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, as well as numerous arms drill parades.

I feel that my time spent both as a Cadet and now as a Volunteer Instructor, have helped to develop me into the person I am today. The organisation has given me countless opportunities to get involved with different activities, and as a Cadet I completed the Land Command Cadet Leadership Course, Vierdaagse Nijmegen roadmarch and Nordic Skiing, along with endless camps and courses around the country. I can recommend the ATC to anybody considering joining any of the cadet forces as a cadet or as an adult volunteer.

Civilian Instructor Charley Bolt

I was born in Bradford in 1945, retiring in 2005 from a career in heavy vehicle engineering and management and latterly in road transport enforcement with the Department of Transport.

I joined 44F (Bradford) Squadron in January 1990 as a Civilian Instructor teaching Radio Communications, Airframes and Propulsion (and made the tea/coffee!).

During 1991, I was commissioned as Pilot Officer and in 1993 promoted to Flying Officer. Later, I was given command of 868 (Mirfield) Squadron.

In late 1997 due to changes in my employment I transferred to 2431 (Keighley) Squadron as second in Command where I remained until retiring from uniform service in 2005 (my 60th birthday) and reverting back to Civilian Instructor.

During my time with the ATC I have seem many young people “come out of their shells”, learn new skills and go on to have good career opportunities both within the military and civilian workplace.  I am now looking forward to my Grand-kids joining in a few years time (then I can retire job done!) 

Civilian Instructor Gabrielle Catlow

Having been born and raised in Keighley, I joined my local Squadron 2431 (Keighley), at the age of 13 and remained there for 3 years until I was promoted to Corporal. I enjoyed the activities available such as Drill and Shooting and I was one of few who got to enjoy outdoor activities like Kayaking and Caving.  I joined the ATC primarily for these reasons, but soon understood and took advantage of the leadership skills that are available within the organisation, wanting to further my own skills. This was something that wasn’t taught or encouraged at school and that’s what I find unique about the organisation.

I returned to the ACO in July 2013, as there was a role available for an individual who was familiar with Health and Safety and First Aid Qualified. At 2431 (Keighley) I am the Squadron Adjutant, which means I assist the OC with Squadron admin work. As a qualified First Aider, I run lessons to teach and qualify the Cadets.

Professionally, I am a Sales Advisor at Applelec in Bradford working in Lighting and have previously worked in customer service based roles. I firmly stand by my opinion that the discipline and personal skills that I obtained through 2431 (Keighley) Squadron, I now use at work and in every day life.

In the future, I hope to move into a uniformed role on the Squadron and support the OC and staff team to provide excellent opportunities that are available for Cadets. The ACO has progressed rapidly since my departure as a cadet and it’s exciting to witness current cadets grab at opportunities that we can present to them. With an ever-expanding staff team and committed cadets, we can continue to widen the activities and experiences that we can offer at 2431 (Keighley). 

Civilian Instructor Jamie Ewan

Hailing from Skipton, North Yorkshire, I am a very keen Aviation enthusiast and entered the world of aviation at a very young age. Taking my passion for Aviation, I am now a freelance Aviation Journalist with a keen eye for Photography. 

I first got involved with 2431 just over 10 years ago when I joined the Squadron as a 13 year old Cadet. After 7 years, reaching the rank of Sergeant, I parted ways and entered the world of work. During my time as a Cadet I was able to experience and gain many different opportunities that I wouldn't have ever had the chance to if I'd not have joined the ATC. Most weekends started by donning the Uniform and heading off on yet another ATC adventure - from Flying on a Saturday and a Parade on the Sunday! 

Currently I am learning the ways of being a Civilian Instructor within the Squadron with the intentions of going into Uniform as an Officer in the near future. Being a Cadet, I always assumed being a Officer involved sitting in the Office with Tea! The learning curve has been immense but opened my eyes to what the Adult Staff within the ACO do to ensure the Cadets get the best out of their time during their service. 

Within the Staff Team I am the CVQO BTEC Representative and have been leading the way in the Squadrons Modelling activities as well as taking part and lending a hand where I can. Now I am slowly getting settled into a regular rhythm between life and work I am hoping to be able to take on more roles within the Squadron and help the Cadets on their ways through the ACO Structure.

Civilian Instructor Helen Pearce

I was born in Skipton in 1980 and educated at Upper Wharfedale school and later at Craven College.  I studied Travel and tourism and after a period of time working overseas in Orlando and the Balearics, I returned to my home town.

I am Terminal Manager at Leeds Bradford International Airport, where I have worked for the past 11 years in a variety of roles. Predominantly Customer Service orientated working front of house ensuring Terminal facilities are delivered, I also work closely with other departments within the airport environment. 

I was invited along to 2431 (Keighley) in January 2014, initially out of interest of the programmes delivered to the cadets and to further understand the more technical aspects of aviation which is delivered in lectures. After a rewarding few weeks with a dedicated and enthusiastic team, I decided to join the squadron as Civilian Instructor. 

During my time here I have been able to take part in various activities with the squadron which have been really rewarding, and the knowledge and skills  learnt are allowing me to contribute to future events and projects.

It is evident there are a wide variety of opportunities available for all, within the squadron and organisation and I am very much looking forward to the future with 2431.

Civilian Instructor David Smillie

I have over 35 years experience in Aviation Operational and Senior Management, which in essence is all due to the Air Cadet Organisation. Having completed a Gliding Scholarship in 1976!! And reaching the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer in the CCF, the ATC set me up with the skills and enthusiasm to go on and fulfil my aviation goals, from working in Air Traffic Control at various International and Regional Airports to holding Senior Management roles at four.

I also have extensive experience in General Aviation, including time as a Qualified Flying Instructor, Examiner and Helicopter Pilot.

Having returned to the ACO in 2011, I enjoy giving back my experience and knowledge to enthusiastic Cadets both at 2431 (Keighley) Sqn and as a Motor Glider Instructor at 635 Volunteer Gliding School.

I am delighted and proud to be part of 2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC and it is a wonderful part of a great organisation that strives and succeeds to deliver whole life skills that will prepare the Cadets for the future. I look forward to continuing to being a part of the many great activities we help deliver and to concentrate on helping to put the 'Air' into Air Cadets.

For more information on the rank structure within the Air Training Corps click here.

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