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Leeds University Air Squadron Cadets

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Leeds University Air Squadron Cadets
July, 1941. Group photograph showing the first batch of the Leeds University Air Squadron Cadets, taken outside the Leeds University Air Squadron Office. The squadron was established in 1941 to provide pre-service ground and flying training to potential officers. The tall young man on the extreme left of the middle row is Arthur Louis Aaron of Gledhow. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross and the Distinguished Flying Medal after he flew his crew to safety, even after his plane was badly damaged and he was fatally injured, on the night of 12th August 1943. A bronze statue of him now stands on the Eastgate roundabout. It was unveiled in 2001. Arthur Aaron had been studying Architecture before undergoing training with the Air Squadron. Third from the right on the back row is Nebojska 'Neb' Kujundzic from Belgrade, Yugoslavia. He had come to Leeds to study engineering but was also amongst the first batch of trainees with the Leeds University Air Squadron. He was sadly killed on a training flight from Elsham Woods on 3rd March 1943. One of the engines of the Lancaster he was flying caught fire and Flying Officer Kujundzic gave the order for the rest of the crew to bale out. He continued to pilot the plane over the village of Yaxley near Peterborough, steering it away from the houses and populated areas. The plane eventually crashed in an orchard and Ned Kujundzic lost his life. However, there were no fatalities as a result of his selflessness. Tragically, it is believed that only a handful of cadets pictured in this image survived the war. Further information about any of these young men would be welcomed.

User Comments:

Graham A. Schofield

Can this picture be taken as somewhat of a sign of those times? There are 34 people in this group, but there is only one representative of the female sex. The young woman's presence seems to be somewhat out of place in this male dominated batch of Air Cadets, being as it is, less than 3% of the total number. On the 'Home-Front', during W.W.1, our country's womanhood successfully grasped "The Nettle of Equality", but lost a lot of the ground they had gained, afterwards. This picture seem to illustrate that turn of events. The wartime scenario was repeated during W.W.2, which came to be somewhat of a turning point for them, as they held on to quite a lot of the territory they gained, and built on their successes to reach the stage at which they are today. A lot of young women (I wonder if this young lady was among them) flew 'fighter-planes' and other types during W.W.2, although not in combat - - - they were only allowed to deliver them to the various squadrons. Even so, it would have been a dangerous job, especially when German 'fighters' were still skulking about in our clouds.




colin sutcliffe

-The lady on the left of front row is my wifes aunt Amy Clark,her father Herberts sister ,one of five and they had a grocers shop on Pickering Street,Armley.She gained her pilots licence in 1942 and she volunteered for the Womens Auxilary Corps Moving aircraft from factories to bases in the Uk and overseas she was keen motorcyclist and one other sister Bessie was a biolagy teacher at Leeds University.Sadly all have passed on now, The parents Herbert and Jane Mary retired to 205 Low Lane Horsforth,and they are interred in the church yard opposite.I tend to the site there.A lot of the aircraft she related, had a fault sheet to complete during the flight.Between these she drove ambulances with her husband whose nick name was "Bunny" to the children.


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