As long ago as 1513, the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers, paid a sum of ‘20 shillings’ towards equipping 300 men with arms for the French War. Since that time it has maintained links with the British armed forces, sometimes providing funds and more recently maintaining formal affiliations to a particular ship, Corps or regiment.
In 2001, following a visit by the then Master, an affiliation was created with the Royal Engineers. From 2002, the Company donated a commemorative tankard and prize for the Royal Engineers’ Plasterer of the Year. Then in 2008 a splendid new Royal Engineers’ Trophy was commissioned. This was presented for the first time in January 2009 to Lance Corporal James Mitchell.
The Royal Navy
Our links with HMS ‘COVENTRY’ began in 1991. When HMS ‘COVENTRY’ was decommissioned, a link was formed with HMS ‘EXETER’. Since 2005, the Plaisterers’ Royal Navy Cup has been awarded to the Leading Hand nominated by the Commanding Officer each year. HMS ‘EXETER’ was decommissioned in May 2009, and a new link has been confirmed with the new air defence destroyer, HMS ‘DRAGON’, one of the new ‘Daring’ Class Type 45 destroyers.
The Royal Marines
In 1982 the Plaisterers’ Hall hosted a reception for relatives of Royal Marines killed in the Falklands conflict following the Service of Remembrance in St Paul’s Cathedral.
Following this, a painting of the SS ‘Canberra’ disembarking Marines in the Falklands, was commissioned by the Company. A limited edition of 600 prints of the painting helped to raise over £40,000 for the Royal Marines’ charity.
The Court subsequently voted that the Commandant General of the Royal Marines, Lieutenant General Sir Steuart Pringle, be admitted a Liveryman. Since that date, successive Commandants General have been invited to join the Livery upon relinquishing office.
In 1998 the Company further cemented its ties with the Royal Marines by awarding a trophy and prize to the leading Signaller completing the S1 course each year. In 2005 a similar award was established for the leading Landing Craftsman completing the LC1 course.
Special Reconnaissance Regiment
The affiliation with the newly formed Special Reconnaissance Regiment was initiated in 2005, when the Company was represented at the Investiture Parade at Sandhurst.
282 (East Ham) Air Cadet Squadron
After discussions with the Royal Air Force, the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers were put in touch with 282 (East Ham) Air Cadet Squadron (282) in 2011 and a new affiliation came into being. 282 are based at Cornwell VC Cadet Centre, Vicarage Lane, East Ham. The Air Cadets (as they are known) are aged between 13-20. They get the opportunity to participate in a large range of stimulating and reqarding activities. They learn to fly aerobatics, visit RAF stations, tour foreigh countries, play sports from local to national level, learn the skills to lead expeditions, become a target shooting marksman, gain Duke of Edinburgh Awards (including Gold), canoe through white water, join the 282 Band and learn to play a musical instrument, learn aviation subjects, go caving, parachuting, climbing, sailing and much more. No wonder thay have more that 100 girls and boys who are currently Air Cadets. They meet on Monday and Friday evenings and most Air Cadets come from the London Borough of Newham. The Air Cadet Organisation (ACO) is a national youth organisation sponsored by the RAF in the United Kingdom. Their aims are threefold:
- To promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young people;
- To provide training which will be useful in the services and civilian life; and
- To encourage the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship.
What is extremely interesting is that 40% of officers and 51% of all Air Crew (including pilots, navigators, air electronic operators, air engineers and air lod masters) recruits into the RAF are ex-Air Cadets.