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.
The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers has contributed to the defence of the realm for more than 500 years. The Company has established and maintained links with various sections of the British armed forces for many years.
The Royal Navy
In 1991 the Plaisterers began a relationship with the ship and crew of HMS ‘COVENTRY’. When HMS ‘COVENTRY’ was decommissioned, a link was formed with HMS ‘EXETER’. HMS ‘EXETER’ was decommissioned in May 2009, and a new relationship was established with HMS ‘DRAGON’, one of the new ‘Daring’ Class Type 45 destroyers.
Since 2005, the Plaisterers’ Royal Navy Cup has been awarded annually to the Leading Hand nominated by the ship’s Commanding Officer.
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 then 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.
The Company continues to cement its ties with the Corps, having now established a connection with RMR (City of London).
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 rewarding activities. They learn to fly aerobatics, visit RAF stations, tour foreign 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 than 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 load masters) recruits into the RAF are ex-Air Cadets.