An ATC unit was formed on Canvey Island during World War II in 1941, originally as a Detached Flight of 1341 (Thames Estuary) Squadron. It grew in strength over its first few years until it was granted full squadron status in August 1948 and re-named 2187 (Canvey Island) Squadron under the command of Flt Lt Leonard Wilkin, and later Flt Lt Peter Owens.
The old HQ was one of the few two-storied buildings on Canvey Island at the time of the Great Flood in 1953, and provided shelter for many people whom were made homeless during that disaster.
2187 Squadron has been located on the same site since its initial formation, which was originally a two-story Territorial Army drill hall of a Royal Artillery unit (the TA unit having been there since the First World war). The TA building was demolished in early 1987, and the current HQ was re-opened as a purpose-built Cadet Centre in October 1987 by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Admiral Sir Andrew Lewis…in a blinding rainstorm.
Shooting is also a favourite Squadron activity and one one occasion in the 1950's FS Dave Clayton gained his RAF marksman and his Cadet 100; this obviously became a family trait, as his son FS (later CWO) Stuart Clayton repeated this in 1993. Not fulfilled by this, Stuart went on to gain a Flying Scholarship, Pilot Navigation brevet and Basic Gliding Training wings...quite a rare achievement. He has now gone on to become NCO Aircrew in Nimrod's.
Former Canvey Air Cadets have seen action in many parts of the world, including the Falklands conflict (when one former cadet went as a volunteer on the SS Canberra) in 1982, as well as the more recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Canvey Cadets have always been justly proud of their musical abilities, having had a band since the very early days. Such is the talent and enthusiasm of 2187 Sqn's cadets that many organisations from all over Essex request the bands presence. For very many years they led the Canvey Carnival, but also appeared at Basildon, Maldon and Witham carnivals, as well as other events in Chelmsford, Rettendon, Fobbing, Southend and at Hadleigh Castle. They also provided the band for the disbanding parade of the Royal Observer Corps at Colchester Garrison in 1991, as well as appearing twice at the Royal Tournament in London. In 1995, 2187 Squadron won the East Essex Wing Band Competition, and went on to represent the Wing at the Central & East Region competition at RAF Henlow.
The Squadron is also very proud of the number of ex-cadets whom have entered service with not just the Royal Air Force, but also other branches of HM Forces. Very many ex-Canvey cadets are now serving as pilots, NCO aircrew, engineers, air traffic controllers, technicians, commnications and RAF Regiment. The vast majority of staff within the unit are also former cadets of the Squadron. Also, of the 27 ATC squadrons in Essex, 4 of them are currently commanded by ex-Canvey cadets.
The Squadron crest (shown top right) was designed in 2001. The motto 'Stijg Er Boven Uit' is Dutch, reflecting the Dutch local history of the island – it roughly translates as 'Rise Above the Rest', the current recruiting slogan for the RAF. The eagle in the centre pays homage to the parent Service; the waves represent Canvey's location in the Thames Estuary; and the crossed rifles remember the many years that 2187 Squadron participated in the Inter-Cadet Service shooting competition at Bisley and gained Cadet Hundreds. Shooting has recently again become an important activity, and in 2006 our squadron came in first place in the Essex Wing shooting competition; 2009 saw us win both the Wing Marksmanship Trophy and the Wing Falklands Competition Shooting Trophy.