THE years flew away for former air cadet Joe Addison when he read of the recent concert at Accrington Town Hall organised for the Royal Air Force Association - all the way back to wartime when he and a crew of fellow teenagers staged their own special effort to help shoot down Hitler.

They were the Whirlwinds Concert Party formed by members of the 1035 Air Training Corps' squadron that was formed at Accrington in 1941, with 'Wings' also based at Oswaldtwistle and Clayton-le-Moors, and by the Girls' Training Corps.

"We played to packed houses at the Accrington Hippodrome, the Ritz and Princes theatres and numerous other small locations in town. All the proceeds went to support the war effort," recalls 71-year-old Joe, of Birkett Road, Accrington.

The eager youngsters put on all sorts of acts - music and songs, comedy and sketches. And Joe, who became a cadet sergeant, remembers just how much effort went into putting together a great show.

He tells of Friday-night parades - starting in Accrington's 'Wings Week' which in May, 1943, raised £588,901 for warplanes - when the squadron marched from its Barnes Street headquarters, now J.E. Hill's Garage, and went down Blackburn Road to the Town Hall where drills were performed and the fund-raising target board was adjusted to its current total.

Then, the cadets would march back to HQ, dismiss the 'non-combatants' and launch into rehearsals until around 10pm.

The Whirlwinds' concerts were so successful that officials decided to rope in cadets from surrounding squadrons to form an ATC Gang Show.

"We then started travelling to give shows in nearby towns - such as Burnley and Nelson - and wherever we performed we had full houses - not bad when you consider that all the 'artistes' were rank amateurs," says Joe, who was a cadet until 1949.

"We had wonderful support from the local Girls' Training Corps who provided the 'glamour'.

"The shows were great fun; nobody pulled rank and many a vow to be faithful was made backstage."