Page 1

Autumn 2012


ACO’s time to shine Rachael’s Magic Olympic moments

Autumn 2012

10 Contents AirCadet

Welcome to





8 Commandant bids farewell

4 Expansion Of Cadet Forces

9 The right note ...

8 Armed Forces Day 2012

9 Hounds for heroes ...

10 Their time to shine ...

17 Cadet meets Prime Minister at No.10

16 We will remember them ...

Managing Editor: Denise Parker Housby E: ACO-HQAC-MC-Head Editor: Carol McCombe E: Design: Steve J Davies, Air Media Centre, HQ Air Command Every care has been taken in the preparation of this magazine, but neither Warners plc nor the ACO can be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein, or any consequence arising from it. Views expressed by contributors and customers might not reflect the views of the ACO. Produced by Air Media Centre, HQ Air Command. 0116_12SJD Š UK MOD Crown Copyright, 2012


Autumn 2012


XTRA features

Expansion of

Cadet Forces

Expansion of Cadet Forces

Cadet Forces teach our young people vital skills ... and open up new horizons. says Prime Minister David Cameron

The Government has announced plans to expand the cadet forces in England. In a £10.85m scheme launched to coincide with Armed Forces Day, secondary state schools across England are being invited to encourage young people to join the Cadet Forces.

Championed by both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, the aim is to create 100 new cadet units based in English state funded schools by 2015 to help teach teamwork, discipline and essential life skills. Currently there are 324 cadet units in state schools across England. Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “Cadet Forces teach our young people vital skills such as teamwork and discipline. They provide them with huge opportunities, open up new horizons and new possibilities. “That’s why I want to see more of these in our schools so that we can give young people no matter what their background the skills to succeed. This is just the start and I want build on it in the future, working together with local communities, existing cadets and, of course, schools themselves.”


Autumn 2012

Priceless Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said: “Getting involved in inspiring activities at school is priceless. Being a cadet is a tremendous challenge bringing selfdiscipline, excitement, and the opportunity to push yourself mentally and physically.

“It can be incredibly motivating and rewarding, and builds young people’s confidence so they can do better in their future careers. “I’m very pleased that we’ve secured funding to extend the opportunity to thousands of pupils in state schools. We want to see young people from all walks of life aspiring to become the leaders of the future.” Total costs of the scheme will be met through a combination of public and private funding, with Government funding focused on start up training and equipment costs. Schools wishing to have a cadet unit will be required to find funding and enough adult volunteers to organise and run the activities. First of many The first new unit will be based at the City of London Academy in Islington and is being sponsored by the Honourable Artillery Company. A significant number of additional schools have already expressed an interest in getting involved. There are four Ministry of Defence sponsored Cadet Forces in the UK. The schoolsbased Combined Cadet Force, plus the Air Training Corps,

Sea Cadet Corps and Army Cadet Force, which are based in the community. Between them 26,000 adult volunteers deliver life changing training to some 140,000 young people a year. Over the next three years, new cadet places will be created either through partnerships with existing units, or by creating completely new units. The whole country admires the leadership, loyalty, service and professionalism that make our Armed Forces the best in the world. Cadets are not part of the Armed Forces, and neither they nor our adult volunteers are liable for military call-up. However, they are a crucial way in which the Armed Forces engage with wider society, raising awareness of their professionalism and ethos. Cadets follow a structured syllabus and many go on to gain externally recognised qualifications such as the St John Ambulance First Aid certificates, Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and BTECs in Public Service and Music; helping many young people to boost their skills base for when they enter the work place. ■


XTRA features

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day Cadets were among the thousands of people up and down the country who joined in the celebrations for the fourth annual Armed Forces Day and showed their support for the men and women of the Royal Air Force, Army and Royal Navy. The flagship event in Plymouth was attended by Prime Minister David Cameron and the First Sea Lord. The Earl of Wessex also attended and chatted to serving personnel, veterans and cadets as well as playing a key role in the Armed Forces parade on Plymouth Hoe, taking the salute. Other highlights ranged from a drumhead service, a Dakota and Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and a display by the Red Arrows and an RAF Typhoon to a steam past by Royal

Navy ships in Plymouth Sound in an apt tribute in the home of military maritime history, tradition and support. Many more events up and down Great Britain in support of Armed Forces Day drew support from air cadets. Nuneaton Air Cadets paraded through the North Warwickshire village of Bulkington alongside veterans and other youth organisations before attending an open air Drumhead Service in front of the local church. After the parade, Arthur Wilson, Secretary of the Bulkington Royal

British Legion, said: “The parade went exceptionally well and we would like to thank everyone including the Air Cadets who helped to make this Armed Forces Day such a wonderful occasion.” Flight Lieutenant Paul Hincks, Officer Commanding 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron, said. “I am delighted that so many young people, not only from the cadet forces but also other youth organisations, have turned out to support our Armed Forces.” ■

Three Nottingham Squadrons joined forces to promote the Air Cadets at Nottingham’s Armed Forces Weekend Celebrations in the beautiful setting of the Wollaton Hall Deer Park. The weekend attracted thousands of spectators and considerable interest was shown in the Air Cadets’ display, hosted by cadets and staff from 1359 (Beeston), 1360 (Stapleford & Sandiacre) and 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadrons. Flight Lieutenant Allan Munns, the Media & Communication Officer for South & East Midlands Wing, was more than pleased with the response. He said: “It is always a pleasure to promote the Corps as we have such an excellent product to sell. With enthusiastic staff and cadets at the event has certainly helped convince those interested that this is the cadet organisation to join.” ■ In Wisbech, cadets from 272 (Wisbech) Squadron paraded through the town centre with Cadet Corporal Kirsty Alderson, 16, raising the flag in front of the parade and the Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Steven Johnson taking the salute. ■ Meanwhile, cadets from 2482 (Henlow) Squadron decided to host a combined squadron open day and support Armed Forces Day at their squadron building.


Autumn 2012

Some 75 guests, friends and relatives attended the day and were treated to a tour of the squadron building and a demonstration of some of the many cadet activities. Cadet Jordan Hilton, 16, said: “This has been a really awesome day! We managed to get friends and family and guests involved in the day and show them the new changing squadron as well as showing support for all our troops who fight and assist on our behalf. It’s been brilliant.” ■

generation the same opportunities she’d experienced so decided to volunteer. Katie has been an adult volunteer for the past eight years and currently serves as a Squadron Officer at 2262 (Bexhill) Squadron. She is also the Radio Officer for the Wing. Katie works at a petrol station in Hailsham, East Sussex and decided wearing her uniform to work could be a great way to make the general public more aware of both the ACO and the work it does for young people and the volunteering opportunities available for adults. Katie said: “I had lots of questions from the public asking me what it was all about and people were genuinely supportive. I also told them that I was not just representing the Reserve Forces but also showing my support for all military personnel serving both here in the UK and those on active service overseas.” ■

Air cadets from 2462 (Oakley) Squadron took part in Bedford Armed Forces day and took the opportunity to talk to local dignitaries, including the town mayor, Dave Hodgson, local MP Richard Fuller and senior military officers from the RAF and USAF at Molesworth. ■ Flying Officer Katie Calvert from Sussex Wing felt it was important to wear her uniform to work to make more of the public aware of the work undertaken for young people in the Air Cadet Organisation. Katie has been involved with the Air Cadets for 17 years, first spending nine as a cadet on 249 (Hailsham) Squadron where she worked her way through the cadet ranks to Cadet Warrant Officer. She enjoyed her time as a cadet so much that she wanted to give the next 7

XTRA news

XTRA news

Images: Mr Kevin Poolman

Volunteers proudly wear uniforms to work Air Training Corps volunteers up and down the country proudly donned their uniforms to work in celebration of the annual ‘Uniform to Work Day’. In the run up to the fourth Armed Forces Day, reservists, cadet leaders and cadets were invited to wear their uniform to work to highlight the volunteering aspect of their out of work activity. By day, Trishia Welsh works in a hospital as a busy medical secretary for an opthalmic optician. She is also a very proud volunteer with the Air Cadet Organisation, something she’s enjoyed doing over the past 10 years. As a Staff Officer for Sussex Wing, Flight Lieutenant Welsh currently juggles responsibility for the Wing’s Media & Communications for Sussex Wing as well as looking after the Wing Band and a Kit Plane Display Team. “I am very proud to wear my uniform,” said Trishia. “I also wanted to make people aware of the good work done by the Reserve Forces both here and overseas.” During the course of the day, Trishia had fielded dozens of enquiries from colleagues and visitors about her uniform and her volunteering work. She said: “I have to go to various departments within the hospital throughout the day, so a lot of people saw me in my uniform. I was stopped by quite a few of the patients when I went from my office to the Outpatient Department, who asked about the uniform, including a 91-yearold ex-RAF fireman! Another elderly lady of 91 and originally from Dresden was so impressed when she heard what I did in my spare time as a volunteer that she has decided to make a small donation to Sussex Wing!” Flight Lieutenant Jackie Pelling, Officer Commanding 1414 (Crowborough) Squadron, Sussex Wing also turned up for work in her light blue uniform. As well as running the Squadron, Jackie is the Volunteer Reserve representative at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Club in Piccadilly, Central London. Jackie regularly attends meetings and is actively involved in the organisation of social events. Uniform to Work Day is one of a series of events intended to raise awareness of Armed Forces Day which celebrates all of those who make up the Armed Forces Family. It also provides an opportunity to celebrate the role of the Reserves and to show the public the Armed Forces are made up of people from all sections of the community. ■


Autumn 2012

The right note…

Support pledged for Armed Forces Westminster City Council has pledged its support to the Armed Forces with the signing of a Military Covenant. Cadet Flight Sergeant Kelly of 291 (Westminster & Chelsea) Squadron attended the signing along with Squadron Leader Neil Knowles of London Wing Air Cadets. Cadet Flight Sergeant Kelly said: “It was an absolute honour to represent the Air Cadets at such a symbolic signing of the new Military Covenant. I will remember this historic event for years to come.”

The signing of the Covenant by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Angela Harvey, was witnessed by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Philippa Roe, and Commanding Officer of the London Central Garrison, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Jalland. The Covenant aims to encourage local communities to support the Service personnel in their area and promote understanding and awareness amongst the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces. Speaking at the event, Councillor Angela Harvey, said: “The City of Westminster Council acknowledges the crucial role played by the members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces; they are an integral part of Britain. “In signing the Military Covenant, we recognise the important contribution our Armed Forces make”. ■

Cadets from Surrey Wing helped to entertain the crowds at the recent Royal Air Force musical salute to the Queen’s Jubilee. The event at Loseley Park near Guildford was the first public performance of the recently formed Surrey Wing Band. The band opened the concert and impressed the crowd despite their lack of experience. Sergeant Kirsty Witchell, Wing Bandmaster, said: “Some had only been learning for two or three months, so they did brilliantly. For a first performance I was really impressed, they were very nervous but they pulled it off.” But the Wing band was not the only star of the show from the Air Cadets. Two lucky cadet musicians were invited to play with the main entertainment of the evening; the Central Band of the RAF. Cadet Holly Everest of 1034 (Surbiton) Squadron

and Cadet Sergeant Katherine Pound of nearby 261 (Guildford) Squadron played with the band for their full four hour set of music. Katherine, a flautist, explained how nerve wracking it was for the duo. “They originally wanted us to play just the air cadet march, but when they realised that we were both grade eight, they said we could play for the whole thing, which was slightly scary as we hadn’t actually seen that music before.” Holly, who plays the saxophone, said: “It was fantastic and the best experience I’ve ever had in cadets.” And the experience left her wanting more, “I’m going to definitely join up as an RAF Musician once I leave cadets, it was brilliant.” The duo were picked to play with the Central Band by Sergeant Witchell. She was approached to nominate two cadets from Surrey, and picked them due

to their experience with music in the Air Training Corps. Both cadets have played with the Air Cadet National Marching Band and National Concert Band. Other cadets from 261 (Guildford) and 97 (Croydon) Squadrons also provided entertainment to the 2,100 strong crowd in the form of a continuity drill display. During the interlude the cadets were joined by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, who chatted to the cadets and also presented Cadet Forces Medal to Squadron Leader David Ratcliffe, Surrey Wing’s Sports Officer. ■

Hounds for Heroes Air Cadets from 1083 (Uxbridge) Squadron have raised £3,400 for the “Hounds for Heroes” Charity. The charity provides specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled men and women of both the UK Armed Forces and civilian Emergency Services in order to enhance their quality of life. The cadets undertook various activities to raise the funds, including a performance by the squadron band at the local shopping centre and then working as a team to travel the distance of Land’s End to John O’Groats using cardiovascular exercise machines at RAF Northolt. Cadet Corporal Craig Pollock, who raised £600 on his own, presented the cheque to Squadron Leader Wayne Palmer, Chief Executive Officer of the charity. In recognition of his outstanding individual effort Craig was also given tickets to the Olympics! On receiving the cheque, Squadron Palmer said: “It was an absolute pleasure to visit 1083 Squadron and receive this huge amount of money. “It was even more remarkable when you take into consideration that Hounds for Heroes was not their only charity that they supported this year. These young cadets are extremely motivated and a credit to their Squadron.” ■


Their time to shine ...

Incredible !

Overwhelming !

Their time to

shine ...


Autumn 2012

A Long Eaton cadet had the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch through the City of Leicester on July 2nd. Cadet Sergeant Steph Carver of 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron ran with the Torch along 300 metres of a crowd-thronged London Road, Leicester, as part of the National Relay. Nominated by Cadet Corporal Sophie Frost for her outstanding contribution to the cadets of the squadron and for her Sports Leadership work at her school, Steph was surprised and elated to have been nominated for such an honour. Amongst the crowds supporting Steph were many cadets from the squadron as well as her proud parents, Michelle and John, and friends and teachers from Long Eaton School. Sixteen-year-old Steph, who has been a member of the Long Eaton Squadron for three years, summed up the whole experience in one word: “Overwhelming!” ■

Civilian Instructor and former cadet of 2158 (Sevenoaks) Squadron, Lara Turner, carried the Olympic Torch through Canterbury on July 19th. Lara, who is currently reading Economics at Durham University, was given the honour after being nominated by her family for her work with charity, which has helped Sevenoaks Air Cadets raise more than £50,000 for the Royal British Legion. After running during the relay, Lara said: “That was quite simply a once-in-alifetime experience! “The atmosphere was incredible and it will be an experience I will never forget. I am incredibly proud to be part of the Olympic Games!” ■

Lifetime dream realised Flight Lieutenant Chris Crebbin, Officer Commanding 886 (City of Ripon) Squadron, has realised one of his life time dreams by being chosen as an official at this year’s London Olympics. Chris, who is well qualified and officiates at all wing and regional athletic events as well as national events, including the recent student games held at the Olympic stadium, has been appointed a National Technical Officer. A spokesman said: “This is a well earned reward for all his efforts to encourage sport and he is to be congratulated for winning through against tough competition.” ■


XTRA features

Their time to shine ...

Exciting !

Olympic Torch on parade

Pilot Officer Gareth Thomas from 35 (Wetherby) Squadron carried the Torch through Bridlington on June 18th, after being nominated by his employer, Lloyds Banking Group, for his work with the Air Training Corps. He describes his feelings on that day. “The crowds had multiplied and were getting excited that the moment was nearing, but not as excited as I was! “A gleaming golden torch was thrust into my hand and I was ushered off the bus to step into a huge cheering crowd of onlookers. “A TV camera hovered in front of me and my wife and daughter hugged me. A policewoman gave me a briefing on what was about to happen and the only part I can remember is the part where she said ‘if you didn’t take any of that in, don’t worry!’ “I saw the flame approaching and stifled the wave of emotion welling. The Olympic Torch kiss took place and the flame doubled across the two torches. “You’re carrying the Olympic flame”, said the policeman assisting in the process. “Enjoy your moment to shine.” “Each side, everywhere, were faces, smiling, shouting, taking pictures and cheering. A little jog then back to a fast walk. It was over so quickly, the flame handed on to the next bearer but the torch firmly grasped in my hand. “Families rushed up to ask if they could take their photo with me – media interviews. More photos with more families all giddy with the moment, just like me. “Sat at home later that night, we watched the news recorded from earlier and reflected on the day. What a huge honour to be selected for being part of the ATC, a role I love and enjoy. “I hope everybody in the ATC takes a little of the pride too. We’re a brilliant organisation and we deserve the recognition.” ■


Autumn 2012

Staff and cadets at 2160 (Sleaford) Squadron, recently named the Air Cadet Organisation’s top unit, have enjoyed the experience of a lifetime, after they paraded with the Olympic Torch. The group followed the torch through Sleaford town centre on another leg of its epic journey around the country. Those in attendance had the honour of marching behind the Olympic flame and the Royal Air Force College Cranwell Band, with the squadron banner taking pole position in-front of the group. The procession through the

Amazing ! Wellingborough cadets supported the Olympic Torch Relay as one of their longest serving instructors, Mike Nichols, carried the torch through the town’s streets on July 2nd. Mike, 71, was selected to be a torchbearer for his dedication to the local community and in particular to the Air Training Corps. Mike joined the Corps as a civilian instructor in 1976 and has just completed his 36th year with the ACO. During that time, he was commissioned in the Training

market town was full of colour, with the Olympic entertainers doing their bit to create a carnival atmosphere amidst the hot weather, cheering and entourage of sponsorship buses. A fly-past of three King Air aircraft from nearby RAF Cranwell added to the excitement of the day for the gathered crowds, which included thousands of local school children. Corporal Alexandra Sellers, who carried the squadron’s banner said: “It was an amazing experience to parade behind the torch and there was a real sense of pride in not just representing 2160 Squadron, but the town as a whole.” ■

Branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and went on to become Officer Commanding 5F Squadron in Northampton. On retirement in 1995, Mike returned to his role as a civilian instructor with the cadets at 378 (Mannock) Squadron in Wellingborough. During Mike’s time in the Air Cadet Organisation he has acquired an impressive array of skills gaining his Mountain Leader, Duke of Edinburgh Assessor and several shooting/range qualifications. Mike’s hard work also extends to organising the annual Poppy Appeal for the Mears Ashby & Sywell branch of the Royal British Legion and the Wings Appeal for the Royal Air Force Association, for whom he is the Vice Chairman for the Rushden branch. ■


XTRA features

Their time to shine ...

Images: London 2012 & MOD

Kent Wing greets the Olympic Torch

Cadets meet David Walliams

Velodrome Magic Ex-track cyclist, Squadron Leader Hilda McAdam, the Regional Resource Manager at the Joint Air Cadet Headquarters at RAF Leuchars, has been working as a volunteer within the Event Services Team at the London Velodrome at Stratford Olympic Park. Hilda, who took up cycling to improve her triathlon cycling scores, was third in Scotland at the 3,000 Metre Pursuit. However after commissioning into the RAFVR(T) in 1998 she found her squadron parades clashed with her cycle training, and so she gave up cycling in favour of the cadets. She volunteered for the Olympics back in September 2010, and attended an interview at the Glasgow Science Centre in May last year. More than 250,000 people applied to volunteer, and 150,000 made it through to the interview stage - all in order to select the final 70,000 volunteers. Hilda’s 10 days of duty were spent mainly in the velodrome itself, with the last three days being outdoor at the BMX. ■


Cadets meet Olympic swimmers Two cadets from 2243 (Basildon) Squadron, Cadet Flight Sergeant Daryl Poole and Cadet Sergeant Richard Hepworth, both 18, got to interview members of the Japanese Olympic swimming team. The swimmers, who had been training in Basildon throughout July in the run-up to the Games, were asked 12 questions during the interview which was later aired on BBC Radio Essex. “Meeting them was very inspiring,” said Daryl. “It amazed us both how polite and grateful they were towards the whole community. “They did not speak English so the whole 15-minute interview went through a translator, but even then we were able to get a great insight into the wonderful passion and spirit they have for what they do. Something I think everyone took away with them.” The cadets were also lucky enough to meet three local torch bearers, who were being interviewed by BBC Essex at the same time. ■

Autumn 2012

On the penultimate day of the torch relay, 13 cadets from (Finsbury) Squadron, London Wing lined the road in Islington to support torchbearer Phil Packer, who was severely injured whilst on active service in Iraq. Paralysed in the incident four years ago, Phil has gradually regained the use of his legs and set about walking 2012 miles in 2012 to raise money to build a Centre of Inspirational Excellence for young people, working with 50 different charities. As the Cadets all stood to attention as Major Packer passed them, Mr Nicholas Lauder, a Civilian Instructor with the Squadron, said; “The cadets felt honoured to be able to support such an esteemed war veteran who has done so much for charity.” After the torch procession, all the cadets were invited to Islington Town Hall for a rare photo opportunity with the comedian David Walliams, who had carried the torch earlier after being nominated for his outstanding work for charity. He spent some time chatting to the cadets, asking if they were having a good day and enjoying the experience. Cadet Warrant Officer Lucy Warrell, 19, said afterwards: “I was very proud and privileged to be lining the route at such a prestigious event. 'It will go down in the Squadrons history and being so close to David Walliams and Major Packer made the day even more enjoyable. To represent so much on such a big day was a complete honour.” ■

In the final days of the Torch Relay, cadets from Kent Wing helped to welcome the torch to East Kent. Cadets from area three and four joined more than 1,000 staff from Eurotunnel, along with their families and friends, at a special private event as the torch left the Channel Tunnel on its way to Dover. The band of 2513 (Romney Marsh) Squadron piped the torch out of the tunnel at Samphire Hoe near Dover and the route from the tunnel to the waiting crowd was lined by cadets from 99 Folkestone, 305 Ashford, 312 City of Canterbury and 354 Dover Squadrons. The torch was carried out of the tunnel by Alison Ward from Dover who happily posed for photos with the group. “The sight and the sound of the pipers as the torch and its team exited the tunnel brought tears to my eyes,” said Catherine Cleall-Harding, who helped organise the event. “The cadets are great ambassadors for the young people of Kent” said one of the Torch security guards. “The entourage was so impressed with the cadets that they even stopped a second time for a photo opportunity with the following torch bearer, Lina Klavina, before continuing her journey to Dover Castle! Cadet Flight Sergeant Natasha Jelley of 99 (Folkestone) Squadron said she was “very proud” to have been able to take part in such an event. “There have been many memorable events during

my time in the Corps but this has to be up there among the things I will always remember! 'I am due to leave soon and being able to hold the Olympic Torch whilst it was on its journey to London has been a great finale for me.” ■

Inspirational ! Cadet Flight Sergeant Ryan ChantrillSmith from Margate in Kent was selected to run with the torch through Higham in Kent on July 20th. Ryan was nominated for two reasons. Firstly, his hard work and dedication to the Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) charity and secondly, for his work with 348 (Thanet) Squadron in Kent Wing. Ryan plays a vital role in mentoring the younger cadets on his squadron and supporting the squadron staff – something which led to Sergeant Carol Lawson nominating him for this great opportunity. Afterwards, Ryan said: “It was one of those things you cannot describe, I am very grateful as this is a once-in-alifetime opportunity.” ■

Torch bearer welcomed by cadets Cadets and staff from 2345 (Leuchars) Squadron welcomed Olympic Torch bearer Mrs Dawn Doherty to the squadron’s regular sports evening. Dawn, who carried the flame as it made its way towards RAF Leuchars, has a long association with the RAF. Her husband Paul is a Flight Sergeant based at RAF High Wycombe and her son Stephen is a cadet on the squadron. He said: “I was extremely proud that my mum got the chance to run with the Olympic flame as it made its historic journey through Fife but maybe now we will hear the end of it!” ■


XTRA features

Rachael’s Olympic magic moments ... By Denise Parker-Housby

Rachael, 31, a Regular RAF officer, was chosen as one of a select team of 16 tri-Service personnel to carry the Olympic and Union flags at the spectacular opening ceremony which was watched by an estimated audience of nearly 27 million people worldwide. She has also just finished duties on five victory ceremonies in the Velodrome.

Rachael’s Olympic magic moments ... 16

Autumn 2012

Simply electric “My shoes have never been as shiny nor my uniform so pristine and I can honestly say that being part of the opening ceremony took our breath away, I have memories that will last me a lifetime and I look forward to sharing them with any children or grandchildren I may have. “It was amazing for us to see the early stages of rehearsals for the opening ceremony and see the chaos turn into a highly polished, well drilled production. ' The atmosphere was simply electric and it worked well because people kept the final details of the ceremony to themselves so it was a surprise ... seeing it all come together with the music was fascinating. 'Behind the scenes were scores of professionals who run live events for a living and they really know how to make things work. Ours was just a small role really but the Director of the Olympic Opening Ceremony Danny Boyle was very kind and took time out to thank us, as did Lord Coe.” The noise of the music meant that Rachael and her colleagues had to use earpieces to listen in and know when to step from the underground holding area into the spotlight. The team also had to be conscious of various protocol issues surrounding use of the flags and balance that carefully with the creative requirements of the event. Real powerhouse Rubbing shoulders with the athletes was the highlight for Rachael, herself an accomplished triathlon competitor who earlier this year took the title of first female to ever complete the Arch to Arc Challenge. Amazingly Rachael even shared coach Jack Maitland with the Olympic medallists the Brownlee brothers when she was studying sports science at Leeds Metropolitan University. “Seeing Chris Hoy as he received his 6th Olympic gold medal was just 17

Images: Crown Copyright

After an amazing record breaking year Flight Lieutenant Rachael Cadman, the Air Cadet Organisation’s Training Development Officer, has added a starring role in the 2012 Olympic Games to her long list of achievements.

Excitement and pride She said: “The feelings of excitement and pride in representing my country, the Royal Air Force and the Air Cadets at the Olympics Opening Ceremony are enormous. It is an immense privilege to be chosen to fly the flag on behalf of all UK Servicemen and women. “In total we covered the opening event which was watched by nearly 27 million people worldwide and we completed five victory ceremonies in the Velodrome. 'Because of the scale of the event it was very nerve-wracking but we had been extremely well drilled and we were very confident on the night. “ Rachael was selected as a member of the Olympic Flag Team – one of a handful of military involved in the high profile ceremonial flag carrying sections of the event – earlier this year and went to HMS Collingwood, Portsmouth in early July for two days of preliminary training. Based at Hyde Park Barracks, London the team was then drilled for hours to perfect every step including climbing the grass “Tor” whilst keeping the Union flag and then the Olympic flag perfectly flat as the world watched on via their television screens. Rachael said: “The Tor was amazing, it was made of fibre glass and wood and then covered in turf. Our biggest worry was that we would slip but happily it was all good on the night.

“If anything the final dress rehearsal was more nerve-wracking for me as my husband and sister-in-law were in the crowd watching me.”

XTRA features

amazing and so emotional but I had no idea he was 6’ 1! 'And Jessica Ennis is a real powerhouse but is much smaller than I thought at about 5’ 5. “After the first day or so it became normal to see so many sports stars ...

Rachael’s Olympic magic moments ...

Mark Cavendish who has always been an inspiration walked past; as did Usain Bolt and Maria Sharapova – who really is as beautiful as her pictures. Victoria Pendleton sat right in front of me when she finished her final race and I had to ask her to move because she was on my flag! The flags had to be organised by an official protocol officer and each team was responsible for ironing them.

Rachael said: “It’s not something you immediately think of but naturally they arrived in a box all folded up and creased so we had to iron them behind the scenes. It’s quite funny to think about it – I’m sure the public wouldn’t have given it a moment’s thought.” The team only had one tricky moment during its final victory ceremony in the Velodrome. Rachael said: “Despite it being labelled ‘impossible’ two competitors ended up in a dead heat for the bronze medal. “We hadn’t practised this scenario as officials had the ability to time to 1,000th of a second and believed it was impossible to have a dead heat at that level of accuracy. 'In order to get two flags on the pole we had to attach a second trapeze below the extant bronze medal trapeze which was a relatively complicated process. We crossed our fingers and hoped it would work out and eventually, after a few tense moments, the flags of the Netherlands and New Zealand made their way up, in alphabetical order as protocol required and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.” Absolute privilege Rachael said: “I’m proud to say that eventually it worked all right on the night. One of the most satisfying parts of being involved in the Olympics was the overwhelming

appreciation shown to the military by members of the public. We were approached so many times by people thanking us for helping – I will always remember their kind words but for us it was an absolute privilege to be involved.” For Rachael, who attended St Leonard’s School in St Andrew’s, Fife the Olympic Games have inspired her to keep up her triathlon training and aim to compete for Great Britain in the 30-34 age group long distance event at the World Championships next year. As part of her training schedule which resumes at the end of next month she will compete in the ICAN triathlon event in Malaga in April; the Edinburgh Marathon in May and the Outlaw Triathlon in Nottingham in July. Starting with base work involving weights and core exercises she aims to build her stamina, strength and speed to represent the RAF and the Air Cadets once again. Holding the accolade of Sportswoman of the Year, Rachael of Scotland, has excelled in extreme

endurance sports. Last year, she completed the notorious, ultra-distance Enduroman Arch to Arc Triathlon running a mammoth 87 miles from London before swimming the English Channel and finishing with a 185 mile cycle ride to Paris. She completed the challenge in just 97 hours which was the fourth fastest time ever and she was also took the honour of being the first female to complete it. She said: “I am a sports scientist and I am really interested in understanding how to get the best performance out of my body so I tend to read a lot of books to reinforce that knowledge and eat and train accordingly. 'I will want to be slightly leaner for the World Championships than I was when swimming the English Channel for the Arch to Arc Challenge but it needs to be a balanced diet.”

other than my father’s background as a county badminton player there is no athletic prowess in the family – I’m just inspired by a challenge and with the Arch to Arc it was about being the first woman to complete it. I do the best I can with what I have!” As for the immediate future, Rachael plans to take a well deserved holiday after “a hectic few months” which has seen her complete the Arch to Arc Challenge, buy a house, get married and work at the Olympics. For now at least she’s recovering from the exhaustion with a family holiday and lots of her mother’s cooking ... ■

So how did Rachael start her athletics career? “I started swimming county and then in regional events when I was nine but 19

XTRA news

XTRA news

Cadet meets Prime Minister at No. 10

Air Commodore Barbara Cooper has bid a fond farewell to the Air Cadet Organisation after two years in the role of Commandant Air Cadets. Air Commodore Cooper, who retires from the Royal Air Force this month, left Royal Air Force College Cranwell for the final time to be met at the main gate by a group of 45 cadets and staff. Earlier in the day the Commandant was greeted at the entrance of HQ Air Cadets by the permanent staff that she has led for the last two years. She was presented with gifts by staff members, including mementos of her time as Commandant. 20

Autumn 2012

As Air Commodore Cooper was driven off camp by her driver and ADC, there was one final surprise. As the car approached the main gates of RAF Cranwell, a well-drilled and smartly turned out group of cadets from the ongoing Air Cadet Leadership Course on camp were awaiting the Commandant for a final send-off. A round of applause met the Commandant as she walked the length of the line-up and thanked the mixture of Air Training Corps, Combined Cadet Force and even Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps’ cadets for their farewell gesture. Air Commodore Cooper issued this message about her time as Commandant Air Cadets. ■

I am now in the last week of command and I want to take the opportunity of thanking all of you for your support and friendship over the last two and a quarter years that I have been Commandant. The ACO remains the best uniformed youth organisation in the world and that is down to the dedication of adult volunteers, parents and staff. What we do is critical for the wellbeing of our country – we are producing responsible citizens of the future and there can be no more important work than that. Keep up the good work – we remain in challenging times and I know that you will afford my successor, Air Cdre Dawn McCafferty the same much appreciated and needed support that you have given to me. Together, I am sure the ACO will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Air Commodore Barbara Cooper

Image: Captain Michael Nolan

Commandant bids farewell

Dear Friends and Colleagues of the Air Cadet Organisation

Cadet Flight Sergeant Asim Ahmad of the RAF Section of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) met Prime Minister, The Rt Hon David Cameron MP, at 10 Downing Street recently. Seventeen-year-old Asim, along with a cadet from the Army Cadet Force, were invited to the PM’s famous residence to participate in a roundtable discussion with members of other voluntary youth organisations and Mr Cameron about their experiences of volunteering and social action and why they think it is important for young people to get involved in their local community. Asim, who goes to Kingston Grammar School and has been a cadet for four years, said: “Being involved in a youth organisation can help teach confidence, provides opportunities to learn life skills, gives you the chance to make good friends and can help the wider community in which you live. That will contribute to making the city we live in a better and happier place. Most importantly it can be great fun!” The discussion was followed by a reception during which the Prime Minister talked about National Citizen Service, his personal initiative and the Government’s flagship programme for 16 and 17-year- olds in England. It seeks to foster social cohesion, community action and personal development for young people by taking them on a residential course with other Year 11s and then helping them work together to create and run a community project back at home. NCS was piloted in 2011 with 8,000 participants. The programme is now being expanded and 30,000 youngsters are expected to take part in 2012. This summer over 600 cadets from the ACF and CCF, including Asim, will undertake a special pilot that matches the normal cadet training and activity programmes with National Citizen Service. The Army Cadet Force and Combined Cadet Force are the first youth organisations to have their own training programmes recognised in this way. During their usual residential camps this summer, the cadets will participate in guided reflection sessions, where they discuss any lessons they have learned that day about, for example, teamwork and leadership, as well as any significant topical issues such as the London Olympics. Then in the late autumn they will join other NCS participants from around the country for a team test weekend, where they will all work together on a series of team-based tasks and challenges. On completion of the programme the cadets will get an official NCS certificate signed by the Prime Minister and the NCS 2012 badge for their uniform. ■

Kinloss closes ... The RAF ensign was lowered for the very last time at RAF Kinloss, bringing to an end the 73 year history of one of the Royal Air Force’s most well known Stations. The Army’s 39 Engineer Regiment has officially taken over the base, which has been home to the RAF since 1939. The day was marked with a short but poignant ceremony which saw the RAF Ensign lowered at the base for the last time, and the flag of 39 Engineer Regiment was raised as a Tornado aircraft flew overhead. Guests included the General Officer Commanding the Army in Scotland, Major General Nick Eeles and the Lord Lieutenant of Moray as well as eight former Station Commanders. 39 Engineer Regiment is an Air Support Engineer Regiment, and part of the Corps of Royal Engineers. They specialise in the building and repair of runways, hangars and hard standings for RAF aircraft; so a former airbase is a natural home for them. ■

... but Reds remain at Scampton It has been announced that RAF Scampton is to remain the base for the RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, and the RAF’s Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS). The Royal Air Force had planned to relocate the ASACS infrastructure, as part of wider force restructuring, from RAF Scampton in advance of the 2014 drawdown date of the station. In a written statement to the House of Commons, Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey said: “However, we have now identified that, due to cost and capability grounds, the ASACS infrastructure should remain at RAF Scampton, with any future decisions on its basing examined as part of other projects. “Additionally, the most effective way of operating RAFAT without impacting on other flying is to stay at RAF Scampton. This means that both RAFAT and the ASACS unit will be retained at the station until at least the end of the decade.” ■


Xtra features

Flying into the future

Flying into the future The RAF’s next generation military transport aircraft has officially been named Atlas at the Royal International Air Tattoo. 22

Autumn 2012

The aircraft, which has until now been known as the A400M, will replace the RAF’s existing C-130 Hercules fleet and, along with the Voyager and C-17, will provide the UK military’s future air transport force. The UK is buying 22 of the aircraft from Airbus Military, and the first Atlas is expected to be delivered to the RAF in 2014. Able to carry twice as much as the Hercules, Atlas can transport 32 tonnes of cargo over a range of 4,500km, providing unprecedented capability to support

the UK Armed Forces. It can move up to 116 paratroopers and large armoured vehicles such as Mastiffs as well as vast amounts of humanitarian and disaster relief. The aircraft’s ability to land on semipermanent runways and rough ground means Atlas can fly its cargo into the centre of operations, supplying tactical forward bases or evacuating casualties or refugees. The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, said: “Atlas will be a uniquely capable

aircraft and will provide both tactical and strategic airlift capabilities for use in peace, crisis and war. The name Atlas reflects the potential of this mighty aircraft to provide help and support to our Armed Forces and others in need across the globe. “The programme is a good example of how European partners can work together to deliver world-class military capability.” Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, said: “Atlas is going

to be a major capability for Defence and the Royal Air Force is looking forward to Atlas joining our world-class fleet of air mobility aircraft. “Atlas will offer a step-change in the Royal Air Force’s capability and, with its significant payload, it will be able to transport every type of UK protected mobility vehicle directly to where they are needed as well as supporting forces on the ground through significant tactical air drops.

“Atlas, together with the C-17 Globemaster, C-130J Hercules and the new Voyager aircraft now entering service with the RAF, will give us the ability to rapidly move people and equipment around the globe for military and humanitarian operations for decades ahead.” ■


XTRA news

XTRA news

Parade for Queen’s birthday

Image: Paul Heasman

RAF Display Team has a heart The RAF Hawk Display Team has unveiled its new paint design for the 2012 airshow season – featuring the “Heart Roundel” logo of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF), the RAF’s leading welfare charity. The Display Hawk, which is appearing at airshows across the country, is featuring the logo to promote the work the RAFBF does at the heart of the RAF family. Flight Lieutenant Phil Bird, Display Hawk Pilot, said: “We are really proud to have the aircraft branded up with the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund logo. They do a huge amount of work supporting veterans as well as those serving today. “Last year alone they spent £200,000 at our home station, RAF Valley, providing new play parks, games areas and youth workers as part of their Airplay project. It’s the kind of work that makes a big difference to families living on station, and we wanted to show our appreciation 24

Autumn 2012

for what they do. We’re already getting questions from the public about the Heart Roundel logo so hopefully we can help spread the word wherever we go.” Cerys Truman, Regional Fundraiser for the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund said: “We are delighted with the support Hawk Display team are giving us this year. The branded aircraft builds on the fantastic sporting challenges and other fundraising events they’ve taken on for us this year. On behalf of the RAFBF I would like to thank Phil and the team for their generosity, which encapsulates the enthusiasm we see for our work across the Air Force – it is vital to us, as we simply could not offer the support we do without it.” The Hawk Display team are appearing at a number of airshows throughout the summer, including the Best of British Show at Cotswold Airport on 26th-27th August 2012. For more information on RAF Hawk Display visit hawkdisplayteam ■

More than 500 young people from the Air Training Corps, Army Cadet Force and Sea Cadet Corps across Scotland descended on Inverness for a parade to mark the 86th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen. The cadets were drawn from as far afield as Orkney, the Western Isles, Moray, Caithness, Ross-shire and Inverness-shire. They were helped on their way by the military band of the Black Watch Battalion ACF, the pipes and drums of 1st Battalion The Highlanders ACF and pipers of the Lovat Scout cadets from Orkney. The tri-service parade, believed to be the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom, made a colourful and impressive spectacle as the youngsters marched before many hundreds of spectators to celebrate HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year, on the occasion of her 86th birthday. The parade started at the castle and ended up at the Northern Meeting Park, where they held a Drumhead Service, the traditional way in which the Armed Forces have given thanks for many centuries, which originated on the battlefield. The cadets formed a square and their drums were laid on the ground to form an altar, before the Standards of the three cadet forces were laid on the drums for the short service of readings and hymns. The day’s events concluded with a Beat Retreat at Cameron Barracks that evening. ■


XTRA features

We will remember them ... Her Majesty The Queen has unveiled a Memorial commemorating the 55,573 Royal Air Force pilots and crewmen from Bomber Command who lost their lives during World War Two.

At the emotional ceremony in London’s Green Park, attended by cadets and staff from London and South East Region, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton said Bomber Command’s “service and raw courage” had been recognised. The Memorial was officially opened in the presence of thousands of Bomber Command veterans, widows and family members from all over the world, as part of a ceremony that pays tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of their lost relatives and comrades. It also remembers the people of all nations who lost their lives in the bombing campaigns of 1939-1945, with an inscription remembering that loss. Poignant Hugo Trotter from Windsor, a former Lancaster pilot, was at the event. He said: “Today I will be thinking of old comrades. I remember one day the crew in front of us went down. When we got into the Sergeants’ Mess everybody in there had been praying for the others. It is a very poignant day.” During the 30-minute ceremony, Her Majesty the Queen unveiled a nine foot high bronze sculpture depicting seven Bomber Command aircrew.

Bomber Command Association Secretary and former Wireless Operator on Wellington Bombers Douglas Radcliffe MBE read an exhortation before the act of remembrance. The ceremony ended with a flypast by five RAF GR4 Tornado bombers, followed by the RAF’s Lancaster Bomber, which dropped over 800,000 poppies in a symbolic act of remembrance for the 55,573 Bomber aircrew lost. Courage Speaking at the event Sir Stephen Dalton Chief of Air Staff said: “Many of those who gave us our freedom and to whom this memorial is dedicated cannot join us today, but their spirit is certainly here. With the building and unveiling of this magnificent memorial they will know that this Country and Commonwealth have shown them and the remaining veterans, that their service and raw courage had been recognised and that their dedication to doing their duty truly acknowledged. “For their bravery and sacrifice which helped give us our freedom, we will never forget them – indeed, we will remember them.” The air cadets provided logistic support at the

event and Pilot Officer Mathew Burton from 267 (Twickenham) Squadron said: “It was an inspiring and emotional moment. I think I can speak on behalf of all the entire LASER contingent when I say it was an honour speaking to, serving and assisting both the veterans and their families. A fitting Memorial for an extraordinary group of people.” The Bomber Command Memorial Fund secured funding from public donations and private donors, to cover the costs of the planning and construction of the Memorial. The care and maintenance of the Memorial will now be entrusted to the RAF Benevolent Fund. Air Marshal Sir Robert Wright, RAF Benevolent Fund Controller said:“We are honoured to take on the guardianship of this Memorial. This means a great deal to the RAF serving personnel and veterans we support every day. “Our work and our programme of education and engagement will ensure that the Memorial’s significance continues to be understood by future generations, as part of the debt we owe to members of the Royal Air Force, past and present.” ■ 27

XTRA news

XTRA news

Support for RAFA

New boss

Cadets and staff from 204 (City of Lincoln) Squadron have been out in force in recent weeks to support the RAF in Lincolnshire. Cadets supporting the RAF Air Show at Waddington collected £2,800 for the Royal Air Forces Association and then, just days later, cadets provided a guard of honour for guests to the Bailgate Summer Ball. This ball, with some 400 guests, is run in aid of a charity and this year it is supporting the Royal Air Forces Association. Cadet Flight Sergeant Jessica Murfin, 17, (pictured), who thoroughly enjoyed the event, aims to join the RAF as a chef. She said: “I can’t wait to travel the world, receive different training. It should be loads of fun. The best lifestyle ever.” ■

Royal Appointment Just weeks after assisting at HM the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Garden Party at Sandringham House, the cadets of 42F (King’s Lynn) Squadron returned to the estate to help out at the annual Sandringham Flower Show. The Show’s patrons, HRH Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, who arrived by helicopter, took the time to chat to the cadets during their tour of the Show. Flight Lieutenant Pauline Petch, Officer Commanding 28

Autumn 2012

42F Squadron, said: “His Royal Highness is genuinely pleased to meet the cadets each year. He joked with me as I greeted him, and I know from what the cadets have said to me that parading here at Sandringham is one of the highlights of their year”. ■

Laying up of Corps Banner Dozens of cadets and staff from West Scotland Wing were part of a 200-strong congregation at a service of Thanksgiving at St John's Kirk in Perth to witness the laying up of the previous Corps Banner. A new banner had been presented to the Corps last year by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Air Training Corps. Cadets and support staff from all around the Scotland and Northern Ireland Region gathered to witness this historic event - the first time a Corps Banner has been laid up in Scotland. The Reviewing Officer, Air Commodore Barbara Cooper, Commandant of the Air Cadet Organisation, said: "I am delighted to see our third Corps Banner laid up in the magnificent surroundings of St John's Kirk in Scotland's newest city. The Air Cadet Organisation has over 120 units throughout Scotland and Northern Ireland and offers a wide range of opportunities for today's youth, and I have seen those here today do themselves proud." The sermon was given by the Reverend Tom Tait, who was the Corps Chaplain from 2002 until 2010 and the first Scot to hold the most senior chaplaincy post in the Corps. In recognition of his service, he was awarded the privilege of deciding where the banner should be laid up. ■

Group Captain Jim Leggat, a former Cadet Warrant Officer with 1271 (Bathgate) Squadron, has just taken over as the new Regional Commandant of Scotland & Northern Ireland Region. He says: “I am absolutely thrilled about taking post as the Regional Commandant of Scotland & Northern Ireland. My previous Cadet and VRT experience helped shaped me and instilled my passion and interest in the RAF and I very much look forward to giving back to the organization what I can from my regular RAF service. “Already, I have noted a significant amount of positive changes to the ATC experience and activities. Indeed, I have a lot to learn from you all about the current organisation, how it operates, and how I can best provide support. I have already made the most of meeting and seeing cadets and volunteers engaged in the blue and green camps around RAF Leuchars and, in the months ahead, I intend to meet as many of you as soon as possible.” Group Captain Leggat served as a training officer with 2435 (St Andrews) Squadron and as Adjutant with

1735 (Kinross-shire) Squadron before joining the RAF as a Security (Provost) Officer. In 1996, he moved into the ICT and information security fields, becoming Regional Head of MOD Information Systems & Services covering 700 MOD sites in Scotland, Northern Ireland, North Wales and North West, Mid and East England. In his spare time, Group Captain Leggat enjoys golf, military and aviation history, and is a visiting tutor to Edinburgh Napier University Business School. Married to Penny, they have two teenage sons and live in Fife, Scotland. ■


XTRA features

Marching for heroes Cadets and staff from Sussex Wing have marched along the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France, to raise money for the charity Help for Heroes.

Marching for heroes The 24 cadets and staff, led by Flight Lieutenant Dave Thompson, Officer Commanding 172 (Haywards Heath) Squadron, marched across all five of the beaches that were used by the Allied Forces for the D-Day Landings during World War Two - Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. It is hoped the march – dubbed Operation Overlord – will raise more than £4,000 for Help for Heroes. Operation Overlord was the code name for the invasion of northwest Europe during World War II by Allied Forces. The operation began with the Normandy Landings on 6 June 1944 and was among the largest amphibious assaults ever conducted, with nearly 160,000 troops crossing the English Channel on D-Day. The march began in the small town of Quinéville where the cadets were warmly welcomed by the Mayor, Monsieur Jacques Laurent, and invited to join the town’s ceremony of

remembrance and a special reception at the town hall. With Union Jacks and Help for Heroes’ flags flying, mascots attached to backpacks and collection buckets at the ready, the cadets began walking along Utah Beach before tackling Omaha Beach in the late afternoon. At the end of the first day Cadet Euan Bandall of 1015 (Horsham) Squadron, the youngest member of the team and a cadet for less than a year, said: “I didn’t find it difficult walking Utah and Omaha Beaches as I did a lot of hiking when I was a Scout, and I think I could have pushed myself further, but it was the right time to stop as I was beginning to feel a bit tired! This is my first camp with the Air Cadets and it is brilliant. I’ve made new friends already, and the food is great.”

Day Two saw a return to Omaha Beach to the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville Sur Mer and a chance for the cadets to pay their respects to the 9,387 fallen Americans laid to rest there and to lay a wreath in remembrance. Tradition dictates that the wreath is placed at the memorial by the youngest cadet so Cadet Euan Bandall, guided by a US veteran, stepped up to perform this act of remembrance. He said: “I was a bit nervous as I realised the significance and importance of laying a wreath, and in front of a lot of people, but this is something I shall always remember.” The cadets returned to Quinéville to take part in the ceremony of remembrance. This small seaside town was the scene of fierce resistance by the Germans as the Allied Forces pushed northwards to re-take Cherbourg after the D-Day Landings. Special guest of honour at the event was 94-year-old Earl Geoffrion, who was a rigger in the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Division. He had parachuted into occupied France during D-Day and was later decorated for his bravery. He spent some time chatting to the cadets, including Cadet Joe Cullum from 461 (Chichester) Squadron (pictured), about his experiences more than 65 years ago. The Mayor of Quinéville publicly paid tribute to the cadets and invited them to return again next year.

The second day of marching saw the group arriving at Ouistreham for the three-hour long march along Sword Beach. On 6 June 1944, British and French Commandos landed at Ouistreham (Sword Beach) with two main objectives: to capture the city of Caen, several miles inland and to relieve the airborne forces at Pegasus Bridge, lying along the Caen Canal. After a quick lunch stop, the team was off again to march along Gold and Juno Beaches. They stopped at the famous ‘Canadian House’, the first house liberated by the Canadian Forces when they landed on Juno Beach. The cadets also visited the small fishing port of Courseulles sur Mer, the scene of fierce fighting on D-Day. Cadet Flight Sergeant Laura Ferguson from 172 (Haywards Heath) Squadron said: “Not only is this trip to France a fantastic way to raise money for a charity that is so close to our hearts, but it is also very educational and executed perfectly by all the staff who volunteer to go. “I enjoyed every minute of it. I made some great friends and have taken home some experiences that I will never forget. The Air Training Corps provides so many opportunities for cadets and this is definitely one to take!” Sussex Wing intends to return to France again next year and cadets interested in taking part in the march should email for more information. ■

XTRA news

Image: Philip Jones

Keep an eye out for the Autumn edition of Air Cadet magazine for a full round-up of all of the action from this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo ...


Autumn 2012

Profile for Ashley Nettleton

Air Cadet Xtra 2012 - Autum Edition  

The Autumn 2012 edition of Air Cadet Xtra features a range of articles, features and adverts which cannot be found in any other publication....

Air Cadet Xtra 2012 - Autum Edition  

The Autumn 2012 edition of Air Cadet Xtra features a range of articles, features and adverts which cannot be found in any other publication....

Profile for aircadets