CONTENTS AND CREDITS 5
THE TIM PEAKE INTERVIEW
FORCES IN FOCUS
WHAT’S ON - SAFC BREAKFAST CLUB
SERVICE CHILDREN’S AWARDS REVIEW
While the publishers have taken all reasonable care to ensure that all material is accurate at the time of going to press, they can accept no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is accepted for omission or failure from any cause. Opinions expressed are those of the individual contributors and not necessarily those of Eyes Front!. Professional advice should be sought before making any commitment to business transactions detailed within Eyes Front!. All advertisements are accepted only on the grounds that they comply with the terms of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and all other relevant legislation. Inclusion of an advertisement cannot be construed as an endorsement of the advertiser or the product by the publishers, their employees or agents. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for any transaction between readers and advertisers. No material in this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publishers. Imagery - MOD, Veterans Awards, PSP. Issue Two Distribution - PSP & Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Clubs . Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Eyes Front! Copyright of Eyes Front 2023.
WELCOME Welcome to issue 2 of Eyes Front. Keeping your eye on the ball for military events Welcome everyone to issue 2 of Eyes Front! Magazine the new events publication for the forces community. Things have been moving quickly since the last issue and we are thrilled to be now distributed at the Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Clubs up and down the country as well as our usual regular distribution. This month we once more pay our respects to the fallen as we commemorate Remembrance. With this in mind, we are delighted to have Jacqueline Hurley’s “Last Taxi Home” on the front cover of the magazine in what was the final year of
active service for the RAF’s Hercules C130J model aircraft. The Herc had helped so many over the years out of tricky situations, helped ferry casualties and the fallen in various conflicts and so it seemed quite apt to bid one more farewell to this workhorse of an aircraft. We of course remember all of those who are no longer with us, be that on or off the battlefield. Lest we forget. J. Britton, Editor, Eyes Front!
NEWS Memorial sculpture honouring mesothelioma patients in the Armed Forces unveiled at National Memorial Arboretum
HONOURS ALL SERVING AND VETERAN MEMBERS OF THE BRITISH ARMED FORCES WITH ASBESTOS-RELATED CANCER A major stone sculpture honouring all serving and veteran members of the British Armed Forces with the asbestosrelated cancer, mesothelioma, has been unveiled. The memorial sculpture was installed at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on 16 October 2023, joining more than 400 memorials dedicated to members of the Armed Forces, Emergency Services and civilian organisations.
highlighting the stories of the Armed Forces personnel and veterans who are living with mesothelioma or who have sadly lost their lives to this deadly disease. “We would like to thank all of the kind donors whose support has made all of this possible. We are delighted that the sculpture will have a permanent place at the nation’s yearround place to remember, the National Memorial Arboretum, from October and will honour the service of all Armed Forces members affected by this cancer.”
The sculpture has been commissioned by Mesothelioma UK, the national asbestos-related cancer charity, as part of its ‘Supporting our Armed Forces’ project. It has been funded by private donations and more details can be found here. The memorial is made up of more than 60 carved stone blocks representing the building blocks of life and public service. The blocks form a tower which, although damaged, is supported above and below. The supporting blocks represent the support offered by the charity. Each stone block is engraved with information about the charity, mesothelioma, asbestos and the armed forces. The sculpture weighs three tonnes and is three metres tall. The lettering and mesothelioma logo have been handcarved from Clipsham Limestone. It has been produced by Leicestershire-based artist and sculptor, Graeme Mitcheson. Graeme Mitcheson said: “It was an honour for me to be asked to design and create this important memorial which recognises those who have and are continuing to suffer from this awful disease. The sculpture is designed to be eye catching and informative, encouraging those who are unfamiliar with mesothelioma to read the inscriptions that have been carved and displaced on all four faces of the memorial sculpture.” Military veteran and Mesothelioma UK supporter, Brian Wallis commented: “I’ve been involved with the charity since my dear wife, Rosemary sadly passed away with the disease. I was proud to support Mesothelioma UK’s Armed Forces campaign which was a specialist, UK-wide service for armed forces personnel and veterans who have been affected by mesothelioma. This memorial is a fitting tribute to all of these brave people.” Liz Darlison, Chief Executive of Mesothelioma UK added: “Our Supporting our Armed Forces project is aimed at 5
NEWS Acs Teams Up With Leeds Rhinos And The Army Benevolent Fund To Support Communities At Remembrance Day – And Raise Funds For The Armed Forces
Yorkshire-based manufacturer ACS Stainless Steel Fixings will maintain tradition this month, supporting local communities across the country by creating free of charge Silhouette Soldiers this Remembrance Day. The initiative sees Leeds-based ACS create steel structures of Tommy soldiers, which are then distributed to communities across the country where they will be displayed for Remembrance Sunday services and events. This year, in a bid to raise more awareness and funds for the Armed Forces, the company has drafted in two new partners; Leeds Rhinos whose players will loan their support to the campaign, as well as ABF The Soldiers Charity who will be this year’s beneficiary. ACS has also drafted in the support of DX (Group) PLC, with the parcel carrier kindly delivering 250 of the steel soldiers across the country. Speaking at a launch at Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley Stadium today, ACS Managing director David Flannery explained: “Honouring those who serve, and have served in the Armed Forces, continues to be our motivation as we head into our third year of this campaign. I am delighted to unveil two fantastic new partners in the hope of raising even more funds and supporting communities across the country. We also extend our thanks to DX whose kind offer will make the steel soldiers even more accessible.” It is the third year in which ACS has donated its time and resources to the cause; over the last two year, apprentices in the Leeds-based factory created over 670 soldier silhouettes, raising £2700 for charity. The new campaign is now open, with ACS inviting businesses and individuals across the 6
country to place an order. David continued: “It’s humbling to see how far spread this campaign has reached in past years, and it is our hope is to extend that into even more areas for 2023. It’s a great way for people to give something back this Remembrance Sunday and I urge anybody to get in touch who would like to commemorate the day. I’m incredibly grateful to my colleagues at ACS for their extra hard work in making it come together once again.” ACS colleagues will create four sizes of silhouettes, ranging from the small 155mm model up to an extra-large 1.5m structure – each expertly cut from a mild steel, with the welding carried out by ACS’ team of keen apprentices. The structures will be created and delivered free of charge, however a Just Giving page has been established to encourage donations to the armed forces via ABF The Soldiers Charity, something ACS has a long history of supporting. The company guarantees a face-to-face interview for anyone who has served in the UK military, and has signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2021 – a promise to help veterans and their families. Concluded Rob Oates of Leeds Rhinos: “We’re fortunate enough to have a platform from which we can promote worthy causes in Yorkshire and beyond. We are proud to lend our support to this campaign and hope that we can help ACS and ABF The Soldiers Charity reach more people, encouraging them to get involved this Remembrance Sunday. ACS are fantastic partners and friend of the Rhinos and have great values that we are only too happy to help and support.”
PEAKE HANGING OUT TIM WITH HOUSTON… 250 MILES UP! Eyes Front! Freelance Contributor, Mal Robinson spoke to former Astronaut and ex-Brtish Army Major, Tim Peake on the release of his new book - SPACE - The Human Story. We jump straight into the questions about how Tim made Astronaut selection with the European Space Agency and how much of a life changer this was… “For me it was a huge change. We had just had our eldest child who was 3 months old at that point, so new baby and new job, going abroad and we didn’t really know where we were going to live. We were told my training initially would be in Germany, but then we were told by the Space Agency you could live anywhere, it could be Moscow, it could be Houston or Tokyo, so it was a real leap into the unknown. The Space Agency themselves didn’t even know what they were going to do with us, or where we were going to live, but sometimes in life you have to just take these big leaps and just go with the flow.” Did you realise at the time just how life changing the move was? “No not at all. I had that phonecall on the Monday night saying you have been selected would you like to come and
join us and they say well the announcement is going to be in Paris on Wednesday and so can you make it? I was like Okay let me speak to my boss and ask for the day off and I said well when will I be back to work? They said, we we will probably have a drink and a meal after the announcement, so plan on flying back Thursday morning. So, I thought I would take a couple of days off. Yet the reality was, as soon as it was announced on that Wednesday, that I had been selected, Jonathan Amos, the BBC Science reporter was there in Paris and he reported this breaking news and things just went crazy. Before I knew it, we weren’t going for a nice meal and a drink afterwards at all, I was on a Eurostar straight back to London where there was about fifty interviews and went on until about midnight and it was a complete PR frenzy and so nobody expected that from the off.” What was the thinking about joining the European Space Agency as an Astronaut, was it next level career progression in terms of flying? “It was another challenge, the next sort of progression from test flying. I was loving test flying and would have loved to have carried on being a test pilot if I had not been successful with the Space Agency. For me it seemed like doing a test pilot’s job on an International level in a different environment and one that would continue to push the boundaries of technology, engineering and what we are doing in space. And so it seemed like the next level of challenge.” Moving onto the new book and I love the human side of any sectors or life and it is a look back and forward in space exploration, so where would you say in terms of exploring the Universe and what work needs to be done in the future? “Part of the reason for writing the book now is because we are on a new cusp of space exploration and it seemed like the right time to bring it out into a more public environment. We have had sixty years since the first flight into orbit and it is a really interesting and exciting story of that whole journey that we have had in terms of going through the “Space Race” in the early years through to Apollo, Soyuz and now the Space Station, Skylab, ISS, the whole Shuttle era up until now where we have all these crews training to go back to the Moon and so it felt like the right time to bring these up to date really and bring these stories to life to whats happened since Apollo.” The front cover of the book has a fascinating image in itself of Bruce McCandless on a Spacewalk, which seems unreal at times and think about what people have achieved in Space? “It just looks like Bruce has been photoshopped in there, but you have to kind of pinch yourself that that’s a real picture. It was taken by Hugh Gibson and I don’t think they had even planned to take the photo. Everyone is so focussed on being so professional and the moment and what we are doing and I think Hugh saw Bruce out there and thought that makes a good shot. And he thought if I do a good job of this it might
get on the cover of Aviation Week and of course not only did it get on the cover of Aviation Week, it became the second most iconic photo of space exploration.” Leading on from that, what would be your most memorable moment in space? “My most memorable moment in space is an easy answer for me and that was out on the spacewalk I did. We had about ten minutes to wait before we could actually get to work on the solar panel. We had ten minutes to wait and Houston just said “hang out” and that was ten minutes hanging out on a spacewalk, which Astronauts don’t normally get that opportunity.” What goes through your mind before you go out into space? “Its a complete mixture of feelings. Most of the time you are just cracking on with the job and that is at the forefront of every Astronaut’s mind and the shape of it is that some Astronauts can go on a spacewalk and they are either so short or they are so busy, that it’s not until they come inside that they kind of think “Oh my God, was I actually out there and what was that all about?” And so we were very lucky to have ten minutes to be not just focussed on work and are allowed to just push on into the blackness and just float there and look down on Earth to have those moments of reflection outside is very rare and we were very lucky to be able to do that, but most of the time your primary focus is on the job. I can’t even describe the level of concentration you need, just making sure that everything is absolutely perfect and reducing the risk as much as possible.
There is a saying that nothing is more important than what you are doing right now and this is what you are constantly telling yourself because on one hand you are thinking about so many things, you are thinking about what’s coming up next, you are thinking about “am I behind schedule or ahead of schedule?”, thinking “where’s my crew mate, how are they doing?”, what’s the lighting conditions? So these are the constant things you are thinking about, but you cannot stop thinking priority about what am I doing right now because if you start getting distracted by all of that, that’s when you make a stupid mistake and you could cut your glove and its game over!”
FORCES IN FOCUS Pictured: RFA Proteus alongside HMS Belfast in London, on Monday 9th October 2023, ahead of her Service of Dedication on Tuesday 10th October 2023. The UK today has a new ship dedicated to monitoring the ocean depths. Dedicated at a ceremony in the heart of the nation’s capital, RFA Proteus will serve as the launchpad for remotely operated vehicles and a home to a suite of specialist capabilities similar to those found in the oil and gas industries. The ship, 14
which will be operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary – the crucial support arm of the Royal Navy – was formally dedicated on the Thames in the presence of the RFA Commodore-in Chief, Prince Edward, The Duke of Edinburgh, and businesswoman Akshata Murty, the wife of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who will be Proteus’ Sponsor throughout the ship’s active life. Image: MOD Crown Copyright 2023. 15
WHAT’S ON… Sunderland AFC Mark One-Year Anniversary Of Launch Of First Football Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club With Remembrance Theme
We begin our round up of events over November and December, rounding off 2023 with a look ahead to the first anniversary of an important Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club in the north east region. Sunderland AFC became the first football club to host an Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club in November 2022, hosting the well known club to help end social isolation in their Black Cats Bar at the Stadium of Light. Now after a hugely successful year of Breakfast Clubs in both the Black Cats Bar and Quinn’s Bar at the Stadium, which has included an array of talks and also coincided with the first National Armed Forces and Emergency Services Event in April, the club will mark their first anniversary with a poignant Remembrance theme and everyone from the forces and wider forces communities are invited to attend.
The Remembrance breakfast club takes place on Wednesday November 8 from 0900 in Quinn’s Bar via the Main Entrance of the Stadium of Light. For any further information on this please contact Rob Scott at Rob.Scott@safc.com Sunderland AFC Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club The Black Cats Bar Sunderland Stadium of Light Sunderland SR5 1SU. Phone: 0371 911 1200 Email: Rob.Scott@safc.com Meets: 2nd Wednesday of every month Time: 0900 – 1100 hours.
WHAT’S ON… Building Heroes Conference 2024: Rebuilding Construction with Military Assets
will shed light on how to infuse organisations with principles that truly matter, all while tapping into the untapped potential of ex-military assets. Building Heroes, a Queen’s Award-Winning UK charity dedicated to supporting the Armed Forces community in transitioning into the construction industry, is proud to announce the Building Heroes Conference 2024. Set to occur on February 13th, 2024, at the prestigious Royal Air Force Museum Midlands, RAF Cosford, from 09:00 16:00. This conference aims to delve into the transformative potential of former military personnel assets in the construction industry. Joined by Mims Davies MP and other leading government and industry speakers, they will lead empowering conversations. They will be featured throughout this insightful and informative employers engagement conference, where Building Heroes and the speakers will be discussing how we can ‘Rebuild Construction with Former Military Assets’. Furthermore, throughout the conference, the guest speakers
The early bird offer of day delegate rate is £65 + VAT and is limited to the first 100 tickets and will close on January 2, 2024. After this, the rate rises to £80 + VAT. All tickets to the conference include listening and engaging with high-profile speakers, complimentary access to the Museum, parking, networking lunch and refreshments throughout. The conference will be an excellent opportunity for industry professionals to unlock new possibilities and gain expert insights into the skills gaps and recruitment challenges that the construction industry faces. If you want to sponsor the event, and align your goals with Building Heroes, email email@example.com for more information. Book your tickets for the inaugural event here and join Building Heroes in 2024 at https://app.goodhub.com/ bhconference2024.
WHAT’S ON… 2024 Shaping Up Nicely For The NAFESE Team
It has been a busy opening year for the team at National Armed Forces and Emergency Services Events (NAFESE) Team, with 2023 seeing the inaugural NAFESE taking place at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland on Thursday April 27.
TIMETABLE OF EVENTS
The 2023 Services Awards followed their opening event in June 2023, once more at the Stadium of Light, with two successful specialist events for the Armed Forces taking place after this in July with Everything ELCAS at Catterick Leisure Centre and Troops Into Transportation, Logistics and Engineering (TTLE), which took place at The REME Museum in September.
Thursday February 8, Catterick Leisure Centre
Now plans are afoot for a follow up event for TTLE in the North at Catterick Leisure Centre on February 8, 2024 and the rescheduled Everything ELCAS 2 event at Andover Leisure Centre on Friday March 1, 2024. The second annual NAFESE will take place on Thursday May 16, 2024 once again at the Stadium of Light, whilst the 2024 Services Awards will happen on Thursday July 4, 2024. There will be a new addition for 2024 in the shape of the 2024 Services Sports Awards which will be held on Thursday April 11 once again at their spiritual home at the Stadium of Light as Events Manager, Sam Rosenthal takes up the story.
Troops Into Transportation, Logistics and Engineering North Everything ELCAS 2 Friday March 1, Andover Leisure Centre 2024 Services Sports Awards Thursday April 11, Stadium of Light, Sunderland The National Armed Forces & Emergency Services Event Thursday May 16, Stadium of Light, Sunderland Forces into Franchising* Thursday June 27, Lamex Stadium, Stevenage FC *event rescheduled from 2023. 2024 Services Awards Thursday July 4. Stadium of Light, Sunderland
“We had quite a lot of nominations for the 2023 Services Awards connected to sport and also a lot of people asking if it was worth producing a separate event for this and the answer was of course - yes!.” Sam added, “all of our events have been well received this year and we can’t wait for 2024 to go again once more.” See more information on NAFESE’s events for 2024 at their website www.nafese2023.com
Would you like to include your forces events in future issues of Eyes Front? Then contact our Publications Manager, Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look back at the recent Service Children Awards from the Veterans Awards team, who have a message and introduce the awards below… Introducing The Winners at this years Service Children Awards Cymru 2023 Massive thanks to everyone who attended this year’s Service Children Awards Cymru held at the Infantry Battle School Brecon with Veterans Awards. The Awards were sponsored by Powys County Council and in Support of Little Troopers. It was such a fantastic event with a great atmosphere in the room. Well done to everyone who were shortlisted as finalists, we had a huge amount of applications and the shortlisting process was extremely difficult. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who put forward nominations, you are all doing amazing things in your relevant fields and you should be so proud of your achievements. Extremely thankful and very honoured to have in attendance and hear from the CEO of Powys County Council Emma Palmer, Cllr Sandra Davies, Portfolio holder for future Generations, Armed Forces Champion Cllr Matthew Dorrance and Major DJ Greaves from the Army in Wales. It was also lovely to hear from Caitlin Henson, a service child talking about her experiences. A special thanks also has to go to The Band of the Prince of Wales who entertained our guests and the Regional engagement teams from the 160 Brigade and the Royal Air Force. We are so thankful to all our supporters, volunteers and sponsors who helped put this amazing night together. Some of the highlights of the day saw the Woodhouse Family of three boys (Luke, Jack-Gwyn and Sion) picking up four awards between them and Riley Barn became our Service Children Ambassador of the year and our very first Service Children Awards Cymru Champion, three schools were also
presented with Gold AFFS SSCE Cymru Gold Award, Ysgol Pen y Bryn, Haverfordwest High VC School and Mount Street Infants School. We want to Inspire our future service children that great things can happen. It’s you who will act as role models and in some cases mentors, remember Positivity breeds Positivity.
OUR WINNERS ARE: Service Children Awards Champion: Riley Barn Contribution to Sport under 11 Sponsored by Forces Fitness Ltd Gold: Jack Woodhouse Silver: Ollie Evans Bronze: Harry Moore & Freddie Scott Contribution to Sport over 11 Sponsored by Forces Fitness Ltd Gold: Mollie Bastock Silver: Luke Woodhouse Bronze: Bleddyn Gibbs The Service Children Ambassador of the year Sponsored by Powys County Council Gold: Riley Barn Silver: Beth Symmons Bronze: Lyla McGuinness The Community Award Under 11 Sponsored by Your North Gold: Samridhi Gurung Silver: Sion Woodhouse Bronze: Faith Lees & Arushi Rai The Community Award Over 11 Sponsored by Your North Gold: Luke Woodhouse Silver: Cari Javis Bronze: William Grant Unsung Hero Award Sponsored by General Dynamics Gold: han Kenchington Silver: Delyth Marshman & Tara Rana Bronze: Sarah Hayward. Gold AFFS Cymru Awards Gold: Ysgol Pen y Bryn Gold: Haverfordwest High VC School Gold : Mount Street Infants School. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our Shortlisted Finalists, remember its you who inspire our service children – Keep an eye out on Facebook and our social media sites for our official pictures and videos of the evening coming over the 48hrs. Article brought to you by the Veterans Awards team. 19
INSPIRED BY JACQUELINE HURLEY Inspired by Jacqueline Hurley’s front cover and poppy artwork, two of our readers sent in their son’s artwork inspired by Remembrance. First up is Jack Berry who has produced a similar image to Jacqueline. Jack has been unwell with epilepsy and he has enjoyed the freedom of art to help overcome his health issues.
Our other piece of art is from 9-year old Charlie Robinson, who has produced a collection of stain glass window designs. Two squares representing the general public, one square for the British Army and one for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, all shining a light on a Poppy. Well done both!