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The Journal of the Air Cadets in London and the South East

The award winning magazine brought to you by the award winning LaSER Media Team

July 2013

Welcome to


Welcome to a bumper edition of the Laser magazine, what a busy start to the year the Region has had! We were delighted and excited to hear that Sir Chris Hoy has become an Ambassador for our great organisation. We welcome you, Sir and very much look forward to seeing you in Laser! On the Media front our work had been recognised in the annual HQAC Media & Communications Awards, where we received two “MACAs”. The first was for this magazine and the second identified Laser as best Region for the second year in three – well done to everyone! Flight Sergeant James Parker, Surrey Wing MCO received a Regional Commandant’s Certificate of Merit for his exemplary work designing this fine magazine and it wasn’t that long ago that Flight Lieutenant Trishia Welsh, Sussex Wing MCO, received a certificate of meritorious service from The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex. This just goes to show what a strong Media team we have working in Laser! This edition of the Laser is jam-packed with exciting news from Squadrons across the Region. Congratulations to 50F (Lambeth) Squadron for winning the Marshall Trophy, London Wing for winning the Shackleton Trophy and 2158 (Sevenoaks) Squadron who have been selected to represent Laser in this year’s Lees Trophy competition. Find out all about these great achievements plus a whole lot more in this magazine! We hope you enjoy this edition and please, spread the good work of the Air Cadets by sending this to anyone and everyone who should know! As always, submissions, comments, feedback or suggestions are most welcome at ■ Managing Editor: Sqn Ldr Caroline Gourri RAFVR(T) E: Editor and Design: FS James Parker ATC E: London & SE Region Media Team Essex: Sqn Ldr I Woodward RAFVR(T) Kent: Sqn Ldr M Cremin RAFVR(T) London: Sqn Ldr P Gourri RAFVR(T) Middlesex: Flt Lt N Cumming RAFVR(T) Surrey: Sqn Ldr H Gould RAFVR(T) Sussex: Flt Lt P Welsh RAFVR(T)

In this Issue Page 5


Most Improved Squadro

Air Cadets Regional Headquarters London and South East Region RAF Northolt Ruislip Middlesex HA4 6NG T. 020 8833 8278 F 020 8833 8391 W: The ‘LaSER’ is not an official publication; unless specifically stated otherwise, all views expressed in the ‘LaSER’ are those of the authors alone and might not reflect official MOD, RAF or ACO policy. © UK MOD Crown Copyright, 2013 No part of ‘The LaSER’ may be reproduced in part or full without the written permission of the Editor. Photographs are Crown Copyright unless credited otherwise. ‘The LaSER’ is the Journal of London and South East Region Air Training Corps and is published quarterly by kind permission of the Regional Commandant.

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Cadets Meet PoW Front Cover: The Region Banners at the ATC Sunday Service

2 The Laser Spring 2013

A word from the


Cadets from Sussex Wing travelled to New Zealand. Read their story on page 23.

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1921 Lewisham Squadro


We have finally come out of the hardest winter in living memory (for most of our air cadets certainly!) and we look forward to a summer of activities including camps and flying. Certainly our high profile activities in the public eye will continue apace this year and I know our volunteers and cadets will represent the ATC and our parent service with pride. We will soon see, too, a step increase in our adventure training activities which will stretch the physical and mental attributes of our young people. I pass my thanks to all of the volunteer staff who give of their time and efforts to make these activities fit with our motto “Venture Adventure” whilst at the same time covering our duty of care to those in our charge. Looking ahead we must seek to make every penny of our budget count and also seek new and innovative ways of raising non public money to supplement the public purse in these challenging times. Our RACs and WACs now offer exciting and challenging activities for cadets and staff and I commend them to you. ■

No deviation Group Captain L Hakin OBE Regional Commandant London & South East Region

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ts Awards and Appointmen

For all the up to date news from London & SE Region follow us on Facebook 3

ATC Sunday LaSER Air Cadets mark 72 years of the Air Cadet Organisation Air Cadets from across the London and South East Region (LaSER) came together in Central London on Sunday 3rd February to mark 72 years of the Air Cadet Organisation. Over 500 Air Cadets attended the 43rd Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication held at the Royal Air Force Central Church, St Clement Danes. Before the service, the Cadets marched from Lincoln’s Inn Fields down to the church led by Parade Commander Squadron Leader Raj Patel of London Wing. 97 (Croydon) Squadron, Surrey Wing carried the Region Banner with 1312 (Southend on Sea) Squadron, Essex Wing providing the band and a trumpet fanfare in the Church. During the Service, Cadet Warrant Officer Jeetendra Gurung from 78 (Wembley) Squadron and Cadet Warrant Officer Chelsea Day from 1374 (East Barnet) Squadron – the Regional Dacre Brooch representative - read lessons with music before the service being provided by musicians from the Region Band. There was a special treat during the service with a group of Cadets from Middlesex Wing singing “The Lord is my Shepherd” – Howard Goodall. The Memorials and Dedication were led by Group Captain Les Hakin OBE, RAFR – Regional Commandant LaSER and the Reverend Canon David Nason, Regional Chaplain. ■

ATC Sunday was a busy day for some of Surrey Wing’s Cadets and Staff attending both the service in London and the WIng’s own parade in Guildford. The parade and service was held at Guildford Cathedral, overlooking the University of Surrey where the Regional Hockey competition was taking place. The cadets on parade were inspected by the Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, Brigader Bartlett (Pictured above right), before marching past the assembled VIPs including Mayors from across the county. The church service followed led by the Wing Chaplain, Reverend Hannah Neale. During the service a candle was light by two cadets to remember those within the wing who are no longer with us. The service finale was the dedication of the new Wing Banner. With the banners from the assembled Squadrons present, Flt Lt Kerswell of 11F Brooklands Squadron presented the banner to a banner party led by Cadet Flight Sergeant Sines of 1349 Woking Squadron (pictured right). ■

4 The Laser Spring 2013

Marshall Trophy Presentation

50F Most Improved Unit

Cadets and Staff from Lambeth have been honoured with the award of the Marshall Trophy for most improved Squadron in the Air Training Corps. 50F (Lambeth) Squadron have had the honour of being presented with the Sir Arthur Marshall Trophy for ‘Most improved’ squadron in the Corps by Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, Commandant Air Cadets. 50F’s Cadet Warrant Officer Aisha Naibe-Wey (Lord Lieutenants Cadet for 2012) was chosen to collect the award from the Commandant on behalf of the squadron and said “I am so proud that I got selected to go up and receive the trophy for 50F, we have done so well! I still remember the days when there were only 5 cadets at 50F including me!” The awards evening was a great success with a full turnout of staff and cadets on parade and friends and families in the audience applauding all the hard work and achievements of the cadets throughout the year. We were delighted to host a number of VIPs on the night with Lambeth’s local councillors, Clare Whelan and Marcia Cameron, in attendance and special guests such as: Mrs Maureen Marden from the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners, London Wing’s Officer Commanding, Wing Commander Bob Naeem, and Regional Commandant LaSER, Group Captain Les Hakin. “It was such a milestone and special evening of celebration for 50F and I am so proud to have been part of the journey” said Flight Lieutenant Meriem Zidour, current Officer Commanding 50F. Commandant Air Cadets truly enjoyed her evening at 50F and stated “having watched the excellent presentation on your squadron’s achievements over the last year I can fully appreciate just why your squadron was selected for the award of the Sir Arthur Marshall Trophy. It was a privilege to present so many certificates of achievement and

an honour to make my first presentation of this prestigious trophy. You should all feel a huge sense of achievement and I could sense the buzz of delight amongst your guests, which I’m sure will last for many months to come!” A bit of background…. In June 2007, 50F (Lambeth) Squadron was parading five cadets. The cadets did not attend any Wing activities and never did anything outside the Squadron. Officer Commanding London Wing asked the Sector officer, Squadron Leader Rajen Patel to review 50F Squadron and to improve attendance of cadets and find some effective staff to run the Squadron or close it down. The Squadron is now under the Command of Flight Lieutenant RAFVR(T) Meriem Zidour and since she has taken command the Squadron has been consistently improving in all areas. All staff and cadets are highly motivated and work well as a team under her leadership. 50F had over 30 cadets and had another a new recruit intake scheduled for the 21st of January 2013. “The Squadron is situated in The London Borough of Lambeth, which suffers from a high crime rate and unemployment. Despite the

social problems in the borough, it is amazing to see how the Squadron has grown in the last four and half years. The cadets are loyal and dedicated and are an inspiration to other cadets. The staff and civilian committee work extremely hard to provide their cadets with an excellent service. 50F Squadron now maintains the ethos of the ACO and offers its cadets a great experience” said Squadron Leader Rajen Patel, London Wing, Southern Sector Officer. ■

Sir Arthur Marshall Trophy

Arthur Marshall was born in Cambridge, England and was educated at the Perse School in Cambridge and at Tonbridge School in Kent, completing his education at Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1922 where he earned a degree in engineering. He learned to fly in 1928 and shortly thereafter created an airstrip near his family’s Cambridge home, which by 1929 had turned into a full-fledged airfield. Six years later, Marshall and his father, David, bought the land where the present Cambridge Airport now stands and started Marshall Aerospace. To commemorate Sir Arthur’s lifelong interest in aviation, the Marshall family donated a trophy to the Air Training Corps to be presented to “The Most Improved Squadron in the ATC over a Protracted Period of Time”. ■


Spotlight on 1921Sqn Lewisham Air Cadets are some of the busiest in London with a recent visit to Gatwick Airport and achieving BTEC awards. The Laser looks at some of their successes. 1921 (Lewisham) Squadron was delighted to announce the award of a Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate of Meritorious Service to Squadron Warrant Officer Andrew Lidinson, in recognition of his dedication and continuous support to the unit. WO Lidinson served seven years as a cadet on 1921 (Lewisham) Squadron before becoming a member of staff. He has subsequently served as a Warrant Officer (ATC) on the same Squadron – choosing to give back to the unit that he grew up with, despite family connections in nearby Squadrons! Serving under many different unit commanders, he has seen the Squadron change and move premises several times. But throughout all of the transition he has remained a constant at the centre of the unit bringing a wealth of experience, interest and compassion to the Squadron. Constant, too, has been his love of aviation. Whether civilian or military, his experience and interest is unequalled. He is well known within the unit for his continuous trips abroad – plane spotting and beyond, often to the far fringes of normal trip destinations for a good look at former Soviet aircraft, or to fly an unusual route on a different aircraft. His knowledge of the industry is a real resource for the aviation-minded

cadets on the Squadron and he is at the heart of the aviation focused training we offer. For many cadets, his experienced insight as they tour major museums is the starting point for their understanding of aviation and many owe their love of aircraft to him. In recent years, this desire to get cadets interested in aviation has taken Andy, and the Squadron, further afield than ever before. Extending across the ocean, the Atlanta, USA trips have become known for their access to front line American aviation – with the showpiece Lockheed Martin factory tour giving cadets insight in to aircraft and the aviation industry that is not available to anyone else! Andy’s hard work in getting these trips sorted, making and refreshing contacts, and leading the projects is a key component of their success. That leadership ability comes from years of experience: in planning camps, leading trips including week long summer camps to North Wales, and in supporting the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and adventurous training. “Andy is a vital part of the Squadron, but he is rarely recognised for his work”, explained Flt Lt David Preece, in nominating him for the Award. “In part, that reflects his modesty and personal approach: he does not seek out the limelight, and never wants to make a fuss.” “But it’s also about being focused on giving back to the unit he joined as a cadet, and helping cadets to succeed and enjoy themselves. And that’s a great gift to the unit, and a great thing to be able to recognise.” “We are really proud that this Award has recognised all that he has done, and all that he continues to do for the staff, cadets, and family of 1921 (Lewisham) Squadron.” ■

6 The Laser Spring 2013

Spotlight on 1921 (Lewisham) Squadron It had seemed an innocent suggestion at the time, and it seemed silly to refuse the opportunity to have a different look at the airfield. But sitting in a vehicle, watching and listening as the Airbus jet ran up the engines to full power and accelerated down the runway, right past our windscreen, it felt a little close for comfort. Our guide knew what he was doing though. In fact, that seemed to be developing in to the theme for the day. Air Cadets are not entirely unfamiliar with airfield operations. Our links with the Royal Air Force mean that many cadets have been to an operational airfield, and seen some of the parts that go in to making the system work. But the chance to see this at Gatwick Airport, the world’s busiest single runway airport, was a different proposition. The difference was brought home to us on a number of occasions. We started by meeting our guide, Terminal Team Leader Staum Parrett, and being escorted through security with our passports. Walking through the terminal to the Air Bridge, the

cadets got a chance to see gate operations in a different way. The Air Bridge offered a great chance to understand the terminal layout better, and look down on the aircraft operations, and watch aircraft taxying underneath us. We started our “airside” tour at the Fire Station, where the watch manager and his team explained their role, their equipment, and showed us how they train. The impressive fire engines caught the imagination of cadets and staff alike – with their water cannons, and rapid acceleration justifying their high price tag. From the fire station, we took a short trip down to Airfield Operations, where we were offered the chance to join the operations team in their four wheeled drive vehicles as they toured and inspected the airfield. Driving along taxi ways, navigating and in constant radio communication with the tower, the team showed us their unique view on the airfield – including watching aircraft taking off and landing at very close range. Airfield Operations then took us to the old Control Tower, where National

Air Traffic Service staff were on hand to talk the cadets through a masterclass in modern aviation management. With full information radar, ground traffic and runway screens set up, and a panoramic view of the airfield, it was easy to understand just how challenging it would be to manage the airspace; even at what was a relatively quiet time of day for the airport. Finally, it was back “landside” for a chance to find out more about careers in aviation. Staff at British Airways headquarters were on hand to give an insight in to the engineering, management and cabin crew opportunities, as well as the Future Flyers scheme that offered a route in to commercial aviation. Our thanks to Nick Pope, Staum Parrett and the North Terminal team for all their hard work and hospitality – the cadets and staff had a brilliant day, and an amazing insight in to the challenges of the airfield that they will long remember. ■ Photo: Cadets in the tower at Gatwick

If you want the spotlight to fall on your Squadron, send your stories to


Spotlight on 1921 (Lewisham) Squadron Cadets and staff at 1921 (Lewisham) Squadron experienced a different side to aviation recently, as they visited a luxury aviation provider as VIP guests. Rizon Jet is a private aviation and business jet operator, based in Doha and London Biggin Hill. Their impressive facility offers a departure lounge and terminal building, as well as incredible hangar spaces for the maintenance and engineering support they offer to clients. As well as providing world-class infrastructure, the company aims to provide the very best in hospitality – and the cadets were treated to the full VIP tour by Office Manager, Ms Linda Parry. The tour began in the departures lounge, where the cadets saw how the private clients were greeted and checked aboard their aircraft, and then moved out to explore the aircraft more carefully. In the immaculate and gleaming engineering spaces, cadets were delighted to be shown aboard a Lear Jet undergoing maintenance, and shown around the aircraft operations. “It’s shown me a completely different world of aviation” explained Cadet Travis Tomlin. “I want to be an aircraft engineer – and to see the way it is done here is really inspiring. I can’t believe how clean and polished this whole place is; it’s nothing like what I expected from a hangar facility.” Pausing only for a brief rest break in the board room overlooking the snow-

covered Biggin Hill airfield, the cadets were invited to join the maintenance staff for one final challenge – driving the tugs around the airfield. Given the difficulty of the exercise, it is a good thing that they had no aircraft attached! “All of the cadets thoroughly enjoyed their visit, and were hugely impressed with the quality of Rizon Jet’s facilities” concluded Warrant Officer Andrew Lidinson, who accompanied the cadets. “We are really grateful to Rizon Jet for their

incredible hospitality – we were made to feel like valued guests, and that nothing was too much trouble. The staff and engineers were fantastically supportive of the cadets’ interest – and I think there will be several budding engineers after this visit.” ■

Cadets from 1921 (Lewisham) Squadron are celebrating nationally recognised qualification success as part of their training. Thanks to the Cadet Vocational Qualifications Organisation, they have succeeded in turning their regular training in to BTEC Certificates worth UCAS points and GCSEs. For Cadet Samuel Adelasoye (16), the award of a BTEC in Aviation Studies represents the end of his cadet classification training. His success at Master Air Cadet is converted in to the BTEC qualification, ensuring that employers and further education providers know just what he has achieved. But for three other cadets, the qualification was far from automatic. Combining their ongoing Squadron training with a range of workbooks and activities, the Squadron’s three Senior Cadets earned a staggering twelve GCSEs between them, through the award of

their BTEC in Uniformed Public Services. Flight Sergeant Zak Hnana, Flight Sergeant Charles Turner, and Flight Sergeant Ashley Messenger had to manage a range of activities to combine with their training, and were rewarded with some of the very best grades in the country, earning two top Distinction marks of the three. We look forward to further success, with another four enrolled for this year on the

BTEC scheme. Their success acts as a real inspiration to those around them; showing that the activities of the Air Cadets have real world value, as well as being important in the Squadron environment. Congratulations to all four cadets for their fantastic achievements! ■

Photo: The Cadets with WO Lidinson pose in front of one of the business jets

8 The Laser Spring 2013

Activity Centre Update

Flight Simulator Update

Coming soon to an Activity Centre near you is the latest “LaSER” flight simulator. Essex Wing Chairman, Jeff Carpenter, explains the new features. Built by RC Simulations to a design by Jeff Carpenter, Essex Wing Chairman, the new flight simulator uses ‘X-Plane 10’ software instead of the Microsoft ‘FS-X’ program in existing installations. Jeff explains, “X-Plane 10 is a more realistic simulator that models the aircraft flight dynamics better and avoids the high demands on processors FS-X requires for its scenery and graphics”. A significant improvement is in the cockpit instrumentation as the ‘LaSER’ flight simulator uses ‘Panel Builder’ which creates scaleable dials and other instruments that may be sized and moved around on a separate monitor screen to replicate specific aircraft ‘dashboards’. The photo below shows the startling result of the ATC ‘Vigilant’ glider used by cadets. The first ‘LaSER’ flight simulator, installed at the Essex Wing Activity Centre, has been upgraded to ‘production standard’ following an evaluation and test programme which identified some improvements. With these changes incorporated, the second flight simulator was recently installed at Woolwich for the London Wing Activity Centre; numbers three and four will be delivered at the end of May for Surrey and Kent Wings.

The flight simultor uses a pre-loaded scenario which may be quickly re-selected at the press of a button on the Instructor Station, which means that precious time is saved in re-establishing the flight for the cadet in the pilot’s seat. Different flight conditions, such as wind speed and direction, cloud conditions or air temperature can also be selected. Importantly, the vectors acting on

the aircraft, such as ‘lift’, may easily be displayed which dramatically shows these vectors diminishing when approaching the ‘stall’ condition. Another useful practical feature of the ‘LaSER’ flight simulator is that it is mounted on two platforms, each fitted with lockable swivel wheels. The platforms are easily disconnected and each one may be moved for storage to maximise precious floor space in a Squadron HQ building.


News Round Up

Surrey 2-day Team Surrey Wing’s team for the RAF Two Day March at RAF Cosford was the largest for many years, if not ever. The team of over 50, led by Flying Officer Wendy White of 1349 (Woking) Squadron is pictured left after receiving their medals. ■

Young Masterminds launch new Ealing Inter Cadet Competition The brand new Ealing Inter-Cadet Competition was launched in early March at The Westside Young People’s Centre with a challenging Quiz opened by Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the Borough, Robert Leader. Five units of uniformed cadets (58) from across the borough of Ealing came together. The cadets aged between 12 and 18 took part in a General Knowledge Quiz Evening which was the first of a series of challenges for the young cadets being held over the next six months. They will also be competing in six other sets of challenges throughout the Summer including an obstacle course race, first aid competition and initiative exercises. It will culminate in a drill competition, sports day and presentation of the winner’s cup at RAF Northolt in October of this year. The teams competing are 342 (Ealing) Air Training Corps, 203 Brentford Army Cadet Force, 1846 (Southall) Air Training Corps, 193 (Southall) Army Cadet Force and the Combined Cadet Force of St Benedict and Cardinal Wiseman schools.

In total this represents about 350 young people from across the borough. The event was opened by the Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the Borough, Robert Leader who said “It is a great privilege for me to have been asked to be involved in this exciting new venture. The future of our Country lies in the hands of our young people and the Cadets set a fine example of what future generations can achieve through competition and a desire to win. I very much look forward to being present at the presentation in October and I am confident that this will become an annual event that will be a credit to the Borough of Ealing and its young people” Winners on the night were the CCF team of St Benedict & Cardinal Wiseman Schools, 2nd place went to 342 (Ealing) Air Training Corps and third place to 203 Brentford Army Cadet Force.Organising staff were very impressed with the high standard of knowledge amongst the cadets admitting they were struggling to answer the questions set.

One cadet said “It was great fun and a great chance to meet different cadet units, we may not have won today but I am looking forward to the other events. The cadets has been a great way of meeting new people and trying adventurous activities, I have recently just completed my two star canoeing award, been walking in the Lake District over the half term and nearly completed my Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award” The event was generously supported by Ealing Council. Council leader, Julian Bell said: “It was a pleasure to support Ealing’s cadets at our Westside Young People’s Centre for this launch event. It is always important to honour the valuable contribution our armed forces play in our community. As Veterans’ Champion for Ealing, I am pleased to see so many young people in Ealing are actively involved in the cadets, learning valuable skills, while enjoying themselves by taking part in these challenge events.” ■

The Cadet teams with Robert Leader DL.

10 The Laser Spring 2013

News Round Up

Eastbourne Air Cadets Support Royal Air Force Association Conference A group of Air Cadets from 54 (Eastbourne) Squadron lead by Warrant Officer Anita Feltham provided a guard of honour for VIPs arriving at the RAFA Annual Conference at Devonshire Park. Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty was meeting some of the cadets for the first time, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, Chief of the Air staff, stopped to talk to the cadets. Cadet Sergeant Nicola Scriven said afterwards; “He asked me what I enjoyed about being an Air Cadet and was interested to know where we go flying and gliding, which is RAF Wyton and RAF Kenley, and he even wanted to know what I was studying at school.” The Royal Air Force Association is celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year and on the Sunday morning there was a parade lead by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force on the seafront and Remembrance Service at the Bandstand during which there was a flypast by a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Once again the Air Cadets formed part of the parade and received many compliments on their smart uniform, including The Right Honourable Mark

Francois MP, Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans who said to Warrant Officer Feltham, “Despite having been in the Army, I have to say that the Air Cadets are the smartest. I do in fact have two Squadrons in my Constituency of Rayleigh and Wickford.” ■

46F Link with the 100th Livery Company 46F (Kensington) Squadron and the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, the 100th City Livery Company have formally linked. The association was marked at the WCIT’s new liveryman’s dinner in London held at the Drapers’ Hall, where cadets were invited to lay on a guard of honour along the Masters’ Reception line giving members the opportunity to speak with the cadets as they waited to be welcomed by the Master and senior members of the Company. The WCIT is a lively and vibrant Company which follows in the City tradition of supporting education, charity and fellowship; attributes easily linked with those of the Air Cadets where friendships and skills are forged for life. 46F(Kensington) Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Flt Lt Chris Butler has already hosted the Master and senior members of the company

at the unit headquarters on a number of occasions. The most recent saw the Master attend a squadron presentation evening as one of the VIPs and hand over a number of awards. The Master, Michael Grant said “ We are so very proud to be associated

with such a thriving squadron in the heart of the city that attracts young people from all walks of life. We look forward to supporting the Squadrons growth and look forward to having them visible at our many functions throughout the year.” ■


Around the Region

Sevenoaks Squadron Best in LaSER

Long Service Honoured

Sevenoaks Air Cadets were recently notified that they have been nominated for the 2012/2013 Lees Trophy Competition for the second year running. This trophy is the most prestigious trophy in the Air Cadet Organisation and is awarded annually to the best squadron in the Air Cadet Organisation (ACO). The squadron was inspected on Tuesday 23rd April by Group Captain Les Hakin OBE RAFR, who is the Regional Commandant of London and South East Region. Today, the 26th

April, Sevenoaks Air Cadets were notified that they had been selected to represent London and South East Region in the Lees Trophy Final, where they will be inspected by Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty RAFR. This nomination means that Sevenoaks Air Cadets is the top performing Air Cadet squadron in the London and South East Region, and is among the top 6 squadrons in a Corps of over 900 squadrons in total. Flight Lieutenant Russell Dowling, Officer Commanding Sevenoaks Air Cadets said: “The nomination to be the Region representative for the Lees Trophy is a great honour, and it is a testament to the hard work of the cadets themselves and the volunteer staff who support the squadron. We will now do our best to represent London and South Region and be labelled the best Air Cadet squadron in the Corps!” ■

Cadets, staff, family and friends gathered rat 393 (Finchley) Squadron, Air Training Corps (ATC), to celebrate outgoing Commanding Officer Flight Lieutenant Michael (Mike) Albone’s 30 years in charge. In the presence of the Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Barnet, Martin Russell DL FCT, and the Middlesex Wing Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Dave Hale, Mike formally handed command of the Squadron over to Flight Lieutenant Philip Jones. After more than 50 years with the ATC, including over 40 as a member of staff, Mike is retiring from his Commission in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. However, while he has handed command of the Squadron to Flt Lt Jones, Mike plans to stay on in a civilian role and maintain his record of service to the young people of the Borough of Barnet. After the ceremony, speeches and presentations were made that acknowledged and honoured the unique contribution that Mike has made to 393 Squadron, the ATC, and to hosts of young people in the local community. Having joined 393 Squadron as a cadet in 1961, Mike enjoyed an action packed time where he achieved success in a number of areas including gaining a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and earning his pilot’s wings by flying solo in a Kirby Cadet glider at RAF Swanton Morley. He was awarded a Commandant’s Certificate of Good Service to the ATC and he won the Willesden Claymore as the Best Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer in Middlesex Wing. By the end of his period as a cadet he had been promoted to the highest rank that a

cadet can achieve, namely Cadet Warrant Officer. Having reached the maximum age for a cadet in the ATC Mike was keen to continue with the organisation in an adult capacity and, in 1971, he was appointed as a Civilian Instructor. He took on a diverse range of roles organising Sports, Shooting and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, where he passed on his knowledge and expertise to the next generation of the Squadron’s cadets. Mike returned to uniform in 1975 when he was appointed to a Queen’s Commission in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) in the rank of Pilot Officer. He continued to serve at 393 Squadron, gaining promotion to Flying Officer, until his work in the construction industry took him away from London. However Mike remained in the ATC and continued to lead and guide cadets on his travels at 2296 (Dunoon) Squadron in Scotland, and at 1313 (Whickham) Squadron in Newcastle. On returning to London in the 1980’s he joined 2473 (Southgate) Squadron, before returning to 393 Squadron as Commanding Officer in 1983 in the rank of Flight Lieutenant. During his long career in the ATC Mike has been awarded the Cadet Forces Medal with three clasps, a Civic Award from LB Barnet and a Meritorious Service Award from the Reserve Forces and Cadet Association. A Chartered Surveyor, Mike, 63, is married to Irene, a Primary School teacher,and togehter they have four grown up children. As well as his service with the ATC, Mike is also active in his local church where he is a lay reader and he leads guidance sessions for couples who are preparing for married life. ■

12 The Laser Spring 2013

Around the Region

Jack Petchey Foundation Awards London and Middlesex Cadets

One hundred youths from the London and Middlesex Wings of the Air Training Corps were presented with prestigious Jack Petchey Achievement Awards at a special ceremony held at The Great Hall Kensington on Sunday 17th February. The event honoured Achievement award winners aged 11-25 who received medallions to go with their framed certificate and a cheque for £200 which have already been presented. They were nominated by their peers and leaders, winning awards for a variety of achievements but mostly for doing their best. The awards scheme provides funding of £8,000 each year to the London Wing of the Air Cadets which includes 29 squadrons. To date £297,000 has been received since funding started in 2002. Funding for the Middlesex Wing, which comprises 26 squadrons, amounts to £16,000 each year and to date £142,000 has been received since funding began in 2007. VIPs attending the event included Group Captain Les Hakin RAFR Regional Commandant who said “I would like to thank the Jack Petchey Foundation for all the support to my units in Middlesex and London Wings as we all endeavour to stretch and mould the future citizens of this great land. With the help of the Foundation we are better able to provide cadets with challenging and exciting activities that give them the spirit of adventure and equip them for their lives ahead. The air cadets are ambassadors of the Royal Air Force, and with Jack Petchey’s support we are better able to carry out this role.” Other VIPs included Cllr Michael Adeyeye, Mayor of Brent; Cllr Mohammad Aslam, MAYOR OF EALING; Cllr David Browne MAYOR OF HARINGEY; Cllr Nizam Ismail MAYOR OF HARROW; Ms Mei Sim Lai, OBE DL (BRENT); Air Vice-Marshal John Lamonte; Mr Robert Leader DL; Ms Maria Pedro DL;

Mr John Purnell GM QPM DL (DL HARROW); Cllr Brian Sharma MAYOR OF BARNET; Major Rosemary Warne MBE DL (DL HARINGEY); Mrs Jenni Bianco, Deputy Lieutenant for Southwark; Colonel Markham Bryant, Deputy Lieutenant for Havering; Mrs Sandy Cahill, Deputy Lieutenant for Hammersmith & Fulham; Colonel Jane Davis, Deputy Lieutenant for Lewisham; Doctor Charles Goodson-Wickes, Deputy Lieutenant for Islington; Commander John Ludgate, Deputy Lieutenant for Tower Hamlets; Brigadier Paul Orchard-Lisle Deputy Lieutenant for Westminster and Lady Elizabeth Arnold Deputy Lieutenant for Kensington & Chelsea. The Jack Petchey Foundation was established in 1999 to recognise the positive contributions young people make to society and to support them in achieving their potential. It has invested £75 million to a wide range of 2,000 youth initiatives across London and Essex. Founder, Jack Petchey CBE, aged 87 said “I am passionate about our awards scheme which enables young people to be recognised, valued and rewarded for their achievements and positive contributions to society. I always believe “If You THINK you can, you can” and these youngsters prove my point - they just needed a little help.” For more information visit www. Follow JPF on Facebook JackPetcheyFoundation and Twitter @ JPFoundation ■


Sussex Cadets Meet PoW

Cadets from 2262 Bexhill Squadron got the chance to meet Jack Lyon, a survior of the infamous Stalag Luft III, known to many through the film ‘The Great Escape’. Flt Lt Tisha Welsh introduces It was a chance meeting at a railway station on a crisp and sunny Sunday morning which led to the discovery that I was talking to Jack Lyon, an RAF Veteran, who had been imprisoned in Stalag Luft III, famous for the Great Escape. Jack’s memories are as sharp now as they were back then and he is very particular that the facts are correct. He is very definite that he was given the number 79 out of the 200 who were to escape through the tunnel, and that he is a very lucky man to be with us today. I asked him if he would share his story with the cadets and staff from 2262 (Bexhill) Squadron, particularly because the Squadron was located so close to his home. There was no hesitation in his agreement and so Cadet Josh Roberts, Cadet Nicole Maynard and Corporal Jodie Henningway put the following questions to him one evening recently. Why did you join the RAF, when, and what age were you? In 1939, at the age of 22, I was working for Shell as a Junior Accountant and their war time plans meant I was classed as ‘non-essential’ and given indefinite leave. On 4 September I went along to the local recruiting office intending to join the Royal West Kent Regt but it was closed! I heard the RAF were recruiting and had opened an office in a local pub, so the next day I went along to the Yorkshire Grey in Eltham and was interviewed, given a medical, accepted, attested and told to go home and pack ‘small kit’, to return for transit on to Uxbridge, where I passed my aircrew interview and medical, was given a uniform and railway warrant. I went back home to await instructions, which finally came on 30 December, when I was told to report to No 1 Initial Training Wing at Downing College, Cambridge. What Squadron were you on and what was the camaraderie like? From 190TU Kinloss I was posted to 58

Sqn based at Linton on Ouse flying Whitley V bombers and gained my commission on completion of my training. In the Mess one mixed with all personnel and it was much as you would find in a large business, friendly. Shortly after I arrived the station was bombed and the outcome did nothing for morale. A bomb shelter received a direct hit, killing 20, mainly aircrew and the Station Commander. As to camaraderie, you must understand that in 1941 Officers and other ranks met only in the course of duty, they were not allowed to mix on station or in public places except where all ranks were admitted (most pubs - not all!) I therefore could only talk to other crew members in the Ops Room and in the aircraft. I was the only commissioned member of the crew. How did you get captured, and how long were you a prisoner of war? We took part in a raid on Dusseldorf in June 1941. Because of overheating in the port engine we had to reduce airspeed and altitude. On target approach we were caught in searchlights, as bomb aimer I could see nothing. Bombs were dropped on a timed target and compass course, results were unknown as we had no camera. The aircraft was hit by ground fire but as far as we knew, without serious damage. Fifteen minutes into return course the port engine caught fire and the extinguisher was ineffective. The pilot could not contact the rear gunner and asked me to try and make physical contact which meant crawling through the narrow fuselage. I opened the door behind the wireless operator and was immediately almost enveloped in smoke and flame, it was an inferno. The smoke rendered me semi-conscious and I remember thinking quite calmly - I felt no fear - ‘Well, I suppose this is it, it hasn’t been too bad a life’, then I suppose the adrenalin kicked in or the survival instinct took over. The pilot yelled, ‘My God, abandon aircraft’. I grabbed my oxygen mask, and breathed

deeply and then my parachute and opened the escape hatch. The Whitley order of exit puts the Observer first, I jumped, must have knocked myself out as the next thing I remember is the sudden jerk as the ‘chute opened and I was, it seemed, floating in the air. Not far away I saw the aircraft, now a blazing torch, going down and shortly afterwards hit the ground with a tremendous explosion. (All the crew survived though the rear gunner broke his ankle.) I landed with the canopy covering me.

Struggling free I could then see that I was in a large open space, which looked like either a sports field or a recreation ground on the outskirts of a town called Goch. In most of the books the airman hurriedly buries his chute and dashes off into the woods in the hope of making it home. For me it was not like that. The ground was rock hard, there was no cover and after a few minutes a soldier on a bicycle appeared

14 The Laser Spring 2013

The Great Escape

and called on me to surrender. With no other means of transport he rode his bike back to the town with me, as his prisoner, sitting on the cross bar. I was a prisoner of war for almost 4 years, liberated on 2 May 1945

nothing to focus on is quite a strain, with the ever present fear of ‘nodding off’ and missing something vital. I knew nothing of other activities and I did not try to find out, what one does not know one cannot inadvertently give away.

What part did you play in the Great Escape? In fact quite a small part, an ‘extra’ you might say. It was not until September 1943 that I went into the North Compound of Stalag Luft III on being moved from the East Compound. All escape activity was on a ‘need to know’ basis - the Escape Committee did not go out recruiting! If you saw something odd going on, you did not try to find out what it was. I knew there was a tunnel because bed slats were being commandeered and knew what

What was every day life like on the camp? I daresay most POWs would say ‘boring’ and to some extent this was true. One saw the same people whether you liked them or not, the same dreary view of barbed wire and sentry boxes, the same limited menus and so on. But, most of us did adapt. The lovers of football constructed makeshift pitches, gymnasts had vaulting horses and parallel bars and walkers pounded the circuit in all weathers. Large camps had a theatre, Stalag Luft III had theatrical talent, up to ‘repertory’ standard. Rupert Davies, RNVR played Maigret in the first BBC Series, and there were many others. The brightest strand on the multi-coloured tapestry of prison life was without doubt education. It was possible to learn just about anything and there were many qualified teachers. I studied Spanish under Tom Kirby Green (born in Tangier), meteorology under Len Hall (himself a Cambridge Maths Graduate) and trained in the RAF on the subject. I even took an exam for Part I of the Final of a Professional Body. It was late in the War and the papers were lost in transit but my study in the camp helped me to pass both parts in December 1945.

they were for. After a few discrete enquiries I was asked whether I wished to take part. I would not have been any good at digging as I hate closed spaces. I could not be a penguin, with bags of sand suspended under my overcoat for disposal when walking round the perimeter, because I was too short or the bags were too long. I became a ‘stooge’ which means surveillance, keeping track of Germans in the camp, both day and night. I can tell you, looking through a knot hole at night with limited vision and

Did you ever doubt the plan would work and what kept you motivated? Of course we had doubts, but kept them to ourselves. All escapes involved risks. Tunnels were prone to roof falls, trolleys with no brakes, home made wiring, a 15 foot shaft with no guard rail. Health and Safety would have closed it down! Outside the camp the odds were stacked against you and those odds lengthened with the number on the run. One or two on the loose stood the best chance. Numbers like 50 or more provoked a nationwide hue and cry with everyone from Hitler Youth (and they had a nasty reputation) to the German equivalent of the Home Guard hunting for you. Those like myself who had only the minimum escape aids knew that we were expendable, our chances of success, even in good weather were virtually nil. As to motivation, that was a

personal thing. Some, particularly those who had been POWs a long time - some since the outbreak of War - were desperate for a chance to escape. Some thought we should try to show the people at home we were not just sitting out the War in comparative comfort and some I suppose on the principle of having a go. How similar was the film “The Great Escape” to what happened? More a case of difference rather than likeness. In the first place no Americans took part in the escape. True, they contributed to its construction, but in July 1943 they were all moved to another location. The film depicted fine weather when as we know it was very wintry. So far as life inside the compound was concerned the film was reasonably accurate. How difficult was it to keep all three tunnels (Tom, Dick & Harry) hidden? In fact it was too difficult. ‘Tom’ was discovered. I had not reached the North Compound so this is hearsay but true I think. The Germans usually destroyed tunnels by pumping raw sewage into them but with Tom they decided to blow it up, or rather to place a charge at the entrance which would direct the explosion through it, causing collapse. They grossly under-estimated the force of the charge which also blew off a good part of the hut roof! How far along the tunnel did you get and what happened to you? In fact I never got into it and as it turned out it was probably lucky I didn’t. Another half hour or so I think I would have escaped and may well have become No 51 on Hitler’s hit list. Looking back is there anything you would have done differently? In the first place you must understand that decision making did not rest with me or anyone else. It was the prerogative of the planner and chief executive, Roger Bushell. He might take advice from the Escape Committee but not necessarily act on it. As an example he asked Len Hall (the ‘Met Officer’ I mentioned earlier) for his weather forecast for the next 48 hours. Len told him - ‘Little change, overcast day and night, snow unlikely with light winds’ - Bushell gave the order ‘It’s on for 24 March’, a crucial decision which could 15

The Great Escape not be rescinded - all forged documents etc had to be date stamped. In hindsight, I think had it been postponed say till mid-April a few more might have made it. But, Bushell knew that every day that passed meant greater risk of discovery, also he himself would probably have been transferred, as was his tunnel expert Canadian Wally Floody. How did being in Stalag Luft III change your life? I accepted the option of rejoining Shell after the War (as did Douglas Bader) so it did not change very much. What did alter was my sense of values. I learned that possessions may be a burden rather than an asset. Many POWs ignored the first rule of POW life - that you only own what you can carry! They learned this the hard way when the camp was evacuated in January 1945. I learned to improvise - ‘make do and mend’ it was called in the 1939-45 War and the lean years of the 50s. Nowadays we have a throw-away society, many things quit useless in an emergency. What happened to you after Stalag Luft III? Before I answer this question I would like to say that there has been controversy for many years over the events following the evacuation of Stalag Luft III on 27 January 1945. Known as the ‘Long March’, I emphasise that what I shall say applies strictly and exclusively to the comparatively small number, including me, who were finally liberated by Units of the British 2nd Army near Lubeck in NW Germany on or around 2 May 1945. I

state unequivocally that the conditions we experienced, provided that we were as prepared as possible, were no worse than any serviceman may encounter on active service. We left shortly after midnight, carrying what we could (including one Red Cross parcel per man), I could not carry all of mine and took only the most nutritious items and luxuries like chocolate, tea and coffee. The snow was three quarters of an inch, the temperature minus 5-10 °C. We marched all night and most of the next day with breaks every two hours or so. Around dusk we halted near some farm buildings, the lucky ones found shelter but when I tried to get in one I was firmly told to push off. I slept under a pile of straw without this I might not have survived as temperatures may well have fallen below minus 10°C. From then on it was not so bad, one night I slept in a stable - smelly and the horses were restless but it was warm and dry. A horse kicked a hole in a small fibre suitcase, luckily it was not my head! A day or so later, a thaw set in and the sledges that some had made were useless. The trolleys that others were using broke down because they had no hard wood for wheel bearings. After a last stop in a glass factory where the ovens were still working and we managed some hot food, we reached Spremberg where we boarded cattle trucks. It was crowded and sanitation rather primitive. A poignant reminder of the fate of millions was the sight of women whose train was travelling East, destination possibly Dachau, Treblinka or Auschwitz, these transports of death were continuous, almost to the end of the War. Some four

to five days of travelling brought us to the outskirts of Bremen called Tarmstedt where we de-trained. After a mile or so in fairly heavy rain we reached a POW camp and those lucky enough to have any could change into dry clothes. The camp was called ‘Marlag and Milag Nord’ designed to hold RN and Merchant Navy Officers. It was empty and we had misgivings as to what happened to the previous occupants. Before we left Stalag Luft III I had (quite legitimately) acquired a pair of American army boots, far superior to their British counterparts and they were so good that I did not have a single blister. When the Allies crossed the Rhine we were on the move again but this time it was different, really a doddle, the weather was sunny and warm, no effort was made to force the pace, food was plentiful with more Red Cross parcels than we could handle. We crossed the Elbe by public ferry. By the beginning of May we were within sight of the twin towers of the medieval fortress in Lubech. We were billeted in farm buildings and on 2 May a scout car with a Captain and Sergeant drove into the courtyard and said to one of us, ‘I believe there are some POWs around here’, to which the reply was ‘Yes, maybe 600 or so’. The German guards carefully piled their rifles together on the ground and so ended for me exactly three years and eleven months captivity. The cadets and staff from 2262 (Bexhill) Squadron were enthralled by Jack’s story and as a token of thanks he was presented with a Sussex Wing Shield by Sgt Jade Smith. ■

Westminster Air Cadets Lend a Hand Air Cadets from 291 (Westminster & Chelsea) Squadron were on hand recently to assist with an event held by the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust in Central London where Cadet Sergeant Elliot Stark was awarded the 2012 Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Trophy for Flying Excellence. Elliot was presented with his trophy by Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire at the Royal Air Force in Concert performance at the Cadogan Hall in London. The concert was attended by Commandant Air Cadets Dawn McCafferty with cadets from Westminster Squadron on hand at the event selling programmes and assisting

concert-goers with enquiries. Cadets attending from 291 Squadron were, Cadet Corporal Filipe Jesus, Cadet Sergeant Annie Dooley and Cadet Sergeant Kadeem. ■ Picture courtesy of Flight Lieutenant Vik Singh Taak

16 The Laser Spring 2013

News Round-up

Romford Cadets Celebrate Success

Generations Meet

6F (Romford) Squadron Air Training Corps, held its Annual Presentation Evening at its Headquarters at the TA Centre to celebrate another successful year of achievements with Guest of Honour, Mayor of Havering Councillor Lynden Thorpe Flight Lieutenant Richard Cottam, Officer Commanding, gave a report on the Squadrons many achievements over the past year, which included manning a lining party for Her Majesty The Queens Visit to Redbridge, turning out to support the Olympic Flame past the Squadron Headquarters and visiting HMS Ocean whilst it was dock on the Thames, before the main presentations. Cadet of the Year was named as Corporal Rebecca Levy, (15) Rebecca who has been with 6F for two years stated that “being part of the Air Cadets has given me the determination and skills to aim high, focus and above all else be a responsible citizen. I also felt very privileged to have met some of our serving armed forces. Their dedication to our country and their heroism and team spirit have inspired me to be a better person” Corporal Levy (pictured right) has been a member of the squadron for two years and her favourite activity out of the many on offer in the Air Cadets is gliding, saying that “the amazing feeling of soaring through the air in complete silence, riding the air currents like a bird, everything seems so serene”. Winning Cadet of the Year is testament to her hard work. If she keeps this up

Young and old came together when veterans from the National Service (RAF) Association visited 6F (Romford) Air Cadets. The visiting Veterans were all called up in the 1940’s and 50’s and spent two to four years within the RAF, serving in trades ranging from Fireman to Air Traffic Control. The Veterans were given a tour of the Squadron and told how the Air Cadets run and what activities they do. Some of the visitors were ex Air Cadets themselves and were quite surprised at just how the Cadets have changed over the years. The veterans then talked to the Cadets and answered questions about their time, including about the different jobs they did and where they served. The veterans were then invited to watch the Squadrons final parade of the evening and the enrolment of a new Cadet into 6F. 6F’s Commanding Officer Flt Lt Richard Cottam said “The Cadets often see Veterans at the Remembrance Parades but this was an opportunity to get to know them better and ask them questions about their time. ■

Air Cadet Aims High

Cadet Sergeant Sam Austin has won a prestigious place on an Air Cadet Flying Scholarship Program. Sgt Austin is one of very few cadets across the whole of the Air Cadet Organisation to win a place and will travel to Dundee Airport to receive 12 hours of Pilot Training culminating in a solo flight. Successful completion will mean Sgt Austin will be able to wear the coveted Air Cadet Flying Scholarship wings and the hours of flying can also count towards Private Pilot’s Licence training. Sgt Austin has been an Air Cadet for over five years and during his time has gained places on a Combined Cadet Forces Leadership course and also won a

he will end up with a BTEC in Aviation Studies in time to compliment this GCSE’s!” Commented Officer Commanding, Richard Cottam. Other recipients included Corporal Nicholas Layton , 17, who won three awards for, individual Aircraft Recognition cup, Best Attendance and Individual .22 marksman. Cadet Nathaniel Fabian, 13, won two awards for the Best Recruit and The Bruce Blackett prize for honesty of purpose and determination. ■

place on Pilot Navigation Scholarship last year where he spent two weeks learning how to navigate aircraft. All of this is helping towards his goal of becoming a pilot with the Royal Air Force. Sgt Austin said, “This is the culmination of almost six years work; it has been my goal to attend this course since I joined the Corps and to be awarded it now is a great honour.” Flt Lt Richard Cottam, Officer Commanding 6F said” Sgt Austin is proof of just what young people today can achieve. Teenagers receive a lot of bad press but like many things it the few that spoil it for the many. It is a great honour for a 6F Cadet to gain a place on this course. ■ 17

Around the Region

285 Sqn Cadets Complete Youth First Aid Course

Cadets Visit BTP CTSU

Air Cadets from Coulsdon and Purley learnt an important life skill when they recently completed a Youth First Aid Course. The course run by Civilian Instructors Rachel Davis and Joe Francis of 285 (Coulsdon & Purley) Squadron, gave the 12 cadets a nationally recognised St John’s Ambulance qualification, and the ability to potentially save someone’s life. For the staff, the course was the first they had run and due to the success of this one, it will be the first of many. The 12 cadets successfully completed 12 hours of training and passed their assessments with flying colours. One cadet explained the outline of the course, “Being a member of the Air Training Corps means many things such as flying, shooting, gliding and the opportunity to potentially save someone’s life.” They continued, “The St John’s Ambulance Youth First Aid Course was a rewarding experience that took place over a highly enjoyable weekend. We learnt the basics of first aid a few include how to carry out CPR, help someone who is choking, treating fractures and burns and then we practiced these skills in real life scenarios.” The course was broken down into three days of training, with plenty of fun, innovative activities and games to break up the many lessons that needed

One lucky group of cadets from 16F (Wood Green & Hornsey) Squadron were privileged to be the first cadet unit able to pay a visit to the British Transport Police’s (BTP) Counter Terrorism Support Unit (CTSU) in London. During the visit the cadets were taken into the police armoury and shown the equipment and weapons carried by Counter Terrorism Officers at London’s busy railway stations. They were also given a presentation explaining why BTP have decided to form an armed unit at this time and giving them an overview of the current and historical terror threat to the UK and how this has changed. The cadets were also fortunate enough to be given a demonstration by the Explosive Search Dog Section and the opportunity to meet some of the dogs and their handlers who demonstrated how police dogs can be used to search for hidden explosives. Cpl Isham Nyemba said “It was very interesting to see the dogs close up and I was fascinated to hear about the system used to train the dogs to sniff out bombs”. The finale of the day was a trip around the CTSU museum and a presentation from the Specialist Response Unit who explained some of the sophisticated equipment available to them when they are called to deal with unattended or suspicious items in the railway environment. Throughout the visit the cadets had the opportunity to speak to Specialist Counter Terrorism Officers who were more than willing to discuss any questions about Counter Terrorism or policing in general that the cadets had. Fg Off Martyn Dawson who organised the visit said , “It was good for the cadets to be able to meet the officers and have the chance to speak to them close up as often the police in our communities can seem to be a faceless uniform, but this visit showed the cadets that this is far from the truth”. ■

to be covered. These included CPR races, showing the different types of burns on a BBQ and real life practice scenarios. The cadets worked extremely hard throughout the weekend, even when tired they retained important information given to them and came away with a smile. One cadet summarised their feelings towards the course, “I would recommend anyone to go on this course: it's a fun course to go on, you learn lots of things to do with First Aid and you come out with a First Aid Qualification.” Another highlighted the importance of gaining these skills, “It is highly likely that in your lifetime you will encounter a situation in which somebody is in need of medical attention, so after this weekend it is satisfying to know that I will be able to help them” ■

London Air Cadets visit CityJet on International Women’s Day To celebrate International Women's Day, CityJet and female members of the Royal Air Force Cadets from London Wing took to London City airport. The day was designed to encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young women. Every year CityJet celebrates International Women's Day and this year they decided they would like to arrange activities celebrating the day in London, at London City Airport. CityJet wanted to give young female Air Cadets the opportunity to visit London City Airport and come on-board one of their aircraft. The group were also given the opportunity to meet CityJets female Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Christine Ourmières and female crew during the day. The cadets were able to ask both the female pilots and cabin crew a range of questions about

their careers in the aviation industry. An Avro RJ 85 was parked on stand from the morning to early afternoon – so the group had plenty of time to explore the airport, aircraft and chat with CityJets CEO and crew. ■ Photos - Rosie Hallam/CityJet

18 The Laser Spring 2013

Around the Region

31 Squadron’s Inaugural Awards Night The Prime Warden of the Fishmongers’ Company, The Lord Phillimore together with the Company’s Clerk, Mr Nigel Cox Esq recently attended 31 (Tower Hamlets) Squadron’s inaugural awards night as guests of honour to help celebrate the successes of Tower Hamlets-based Air Cadets. Since the Squadron started operating in Tower Hamlets in January 2012 and the affiliation with the Fishmongers’ Company later in the same year, Tower Hamlets Air Cadets have been exposed to a variety of disciplines which was reflected during the awards night with over one hundred certificates, qualifications and awards being made to 60 Air Cadets. Jim Fitzpatrick MP and honorary president of the Squadron said “I would like to express on behalf of the Squadron our sincere gratitude for the support that the Fishmongers have rendered to the Squadron in its first year. To have so many St John’s Ambulance First Aid awards, Heartstart certificates, promotions, gliding, marksmanship and Duke of Edinburgh awards presented to Air Cadets is testament to a rapidly growing Air Cadet

Squadron and I know that with continuing support from the Fishmongers’ Company this success story will continue.” The Prime Warden reported “I was delighted to be able to attend such a splendid awards night. To see firsthand the achievements of so many Air Cadets was superb and I look forward to developing our ties with 31 (Tower Hamlets) Squadron and to attending their formation parade later this year.” ■ PHOTO: Lord Phillimore presenting Cadet Shihab Ahmed with his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s award.

Camberley Cadets Challenged for Red Nose Day Cadets from 1075 Camberley Squadron were joined by their friends and family for a special “Challenge 1075” night to raise money for Red Nose Day. The night was based around challenges related to the number 1075, with all attendees taking part. The first challenge was to score 1075 netball goals, which was taken on with enthusiam by both the cadets and their younger brothers and sisters, achieving the feat after an hour. The next challenge, which was going on simultaneously was the rowing challenge. The aim was for individuals to row a distance of 1075 metres each. Twenty one cadets managed to complete the task under the watchful eye of former cadet, now gym instructor, Brad Pace. The last challenge related to 1075 was the drill session. This was no ordinary drill parade as the cadets’ friends and family were given a crash course to enable them to join in too. This meant that the challenge of 1075 individual drill movements was carried out with a smile on many of the assessmbled faces. But the highlight of the night was

Air Cadets sing at the Vicar of Dibley’s Church A small Air Cadet Choir formed from various Squadrons in Middlesex Wing got a surprise when they arrived in the historic village of Turville during a planned stop on their Duke of Edinburgh award expedition to sing at St Mary the Virgin Church in Turville and realised it was, the fictitious St Barnabus Church from the famous television sitcom, “The Vicar of Dibley”. The group were invited to sing along with their Instructors, Corporal Lesley Vincent and SAC Alison Cartlidge (both from the Central Band of the RAF) to give a tuneful rendering of the very popular theme tune from the comedy series that made actor Dawn French so famous. Cadet Sergeant Jyoti Metla from 86 (Heston & Isleworth) Squadron said, “it was really funny when we realised we were at the Church from the Vicar of Dibley” with Cadet Sergeant Katie Knight adding, “I was a fan of the program and I recognised the Vicar of Dibley’s house from the other side of the village street.” Though the Vicar of Dibley was not there herself, Church Warden, Mrs Anne Jones, thanked the choir and gave a short history of the church. ■

something close to many peoples heart - cake. One of the themes of this year’s Comic Relief was baking, so the cadets were given the chance to enter cupcakes into a Squadron Baking competition. The winner was the best decorated cake along an air cadet theme. The judges unanimous decision was to make Cadet Ben Whelan the winner, with his cakes showing Squadron staff piloting little aircraft. The night was a success raising £1,825.60 for Comic Relief. ■ Below: Cdt Vandenberg rowing the 1075 metre challenge. Right: Cdt Whelan’s winning cupcakes.


Around the Region

Feltham Squadron Celebrate a Great 2012 In December 2012, 94 Squadron held their annual Presentation Evening, celebrating a fantastic year for the Squadron. Having starting the year running with RAFWARMA Training Walks, 94 were on course for an outstanding year. The year was definitely one never to forget having Cadets complete their Bronze, Silver and even Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards, 2 Gliding Scholarship awards, gaining approximately 60 Wing blues and 10 Region blues, having Cadets compete in not only RAFWARMA but also sending 3 cadets to Nijmegen, RIAT 2012 and also gaining the award ‘Best Cadet’ awarded to Cadet Sergeant Zoe Ramos, attending camp at RAF Cosford, attending Capel Curig and Windermere on camp, attending Bournemouth Air Show amongst many other activities. This year 94 had a very special reviewing officer, Air Vice Marshal Michael

Harwood CB CBE ADC RAF along with other VIP Guests. The presentation included the Passing out parade of new recruits, Annual awards (Listed below), Promotions, The Middlesex Wing Singers performance, a closing speech from AVM Harwood and OC Flt Lt Liam Meehan and a ‘End of year Video 2012’ which can be viewed on YouTube. Awards 2012 Best new recruit – Cadet Joshua Coates, Best Attendance – Cadet Sergeant Callum Brown, Adventure Training – Cadet Ali Roberts, Marksman of the Year – Cadet Warrant Officer Ciara Haggar, Sports Cadet of the year – Corporal Lewis Annoh, Citizenship Cup – Cadet Sergeant Zoe Lindsey, Aviation Award – Corporal

Charlotte Kerens, Drill Cup – Cadet Warrant Officer Ciara Haggar, Best Cadet – (was Cadet) Cadet Corporal Jack Sherwood, Best NCO – Cadet Sergeant Zoe Ramos The evening was a huge success, with an attendance of over 80 Cadets, Parents, Staff and VIP’s. 94 (Feltham) Squadron are already looking forward to 2013, starting off the year with a trip to see the Red Arrows, Typhoons and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight! ■

Middlesex Wing on “mega” Training Weekend

St George’s Day Parade

In May, Air Cadets and training staff from Middlesex Wing mustered at RAF Northolt for a weekend of cadet training and adult development. The Wing training team, comprising of Wing and Squadron staff delivered three courses. The 30 Cadets on the Junior NCO course learnt about, communication, the role of JNCO, leadership, getting things done and drill. The 15 cadets on the Senior NCO course focused on leadership & and drill instruction. The nine adults on the potential uniformed staff course were instructed on topics that would aid them in preparing for interviews on becoming uniformed member of adult staff in the Air Cadet Organisation. To complete the weekend, all the course attendees demonstrated what

On Saturday 20th April 2013, 420 cadets from the London Sea Cadets, the Sea Training Corps, London Army Cadets and London and Middlesex Wings Air Cadets joined the Air Cadet National band and the standards of 18 British Legion and RAFA Branches on a parade, at the Cenotaph in Whitehall run by the Royal Society of St George to celebrate St George's day. The parade mustered in King Charles Street and led by the National Air Cadet Band as they marched

they had learnt through participation in a series of practical leadership exercises. In addition, the SNCO course participants were assessed on their ability to instruct drill. Depending on demand for training the Middlesex Wing training team run two to three Mega Weekend training weekends a year. These have proved to be well supported by voluntary Squadron staff from within the Wing. Middlesex Wing is parented by RAF Northolt and most grateful to the Station Commander for allowing them to use the excellent Force Development facilities and Junior Ranks Mess for the training. ■

20 The Laser Spring 2013

Around the Region

Epping Cadets keep up the Back Chat In February cadets from 414 Squadron Epping & North Weald continued their Back Chat project with a 'Games Afternoon' at Wheelers Farm Gardens sheltered housing community in North Weald. The project has built relationships between the teenagers and elderly residents since the first visit in April last year and continues to gain momentum as it develops. On this occasion residents

out and formed up around the Cenotaph. At 11:00 hours to the chimes of Big Ben; an Air Cadet Trumpeter, Cadet Corporal Robert (Bob) Lloyd of Prestatyn Squadron, played the last post. There was then a two minute silence followed by the Reveille. The Royal Society's parade then lead a moment of reflection before the Society led a wreath laying ceremony. The parade then performed a mass march past to the reviewing officer; Colonel Mark Bryant DL of the Army Cadets, guest of the Royal Society to music played expertly by the National Band back into King Charles street where the cadets were inspected by the Colonel and the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Angela Harvey. Both commented on the high turn-out of the cadets. There was then a brief service in Westminster Abbey for the Society. 8 Cadets, 2 from each of the Sea Cadets, Marine division, Army and Air Cadets provided a guard of honour. ■

had challenged the cadets to indoor games and they teamed up to learn new skills and attempt to out-play each other. Teas, coffees, cold drinks and biscuits were served by the cadets and a raffle rounded off the afternoon. Previously cadets have helped residents with practical things such as moving household items and gardening. They have also socialised and built friendships with a party, coffee morning and a ceremonial tree planting for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee last year. Residents Gladys & Pat said in unison (finishing each others sentences!) - "It is brilliant that the cadets come round regularly and a really good thing that they involve residents in their day to day lives." Resident Tony Falco, whose wife Sylvia is the main link in facilitating events with the Air Cadets, had not attended any of the previous occasions over the past year. He admitted that it wasn't really his sort of thing and he hadn't expected to enjoy the afternoon. Today, following a hotly contested darts competition, Tony conceded "I really enjoyed it! The cadets didn't need any coaching - they did really well off their own backs." When asked whether he had been converted and would attend the next event, he agreed that he would. Corporal Rosie Mercer, (14) said "This is exactly the purpose of the Back Chat project. The older generation and teenagers do not mix naturally and the project gives us an opportunity to do something together. Learning about what we have in common, despite our differences, is how relationships are built. Corporal Jacob Hannis (18) said - "I was beaten at darts, crushed at Trivial Pursuit and lost Scrabble on a technicality. It was really good fun and intensely competitive!" Cadet Hamza Qadri, (14) said - "I thought today was really fun and a good way of bonding with the older generation." Cadet Hannah Knowles, (15) said - "I

thought it was brilliant getting to know these people and socialise. Having met them before through the Back Chat project, today I got to know them better." Following on from their work on the Back Chat Project, two cadets have been honoured by North Weald Bassett Parish Council. Corporal Rosie Mercer and Cadet Lauren Elder jointly won the ’Young Citizen of the Year Award’ and also the ‘Overall Citizen of the Year Award’, presented at the Annual Council Assembly Meeting. They were nominated by a local Councillor for their work on the Back Chat Project. The girls have arranged six events with the sheltered housing community at Wheelers Farm Gardens in North Weald in the past 12 months. They started with a £300 grant from O2 Think Big and have continued to raise money to sustain the project within the local community. Rosie also won the Essex Wing Chairman’s Award for this project in February 2013. Rosie said: “The awards came as a great surprise and I am very happy that the local community has noticed the work we have been doing. I really enjoy our relationship with the residents and we have lots of fun, at the same time knowing we have done good things for people.” Lauren said: “I am incredibly proud and honoured to receive this award as I feel it is important to give back to the community!” The cadets will soon hold a fundraising car boot sale and the next planned activity will be a movie afternoon with residents. ■


Around the Region

Sussex Cadets Weekend full of Activity Up to 100 cadets and accompanying staff have enjoyed a successful weekend of non-competitive activities at Crowborough Camp. The aim was to give as many cadets as possible access to heart start training, to teach map reading and basic communications towards first class level. Other activities included: The Obstacle Course, indoor and Outdoor Range, Fieldcraft, Orienteering, Sport and initiative exercises. Sussex Police Drugs Officers gave a two hour presentation to all cadets and many staff on most aspects of drugs from their supply mis-use to consequences. The weekend also provided an opportunity to put Senior Cadets in a “staff” role to improve their command skills. East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service came along with three fire tenders and an animal rescue unit. Following on from a film presentation about road traffic accidents, the Fire Brigade carried out a casualty rescue demonstration in which 19 year old Cadet Warrant Officer Coral Martin of 2262 (Bexhill) Squadron played

the role of the ‘casualty’. Coral, along with Cadet Jordan Page, (15), from 304 (Hastings) Squadron took part in a short video centred on the visit and connected to Road Safety Week. Of her experience as the casualty sitting in the car, Coral said, “It was very loud and if the situation had been real, a little scary. If I was unlucky enough to be in that situation I would now be better prepared as to what to expect.” Jordan said, “I was really moved by what I saw in the film presentation and it gave me insight into what can happen. I will definitely think about how to use the road when I learn to drive.” ■

Herne Bay’s Moving Tribute to the Dam Busters An Air Cadets parade and a seafront Dakota flypast marked Dam Busters Day in Herne Bay in a fitting salute to Second World War heroes who took part in the legendary bombing raid. Crowds filled the streets and applauded standard bearers and members of 1063 (Herne Bay) Squadron as they marched from the statue of Sir Barnes Wallis, the man who invented the bouncing bomb used in the raid on German dams in the Second World War. The Squadron was joined by cadets and staff from 312 (City of Canterbury), 2433 (Ramsgate), 354 (Dover) and 2235 (Deal) Squadrons as well as members of the town’s Royal British Legion, Royal

Air Force Association and ex-serviceman’s club. The statue of the silent star of the show overlooks the seafront in recognition that early versions of his bomb were tested along the Kent coastline before being put into action during the mission 70 years ago. There were other flypasts around the Country, including at Lincoln Cathedral, where 1300 people attended a memorial service. More than one third of the men who took off from RAF Scampton in 19 Lancaster bombers did not return from the raids on 17 May 1943. The mission marked a turning point in the war and more than 1300 people lost their lives as the bombs landed on key dams flooding the Ruhr valley. The devices were designed to bounce across the water towards their target before exploding underwater to destroy the dams. ■ Left: Bouncing Bomb inventor Barnes Wallis

22 The Laser Spring 2013

Sussex go to NZ unrivalled beauty. Here the team completed the difficult Kepler Trek, 60km in 4 days carrying full expedition kit with two wild camps and a hut stay in the middle. The terrain was almost tropical rain forest on first and last days but the two middle days gave unbelievable views of glaciated valleys and fjords, not too dissimilar to the Lake District. The team also summitted Mt Luxmore at 1485m the highest peak in the area. Prior to the trip the team has made contact with the Department of Conservation and agreed to help with some community tasks. The first was at Luxmore Hut where they helped the Hut warden prepare a new access path for the hut, so other users would cause less environmental damage in the future. On return the team moved onto their second project, the clearing of a Wilderness area in the National Park, of rubbish from passing motorists and wild picnickers as well as identifying and removing non-indigenous vegetation such as Wilding Pine and Broom which was choking out the natural habitat for a number of birds and rodents. Over two days the team removed several piles of vegetation, three black sacks of rubbish and a van full of wire and metal guttering dumped across the site!!! The team then moved on to Milford Sound where they had the pleasure of a

sunrise sea-kayak in the shadow of the famous Mitre Peak, flanked by steepling glaciated valleys and waterfalls, and paddling with seals, a suitable reward for their hard work Lastly the team relocated to Mount Cook area where they did some AEF NZ style by flying by helicopter up onto Plateau Glacier, in the shadow of Mt Cook (NZ’s highest peak) for a two day winter skills course. On Day one they learnt the skills of glacier travel, roped up with ice axe and crampons, as well as the theory of avalanches, arresting falls, self arrest techniques and crevasse rescue. Day 2 consisted of an early start to get the hard frozen snow to reach a mid morning

“This trip has been an incredible experience and now realise how far I can push myself and not give up”

Twelve cadets and staff have just returned from a Sussex Wing ATC led expedition to South Island New Zealand, made possible thanks to a year of planning and fund raising activities, and the generous support of the Ulysses Trust and the Singleton Trust via HQ Air Cadets, amongst others. The expedition aim was to give senior cadets the motivation to remain in the Corps and the opportunity to develop softs skills in areas including leadership, communication, teamwork, problem solving and budgeting, the idea being these skills would prove useful in both a Services or Civilian career and would sit well on any CV The trip was based in South Island and lasted a total of 18 days (including travel). To help, the trip started with a Whitewater rafting trip down the Shotover River with rapids up to grade 4 culminating in a grade 4 water slide dropping 10ft called the Cascade. Jet lag now solved the team relocated to Te Anau, on the edge of Fiordland National Park, the wettest place in NZ but also a World Heritage Site for its

summit of Glacier Dome – 2554m, a peak on the North flank of Mount Cook with magnificent views of the Mount Cook / Tasman Massif as well as views back down the Tasman and Ball Glaciers to Mount Cook village. Using their new skills to good effect the whole team summitted together to cap off a fantastic trip before the long haul back to the UK, with lifetime memories and stories to tell. ■


Around the Region

Kent Cadets heading to Canterbury Cathedral

Sussex Band on ITV

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of CVQO younger members of Kent Wing will again this year have the opportunity to gain the CVQO-led BTEC Level 1 in Teamwork, Personal Skills and Citizenship. The qualification which is aimed at year nine students has been written by CVQO to accredit the softer skills that employers are looking for in young people as they set out into employment. Over 140 young people from the Sea, Army and Air Cadets will for the first time join Cadets from St John Ambulance in completing the qualification which has been funded by a number of Trusts and businesses across Kent. Cadets from Squadrons in the Medway towns, Maidstone, Ashford, Swale and Thanet will all benefit. The BTEC Level 1 has been mapped seamlessly with the First Class Cadet qualification and to achieve it the Cadets register with CVQO as they commence their First Class Cadet training and then the two are completed together. CVQO receives no central government funding to provide the qualification for young people and the cost has to be met by fundraising. One of last year’s sponsors the Kent People’s Trust has provided funding again this year. Director of the Trust, Bryn Price, commented: “We jumped at the chance of working with CVQO and we believe that the money has been really well spent. With this small investment we are making a difference to 50 young

Great excitement was followed by some serious rehearsal sessions when the Sussex Wing Band were asked by ITV if they would appear in the popular programme 'Ade in Britain'. The timescale was short but the Band, comprised of cadets from across the County and led by Flight Sergeant Phil Mabbott, Sussex Wing Bandmaster, achieved all that was asked of them and the sun came out despite the damp start to the day. Research by ITV of all things Sussex related had brought them to our door because the Band are well known for playing the famous tune 'Sussex by the Sea' which is regularly used as the Sussex Wing March. Filming took place close to the Coastguard Cottages at Seaford Head with the backdrop of the wonderful Seven Sisters Country Park. There were a few nerves in the beginning but after a couple of runs through the tunes, everyone settled into playing for Ade and pulled out all the stops to produce a first class performance of not only 'Sussex by the Sea' but also 'Colonel Bogey'. Corporal Jodie Henningway of 2262 (Bexhill) Squadron, who had only recently joined the band said, "I had been playing the trumpet for eight months but this was the first time as a member of Sussex Wing Band. I did not have a lot of time to learn the music and was a bit nervous at first but really enjoyed the whole experience." While Ade got on with the cooking the cadets sat and watched from the sidelines, appreciating just how much goes into making this TV programme. Once the dish was ready, Flight Sergeant Phil Mabbott along with CWO John Reid and Cadet Helen Cockroft, both from 1015 (Horsham) Squadron were invited to try Ade's cooking. Of the Band, Flight Sergeant Mabbott said: "Their hard work in rehearsals together really paid off and despite some nerves about being on TV performed well - meeting any celebrity is daunting", and on a personal note he added, "I'm a fan of Ade's television work and his music. He was such a friendly guy and spent time talking to the band on and off camera.

people’s lives. Local government and the Chief Constable of Kent Police are delighted that we are working together in partnership to enable these young people to accomplish something that they can actually see as an achievement for themselves.” This year the Cadets who complete the qualification will be invited to a special awards evening at Canterbury Cathedral where Viscount De L’Isle, LordLieutenant of Kent, will present them with their Certificates in front of parents and influencers from across Kent. Viscount De L’Isle has chosen “Youth Employment” as the Lieutenancy’s theme for 2013 and the CVQO-led BTEC Level 1 sits well within that theme, actively promoting employment skills. CVQO is committed to offering as many young people as possible the opportunity to achieve the BTEC Level 1 as the charity believes that it is the start of a young person’s continuous professional development. As more funding becomes available Cadets from across the London and South East Region will benefit. For further information on the CVQOled BTEC Level 1 in Teamwork, Personal Skills and Citizenship please contact Clinton Riley at or follow Level 1 developments on Twitter CVQOL1. Squadrons can obtain advice on local fundraising for the Level 1 by contacting Jeanne Peterson at ■

24 The Laser Spring 2013

Junior Leaders

He was kind enough to give autographs to the cadets and pose for pictures. What really interested me in the show was that Ade is a cook, not a celebrity chef but a cook. As a qualified chef myself it was a pleasure to watch him at work and a pleasure to lead the band in his presence. The Band performed to the highest standard for one of televisions most charismatic entertainers and I am very proud of them." ■

CWO Christopher Raj of 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Squadron

I first heard about Junior Leaders a few years ago when a couple of my NCOs attended it - it sounded immensely challenging, time consuming but very, very rewarding - and now that I have completed it myself, I understand it was exactly that. The nine weekends we attended took us all around the country, to very different RAF and army training areas, to teach and then hone down our leadership skills, both in the classroom and field. Each weekend proved more challenging than last, but as a team, we fought through and helped each other make it to the next one. By

Graduating from the six month long Junior Leaders course is one of the toughest challenges an Air Cadet can face. Two Cadets from LaSER have done just that. Lets hear their story. the end of our training, there was a very noticeable change in our attitudes, with each and every single JL being more than a little competent and confident in various areas, from our fieldcraft to presentation skills. Our final phase of the course was the renowned test phase which consisted of a seven day field exercise before our return to camp for an air power exam and presentation. The week in the field proved to be the toughest of my life so far, being both mentally and physically challenging. Yet some experiences such as being deployed in Merlin helicopters and commanding a section in a flight attack will stay with my forever. By the end of the seven days, we limped back to the camp smelling funny and completely exhausted but were all the better for it - we had bonded as a team and had achieved things both as an individual and team that we had never thought possible. After a challenging written air-power exam and a presentation to my section, we changed into our Number 1s for the night we had looked forward to all those, cold, wet nights in the field - Graduation Dinner. A three course meal at the officers mess at RAF Honnington, the home of the RAF Regiment, was welcomed by all of us (especially after seven days with nothing but army issue ration packs). During the dinner, some awards were presented and I was lucky enough to receive the Cross Trophy for the best lead on test week and was also selected for the receipt of a JTYAF bursary for an expedition to Kenya for a month in August. We were handed out DZ flashes on Friday and it then hit us that we were finally Qualified Junior Leaders, over half a year's hard work had finally paid off. I have learnt much more than I had expected by attending this course and it has by far been one one of the best overall experiences I have had with the Corps. I'd like to thank my CO for helping me to get selected for this course and all the staff and volunteers at Junior Leaders who made it all possible. ■

CWO Segayer of 406 (Willesden) Squadron Since joining the ATC in 2009, I can safely say that I have had my fair share of completing some of the finest courses the corps has to offer, however none of those compare to the Junior Leaders course. To sum up the Junior Leaders course by simply saying “it’s challenging” is by far an understatement. Ever since hearing about the Junior Leaders course I knew it was the course for me. The thought of it being the most challenging course the ATC has to offer was definitely one of the main reasons why I decided to apply. The course started in September with a selection weekend taking place at Beckingham Training camp. Once the selection weekend drew to a close, all the successful candidates were briefed and issued with kit, which marked the beginning of Junior Leaders course XIV. Overall I can say without a doubt, that the Junior Leaders course has been one of the most challenging things I have done in my entire life. The course goes beyond your everyday leadership skills and slowly begins to develop you as an individual. Each training weekend is huge step up from the last, standards are raised, new skills are learnt, abilities are tested and leaders begin to develop. Completing the Junior Leaders course has definitely been the proudest moment of my ATC career. The feeling you get when you complete the course and earn the right to wear that prestigious DZ flash is indescribable. Having successfully completed the course, one of the main things I have learnt is that no matter how mentally or physically exhausted a person is, with the proper drive and determination they will always have just a little more to give. ■


The City of London Corporation and “YOU London” celebrate volunteering Photo courtesy of Kevin Poolman

Volunteers from London’s Youth Organisations in Uniform (“YOU London”) were treated to a spectacular reception in June, hosted by The City of London Corporation to recognise and celebrate their valued contribution in delivering the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee events and Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. The reception, at the prestigious Guildhall in the heart of the City of London, heralded the start of Volunteers’ Week (1st – 7th June 2013) – a time when nationally we celebrate the contribution and achievements of all volunteers. Volunteers and representatives from the ten youth organisations that form YOU London took part in an evening of celebration in the Guildhall’s magnificent Great Hall and Old Library. During the evening there were musical recitals from the orchestras of the Kingston and Malden Scout and Guide Band and the Air Training Corps Band. The choir of the London Singing Group and Girl Guides welcomed guests as they arrived. Speaking in the Great Hall, the Representative Lord Mayor, Alderman Ian Luder CBE, praised the invaluable

contribution made by London’s volunteers to their communities and read out a letter of support from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales thanking them most sincerely for their loyalty and dedication to London’s young people. The evening concluded with a magnificent Beating Retreat in the Guildhall Yard, performed by the London Massed Bugle Band of The Boys’ Brigade and The Girls’ Brigade. Colonel Hugh Purcell OBE DL, Chair of YOU London said, “Thanks to the commitment and time given by our adult volunteers, hundreds of children and young people were able to take part in the fantastic and inspiring events of 2012,

many of whom might not otherwise have had the opportunity.” Group Captain Les Hakin, Commandant London & South East Region said; “It was great to see our Air Cadet adult volunteers recognised for their sterling work as they lead, train and provide role models for the next generation, the youth of London, chasing the ideal enshrined in our motto Venture, Adventure!!” The evening also presented an opportunity for the YOU London organisations to thank partners and family members for their invaluable support, during a very busy and hectic year. ■

Marathon Achievements Two members of staff from the London & South East Region successfully completed the 2013 Virgin London Marathon, raising vital funds for service charities in the process! Flying Officer Wesley Pollard, from 1921 (Lewisham) Squadron ran to raise funds for Royal Air Force Association (RAFA). Wesley, completed the marathon in 4hrs 42mins and jointly raised £3,400 with another runner raising money for RAFA. Commenting on his achievement, Flying Officer Pollard (pictured right, before the start) said; “it was a fantastic family occasion made truly memorable by the support of the crowd and the knowledge that money was being raised for a wonderful cause. A lot of fun and, thankfully, very little pain encountered!” Squadron Leader Caroline Gourri,

LaSER Media & Communications Officer (Pictured right, number 44888) ran for the second consecutive year, raising money for two charities: Hounds for Heroes, who provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured service men and women and The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers Orthopaedic Shoe Fund, who supply injured service persons recuperating at Headley Court. Caroline completed the marathon in 4hrs 16mins and raised just over £4,200 to be split equally between the two charities. After a bit of a rest, Squadron Leader Gourri said; “after last year, I said I would never run another marathon but when I got the opportunity to run again for these two fantastic charities, I didn’t think twice. It was an honour and I can’t thank everyone who supported me and donated enough!” ■

26 The Laser Spring 2013

“Bhangra Flight” is Star Attraction After 1846(Southall) Squadron won their Wing Drill competition (the first of two consecutive victories), many of the Cadets in the squadron asked whether they could use the leadership, teamwork and discipline that they had acquired through their ATC training to show off their other talents in the upcoming Air Cadet Tattoo. Uncomfortable at the prospect of having a squadron activity where the staff could no longer hold the mantle of all-knowing demigods, but also resigned to the fact that this would eventually happen one day, they agreed to allow the cadets to start putting together a routine and allotted time for their chosen performanceBhangra Dance It must be said that since this had never been done before, the staff were extremely

anxious at the reception the cadets would receive. Was this too far out of the ATC remit? Would the crowd like it? Would they get it? After exactly 6:24 minutes from the beginning of the performance they got their answer in the form of a roaring cheer from the crowd and standing ovations, and credit to the brave young cadets, they really put together a great show, and have never looked back since! Any other remaining questions about whether they should continue with this venture were swiftly put to rest when the ‘Bhangra Flight’ were invited to perform in front of thousands of people as supporting act to the Military Wives choir on tour. (Which has raised in excess of £12k for military charities). Since then, they have performed at a whole host of high ranking venues including HMS President, where Air

Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford KCB CBE RAF enjoyed the performance so much, that he even tried out as one of the Dhol players! He was however genuinely impressed that the performance. (A Dhol is a drum found throughout the Asian continent and features heavily in Indian music). The furore surrounding this troop of British Asian teenagers donating so much of their time to help raise funds for service charities found itself making its way all the way to the Air Commodore herself, who promptly decided to see what all the fuss was about. So she attended the Military Wives St Albans show. She was so impressed that she insisted on meeting the Cadets backstage to personally congratulate them on their hard work and dedication. Where next you ask? The sky is the limit is the answer the cadets give. ■


The names of the successors to the Commanding Officers of several of the Region’s Wings have been announced. The successors are: OC Essex Wg – Sqn Ldr Robinson; OC Kent Wg – Sqn Ldr Goodayle; OC Surrey Wg – Sqn Ldr Gould; OC Sussex Wg – Sqn Ldr Tucker. The first change will be in Kent Wg shortly to allow Wg Cdr Garrod-Bell to take up the appointment of Regional Gliding Officer (RGO). Others will follow at a later date. The next LaSER will carry a detailed article on the changes. ■


My Flying Scholarship Welling Air Cadets were celebrating recently when they heard the news that Cadet Sergeant Luke Arpino has successfully completed the Air Cadet Organisation’s Pilot Scholarship. The scholarship funded by the Royal Air Force allows senior cadets 12 hours of free pilot training at Tayside Aviation, Dundee. Here is Luke's report; On the 4th March I left home at 07.00hrs and started the long journey to Dundee by train, arriving at 17.30hrs. After arriving at Dundee I met another Air Cadet at the train station Flight Sergeant Ryan Staple, of 41F Taunton & District squadron, Devon & Somerset Wing ATC, and we agreed to share a cab to the hotel; we checked in. The hotel was fantastic, the service friendly and welcoming. As we wouldn't be reporting to Tayside Aviation until the next day, Ryan and I explored the hotel, had a session in the gymnasium and a lovely meal. We were both excited about the following day and the prospect of flying. On the first day we were introduced to a Cadet Sergeant Alex Lawernson, of London Wing who would be doing her scholarship with us. Each morning we were collected by mini-bus that took us to Tayside Aviation. On arrival we met the staff, everyone was friendly and hospitable, and next we were introduced to our allocated instructor. My pilot was Henri Liilunen from Finland. Coming from the South East I found that he was he was difficult to understand with an unusual mix of Scottish and Finnish accent. We then had our first briefing which was the usual combination of health & safety and common sense, and then the interesting stuff began. The first ground lesson was basic ailerons, equal roll and so on. Afterwards we were shown our cadet room, this is where we stayed for the rest of the day because the bad weather prevented flying. This was to be the story for the next week, lectures and study and no flying. The weather went from bad to worse, first a little rain and a little wind, nearing the end of the week we had thick heavy snow and blizzard conditions. On Sunday 10th March, although still snowing on and off there was no wind, perfect for flying. That morning as we arrived at Tayside Aviation our morale was high – we were finally going to fly. The usual check s on the aircraft were

undertaken which included fuel testing to that there was no water or dirt within the tanks, operational checks and so on. Also, I had to have a flying briefing and oddly for the first time I had butterflies in my stomach, I put this down to the long wait and now we were finally about to fly. I had worried that the school would stand down and the students sent home due to the bad weather. I was about to fly and I hoped that wouldn't happen now. For the first flight I didn't have to do much, it was more of a 'familiarisation' flight, for the aircraft and local landmarks. On Monday, new cadets arrived and all seemed friendly enough, as it turned out I was the youngest cadet at the age of sixteen. The day just literally 'flew' past, lessons and three hours of sorties mad every day tough. Nearing the end of the three hours my mental stamina started to show signs of exhaustion. Every thing Henri told me went straight through my head and out the other side; stupid mistakes were made. The days passed too quickly and before I knew it Friday had come around and Henri had the day off! My secondary instructor Ms Root Jovani from Spain, watched me do everything so I could prove that I could fly on my own without assistance. All went well except one mistake on the radio, my landing and circuit was 'perfect'. I had another sortie that day where I had to demonstrate to the instructor that I could complete EFATO (engine failure after takeoff ) and this went well: completed exercise at 200ft above sea level. On landing, Root said in a distinct Spanish accent that I was capable of flying solo, she asked me if I had any questions,

when I said “no” she jumped out of the plane and wished me “Good Luck!”. The time had come for me to do my first solo. First and foremost I had to complete power checks, once completed I asked Air Traffic Control (ATC) for clearance to taxi to holding point Alpha. Following that I was given permission to line up and wait on the runway. Clearance came for take-off, I was relaxed with no stress at all and the song 'Dancing in the Moonlight” by Top Loader was running through my head. All went well, radio calls were correct, my only problem was a cross wind which put me off on the circuit but was easily corrected. On landing the relief and excitement grew, I was in such high spirits I'm sure a tear fell. The ATC called over the radio “congratulations Tayside 1 Hotel Foxtrot”, I shall never forget this moment. I taxied to the hanger and all my new friends were there applauding me, it was so special. Had the best debrief ever, full of praise and congratulations. That night at the hotel we stayed up late celebrating my solo flight; a great day, and one that shall be imprinted on my memory for a long time to come. The next day I was given the opportunity to utilise the one hour fifty minutes of unused flying time I had been allocated. We planned to fly to Edinburgh but the weather closed in and in the end my last day would be non-flying. Before departing for home Henri presented me with the coveted pilot wings, this was quite an emotional event, it was also time to go home. I would like to thank all those involved with providing me with this opportunity. ■

28 The Laser Spring 2013

Afternoon tea… by Royal appointment In May an invitation was extended to a number of the Air Cadets from 56 (Woolwich) Squadron, London Wing to enjoy afternoon tea with The Duke of Edinburgh at the Cutty Sark. The cadets represented the Air Cadet Organisation in the celebration of the Duke’s 60 years as patron of the Cutty Sark. Tea and scones were served in the Sammy Ofer Gallery, under the impressive hull of the historic tea clipper and were enjoyed by a select group of 300 local residents. The Cutty Sark was used as an auxiliary cadet training ship between 1938 and 1954, when it was put on display in Greenwich. The vessel has been well accustomed to the presence of cadet forces and her event was attended by Air Cadets George Adewole (14), Alex Fairweather (18), Alex Ferryman (15), Joe Frogget (15), Sanjog Gharti (15), Kieran Jeeves (14), Kevin Knigge (17), Elliott Lashley (18), Giamarco Rizzo (14) and Oreoluna Yusuf (15). The Air Cadets were joined by members of other Cadet Forces, Scouts, sports groups and a number of faith groups from the local community. The Duke stepped aboard to the sound of a lone bugler and greeted his guests; paying particular attention to the Air Cadets from 56 Squadron after spotting them wearing his Duke of Edinburgh

award badge. It was not long before Prince Philip was deep in discussion with the cadets about their DofE aspirations. While questioning Cadet Corporal Joe Froggett, the Prince took great interest in the expeditions he had completed and his upcoming expedition weekends. Corporal Froggett said he thought the day was an “exhilarating experience and an exciting opportunity to meet the Duke.” The musical festivities kicked off with a performance from the Air Cadet band of 56 Squadron who were followed by performances from the Sea cadets, an Irish dance troop, a string quartet and a

harpist. Cadet Yusuf said “It was a brilliant afternoon and I enjoyed the coming together of the different cadet forces and dance clubs.” Officer Commanding 56 (Woolwich) Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Mark Bird said after the event, “To be invited along to the tea party and play in front of the Duke Edinburgh was a privilege, I was so impressed by the cadets professionalism and effort, they produced an outstanding performance and had such enjoyable experience with was topped by their conversation with the Duke". ■


“Octs Away!” Welling Air Cadets have had good cause to celebrate recently with two of their Civilian Instructors celebrating their eightieth birthdays. Octogenarians, Mr Peter Weston and Mr Mike Coleman have both had a long association with the Air Cadet Organisation (ACO) and the cadets of 358 (Welling) Squadron wanted to mark the occasion with something special; each received a framed print of “Soaring Saturday”. Depicting the Grob 'Viking' duel seat glider that has being in service since 1983 and life on a gliding school, which will be very Group Captain Leslie Hakin OBE RAFVR, Regional Commandant, London & South East Region described their achievement thus. “The ACO needs committed volunteers, as they are the life blood of this organisation. It does not matter if they are 40 or 80, if they are keen and capable of performing their duties and obligations then we welcome them... Peter Weston and Mike Coleman are clearly committed to the cadets of Welling squadron, and these cadets understandingly appreciate them immensely.” Civilian Instructor Coleman is the Squadron Adjutant and as such is the first point of contact with the squadron. He joined 18F (Wimbledon) squadron in 1947, aged 14. Leaving, to undertake National Service with the Royal Air Force (RAF), he later rejoined the ACO, initially as a Warrant Officer but later as a Flying Officer. Serving squadrons within Kent & London Wings, he was awarded the Cadet Forces Medal. Mr Weseton is Honorary President of the Squadron's Civilian Committee, having joined 1198 (Deptford) squadron as a cadet in 1948, aged 15. He too undertook National Service in the RAF. His link with the squadron was strengthened in 1984 when his son, Richard joined as a cadet, and later joined the RAF (he is currently a Master Air Load-master on Merlins) Peter often represents the squadron staff at official engagements, youth committees etc. and has even attended St James' Palace on a number of occasions to accompany cadets collecting Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards. In 2011 & 2012, Mike & Peter respectively, were recognised by the Squadron with a Jack Petchey Foundation Outstanding Leaders award for their diligence and dedication to the ACO. In addition to their ACO work they are

both active members of the Bexleyheath & District Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA). Flight Lieutenant Kris Cottier, Officer Commanding 358 (Welling) Squadron described their achievement. “These presentations prove that the Air Cadet Organisation, and Welling squadron in particular is committed to integrating young and old. It respects and appreciates the dedication of its volunteers, regardless of age. If you have the ability, drive and dedication to volunteer you should never be 'too old'. The youth of the Borough have an active and positive role to play in the future of the Borough, but the mature members also have their role in ensuring that the youth are taught their responsibilities and how to undertake them. All the Borough's adult volunteers should be commended for their diligence and commitment to young people”. The event was also an opportunity for the Squadron to return the L&SER Lavender Trophy for best oversees expedition, having won it for their expedition to Peru. ■

Surrey Wing’s annual awards night went off in style this year when the Wing rewarded the successes of the past year with the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Dame Sarah Goad. Held at the prestigious St John’s School in Leatherhead and supported by construction research and consultancy organisation BSRIA Ltd, over 130 awards were presented by Mayors from across Surrey and the Southern London Boroughs. The night started with awards that had been presented behind closed doors, giving the individuals a chance to have their moment in the spotlight. Flying and gliding scholarships kicked the night off, followed by the winners of the photographic, modelling and aircraft recognition competitions. BTEC awards followed, with 323 (Epsom & Ewell) Squadron being highlighted after gaining 23 BTEC Diploma’s in Public Services through the CVQO. Sport awards were next on the bill with cadets recognised for representing the Wing, Region, and for one cadet the Air Training Corps. The Wing also recognised those who excelled in sports with the award of Sportsman of the year - Cdt

30 The Laser Spring 2013

Surrey’s Best Rewarded Surrey Wing recently publically recognised the achievements of its top cadets and staff at their annual awards night. The night culminated in the announcement of Best Cadet and Best Sqn.

Stevens of 1034 (Surbiton) Squadron, Sportswoman of the year, Cadet Flight Sergeant Allen of 1075 (Camberley) Squadron, and Sports Squadron of the year to 328 (Kingston upon Thames) Squadron. (all pictured below). Civilian Instructor David Harris was also recognised with an award for best contribution to sport in the wing, an award he has received for the last four years. Adventure Training awards for the winners of the Wing’s South Downs and Bray Trophy competitions were represented, together with Flight Lieutenant Sullivan, the Wing First Aid Officer, being presented with his International Mountain Leader award, which came as a surprise to him.

In addition to communicator badges, music awards and drill competition trophies, several special community awards were represented. Flt Lt Rob Cleeter was represented his GLRFCA commendation, and 97 Croydon Squadron their award for finishing as runners up in the Croydon Civic awards. This year saw the firs Wing Commander’s Commendations presented at the awards night. Nine volunteer staff from the Wing were recongised for their efforts for Nijmegen (Flt Lt B White and Fg Off W White), BTEC (Fg Off Baxendale), Adventure Training (WO Smith), Drill (FS Stewart), Shooting (FS Kemp), Music (Sgt Witchell), Swimming (Sgt Saridis) and the Air Training Corps (CI Bues).

The final awards of the night were for the best in the Wing. The Squadron nominees for the Best Cadet competition were all presented with a certificate (see main photo) before the overall winner was announced. This year Cadet Flight Sergeant Katherine Pound of 261 (Guildford) Squadron took the Sydney Black Trophy, presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey (pictured top). FS Pound has been a stalwart of the Wing band, even travelling back from University in Durham to attend practice sessions, and recently completed her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. The final award was for the Wing Pennant for Best Squadron, going to 1075 (Camberley) Squadron. ■


Awards & Appointments New staff are appointed in the Air Cadets all the time, whilst other staff and cadets are promoted or presented with awards. The next few pages will highlight achiviements in the Region Adult Senior Non Commissioned Officers The following staff have recently been appointed as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in the Air Training Corps within the Region. Essex Wing Sergeant J M Sayer, 308 (Colchester) Sqn Sergeant Cl Briden, 309 (Sawbridgeworth) Sqn Sergeant J Harrison, 2317 (Harlow) Sqn Flight Sergeant O E J Nicholls, 999 (Dunow & District) Sqn

Civilian Instructors

The following staff have recently been appointed as a Civilian Instructor in the Air Training Corps within the Region. C A Lomas, 9 (Islington) Sqn Essex Wing M J Begley, 50 (Lambeth) Sqn CP Wren, 276 (Chelmsford) Sqn N C Ferguson, 452 (Hornchurch) Sqn F S Saunders, 1471 (Wickford) Sqn T A Begent, 48 (Hampstead) Sqn S W Jones, 1483 (Brentwood) Sqn Q Vita, 1475 (Dulwich) Sqn S R Clegg, 414 (Epping & North Weald) Sqn V Montoya Calderon, 1475 (Dulwich) Sqn J M Paris, 999 (Dunmow & District) Sqn H C Plumley, 33 (Battersea) Sqn R F Simpson, 295 (Witham & Rivenhall) Sqn Y Griffin, 296 (Stoke Newington) Sqn D L Trigg, 2531 (Woodham Ferrers) Sqn A J Simon, 282 (East Ham) Sqn F J B Riley, 1096 (Bishops Stortford) Sqn B Moore, 282 (East Ham) Sqn H A Tucker, 158 (Braintree) Sqn M G Harris, 6F (Romford) Sqn P With, 106 (Orsett Hundred) Sqn S Causton, 1921 (Lewisham) Sqn G A Blackwell, 1824 (Saffron Walden) Sqn M Brereton, 56 (Woolwich) Sqn R J Pack, 999 (Dunmow 7 District) Sqn C J Mackey, 282 (East Ham) Sqn K N Crouch, 106 (Orsett Hundred) Sqn K Budd, 282 (East Ham) Sqn E A Franklin, 494 (Stanstead Airport) Sqn C Smyth, 12 (Walthamstow) Sqn G Hulley, 253 (Woodham Ferrers) Sqn L J Mitsi, 2048 (Dagenham) Sqn M L Jelley, 2531 (Burnham on Crouch) Det Flt J C Parry, 48 (Hampstead) Sqn W R Stevens, 158 (Braintree) Sqn J C Whipps, 1921 (Lewisham) Sqn J Firestone, 343 (Camberwell) Sqn Kent Wing A Hallford, 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Sqn A O’Donnell, 438 (Thanet) Sqn J L Goldman, 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Sqn M Earl, 2433 (Ramsgate) Sqn J A Maley, 1063 (Herne Bay) Sqn Middlesex Wing N J Whiteoak, 1404 (Chatham) Sqn P K Narin, 1846 (Southall) Sqn G J Port, 2375 (Ditton) Sqn O Ahmad, 1846 (Southall) Sqn C Sparkes, 312 (City of Canterbury) Sqn J D Frankel, 1083 (Uxbrigde) Sqn H E Cooper, 500 (Headcorn) Sqn B O’Keeffe, 267 (Twickenham) Sqn S A Minnerthey, 213 (City of Rochester) Sqn A Mukerji, 1374 (East Barnet) Sqn N N Patel, 16 (Wood Green & Hornsey) Sqn London Wing A Ul-Haq, 2236 (Stanmore) Sqn L B Minshull, 46 (Kensington) Sqn J Vyas, 120 (Hendon) Sqn A R Gilmore, 9 (islington) Sqn J Hayre, 1846 (Southall) Sqn 32 The Laser Spring 2013

Awards & Appointments R J D Shellabear, 1454(Harrow) Sqn J F Bhanji, 101 (Kenton & Kingsbury) Sqn D G Cantrell, 342 (Ealing & Brentford) Sqn Surrey Wing H Davison, 18 (Wimbledon) Sqn J W Clayden, 2157 (Mitcham) Sqn M J Jay, 39 (Barnes) Sqn T E Ellis, 1172 (Esher) Sqn K McWilliams, 135 (Reigate & Redhill) Sqn S A Edmonds, 565 (New Malden & Raynes Park) Sqn K L Spencer, 135 (Reigate & Redhill) Sqn L C Hewitt, 450 (Kenley) Sqn R Turan, 450 (Kenley) Sqn R N J Ford, 39 (Barnes) Sqn L J Crawford, 1349 (Woking) Sqn J Allen, 1349 (Woking) Sqn M S Puttergill, 1075 (Camberley) Sqn C L Hennessy, 450 (Kenley) Sqn A Powell, 323 (Epsom & Ewell) Sqn

I F R Kirkham, 1408 (Dorking) Sqn S L Furness, 1075 (Camberley) Sqn M Budden, 229 (Farnham) Sqn L J Brooker, 285 (Coulsdon & Purley) Sqn J R D Clegg, 1075 (Camberley) Sqn Sussex Wing H M Thompson, 1440 (Shoreham) Sqn J R Trehearne, 172 (Haywards Heath) Sqn J P Ryan, 1140 (Steyning) Sqn M Humby, 2262 (Bexhill) Sqn J D Wearing, 172 (Haywards Heath) Sqn J P Saddington, 45 (Worthing) Sqn E Atkns-Chafer, 226 (Brighton No2) Sqn F E Gwinnett, 176 (Hove) Sqn K Gray, 1087 (Arun Valley) Sqn R Needham, 196 (Hove) Sqn S M Smith, 2351 (Bognor Regis) Sqn E Pilbeam, 54 (Eastbourne) Sqn R G Arogyaswamy, 2529 (Burgess Hill) Sqn W J Clough, 2464 (Storrington) Sqn

Honorary Squadron Chaplains The following staff have recently been appointed as a Squadron Chaplain in the Air Training Corps within the Region. Essex Wing Reverend N Taylor, 2317 (Harlow) Sqn Reverend S R Spencer, 1312 (Southend-on-Sea) Sqn

Middlesex Wing Reverend N G T Wheeler, 114 (Ruislip) Sqn Reverend R D E Bolton, 85 (Enfield & Southgate) Sqn

Kent Wing Reverend J Khovacs, 305 (Ashford) Sqn Reverend J A Weeks, 340 (Edenbridge) Sqn Reverend O C G Higgs, 228 (Bromley) Sqn

Sussex Wing Reverend A J Percey, 172 (Haywards Heath) Sqn

Cadet Warrant Officer The following cadets have recently been promoted to Cadet Warrant Officer, the highest rank achievable by a cadet . Essex Wing CWO C Nash, 494 (Stanstead Airport) Sqn CWO T Reeks, 309 (Sawbridgeworth) Sqn CWO D Heath, 1163 (Colne Valley) Sqn CWO S Tucker, 1207 (Maldon) Sqn

London Wing CWO C Raj, 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Sqn CWO B Chequer, 1475 (Dulwich) Sqn CWO S Sani-Mohammed, 56 (Woolwich) Sqn CWO E D Espin-Salazar, 56 (Woolwich) Sqn

Kent Wing CWO N Thomas, 1579 (Erith) Sqn CWO A Collick, 2316 (Sheppey) Sqn CWO E V W Mehmet, 228 (Bromley) Sqn CWO K McKay, 2513 (Romney Marsh) Sqn CWO J P Lee, 1227 (Sidcup) Sqn CWO S McCarthy, 1401 (Chatham) Sqn CWO M Kokuz, 1404 (Chatham) Sqn CWO M Postill, 40 (Maidstone) Sqn

Middlesex Wing CWO S Thompson, 85 (Enfield) Det Flt CWO D Mathai, 86 (Heston & Isleworth) Sqn CWO L Crook, 114 (Ruislip) Sqn CWO J Dengel, 16 (Wood Green & Hornsey) Sqn CWO P Tallon, 16 (Wood Green & Hornsey) Sqn

Surrey Wing CWO R Suppa, 1349 (Woking) Sqn CWO T Lawlor, 1349 (Woking) Sqn CWO L A Clark, 1408 (Cranliegh) Det Flt 33

GLRFCA Awards The Greater London Reserve Forces and Cadets Association’s recent awards night honoured some of our top staff and cadets. The awards were presented by the Lord Lieutenant for Greater London, Sir David Brewer CMG JP Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate for Meritorious Service

Best ATC Squadron Commanders GL RFCA recognises s a hard working and dedicated Squadron Commander from each of Greater London’s ATC Wings. The award is not necessarily awarded to a Squadron Commander for long and loyal service. It is awarded primarily to the Squadron Commander who has achieved the most for his/her squadron over the previous 12 months. The winners for 2012 are: Flt Lt William Kilminster MBE RAFVR (T) of 48F (Hampstead) Sqn London Wing (Pictured below top) Flt Lt Chris Brierley of 114 (Ruislip & Northwood) Sqn Middlesex Wing (Pictured below left)

Warrant Officer Nicola Kempton of 291 Squadron (Pictured above)

Flt Lt June Machin of 1034 (Surbiton) Sqn, Surrey Wing (Pictured below bottom)

Warrant Officer Andrew Lidinson of 1921 Squadron (Not Pictured)

The Association Certificate for Meritorious Service Plt Off Carlie Pavitt of 27F Squadron (not Pictured)

34 The Laser Spring 2013

Awards & Appointments

Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet


Cadet Flight Sergeant Akshay MANDALIA of 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Squadron ATC

Havering Cdt Rebecca LEVY Cdt Cpl Catherine FERGUSON Hillingdon Cdt Flt Sgt Daniel FICKLING Cdt WO Charles SUTTON Islington Cdt Flt Sgt James PECK Cdt Flt Sgt Cammeron MORANTI Kensington & Chelsea Cdt Flt Sgt Tanguy RACINE Cdt Flt Sgt Maddie BUTLER

Deputy Lieutenant’s Certificates 2013 Barking & Dagenham Cdt WO Sam HOLLAND Barnet Cdt Flt Sgt Benedict STEPHENS-SIMONAZZI Cdt Sgt Kareem MARSH-HENRY Cdt WO Chelsea DAY Brent Cdt WO Jeetendra GURUNG Cdt WO Ahmed SEGAYER Cdt WO Nathan ALLEN Camden Cdt WO John PARRY Cdt Cpl Hannah SOLOMON Ealing Cdt WO Ashley JANSEN Greenwich Cdt Flt Sgt Edmundo ESPIN SALAZAR Hackney Cdt Flt Sgt George CARNEY Hammersmith & Fulham Cdt Sgt Henrietta BIDDICK Cdt Sgt Lucinda CONDER Haringey Cdt Sgt Francesca SAUNDERS Cdt Flt Sgt Penny TALLON Cdt Flt Sgt Jack DENGEL

Lambeth Cdt Cpl Francesco RUGGIERO Lewisham Cdt Sgt Metin ALTAYKAN Cdt Sgt Thomas NORTON Newham Cdt Sgt Silvija ZILINSKAITE Cdt Sgt Charles HAYES Redbridge Cdt Flt Sgt Christopher RAJ Cdt Flt Sgt Finlay BLISS Cdt Flt Sgt Isabel HULBERT Cdt Sgt Clare O’KEEFE Cdt Sgt Alexander SADLER Cdt Flt Sgt Ben GILBERT Cdt Flt Sgt Bradley BRITTON Southwark Cdt Flt Sgt Beatrice CHEQUER Cdt Flt Sgt Dillon SHARPE Sutton Cdt Flt Sgt Thomas COLLINS Tower Hamlets Cdt Malcolm SMITH Cdt Sheri KREYZIU

Sevenoaks Cadets Recognised for Oustanding Service Two Sevenoaks Air Cadets have been recognised for their exemplary service to the organisation by being awarded Commandant’s Certificates of Good Service – one of the highest awards available to cadet members of the Air Cadet Organisation. Signed by Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty RAF, the Commandant of the Air Cadets, the certificates are recognition of the dedication and time Cadet Warrant Officers Matthew Prentice, 19 and David MacQuarrie (pictured below), also 19, have put into the organisation since joining as cadets aged 13. Both senior cadets have undertaken gliding and powered flying scholarships, achieving solo flights in each, completed their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and undertaken numerous training courses in shooting, first aid, adventurous training and much more. Both Matthew and David have now started to work towards accredited qualifications in their various areas of expertise to allow them to deliver activities to the younger cadets on the squadron. Flight Lieutenant Russell Dowling, Officer Commanding 2158 (Sevenoaks) Squadron, said: “CWO Prentice and MacQuarrie are both exceptional cadets who have taken every opportunity afforded to them by the Air Cadet Organisation. As a result they have developed into strong and confident leaders who can now pass on their experience and knowledge to a new generation of Air Cadets – this has been rightly recognised in the award of their Commandant’s Certificates of Good Service - well done!” ■

Waltham Forest Cdt Sgt Stavros ANTONIOU Wandsworth Cdt Sgt Jacek HORBACZ Cdt Flt Sgt Athar ANJUM Westminster Cdt Sgt Sean KELLY

Harrow Cdt Flt Sgt Aeron OBENG-MARNU


Awards & Appointments

Kent Cadets go International Cadet Warrant Officer (CWO) Matthew Prentice, of 2158 (Sevenoaks) Squadron Air Cadets has been named as the Kent Wing representative for the Dacre Sword, a national competition to find the best Air Cadet. This puts him among the top 34 Air Cadets in the country, out of around 36,000 cadets in total! CWO Prentice (pictured right) was also honoured by being awarded the Kent Wing nomination for the International Air Cadet Exchange, this year to Canada, where he will visit the Royal Canadian Air Cadets (their equivalent of the Air Cadets in the UK) for several weeks of aviation related activities where he will act as the representative for the UK Air Cadets. To top it all off, he was also named as the Kent Wing Cadet of the Year, making him the top cadet out of the 1000+ cadets in Kent Wing. With a list of achievements including such things as flying solo on an Air Cadet Flying Scholarship, becoming one of the top 100 cadet rifle shooters in the country, achieving qualifications in Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Leadership, Aviation Studies, Public Services, First Aid and Radio Communications, it’s easy to see why he was awarded the top spot. CWO Matthew Prentice said, “After nearly 6 years in the Air Cadets I have taken part in activities I could never have imagined when I first walked into the squadron. The opportunities have been amazing, and now I’m in a great position where I can help develop future generations of cadets.” Flight Lieutenant Russell Dowling, Officer Commanding Sevenoaks Air Cadets said, “Matt has taken every opportunity available to him in the Air Cadets, and has thoroughly enjoyed each one. This has developed him into a strong and confident leader who has a wide range of knowledge and skills which he can pass onto future cadets. This is an amazing set of achievements to top off a great cadet experience – well done!”

Dacre Nominations The Dacre Sword is presented each year to the top male cadet in the Air Training Corps, the Dacre Brooch is for the top female cadet. The nominations from the Wings have been made and the regional nominations selected. The standard was extremely high and all participants are congratulated. They will all be awarded a Region Commandant Certificate of Merit.

Joining Matt in North America will be Cadet Flight Sergeant Hannah Goren of 2520 (Tonbridge) Sqn who has been selected as the Kent Wing female nominee for the 2013 International Air Cadet Exchange to the United States. Having joined the Sqn at 14 years old, Hannah (pictured below) has worked her way through her classification exams and taken part in a wide range of activities including her bronze and silver D of E awards and she is now working towards her gold award in addition to attending a variety of camps from Wales to the Isle of Skye. Hannah said “My experiences within cadets have helped me succeed with goals both in and outside of cadets, giving me the confidence to do well in my nursing university interviews. I am very much looking forward to going to America and was ecstatic when I found out I have been given this opportunity. Once I have qualified I hope to join the RAF as a Nurse.”

The nominations and award winners are: Dacre Sword Nomination Cadet Warrant Officer Snook, Essex Wing (also wins the Innes Award and £50 Bursary (Region Award)). Dacre Brooch Nomination Cadet Warrant Officer Harvey, Essex Wing (also wins the Shirley Elkin Trophy and £50 Bursary (Region Award)). Spitfire Award Cadet Flight Sergeant Lawlor, Surrey Wing Security Professionals Cadet Warrant Officer Sherwood, Sussex Wing


It has been annouced that the winner of the the Shackleton Trophy for the top adventerous expedtiion in the Air Training Corps has gone to London Wing. In February 2012 a team of staff and cadets travelled to Tanzania to explore the flora and fauna, and to take part in a cultural and sporting exchange with young people from the Mkombozi street children project and those in the wider community of Moshi. Full details of the expedition and the presentation of the award will be in the next issue of The LaSER.

For all the up to date news from London & SE Region follow us on Facebook aircadetslaser 36 The Laser Spring 2013

Awards & Appointments

LaSER’s Media Stars Each year HQ Air Cadets’ Media Department recognise the work of the Corps Media teams with the MACAs. The Media And Communication Awards are presented for excellent work in different areas of media and public relations with the Air Cadet Organsation. This year London & South East Region’s Media team have come away winners of two categories: Best use of corporate ID “The LaSER Newsletter has fully embraced Air Cadet Magazine’s official MOD branding guidelines and not only looks fantastic, but also provides great content throughout the publication. Despite already being onto a winner, the publication is sure to continue to go from strength to strength in 2013.” Best Region “The London & South East Region media team, under the leadership of Squadron Leader Caroline Gourri has once again gone from strength to strength in the last 12 months. As well as helping raise the profile of the ACO throughout the region, the team is also responsible for circulating news for internal purposes and is now a key contributor to Air Cadet Magazine and the official website. Furthermore the LaSER team has been behind a broad range of events, including The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend and concert, the London 2012 Olympic torchbearer route and You London events.” The Corps website annouced the results and added, “Well done to the London & South East Region team, which this year

has laid down the challenge for other Region’s to attempt to emulate in the next 12 months.” The LaSER Magazine has been going since April 2011, bringing news from across the region to the world. The online format, first hosted on Yudu and now issuu, has been incredibly popular with thousands of views within the first few days of the launch of each issue. To recognise his hard work in the production of the magazine, Flight Sergeant James Parker, the Deputy Media and Communications Officer Surrey Wing, was presented with the Regional Commandant’s Certificate of Merit at Surrey Wing’s Award Night. The citation read, “ James is responsible for all the design of the newsletter which is of the highest quality and inline with corporate branding and the Air Cadet Magazine. He completes this massive task on a quarterly basis on top of his Wing MCO duties and work at Camberley Squadron - a very large and busy unit within the Region. He has been involved since the inception of the project (6 newsletters to date) and is constantly coming up with new

ideas and suggestions to improve each publication. He does a massive amount of work in the background on this quality publication which really deserves to be recognised. “ After receiving the award James commented, “It fills me with pride to receive this award in recognition of my work. It makes the hard work worthwhile to know that it is appreciated, not only by the Regional Commandant, but by many of the readers. But the magazine would be nothing without the stories from LaSER’s squadrons, so please do keep them coming!” ■


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Profile for London & SE Region Air Cadets

The LaSER July 2013  

The LaSER is the Journal of the Air Cadets in London and South East England

The LaSER July 2013  

The LaSER is the Journal of the Air Cadets in London and South East England