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

Autumn 2012

Welcome to


In this Issue

Welcome to edition 5 of The Laser! It really has been a tremendous summer for the Country and the Corps! Air Cadets have been firmly at the centre of some of the most exciting events in recent history including HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics but have also kept up with the vast array of core activities on offer every year! We are delighted to have a special feature from the new Regional Chaplain in this edition plus many stories celebrating the achievement and dedication of volunteers, not to mention just a few (of the many) stories demonstrating the depth and breadth of activities the cadets have been enjoying. The summer period is always an active time with sports, expeditions, trips at home and abroad, ceremonial engagements, target shooting, flying and gliding, to name just a few! We do hope you enjoy this edition of The Laser - feedback is always welcome so feel free to get in touch and please remember to send through any articles and photos for submission into the Autumn edition of the magazine. We are always on the lookout for particularly good quality portrait photos for the front cover so please send them through and you never know, you might find your photo on the front page! Submissions to media.laser@ as always. Thank you! ■ Squadron Leader C Gourri London & SE Region Media & Communications Officer

Editor: Sqn Ldr Caroline Gourri RAFVR(T) E: Design: FS (ATC) James Parker E: Design elements inspired by Air Cadet Magazine, produced by Air Media Centre, HQ Air Command 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) Printing:

Air Cadets Regional Headquarters London and South East Region RAF Northolt Ruislip Middlesex HA4 6NG T. 020 8833 8278 F 020 8833 8391 E: 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, 2012 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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LaSER and the Olympics Page 10

Musical Interlude Front Cover: Cadets at the Bomber Command Memorial. Photo: Sqn Ldr P Jones RAFVR(T)


The Laser Autumn 2012

A word from the


Air Commodore Cooper tries her hand at playing the bugle on one of her last duties as Commandant Air Cadets, presenting a Certificate of Commendation to 282 Squadron. See page 23 for full story Photo: Flt Lt Vik Singh RAFVR(T)

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LaSER cadets have enjoyed another summer of varied and challenging activities, many of them reported in this newsletter. Staff and cadets have not only enjoyed seeing the spectacle of the Queens Jubilee and Olympics, but also took part in many of the celebrations, that have gripped the nation. These momentous events lifted our spirits and we swiftly ignored the really wet summer! Some of you will have enjoyed the Annual Camps, hosted by the RAF, who in spite of picking up duties elsewhere still found the time and resources to give you an insight into the contemporary RAF as well as excellent training and fun. I pay tribute to the adult staff who gave their time to take cadet parties to these camps, both at home and overseas. I too enjoyed visiting you at the camps – not only did I see you training but the visits kept me abreast of current RAF core business. As a Region, let us all warmly welcome our recently appointed Commandant AC, Air Commodore McCafferty, to her new command. Wasting no time, she has already visited the Region, meeting staff and cadets at various units. I know she will always be impressed by the standards, commitment and enthusiasm of staff and cadets as she returns in the future to meet more of her LaSER people. Now on to the Autumn competition cycle with activities and Field Days. These events will stretch the ability of our cadets and the patience and organisational skills of our staff. Let us all enjoy the competitions, admire our opponents but work hard to beat them fair and square! â–

No deviation Diamond Jubilee Celebra


Page 16 Group Captain L Hakin OBE Regional Commandant London & South East Region

ture Getting a taste of Adven


The Laser Autumn 2012

Image: LOCOG

LaSER at the Olympics

With the Olympic action centred on London and the South East, LaSER was always going to be at the heart of the action of London 2012. From the torch relay to the excitement of the Olympic Stadium, LaSER cadets were there. Raffle winning Air Cadets strike Olympic gold! Four Air Cadets from Middlesex got the Olympic experience of a lifetime after visiting the games and sitting next to Fatima Whitbread MBE, world record holder in the Javelin! Cadet Harry Jaffa won two tickets to the games in a charity raffled organized by Hillingdon Borough Council, which gave Harry and fellow cadet Jojo Xia the opportunity to the attend the games on the night Usian Bolt smashed the world record in the Men’s 200m Olympic final. Cadet Warrant Officer Charlie Sutton and Corporal Craig Pollock both of 1083 (Uxbridge) Squadron, were even more lucky: they didn't win any tickets themselves, but when their Commanding Officer did he found the rules stipulated they were for young people so he immediately gave them to his two most deserving cadets! “Thank you Sir” was the only return that Squadron Leader Stephen Evans enjoyed from his raffle win, but “that was enough” said Stephen graciously, “both cadets have worked very hard for the Squadron and I was pleased to give them this rare opportunity.” On the night all four cadets were seated in a great position in the upper stand and had an excellent view of the finish line. They also had an excellent view of a tall lady sitting beside them, “It can't be!” said Charlie (none of the four cadets were born when she won her Gold medal in 1987). “It is her” whispered Harry, “I saw her on I'm a Celebrity”. After some debate, Jojo was nominated to ask the question: “are you really Fatima Whitbread?”

What an Olympic Memory – “It is a Day I will never forget!” said Craig, “and it cost me nothing - thank you Squadron Leader Evans and thank you Hillingdon Council!” ■ Right: The lucky Cadets with Fatima Whitbread at the Olympic Stadium

Basildon Air Cadets meet Japanese Olympic Swimming Team Cadet Flight Sergeant Daryl Poole and Cadet Sergeant Richard Hepworth (both 18) of 2243 (Basildon) Squadron in Essex Wing got to interview members of the Japanese Olympic swimming team, asking them 12 questions to be aired on BBC Radio Essex. The Japanese Olympic team have been training in Basildon throughout July and were delighted to have so many interesting questions from Cadets of the local area. “Meeting them was very inspiring. It amazed us both how polite and grateful they were towards the whole community. They did not speak English so the whole 15 min interview went through a translator, but even then we were able to get a great insight

into the wonderful passion and spirit they have for what they do. Something I think everyone took away with them. It was also a very exciting opportunity to be able to communicate through the language barrier by use of a translator” said Daryl of his experience. ■


The Laser Autumn 2012

LaSER at the Olympics

Volunteer Torchbearers

Air Cadets and instructors were recognised across the country for voluntary work with the honour of carrying the Olympic torch during its national relay. Naturally LaSER was in the action. Cadet Flight Sergeant Ryan Chantrill-Smith from Margate in Kent was selected to run with the torch through Higham in Kent. Ryan was nominated for two reasons. First, his hard work and dedication to a charity called SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy), for which in 2008 Ryan was one of the two support staff supporting an enormous charity run from Trafalgar Square to Botany Bay in Margate. Second for his efforts volunteering with 348 (Thanet) Squadron in Kent Wing, where Ryan plays a vital role in developing the younger cadets on his Squadron and supporting the Squadron staff, which led to Sergeant Carol Lawson nominating him for this great opportunity. Ryan set off at 9:35am and ran his 300 metres section to hand over the torch to the next runner. Afterwards, Ryan said of his experience; “It was one of those things you cannot describe, I am very grateful as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Civilian Instructor and former Cadet of 2158 (Sevenoaks) Squadron, Air Cadets Lara Turner was given the honour of running with the Olympic Torch through Canterbury as part of the country-wide relay. Hearing that she had been nominated to carry to torch came as a complete surprise for Lara, who is currently reading Economics at Durham University. Lara was nominated for her work with charity, helping Sevenoaks Air Cadets raise more than £50,000 for the Royal British Legion. After running during the relay, Lara said; “That was quite simply a once-in-a-lifetime experience! The atmosphere was incredible and it will be an experience I will never forget. I am incredibly proud to be part of the Olympic games!” ■


Image: LOCOG

Former Air Cadet and now Civilian Instructor Luke Benjafield (20) from 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Squadron, London Wing had the honour of carrying the Olympic torch as it made its way through Redbridge. Luke was the first torchbearer of the day, taking the torch from the Redbridge Cycling Centre through a corridor of cyclists from local clubs. Luke was nominated for his dedication to the Air Training Corps and particularly his Squadron where he has inspired and motivated many cadets to succeed in their training. Luke gave the following account of his experience: “On Sunday 22 July 2012 it was time for me to have my moment to shine. I left my house at 0500 for a 0525 meet at Redbridge Cycling Centre in the London Borough of Redbridge. When I collected my torch and headed to my start point, everyone was cheering and it was unbelievable. I went and had photos with the Mayor of Redbridge and the Councillor's. I then had interviews with London 2012 and the BBC. I got a 5 minute warning for the Olympic flame to arrive. It was here, that the atmosphere was amazing. The police officer lit my flame and told me to enjoy the experience. I got the nod from the police officer at 7.19am that it was my moment to shine. It felt like I was dreaming, I walked through a tunnel of cyclists and everyone was cheering my name, I then started to jog down the hill were I could see my friends and family. I was nominated for my service to 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Squadron and for all my charity work for the Royal British Legion, Help 4 Heroes, and Haven House. Also for my commitment to get the younger generation into such a worthwhile organisation and keep them off the streets and gain something good out of their lives. I was speechless afterwards. It took a while to sink in that it was real, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am glad I took part in.”

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LaSER at the Olympics

King Wing Cadets greet the Olympic torch

Romford Air Cadets show their support for the Olympic torch

As the ‘Olympic Torch frenzy’ gripped the South East of England, Cadets from Kent Wing helped to welcome the torch to East Kent. Cadets from area 3 and 4 joined over 1000 staff from Eurotunnel, along with their families and friends, at a special private event as the torch left the Channel Tunnel on its way to Dover. The band of 2513 (Romney Marsh) Squadron piped the torch out of the tunnel at Samphire Hoe near Dover. The route from the tunnel to the waiting crowd was lined by cadets from 99 Folkestone, 305 Ashford, 312 City of Canterbury and 354 Dover Squadrons. The torch was carried out of the tunnel by Alison Ward from Dover who happily posed for photos with the group. “The sight and the sound of the pipers as the torch and its team exited the tunnel brought tears to my eyes” said Catherine Cleall-Harding, who helped organise the event. “The cadets are great ambassadors for the young people of Kent” said one of the Torch security guards. The entourage was so impressed with the cadets that they even stopped a second time for a photo opportunity with the following torch bearer, Lina Klavina, before continuing her journey to Dover Castle! Cadet Flight Sergeant Natasha Jelley of 99 Folkestone Squadron said she was “very proud” to have been able to take part in such an event;

Air Cadets from 6F (Romford) Squadron turned out to support the Olympic torch as it past their headquarters. To show their level of support they cheered the torch relay on with an extremely large Union Flag , in fact one of the torch entourage called out that it was the largest flag they had seen on the whole journey! ■

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

Cadets meet “humbled” torch carrier Walliams On Wednesday 26th July 2012, 13 Air Cadets from 329 (Finsbury) Squadron, London Wing lined the road in Islington to support torchbearer Retired Major Phil Packer, who was severely injured whilst on active service in Iraq. As the Cadets all stood to attention as Major Packer passed them, Mr Nicholas Lauder a Civilian Instructor with the Squadron said; “The cadets felt honoured to be able to support such an esteemed war veteran who has done so much for charity.” After the torch procession, all of the Cadets were invited to Islington Town Hall for a rare photo opportunity with the comedian David Walliams, who had carried the torch earlier after being nominated for his outstanding work for charity through his long distance swimming challenges. On seeing the Cadets, David exclaimed “Ooh, little people!” in his characteristically comedic way, before making small talk with a few of the cadets, asking if they were having a good day and enjoying the experience.

"I was very proud and privileged to be lining the route at such a prestigious event. It will go down in the Squadrons history and being so close to David Walliams and Major Packer made the day even more enjoyable. To represent so much on such a big day was a complete honour” said Cadet Warrant Officer Lucy Warrell (19) afterwards. ■

Above: cadets of 329 Sqn with David Walliams Below: Kent Wing cadets watch the torch being lit


The Laser Autumn 2012

News Round Up

Essex Cadets Sea King Fun

Historic Bunker Visit 267 (Twickenham) Squadron avoided the heat by going underground on a visit to former RAF Uxbridge's Battle of Britain Operations Bunker. The cadets thoroughly enjoyed their day on a private guided tour. ■

Cadets from 2243 (Basildon), 1474 (Wickford), 308 (Colchester) and 276 (Chelmsford) Squadrons in Essex Wing got a nice surprise when a Sea King helicopter from B Flt 22 (SAR) Squadron joined them on an exercise to find a downed pilot. The exercise had been in planning for

3 months and it was hard not to let slip to the cadets that additional help for the exercise was coming in the form of the SAR team from RAF Wattisham. Once the downed pilot was found the aircraft landed and the crew gave cadets a tour of the aircraft. ■

Flying High in Sussex

Language no barrier for Air Cadet at Air Tattoo

Above: Cdt Sgt Ramos with the baseball cap signed by the Black Eagles.

Air Cadet Sergeant Zoe Faith Ramos from 94 (Feltham) Squadron in MIddlesex, has enjoyed an incredible time at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) all thanks to the fact that she has taught herself to speak Korean. It took Zoe just one day to learn the alphabet after her sister sent her a Korean language book and it has taken her just three years to pick up the language well enough to converse with the Korean Air Force's very own Black Eagles display team! "I met the Black Eagles properly yesterday and they took me out to the aircraft where I was with all the pilots and the engineers. We chatted, shared jokes and they've christened me their "little sister". It was so emotional watching them practise their display that I cried! They've signed my baseball cap and given me a model of their T-50 aircraft and some pin-badges. Best of all though, they all understood my Korean!" It all goes to show just what a hard and dedication can help you achieve - a RIAT never to be forgotten for this cadet, that's for sure. Zoe also managed a short conversation with the visiting Japanese aircrew, in their own language too! ■

Cadet Corporal Aran Ellis of 1440 (Shoreham) Squadron has just earned his wings by completing a gliding scholarship at 615 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, Kenley. Aran flew solo at the end of his scholarship and of the 38 minute solo flight said, “It was amazing, something I will remember for ever. It was the best part of the whole experience.” Living in Portslade, 16 year old Aran has been a member of 1440 Squadron for two and a half years and says it is all thanks to the Air Cadets. ■

261 Drill Champions 261 (Guildford) Squadron retained their title of champions at the Surrey Wing Drill Competition. 97 (Croydon) Squadron won the banner drill competition. ■

Left: One of the Black Eagles T-50 jets landing at RIAT. Photos: Sqn Ldr Philip Jones RAFVR(T) 7

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Celebrating the Jubilee

This year marks 60 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign over the United Kingdom and Cadets from London and the South East Region were specially selected to take part in the celebrations starting with the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The Queen came to the throne on 6 February 1952 and her coronation took place on 2 June 1953. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002. The only previous Diamond Jubilee celebrated by a British monarch took place in 1897, when Queen Victoria marked 60 years of her reign. Immaculately dressed and armed with a smile, Cadets proudly delivered an array of festival duties, including selling souvenir programmes, distributing information leaflets and helping the VIP welcome team to guide and assist the public. Their activities were led by Flight Lieutenant Dave Emmins of 452 (Hornchurch) Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Mark Bird of 56 (Woolwich) Squadron and Flight Sergeant Raza Shah of 34F (Balham) Squadron. Supervising the Cadet involvement was Squadron Leader Peter Gourri, who said “The Air Cadets and Adult Volunteers always play a vital role in success of these high profile events. Without exception this has been one of the best activities that many of them have been involved in and I know that they have all enjoyed this once in a life time experience. I would like

to extend our gratitude to all of the event organisers who invited us to take part”. Amongst these activities, Cadets from 12F (Walthamstow) Squadron and 12F (Tower Hamlets) Squadron Detached Flight were invited to the Governor of the Tower of London’s Jubilee Street Party. Joined by 400 other representatives from a number of community groups based in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, cadets and staff enjoyed a grand Jubilee lunch, accompanied by live entertainment. Pilot Officer Rex Nicholls, Officer in Charge of 12F Detached Flight said “The cadets had prime view over the River Thames and of "The Spirit of Chartwell" which carried Her Majesty The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and many other members of the Royal Family. The cadets said their highlight was hearing the 41 gun salute fired in honour of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee Celebration.” On the final day of the extended Jubilee weekend an official luncheon was held at Westminster Hall hosted by the City of London Livery Companies. Present were Her Majesty, members of the Royal Family and guests of the Livery Companies which consisted of supported

charities and youth gathered, to celebrate the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth’s II reign over lunch. Dining on food prepared by a Michelin star chef, Flight Lieutenant Christopher Booty RAFVR(T) Officer Commanding 282 (East Ham) Squadron was one of the lucky guests to share such a luxurious meal with Her Majesty The Queen. 282 (East Ham) Squadron was recently affiliated with the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers and ever since has had the pleasure of dining at banquets and taking part in grand ceremonial events. Flight Lieutenant Booty attended the event at the invitation of the Master of the Plaisterers, Peter Baker. Flight Lieutenant Booty stated “I was truly honoured to receive such an invitation. So many people dream of having lunch with the Queen and the Royal Family and to have this opportunity was amazing! After attending the Diamond Jubilee concert, this luncheon was a fine ending to a fantastic Jubilee celebration. I thank the Plaisterers for giving me this memorable experience” Also present was Pilot Officer Ahmed Ali-Ellesawy of 344 (Fulham) Squadron who was invited by the


The Laser Autumn 2012

LaSER Cadets Celebrate the Jubilee in Style

LaSER Cadets and Staff were at the heart of the national celebrations of Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. From official events in London, to local celebrations, our cadets were there proudly commemorating 60 years of our Monarch. Worshipful Company of Mercers, who are affiliated with 344 Squadron. Pilot Officer Ali-Ellesawy commented, “The Queen’s Jubilee lunch was a once in a lifetime experience, for which I am grateful to the Worshipful Company of Mercers and the Air Training Corps. It was a great privilege to experience such a fantastic meal, in a historic setting and with such esteemed guests.” Outside of London a new Diamond Jubilee Community Rose Garden was officially opened outside Hailsham Library, by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field. Cadets and Staff from 249 (Hailsham) Squadron attended as the guard of honour. Other VIPs in attendance where the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Hailsham and the Chairman of East Sussex County Council. After the ceremony the Lord Lieutenant came and spoke to all the cadets and staff. He thanked the cadets for coming and commented on how very smart they all looked. The Mayor also spoke and thanked the cadets for all the hard work they had put in a couple of weeks ago to prepare the Jubilee Garden. Chris Dowling, Chairman of East Sussex County Council said: “We are very pleased to be able to work with the Town Council to promote the Queens Diamond Jubilee and help with this project by allowing the use of this area of land near the Library. I am sure the Jubilee Garden will be used and enjoyed by people in Hailsham for

many years to come.” In the afternoon Cadets also ran the Mobile Climbing Tower and a recruitment stand at a mass Jubilee fair opposite the library. ■ Top: Cadets at the Thames River Pageant and Tower of London Street Party. Left: Flt Lt Booty (top) and Plt Off Ali-Ellesawy (bottom) at the Jubilee Luncheon.

Above: Cadets at the Jubilee Garden opening

London Cadets help launch the Jubilee Hour Air Cadets and Adult Volunteers from 444 (Shoreditch) Squadron joined the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP and Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Barbara Cooper to help launch the "The Jubilee Hour" at Somerset House in the Stand, London. This campaign aims to recognise Her Majesty the Queen’s 60 years of public service by encouraging people to undertake 60 minutes of volunteering, or an act of goodwill. You can pledge your Jubilee hour to be done at any time in the Jubilee year. To get started, individuals and organisations can open their own profile page and pledge a Jubilee hour. Cadet Sergeant Rebekah Agboola of 444 (Shoreditch) Squadron said of the event, “It was really interesting and a great

idea which I will be doing so I can say I have done my bit for the Jubilee Hour.” “The Air Cadets were absolutely fantastic and their presence invaluable.... everyone has been talking about their exemplary manners, turnout, courtesy and behaviour and, from us all at The Jubilee Hour, very many thanks.” Stated Mr Jonathan Haward who is a Goodwill Ambassador for the “Jubilee Hour”. ■

Cadets of 444 Sqn at the Jubilee Hour Launch 9

Surrey Cadets musical hit at the RAF’s Jubilee Concert

Cadets from Surrey Wing Air Training Corps helped to entertain the crowds at the recent Royal Air Force musical salute to the Queen’s Jubilee. The event at Loseley Park near Guildford was the first public performance of the recently formed Surrey Wing Band. The band opened the concert with a host of recognisable tunes, impressing the crowd despite their lack of experience as Sergeant Kirsty Witchell, the Wing Bandmaster explained, “Some had only been learning for two or three months. With one rehearsal a month, some of them have only played the drum two or three times, so they did brilliantly.” She added, “For a first performance I was really impressed, they were very nervous but they pulled it off.” But the Wing band was not the only star of the show from the Air Cadets. Two lucky cadet musicians were invited to play with the main entertainment of the evening; the Central Band of the RAF. Cadet Holly Everest of 1034 (Surbiton) Squadron and Cadet Sergeant Katherine Pound of the nearby 261 (Guildford) Squadron played with the band for their full four hour set of music. Sergeant Pound, a flautist, explained how nerve wracking it was for the duo, “They originally wanted us to play just the air cadet march, but when they realised that we were both grade 8’s they said we could play for the whole thing, which was slightly scary as we hadn’t actually seen that music before. Apart from the cadet march, we were just sight

reading it.” But despite the nerves she still enjoyed the experience, “It was absolutely incredible.” Cadet Everest, who plays the saxophone, echoed these feelings, “It was fantastic and the best experience I’ve ever had in cadets.” And the experience left her wanting more, “I’m going to definitely join up as an RAF Musician once I leave cadets, it was brilliant.” The girls were picked to play with the Central Band by the Wing bandmaster, Sergeant Witchell. She was approached to nominate two cadets from Surrey, and picked them due to their experience with music in the Air Training Corps. Both Sergeant Pound and Cadet Everest have played with the Air Cadet National Marching Band and National Concert

Band. They have played at the Royal International Air Tattoo and have now played with the National Marching Band in Paris. Other cadets also provided entertainment to the 2,100 strong crowd in the form of a continuity drill display. Cadets from 261 (Guildford) and 97 (Croydon) Squadrons performed the routine of drill movements with no words of command, while the new air cadet march was played by the Central Band. During the interlude the cadets were joined by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton. There was a first for him as he was asked to present a Cadet Forces Medal to Squadron Leader David Ratcliffe, Surrey Wing’s Sports Officer. The


The Laser Autumn 2012

Musical Interlude medal is awarded to uniformed members of the Cadet Forces for 12 years service. Squadron Leader Ratcliffe commented, “It is always a honour to receive a medal, but this is extra special knowing that this is the only one to have been presented by the Current Chief of the Air Staff.” Air Chief Marshall Dalton also took time to speak to some of the cadets including every member of the Wing Band. He summed up with some inspirational words, “I hope that you are finding that being a part of the Air Training Corps is a fundamentally enjoyable experience. Whether it is climbing the rock face out there, which your successors are clearly enjoying doing right now, or whether it’s actually being part of a team together and producing what is clearly a team effort, which is what being in the Air Training Corps is all about. Learning about yourselves, but learning about each other in a good environment.” Having seen the crowd’s response he added, “The way that the public is responding out there is a great accolade to the fact that they see you as a great ambassadorial team on behalf of the Air Training Corps. So very well done and thank you for coming.” The event ended in a classic patriotic finale. While the crowd were singing and waving their union flags, the assembled staff and cadets of Surrey Wing paraded in front of the stage. ■ Left top: Cdt Holly Everest on stage with the Central Band Left bottom: The Chief of the Air Staff talks to the Band

Air Cadet National Marching Band Tours Paris The Air Cadet National Marching Band has just returned from France - their first overseas trip. Fifty one Cadets from across the UK joined forces for a unique trip to Paris to representing the Air Cadets and the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) at Disneyland Paris. The one-week musical adventure began at Napier Barracks in Folkestone Kent with a ferry crossing to Calais. The band performed at a host of famous venues around Paris including outside the Eiffel Tower, Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace in Le Bourget, and Disneyland Paris. The band performed a variety of pieces including ‘Aces High’ from the film 'The Battle of Britain', 'Olympic Fanfare and Theme' by John Williams to celebrate the 2012 Olympics and also 'Elegy on an RAF March Past' which allowed Cadet Alec Webb (17) from Hants & Isle of White Wing on Euphonium to perform the lyrical solo that is key to the piece of music. Air Cadets from the London & South East Region (LaSER) included principle flutist, Katherine Pound from Guildford Squadron who ensured the melody in ‘Aces High’ was heard by everyone on the Piccolo and Malte Hoffmann who was one of a number of saxophonists who ensured the saxophone section was a force to be reckoned with! The young musicians come from Air Cadet Squadrons and CCF RAF Sections across the UK and meet three times a year to rehearse and

perform at a variety of prestigious events. The band is made up from Woodwind, Brass and Percussion with Cadets age’s ranging from 13-20. An added bonus for the musicians was having their families present at some of the performances in Paris. Those who attended Disney were some of the loudest out of the 40,000 people who had visited the park on the day. This support enabled the band to perform to its highest standard and left many with a tear in their eye through the pride they had. It wasn’t all music in Paris; in their free time the cadets also enjoyed a trip down the River Seine and had opportunities to relax during a meal at Planet Hollywood. Air Cadet Director of Music, Squadron Leader Nick Sermon said; “we are all very proud of what the band have achieved. I am so thrilled with the reception they received in each of the venues and I’m looking forward to more events of this kind in the future” The next performance for the Air Cadets National Marching Band will be the Lord Mayors Show in London in November. Special mention should also be given to another LaSER Air Cadet - Bradley Hodgkinson from Folkestone in Kent as he was the only bass drummer on the tour and he was relatively new to the instrument. It would be fair to say he was a bit nervous, but for each performance he gave a solid pace for the band to produce a fine performance. ■ Insert: Cdt Sgt Katherine Pound Below: The Marching Band play at Disneyland


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Musical Interlude

Kent Wing Bands Play at Leeds Castle Nearly 100 cadets from 99 (Folkestone), 305 (Ashford), 312 (City of Canterbury), 354 (Dover), 2235 (Deal), 2433 (Ramsgate) and 2513 (Romney Marsh) Squadrons, led by Flight Lieutenant Cliff East, the Kent Wing bandmaster, took part in the annual Leeds Castle Open Air Classical Concert last weekend, providing a thirty minute opening act to the event in what must have been some of the most atrocious weather and the heaviest down pour of rain this summer! After rehearsing in difficult weather conditions during the day, the heavens opened just as the band marched on, but, like true professionals, the band played on! The audience gave them a rousing send off as they were led out of the arena at the end of their display by Cadet Flight Sergeant Pantelli of 2433 (Ramsgate) Squadron who was the Drum Major for the evening - to dry out before their second appearance as the introduction to the Royal Air Force Central Band. Fortunately for the second appearance the rain had stopped but the waterlogged ground made it very difficult for marching and there was a lot of mud to be removed from shoes and uniforms! The event continued with music from the Military Wives – accompanied by piper Cadet Zac Stimson of 2500 (St Neots) Squadron who was ‘guesting’ with the 2513 (Romney Marsh) Squadron pipe band for the weekend, Capital Voices, The Jubilairs, The RAF Central band and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. A Hurricane and Mustang provided a fitting backdrop as cadets from 99 and 354 Squadrons lowered the Union flag during the Sunset Ceremony, with split second timing, and under the watchful eye of Flight Lieutenant Nikki Moon Officer Commanding 305 Squadron who took the salute, watched, on the big screen, by an estimated 10,000 people in the audience. The cadets were then able to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening as it continued with music from the various acts ending in a fantastic finale of fireworks, a 21 gun salute and the 1812 overture!

Kent Pipes and Drums Heard in Scotland For the 6th year in succession, Kent Wing Air Cadets have taken part in a pipes and drums training camp at Cameron Barracks, in Inverness. 15 cadets from 2513 (Romney Marsh) and 354 (Dover) Squadrons joined other cadets from across the UK to benefit from the week long intensive training where they were able to gain experience of working with and learning from regular RAF and Army pipers. The week culminated in a massed band ‘Beating the retreat’ ceremony on two public parades combining both Air and Army cadets. Flight Lieutenant Dave Law, the bandmaster with responsibility for pipes and drums in Kent said; “This was a tremendous opportunity for the cadets to work with full time professional musicians, to gain qualifications through CVQO and to represent their Squadrons, Wings, Regions and the Corps. The massed pipes and drums were so successful and so popular that they are now to be included in the Corps Marching Band.” If that recognition was not enough, as a result of the high standards achieved, the cadets have since had the honour of playing at a garden party at Balmoral Castle for HM Queen Elizabeth and 3000 invited guests as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. ■

Sainsbury’s Shoppers Help Cadets Try Something New

After a long but successful day at this prestigious event, the tired but elated cadets left with big smiles having proved once again what Kent Wing can achieve - with many of the same cadets ready to do it all again the next morning at Capel le Ferne! Officer Commanding Kent Wing, Wing Commander Greg Garrod-Bell said; “Despite the heavy rain and muddy conditions, the band put on a splendid performance for an appreciative audience. This was a night when our cadets showed how talented they are and they gained the admiration of the audience.” ■

Hard working Royal Air Force Air Cadets have been astonished by the generosity of shoppers in Sainsbury’s Sydenham, as they raised over £2000 towards their trip to the USA in November 2012. The Lewisham cadets, aged between 13 and 17, spent a June weekend in the Sainsbury’s superstore in Sydenham, helping customers to pack bags, and raising awareness of the Squadron’s trip. Twenty cadets will fly out to Atlanta to see how aircraft are made at Lockheed Martin, and operated with trips to US Air Force and US Navy bases. But once in a lifetime trips like this are not cheap, and the cadets have been creative with their approaches to raising money! “The support we received from Bill Woledge, the Store Manager, and his team has been simply fantastic – they couldn’t


The Laser Autumn 2012

Musical Interlude

Cadets Raise the Roof at Winston Churchill Hall Air Cadets from Middlesex held a rumbustious “Tattoo” in the Winston Churchill Hall to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund– what a good cause and what a fantastic noise! The event bought together cadet bands, dancing groups and choirs with electric effect – The Asian Dance Group from 1846 (Southall) Squadron stole the show with their elegant and colourful display of oriental culture – the dancers’ energetic choreography had the audience on the edge of their seats. Just as popular and certainly as energetic, the Spitfire Kids choir from RAF Northolt gave a lively performance in harmony with the Middlesex Singers – a local cadet choir which has gained an enviable reputation since being formed late last year. Sergeant Justine Stringer, who has trained junior kids choirs for many years, was pleased with the results: “I am delighted with the effect the combined choirs produced. The children are between 5 – 10 years old and I was not certain how they would react to singing with their teenage counterparts. The experiment has been a huge success.” The Tattoo also included information about the work of the Benevolent Fund and how it helps to meet the needs of Service personnel, especially when military duties cause separation from families. Said Group Captain Tim O’Brien, Station Commander of RAF Northolt: “The welfare of all our personnel is a top priority for all my executive staff and we are very happy to have the Benevolent Fund’s help. The welfare amenities it has helped to provide, serve both the needs of Service families as well as those of many of our loyal civilian staff. It is a very worthy charity”. The evening’s entertainment was skilfully

compered by Squadron Leader Howard Leader, a part-time Reservist and also an experienced radio broadcaster. One of his tasks was to interview another volunteer: Squadron Leader Peter Johnstone, a member of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force who lives in Ruislip. He was asked by Howard to explain how he managed to balance his “day job” with being a part-time logistics specialist: “The two are complimentary”, he said – “but the Air Force is more fun!” Senior Aircraftwoman Iphie Modu, a trainee barrister in London, talked about the new skills she had developed as a result of being a Reservist in 600 (City of London) Squadron, based at RAF Northolt. She had already used these new skills during her deployment in Afghanistan. Her experiences through being a member of this unique Squadron were “quite different and very worthwhile”. The evening reached a finale with the Middlesex Wing Band giving a lively rendition of Vera Lynn’s famous – “There’ll Always be an England” – the audience joined in and the song had to be repeated not once, but four times ! What a joyful and celebratory noise! ■

have been more willing to get involved and help us!” commented Warrant Officer Andy Lidinson, the trip leader. “We’ve raised an amazing amount of money, and the cadets have really enjoyed being able to share their excitement and enthusiasm with Sainsbury’s customers.” Cadets have also completed gruelling sponsored walks, and participated in personal fundraising activities to support their trip. What makes it all worth while? “We are aiming to develop an interest in aviation in young people – and all of our training, flying and gliding opportunities and adventurous activities – help to inspire the next generation of pilots, engineers and leaders” explained Pilot Officer Wesley Pollard. “The USA trip allows cadets to get up close with the best

aviation technology in the world, and maybe even the aircraft of the future that these cadets could one day go and fly! It’s an amazing opportunity, that the cadets have been working towards and planning for nearly two years. Thanks to the shoppers and staff at Sainsbury’s, the cadets are now one step closer to realising that dream. ■

Picture: Cadet Corporal Thomas Norton - 1921 Sqn


News Round-up

Photo: Mr Kevin Poolman

Armed Forces Recognised In Covenant Pledge

Westminster City Council pledged its support to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces in July as The Lord Mayor of Westminster signed the Military Covenant on behalf of the council and its partners. Cadet Flight Sergeant Kelly of 291 (Westminster & Chelsea) Squadron attended the much anticipated signing along with Squadron Leader Neil Knowles RAFVRT and WO Roland Mackenzie of London Wing, the only representatives of the RAF’s Air Cadets at the event! Cadet Flight Sergeant Kelly

commented; “It was an absolute honour to represent the Air Cadets at such a symbolic signing of the new Military Covenant. I will remember this historic event for years to come.” In addition to the signing itself, Westminster City Council also became one of the first local authorities in the country to recognise the start of Armed Forces Week by formally raising an Armed Forces Day flag above the City Hall on Westminster’s Victoria Street. As well as The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Angela Harvey’s

attendance, the events of the day were also witnessed by the leader of the council, Councillor Philippa Roe, and Commanding Officer of the London Central Garrison, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Jalland. Squadron Leader Neil Knowles remarked; “It’s extremely healthy to see many young people such as Cadet Flight Sergeant Kelly attending this event. It helps to reinforce the bond between the public and the military, and London Wing takes great pride in ensuring Cadets understand the significance of days like today”. The current military covenant is an agreement, although informal, between the nation and Her Majesty’s Armed Forces laying bare the obligations that both the military and the nation as whole bare to one another. Despite several attempts the military covenant is not currently enshrined in law, however, an annual report is presented to parliament detailing how commitments have been observed over the previous year. Speaking at the event, Councillor Angela Harvey said: “The City of Westminster Council acknowledges the crucial role played by the members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces; they are an integral part of Britain. I am delighted that the council fully supports armed forces week; in flying the flag at City Hall and signing the Military Covenant, we recognise the important contribution our armed forces make” ■

London Wing Adult Volunteers Attend Historic First RAF BME Conference Air Cadet Adult Volunteers from London Wing have joined together with other Royal Air Force personnel from all over the country, to be part of the service’s first ever conference to address the need for a more ethnically diverse workforce. Despite being the largest air force in Europe, only 2.5% of the RAF’s 39,000 full time staff come from black or ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds. The proportion of London Wing staff from BME backgrounds is significantly higher than the RAF average, and several members of the Wing staff team attended the conference. In total over 100 members of the RAF were present, and the group were invited to share their experiences of serving in the RAF, the reaction of their family to

their involvement in the armed forces, and the misconceptions held by many young people from similar backgrounds. Many spoke about being met by a mixture of curiosity and criticism by other members of their community. All were keen to stress the positive atmosphere within the RAF, but highlighted the need for more to be done to engage with BME communities when it came to recruitment. Wing Sports Officer, Flying Officer Sulaiman Mehmood spoke about the largely positive experiences he had had when people learned about his involvement in the ATC, “I walk into my mosque with my uniform on, and people respect me. They want to know what you are about. People know you as a role model for the community anyway.”

“If you have a good rapport with the community, you can go anywhere. They are intrigued to know why you are doing it”. Speaking to reporters from Eastern Eye, Squadron Leader Janet Adams, responsible for equality and diversity within RAF said, “In order to get the best talent, we need to do more to attract from communities we haven’t traditionally recruited from. There is a problem with regards to how the RAF is perceived in BME communities and we want to address this. There is a lot of humanitarian work we do which people just aren’t aware of. “The conference was very helpful, so now we can hopefully move forward and put everything into action,” she concluded. ■


The Laser Autumn 2012

News Round-up

Uxbridge Air Cadet Fur-ndraising Efforts Air Cadets from 1083 (Uxbridge) Squadron have raised £3,400 in aid of the “Hounds for Heroes” Charity. Hounds for Heroes provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled men and women of both the UK Armed Forces and Civilian Emergency Services in order to enhance their quality of life. The Squadron decided to support the charity after seeing it the BBC’s “One Show”. As it is a small charity, the Squadron felt they could really make a difference and work closely with the charity. The Cadets undertook various activities to raise the funds. The Squadron band performed at the local shopping centre (raising over £600 from donations by members of the public), then the cadets worked as a team to travel the distance of Land’s End to John O’Groats using cardio vascular exercise machines at RAF Northolt, raising sponsorship monies via their friends and family in the process. The Squadron invited Squadron Leader Wayne Palmer RAF - the Chief

Executive Officer of the charity - to collect the cheque along with Berkley the dog at a recent ceremony marking the official opening of the new Squadron headquarters. Cadet Corporal Austin Smith showed Squadron Leader Palmer around the new Headquarters, giving him the opportunity to meet and speak with cadets and parents about the work the charity does. Cadet Corporal Craig Pollock, who raised £600 on his own, presented the cheque to Squadron Leader Palmer in front of the assembled dignitaries and parents. In recognition for his individual effort Craig was also given tickets to the Olympics! On receiving the cheque, Squadron Palmer said; “It was an absolute pleasure to visit 1083 Squadron and receive this huge amount of money. It was even more remarkable when you take into consideration that Hounds for Heroes was not their only charity that they supported this year. These young Cadets are extremely motivated and a credit to their Squadron." ■

Cadets Get Blown Away Cadets from Haslemere and Guildford were blown away when visiting QinetiQ in Farnborough. They were given tours of the anechoic chamber for testing jet engines and the 5 m low speed wind tunnel. Both facilities are amongst the largest if their kind in the world. Rolls Royce tests the sound characteristics of it’s engines in the anechoic chamber, and Boeing test their latest aircraft designs in the wind tunnel. ■

450 Sqn Make a Splash 450 (Kenley) Sqn made a splash in the pool at the Surrey Wing Swimming Gala. 450 took the overall trophy, junior boys, Senior girls and the overall trophies for both boys and girls. 1075(Camberley) Sqn took the Senior Boys category, with 285 (Coulsdon & Purley) Sqn taking the Junior Girls title. ■

282 Squadron Attend Plaisterers Banquet Cadets attended the Annual Banquet of the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers recently and lined the stair case, providing a carpet guard for Mr Nick Anstee (Former Lord Mayor of the City of London) and General Lord Dannatt GCB, CBE, MC, DL (Former Chief of the General Staff). There were over 300 guests at the Banquet and all the persons attending very impressed with the turnout of the Cadets from the 282(East Ham) Squadron, Royal Air Force Cadets. Office Commanding HMS Dragon, along with Senior Officers of the Royal Marines and Royal Air Force were all very impressed with the cadets and expressed their enthusiasm for the cadet movement. After welcoming the guests, the Squadron’s Commanding Officer Flight Lieutenant Chris Booty RAFVR(T) and Cadet Sergeant Hayes joined the Freemen and Liverymen of the Company along with the Senior Officers in the Plaisterers Hall for a 4 course meal. After the meal, there were a number of speeches which were received by the guests. The Squadron was congratulated several times on its successes and its hard work on developing the youth in the East End of London. Flt Lt Booty stated “The evening was excellent. The cadets represented their Squadron and Organisation at the highest standard and made me proud”. He went on to say “The Squadron has made many friends from our affiliation with the Plaisterers tonight. I can most certainly see a great future with this Company, the City of London Corporation, and the other affiliations” The Plaisterers are also affiliated with HMS Dragon (the new Daring Class type 45 Destroyer), The Royal Marines, the Royal Engineers, and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment. 282 (East Ham) Squadron is the Livery Company’s most recent affiliation and have been welcomed by all the members and fellow affiliates with open arms embracing the motto of the The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers. ‘Let Brotherly Love Continue’. ■


Getting a taste of adventure

Kent Cadets Hit the Peak of Adventure Three Kent based Air Cadet Squadrons joined together to offer adventurous training to cadets in the stunning surroundings of the Peak District. Organised by 2158 (Sevenoaks) Squadron, and joined by 228 (Bromley) and 340 (Edenbridge) Squadrons, 10 cadets and staff travelled to Hathersage in the Peak District for a weekend of climbing, mountain biking and hill walking.

the weather – I learnt to bunny hop on a mountain bike for the first time and also got more experience in outdoor climbing, which I really enjoy. It was great to meet cadets from other squadrons too!” Adult Sergeant Paul Howes and Flight Lieutenant Russell Dowling also took advantage of the weekend to provide them with an opportunity to work under fully qualified members of staff in rock climbing and mountain biking to gain experience towards their own National Governing Body awards in these disciplines. Sergeant Howes said; “At the moment I am working hard to progress towards my qualifications in walking and climbing, so it was great to spend the weekend working under an experience SPA qualified member of staff to gain the valuable group experience I need to move towards assessment.” ■

Lucky Number Seven for Surrey’s Swimmers STOP PRESS.......STOP PRESS..... Surrey Wing has continued their winning streak in the pool after being crowned overall champions at the Region swimming Gala for the seventh year in a row. Coming in second place was Kent Wing, with Middlesex completing the top three. ■

Although the weather was changeable (wet!), the cadets and staff enjoyed a varied programme which saw them undertake single pitch rock climbing, a 26km mountain bike ride (with skills sessions) and a walk onto Kinder Scout. Some of the cadets got to experience these activities for the first time and learnt many new skills during the weekend. Cadet Corporal Liam O’Brien said; “This was an excellent weekend, despite

Kent Cadets Venture to Adventure in Alaska An intrepid team of 10 Air Cadets and staff from Kent Wing have just returned from the experience of a lifetime, a two-week overseas expedition to the Alaskan wilderness. The trip included a five day seakayaking expedition into Prince William sound and the glaciers of Harriman Fiord, followed by a four day backpacking trek into the wilds of the Talkeetna mountains. The expedition, sponsored by the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, HQ Air Cadets and the Ulysses Trust was designed to develop the cadets’ personal skills in a challenging and arduous environment. Over the full 14 day expedition, the cadets were responsible for managing all aspects of the expedition – food and catering, transport, budgets, first aid, equipment and more. This gave them a valuable insight into the responsibilities required of expedition team members and allowed

them to put into practice and develop the many skills they have learnt as cadets in the UK. Facing challenging weather conditions and terrain throughout both of the main phases of the expedition, the cadets displayed a high level of morale throughout and coped well with the physical and mental challenges of an expedition environment. They were rewarded with close up views of glaciers, seals and otters and some superb views following some challenging mountaineering terrain. Cadet Warrant Office David MacQuarrie, one of the expedition participants said; “This is my first ever overseas expedition and the experience was an amazing one. It was hard, challenging work during both the kayaking and trekking phases due to the weather and terrain, but it was so rewarding once we saw the views. I

learnt an awful lot about myself on this expedition and I think it is the best thing I have done as an Air Cadet to date!” Flight Lieutenant Russell Dowling, the deputy expedition commander, said; “Overseas expeditions are the pinnacle of the cadet adventurous training experience, and this one is no exception – cadets can gain so much from this experience that is immensely valuable in later life. The cadets proved to be a strong team which only got stronger as the expedition progressed, showing exactly why these expeditions are so good for personal development.” ■


The Laser Autumn 2012

Getting a taste of adventure

Surbiton Cadets Hit the Alps This year saw 8 cadets and 3 staff of 1034 (Surbiton) Sqn launch 'Alps III (2012)', the third year that they have mounted a walking expedition in the Swiss Alps. The expedition is open to cadets who are already 16 or turn 16 in the year of the trip, so for many it is a total mind change post GCSE or A Level exams. Below is the account of Cdt Hamish Brechin of the weeks challenging but exhilarating activities, for which we were lucky enough to receive a grant from the Ulysses Trust in support of the activity. The week started with a remarkably early start however this was soon made up for at the airport when Richard Murphy exclaims “Look, that’s Tsonga.” Obviously we all looked and began to chatter excitedly, unfortunately for Tsonga I don’t think he wanted to be disturbed but that was not to be. As we all trouped over he belatedly looked up and the whole flight soon caught on to who he was. The rest of the flight was uneventful and the same can be said for the train journey. So after a long day of travelling we arrived at the camp site to a BBQ. The first days walk was simple on the way up but fiendishly difficult on the way down, with a drop of 300m in just 1km of walking. Whilst, the weather was slightly overcast on the first day it was superb on the second as we departed on the train to Reichenbach. From there it was a short bus journey up to Kiental although it felt far longer with the fast driving and sheer drops. We then began our walk back to camp and 14km and several hours later we arrived back, again the food was superb. The second day started with a gondola trip to Lake Oeschinensee and a walk up to 2840m to stay overnight in a mountain hut. The long and tiring ascent up to Blumisalp mountain hut was definitely worth it when the glacier appeared before us, glistening in the sun and we could see the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Whilst the views were fabulous, dinner stole the show! After three courses of pork, gravy and mashed potato it is fair to say that we were all well and truly satisfied and so, with a full stomach we headed to bed ready for an early start the next day. Having woken before 7 and prepared to start by 7:45 the mood was definitely grouchy. With a temperature just below 0 we didn’t hang about long and were soon beneath the cloud cover. Having arrived

back at the campsite we proceeded to relax after a long and challenging day. The penultimate walk was the most interesting and challenging walk of them all. As we walked towards what some people argue to be the largest glacier in Europe we came across a massive boulder field, which we later found out had occurred in the previous week. The following two hours were the most challenging walking of my life, yet the most rewarding and when we reached the start of the glacier we turned to see some fabulous views of two F-18s dogfighting above the valley. The final walk was comparatively simple. A short cable car journey and only a slightly longer walk with an ascent of only 300-400 metres saw us complete the week’s walks. All that was left to do was pack up camp, catch the train back to Geneva airport and jump on a plane and so with slightly heavy hearts we left Kandersteg and arrived home early evening on the 14th July. To sum up, a thoroughly enjoyable, relaxing but challenging week and my thanks go to CI Merlin Hibbs for organising such a great week and without whom we wouldn't be able to launch such a sqn expedition 'in house'. ■

Mad for Media Cadets and staff from London Wing have taken part in a Media Skills Course on 13 May 2012. The purpose of the course was to learn how to take effective photographs and how to write impressive press releases as well as learn video and radio interview techniques. As part of the course, they listened to power point presentations on valuable and interesting areas, had practical photography lessons and participated in group discussions.

London Wing Ready for the Field

10 Adult Volunteers from the London Wing have attended the first Wing Fieldcraft Training Camp for Adult Instructors. The course, which took place at Mereworth Training area in Kent, was run over two days and included the volunteers leaning all aspects of Military Field Training as well as sleeping out under a Basha. The purpose of the weekend was to ensure that the Instructors have the correct skills and knowledge to teach cadets fieldcraft. The Course Training Officer Flight Lieutenant Chris Butler of 46F(Kensington) Squadron commented “This is an important course not just to ensure that they are competent staff but also so that they can pass on the skills to the cadets. I am very pleased with how it has gone.” Squadron Leader Pete Gourri, who is the London Wing Adventure training and Technical Officer said “It has been an excellent weekend. The directing Staff, Flight Lieutenants Chris Butler and Anthony Barker, Warrant Officer John Ingram and Sergeant Keith O’Sullivan have done an excellent job with the Adult Volunteers on the course and the feedback has been outstanding.” ■ Flight Lieutenant Vic Taak RAFVR(T), who instructed the course on their photography skills, commented “This is a great course to attend as the knowledge gained can be taken back to squadrons and passed to cadets as a way of helping them to publicise the valuable work which they are undertaking on Squadrons. “The students worked really hard on the day and have every reason to feel proud of themselves” Stated the Wing Media and Communications Officer, Squadron Leader Peter Gourri RAFVR(T) ■ 17

OPERATION OVERLORD Sussex Wing Cadets marched in the footsteps of heroes of yesteryear on the Normandy beaches to raise money for present day heroes through charity Help for Heroes. The 24 cadets and staff, led by Flight Lieutenant Dave Thompson, Officer Commanding 172 (Haywards Heath) Squadron, marched across all five of the beaches that were used by the Allied Forces for the D-Day Landings during World War Two - Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. It is hoped the march – dubbed Operation Overlord – will raise more than £4,000 for Help for Heroes. Operation Overlord was the code name for the invasion of northwest Europe during World War II by Allied Forces. The operation began with the Normandy Landings on 6 June 1944 and was among the largest amphibious assaults ever conducted, with nearly 160,000 troops crossing the English Channel on D-Day. The march began in the small town of Quinéville where the cadets were warmly welcomed by the Mayor, Monsieur Jacques Laurent, and invited to join the town’s ceremony of remembrance and a special reception at the town hall. With Union Jacks and Help for Heroes’ flags flying, mascots attached to backpacks and collection buckets at the ready, the cadets began walking along Utah Beach before tackling Omaha Beach in the late afternoon. At the end of the first day Cadet Euan Bandall of 1015 (Horsham)

Squadron, the youngest member of the team and a cadet for less than a year, said: “I didn’t find it difficult walking Utah and Omaha Beaches as I did a lot of hiking when I was a Scout, and I think I could have pushed myself further, but it was the right time to stop as I was beginning to feel a bit tired! This is my first camp with the Air Cadets and it is brilliant. I’ve made new friends already, and the food is great.” Day Two saw a return to Omaha Beach to the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville Sur Mer and a chance for the cadets to pay their respects to the 9,387 fallen Americans laid to rest there and to lay a wreath in remembrance. Tradition dictates that


The Laser Autumn 2012

the wreath is placed at the memorial by the youngest cadet so Cadet Euan Bandall, guided by a US veteran, stepped up to perform this act of remembrance. He said: “I was a bit nervous as I realised the significance and importance of laying a wreath, and in front of a lot of people, but this is something I shall always remember.” The cadets returned to Quinéville to take part in the ceremony of remembrance. This small seaside town was the scene of fierce resistance by the Germans as the Allied Forces pushed northwards to re-take Cherbourg after the D-Day Landings. Special guest of honour at the event was 94-year-old Earl Geoffrion, who was a rigger in the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Division. He had parachuted into occupied France during D-Day and was later decorated for his bravery. He spent some time chatting to the cadets, including Cadet Joe Cullum from 461 (Chichester) Squadron (pictured), about his

experiences more than 65 years ago. The Mayor of Quinéville publicly paid tribute to the cadets and invited them to return again next year. The second day of marching saw the group arriving at Ouistreham for the threehour long march along Sword Beach. On 6 June 1944, British and French Commandos landed at Ouistreham (Sword Beach) with two main objectives: to capture the city of Caen, several miles inland and to relieve the airborne forces at Pegasus Bridge, lying along the Caen Canal. After a quick lunch stop, the team was off again to march along Gold and Juno Beaches. They stopped at the famous ‘Canadian House’, the first house liberated by the Canadian Forces when they landed on Juno Beach. The cadets also visited the small fishing port of Courseulles sur Mer, the scene of fierce fighting on D-Day.

Cadet Flight Sergeant Laura Ferguson from 172 (Haywards Heath) Squadron said: “Not only is this trip to France a fantastic way to raise money for a charity that is so close to our hearts, but it is also very educational and executed perfectly by all the staff who volunteer to go. “I enjoyed every minute of it. I made some great friends and have taken home some experiences that I will never forget. The Air Training Corps provides so many opportunities for cadets and this is definitely one to take!” Sussex Wing intends to return to France again next year and cadets interested in taking part in the march should email for more information. ■


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Around the Region

New Commandant on Parade

On Sunday 16th September, the new Commandant of the Air Cadet Organisation, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty RAF, attended her first national ceremonial event as the head of the nearly 60,000 strong Organisation. She attended the Annual Battle of Britain Memorial Service held at Westminster Abbey in London where local cadets were well represented. Air Commodore McCafferty said; "I was

delighted to meet staff and cadets from Middlesex and London Wings” adding; "it was an absolute pleasure to meet so many smart, enthusiastic and friendly cadets and it was great to talk with some of the fantastic volunteers who are the backbone of our Organisation. I hope the cadets enjoyed the Service as much as I did and were inspired by the bravery of The Few." The cadets were happy to meet their new Commandant for the first time and they kept her chatting for some while! ■

Remembering ‘The Few’ Almost 300 cadets joined nearly 600 guests and 11 veterans of the Battle of Britain at this year’s Memorial service held at Capel le Ferne on the 15th July. Following months of preparation by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and hoping for good weather, the rain kept away for the 72nd anniversary service of remembrance. As cadets arrived for the rehearsal, under the ever watchful eye of the Queens Colour Squadron (QCS) Sergeant Spencer and the Kent’s Wing Warrant Officer Hollamby, the sun began to shine. Jerseys were discarded and smiles appeared but it wasn’t long before the clouds returned, actually making life more pleasant for those going to be on the parade. The guests duly arrived, welcomed by a Guard of Honour from 99 (Folkestone) Sqn and CWO Chris Mellor of 2513 (New Romney) Sqn, the Lord Lt’s Cadet for Kent. The reviewing Officer Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) then arrived, met by senior members of the trust. They all watched as the Parade Commander Flt Lt Matt Hurry of the QCS marched on the parade. The RAFA and other standards were carried proudly by their bearers, medals

Bomber Command Memorial Unveiling On Thursday the 28th of June 2012 a contingent of LASER Cadets and Uniformed Staff, led by Flt Lt H Tanner RAFVR(T), volunteered to assist with the Bomber Command Memorial Unveiling in Green Park, central London. It has taken some years for this memorial to come into existence but now it is here it looks magnificent. In total approximately 70 Cadets and Uniformed staff attended to assist with the ceremony. We all met in the shadows of Buckingham Palace at 0715 hours. Shortly after we were given a brief and split into groups for a wide range of duties for the day. These duties included Programme Distributors, First Aid Assistant, VIP Escorts, Orderlies and other general duties too. However I was detailed serving duties in the VIP refreshment tents with my

group which included FS (ATC) Martin O’Cock and FS (ATC) Tom Levett and 18 Cadets. We were working alongside trainees and their staff from the Royal Air Force Catering College who had provided a wide range of refreshments for all the visitors. It was the task of the cadets to serve tea/coffee and food to all the guests. This gave them the chance to speak to the veterans who all had an interesting story to tell. High ranking Officers of the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy were in attendance along with members of Armed Forces from across the world including Australia, New Zeeland, United States of America, Canada to name a few. However, more importantly the Veterans and their families were there too with their Medals polished and heads held high. It was an inspiring and emotional moment to witness those Veterans that had not seen each other since World War 2 finally reunited.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, HRH Price Charles and HRH the Duchess of Cornwall attended the ceremony to unveil the Memorial. Air Chief Marshal Sir Steven Dalton, Chief of the Air Staff, gave a moving speech which paid tribute to those men and women that served in Bomber Command both living and lost. The speech was received well by all the guests. I think I can speak on behalf of the entire LASER contingent when I say it was an honour speaking to, serving and assisting both the Veterans and their families on what was a glorious summer day. A fitting Memorial for an extraordinary group of people. We Will Remember Them ■


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Around the Region glinting in the weak sunshine, the Kent Wing and ATC banners, and finally the RAF ensign were then marched on. The general salute was given spot on time as the roar of the familiar Merlin engines of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire and Hurricane was heard overhead for the fly past salute. Once the parade was over and everyone had marched off, the cadets were addressed privately by CAS who had nothing but praise for the cadets and staff taking part. Extolling the virtues of the ACO, its high standards of drill and discipline as well as its ability to develop and motivate young people to make sure they make the most of each and every opportunity. Praise indeed from a high flying ex cadet. OC Kent Wing, Wg Cdr Garrod-Bell summed up the day saying, “This was a day when Kent Wing once again showed all present the exceptional capabilities of our cadets and the professionalism of our staff.”

Surrey Remember the Canadian Few Surrey Wing paid tribute to “The Few” at the annual Battle of Britain parade at Brookwood cemetery. This year the parade was in the Canadian section due to refurbishment work at the RAF shelter. Cadets planted crosses of remembrance at the headstones of Canadian Airmen and Officers lost during the Second World War. ■

Sussex Wing Kit Plane at Goodwood Revival The Sussex Wing Kit Plane has made its first appearance at the Goodwood Revival. Sited in an area known as "Over the Road", the team have spent three very busy days showcasing the two thirds scale Spitfire which was extremely popular with families whose young children sat in the cockpit to have their photograph taken, as well as chatting with the cadets from 2351 (Bognor) and 461 (Chichester) Squadrons. Cadets and staff were dressed in uniforms similar to those of the 1940s era, which drew attention from many other groups of people including some famous names. The team had a visit from Nick Mason, famous drummer in the band Pink Floyd and who played in the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games! Sir Stirling Moss, well know rally driver from the 1940s to 1960s took a few minutes away from a book signing session to meet the cadets, and even Lord March, who owns Goodwood, found time to stop and meet the cadets. Flight Lieutenant Graham Pike, Deputy Wing Media Communications Officer (MCO) for Sussex Wing, who has spent time working in the Royal Observer Corps, donned his old uniform and gave a practical demonstration on how to sound the air raid warning by using the genuine article, on loan from the Museum at Tangmere, which also alerted everyone to our presence "Over the Road" because it is very loud! With practical advice from the RAF Museum, Flight Lieutenant Trishia Welsh, Sussex Wing MCO joined in the fun as the WAAF Mechanic for the weekend. Trishia said; "Goodwood Revival attracts families from all over England and the Continent, with some of our visitors also from Australia. Because the Kit Plane is so unique and the cadets really looked the

part, we were a popular exhibit with many photographs taken and questions asked by the "Revivors" not only about the plane but about the Air Cadets, which really put the Organisation on the map over the weekend. We are all looking forward to going back next year with both the Spitfire and Hurricane, the build of which is going well" ■


Around the Region

Councillor David Grant, the Mayor of The Royal Borough of Greenwich along with Colonel Cyril Young, the Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the Borough recently presented Cadet Sergeant Sam O'Hara (16) with his Deputy Lieutenant's Certificate at the Woolwich Town Hall.

“Sam was nominated for this award for continuously performing his duties with dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism. Sam is a credit to the Corps and his Squadron and leads by example at all times - setting him apart as a role model for his fellow cadets. He is always the first to volunteer for any duty and always there to offer advice and guidance to the cadets in his charge. I am very pleased that Sam has been recognized for his service to the Borough, he has been with the squadron since 2009 and has been instrumental in helping to rebuild the squadron to it currant strength and standing within the Wing” said his Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Mark Bird. Sam has just finished his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award, has qualified as a Master Air Cadet and will shortly and will shortly be working towards his Instructor Cadet Qualification and BTEC in Public Services. After the presentation ceremony, a delighted Sam said; “I felt extremely privileged and proud to have been nominated for this award and I look forward to carrying out my duties for the next twelve months to assist the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the Borough.”

Haringey’s Youth in victory march to Civic Centre Over a hundred of Haringey’s uniformed cadets together with Scouts marched proudly from the Scouts Park at Bounds Green to the Civic Centre in early July to hear which of them was the winner of the third annual inter group skills competition. The Air Cadet Band led the column of smart young people proudly wearing their organisations’ uniforms. Throughout the day The Scouts Park was a hive of activity as teams pitted their wits against each other, meeting challenges and showing off the various skills learned in their groups. Formed up in neat lines outside the Civic Centre a huge cheer went up when the competition winner was announced as 16F (Wood Green & Hornsey) Squadron, flanked by the Mayor Councillor David Browne, Deputy Lieutenant Rosemary Warne and other senior leaders, Colonel Hugh Purcell, chairman of YOU (Youth Organisations in Uniform)who presented the sought after shield to the winning team. Speaking afterwards the Mayor said “I’ve been very impressed by the turnout of the cadets and scouts. This parade is important to show that young people in our borough are active and that there are opportunities both for them and for adult volunteers to take part in.” Deputy Lieutenant Rosemary Warne MBE who has been a driving force behind

this initiative, commented, “This is the third year that we have held this competition, coinciding with Armed Forces Day. It was to bring together our local cadets and youth organisations so that the young people and their adult instructors could meet up and learn from one another. This cooperation has developed, for example the Scouts have been able to offer much needed accommodation to the Volunteer Police Cadets. The competition is to bring everyone together in a spirit of fun to show each other the skills and learning that their individual organisations offer. This weekend has been uplifting with all the cadets and scouts fully participating. It’s been a lot of hard work on the part of both the young people and the adults. I’d like to thank Flight Lieutenant Ralph Kamper, for his contribution and everyone who played a part in making this such a success for the people of Haringey.” ■ Photo: Capt Michael Nolan ACF

Woolwich Air Cadet Honoured By DL

Sittingbourne Firm Supports Cadets’ BTEC Award 2230 (Sittingbourne) Squadron ATC celebrated another Level 1 success in September. As part of a very generous sponsorship by Sittingbourne based Eurobond Adhesives five Cadets from the Squadron together with five other local Army and Sea Cadets were able to complete their CVQO led Level 1 BTEC in Teamwork, Personal Skills and Citizenship. Managing Director Simon Dearing was pleased to visit the Squadron and present one of the Cadets Conaugh Fawcett with his Certificate. This is a bespoke qualification written and designed by CVQO to encourage young people to take part in Vocational Qualifications. The Syllabus includes working as a team, taking responsibility, volunteering and self-reliance the sort of skills that will prepare a young person for today’s challenges in life.

Simon said “As a local employer I am pleased to be able to fund this programme as the Cadet Forces develop key skills that will be required when young people move into the work place” Flight Lieutenant Hannah Fulford added “The programme has been a great success and a couple of the Cadets as a direct result of taking their level 1 BTEC have now taken up their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award” ■


The Laser Autumn 2012

Around the Region

Diamond Air Cadet Officer From Deal Recognised by Stagecoach Buses Early in 2012, an initiative was launched by the bus company Stagecoach, in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, to find people who deserve recognition for what they do for the community. Passengers on the Stagecoach Diamond bus network were asked to nominate people who they thought had contributed most. A team from Stagecoach selected four who shone out of all the nominees and who now feature on their own bus. One of the "local diamonds" selected was Flight Lieutenant Geoff Hobbs-East, Officer Commanding No. 2235 (Deal) Squadron. Flt Lt Hobbs-East was secretly nominated by family, friends and squadron members not only for his operational administration but also fund-raising to enhance facilities and equipment including a new minibus & trailer and

flight simulator since becoming Squadron Commander in 2008. Members of 2235 Squadron, family and friends were invited to Pencester Gardens in Dover to the official press launch which was followed by a lunch at Dover Town Hall. The buses were presented to the recipients by The Right Worshipful The Town Mayor of Dover Cllr Mrs Anne Smith, MP for Deal and Dover Mr Charlie Elphicke and the Mr Paul Southgate the Commercial Manager of Stagecoach UK Bus. The 2235 Squadron Band were also invited to play on the bandstand as part of the event. "This was a complete surprise" Flt Lt Hobbs-East said "but I was pleased to accept this unusual honour on behalf of everyone at 2235 Squadron, especially the adult staff, without whom none of this would have happened. My thanks

also go Stagecoach who have gone out of their way to make all 4 of the recipients feel special. That said, I have heard every variant of the joke about looking like the back of a bus!" The buses will feature the "local diamonds" for up to a year in addition to which Stagecoach have also offered the Squadron one free use of the Squadron Commanders bus during that time. ■

East Ham Air Cadets Receive First Ever Commandant’s Commendation

Photos: Flt Lt Vik Singh RAFVR(T)

282 (East Ham) Squadron Air Cadets have received the first ever Commandants Commendation award for their performance in reaching the finals of the Sir Alan Lees Trophy. The Squadron received the award from Air Commodore Barbara Cooper RAF CBE, who was accompanied by her successor, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty who was on her first ever visit to an Air Cadet Squadron. The Commandant informed the Squadron and assembled guests that she had decided to create and award the commendation to mark 282’s “excellent performance and effort for an inner city squadron” on seeing them during the Sir Alan Lees Trophy Competition. Among the guests were the Master, Wardens and Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers, who have had an affiliation with 282 Squadron since 2011. The evening was the last official engagement for the Master

Plaisterer Mr Peter Baker, so the Commandant, on behalf of the Squadron presented him with a certificate of thanks and a silver bugle to mark his contribution to developing the affiliation with the Plaisterers and his fundraising initiative to purchase new instruments for the Squadron band. Following the presentation ceremony the Commandant and Air Commodore McCafferty spent time with the honoured guests, staff and members of the Squadron Civilian Committee before being shown around the Squadron. During their tour of the Squadron Air Commodore McCafferty got to display her skills on the flight simulator

whilst the Commandant demonstrated her musical talents on the Bugle as they viewed some of the new instruments purchased through the efforts of the Plaisterers. The Commandant and Air Commodore then moved on to help the new recruits with the practical part of their heart start class. The visit ended with the Commandant addressing the Squadron and singling out Cadet Sergeant Sarah Allen to inform her she was on parade “improperly dressed” before promoting her to Cadet Flight Sergeant and presenting her with the ‘correct’ rank slides. Officer Commanding 282 Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Chris Booty said after the successful evening; “it is truly an honour for the Squadron to have not one, but two Air Commodore’s visit especially as we are the first Squadron for the new Commandant to see. Everyone at 282 Squadron has worked so hard to get it to where it is today and I am immensely proud of the whole team. We have had our challenges, but we’ve overcome them together and continue to flourish. We were delighted to receive the Commandants Commendation tonight.” ■ Above: Flt Lt Booty receives the Commendation from Air Cdre Cooper Left: Incoming Commandant Air Cadets, Air Cdre McCafferty tries the flight sim. 23

Around the Region

Promotion for Hailsham Volunteer Newly appointed Warrant Officer Tina Calvert received her promotion certificate from Officer Commanding 249 (Hailsham) Squadron, Craig Tompson. Tina’s’ current appointment was recommended by OC Sussex Wing and the Wing Warrant Officer. Warrant Officer Calvert is one of only two female Drill and Discipline specialists within Sussex Wing, was also one of the first Sergeants to take up post in the new Corps adult

Brighton Squadron Welcomes New Sergeant 226 (Brighton) Squadron, Sussex Wing challenge as Senior Non-Commissioned welcomed a new member of staff, Officer (SNCO) in Charge of Discipline - an Sergeant Kerry Harnes. area she’s always had an interest in. Sergeant Harnes joined the Squadron 226 (Brighton) Squadron have been early July having spent over a year as without an SNCO Discipline since Flight a Civilian Instructor at 1140 (Steyning) Sergeant Danny Smith left the unit to join Squadron. Before passing her Sergeant’s the Central Training Team at Headquarters board in March she was the Adjutant Air Cadets in December 2011. at Steyning Squadron, but after going Sergeant Harnes said; “I’m looking into uniform wanted to take on a new forward to the challenge of a new

structure. She has worked extremely hard and has been a dedicated Senior None Commissioned Officer (SNCO), not only to her Squadron but to the Wing for over 8 years. Flight Lieutenant Criag Tompson said “This promotion to the highest rank in the SNCO structure is richly deserved. Very few Cadet Forces Adult Volunteers will ever achieve this rank.” Staff and Cadets congratulated Tina on gaining her promotion at the ceremony held at the Squadron Headquarters. ■ Squadron and role. I’m excited about developing the cadets in all areas of drill, dress and discipline as it’s a very important part, not only of cadet life, but for civilian employment too. After completing her SNCO Staff Initial Course at RAF Cranwell in August, Sergeant Harnes intends to add to her communications and first aid qualifications by completing her Staff Drill Instructor’s Course. ■

Meet the New London and SE Region Chaplain

Kent Wing ExO Retires

A message from the new London and South East Region Chaplain, the Reverend Canon David Nason: I took over as your Region Chaplain on 1st January this year following the retirement of the Reverend Christopher Miles who had held the post for a number of years. Firstly, I would like to pay a great tribute to the Reverend Miles for all of his hard work and for leaving the region chaplaincy in such good order. You may remember that he was our preacher at the Region service held in St. Clement Danes Church last February. You may wonder what a Region Chaplain has to do. Being new in post I am still finding out but through the Wing Chaplains, we have six in our region, my main job is to ensure that each squadron has a chaplain. The chaplain or padre as some of you call him or her is a very important person in the life of the squadron. Not only do they admit all cadets into the Corps but they also arrange ‘Padre’s Hour’ when you have a chance to discuss some very important moral and ethical

After nearly 10 years in post, Squadron Leader Bushby has retired as the Kent Wing Executive Officer. With previous full time service as an RAF Officer, Sqn Ldr Bushby adapted quickly to the considerable 'challenges' of being a full time Officer in a part time voluntary organisation. Working long hours and many evenings to ensure that the wheels were kept moving. His attention to detail, considerable knowledge, contacts and sage counsel was appreciated by many across the Wing. On Sqn Ldr Bushby's last official day in post, the Wing Chairman, Flt Lt (retd) Cliff Mullins, visited Wing HQ on behalf of Wg Cdr Garrod Bell, OCKW, who was unable to attend due to work commitments, to present Sqn Ldr Bushby with a retirement gift of a Wing crest, mounted in a frame with a plaque. Wg Cdr Garrod-Bell said: "I know that over the coming months the Wing will realise just how many tasks Sqn Ldr Bushby dealt with and the professional way he undertook his duties. On behalf of the cadets and staff of Kent Wing I would like to wish him a long and enjoyable retirement". ■

issues. Also they are always there to lend a listening ear if you have any personal problems or if you just need to chat. Make sure you always make good use of your Chaplain. Part of my job is also to arrange meetings twice a year with all the Wing Chaplains to discuss chaplaincy matters, to talk about any problems we may experience and to discuss ways in which we could do our jobs more efficiently. A very important task that I have to perform is to arrange the annual L&SER service at St. Clement Danes in central London. It is a wonderful opportunity to give thanks to God for the Air Cadet Organisation and to pray for his blessing on all of our work and on all of our squadrons. It is also a wonderful opportunity for me to meet many of you as you attend the service and I shall look forward to that next February. When I am not being L&SER Chaplain, I am Chaplain to 461 (Chichester) Squadron and I am also a Canon on the staff of Chichester Cathedral. ■


The Laser Autumn 2012

Around the Region

Commendation for London Volunteer

Sussex Wing Volunteers Wear Their Uniforms With Pride on Uniform to Work Day

One of London Wing’s longest serving and dedicated adult volunteers, Flight Lieutenant Phil Ralph RAFVR(T) has been awarded an Air Officer Commanding Commendation. This award recognises more than 30 years of service in the Air Cadet Organisation. The Air Officer Commanding Commendation is awarded for distinguished service undertaken by an individual. The note attached to his commendation said: “Flt Lt Ralph has made a remarkable contribution to the training and organisation of Nijmegen marches for London Wing, as well as displaying distinctive leadership in other distance marching events” explained Squadron Leader Pete Gourri, London Wing Adventure Training Officer. “Flt Lt Ralph’s work as Wing Duke of Edinburgh Award Officer (in particular, his concept of Wing and Region Gold Expeditions) has benefited hundreds of cadets. In the area of shooting, his role has varied from the development of the roving Range Conducting Officer open days, improving accessibility to shooting and steering many teams to competition success. In addition to all of these activities, Flt Lt Ralph has continued to be the mainstay of No 82 (Wandsworth) Squadron.” Officer Commanding London Wing, Wing Commander Bob Naeem RAFVR(T) commented; “I can think of no one more deserving than Flt Lt Ralph to receive this award. He is a hard-working and dedicated person who has done an enormous amount of work over the last 30 years affecting the lives of thousands of young people in the Air Cadet Organisation.

Flight Lieutenant Jackie Pelling, Officer Commanding 1414 (Crowborough) Squadron, Sussex Wing attended her regular place of work in uniform to highlight the work of the Reserve Forces and to support the regular Armed Forces both here and abroad. As well as running the Squadron, Jackie is the Volunteer Reserve representative at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Club in Piccadilly, Central London. Jackie regularly attends meetings and is actively involved in the organisation of social events. She has been gearing up for a visit to the RAF Club by HM The Queen who, as Patron, is attending a lunch with the Trustees in honour of her Diamond Jubilee. Flying Officer Katie Calvert RAF VR(T) from Sussex Wing felt it was important to wear her uniform to work to make more of the public aware of the work undertaken for young people in the Air Cadet Organisation. Katie has been involved with the Air Cadets for 17 years, first spending 9 as a cadet on 249 (Hailsham) Squadron where she worked her way through the cadet ranks to Cadet Warrant Officer. She enjoyed her time as a cadet so much that she wanted to give the next generation the same opportunities she’d experienced so decided to volunteer. Katie has been an adult volunteer for the past 8 years and currently serves as a Squadron Officer at 2262 (Bexhill) Squadron. She is also the Radio Officer for the Wing. Katie works at a petrol station in Hailsham, East Sussex and decided wearing her uniform to work could be a great way to make the general public more aware of both the Air Cadet Organisation and the work it does for young people and the volunteering opportunities available for adults. Katie said; “I had lots of questions from the public asking me what it was all about and people were genuinely supportive. I also told them that I was not just representing the Reserve Forces but also showing my support for the Regular Military Personnel serving both here in the

UK and those on active service overseas.” Katie plans to wear her uniform with pride again next year.

Hospital Medical Secretary surprises patients by wearing her uniform to work. Flight Lieutenant Trishia Welsh (pictured above), a Staff Officer from Sussex Wing took great pride in the opportunity to wear her uniform to work. Trishia works in a hospital as a medical secretary for an opthamlic consultant. Trishia is also a very proud volunteer with the Air Cadet Organisation, something she’s enjoyed doing over the past 10 years, juggling responsibility for the Media & Communications for Sussex Wing plus looking after the Wing Band and a Kit Plane Display Team. “I am very proud to wear my uniform. Since the inception of Armed Forces Day and the Wear Your Uniform to Work Day, I have embraced this opportunity to show my support for the Armed Forces by wearing my uniform to my normal place of work. I also wanted to make people aware of the good work done by the Reserve Forces both here and overseas. I have to go to various departments within the hospital throughout the day, so a lot of people saw me in my uniform. I was stopped by quite a few of the patients when I went from my office to the Outpatient Department, who asked about the uniform, including a 91 year old ex-RAF fireman! Another elderly lady of 91 and originally from Dresden, was so impressed when she heard what I did in my spare time as a volunteer that she has decided to make a small donation to Sussex Wing!” ■


The Laser Autumn 2012 25

Staff Awards and Appointments

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 S H Webb, 1483 (Brentwood) Sqn Kent Wing Sergeant R Roberts, 312 (City Of Canterbury) Sqn Sergeant M Sullivan, 358 (Welling) Sqn London Wing Sergeant L Smith, 4 OS (G端tersloh) Sqn Sergeant C Botley, 8 OS (Rheindahlen) Sqn Sergeant S K Kilminster, 48 (Hamstead) Sqn Sergeant D Faulkner, 4F (Ilford) Sqn

Middlesex Wing Sergeant L K Heelan, 120 (Hendon) Sqn Sergeant S P Lay, 94 (Feltham) Sqn Sergeant J E Hurst, 1159 (Edmonton) Sqn Sergeant D Humphreys, 862 (Sunbury)Sqn Surrey Wing Sergeant S Aspin, 261 (Guildford) Sqn Sussex Wing Sergeant C S Wakeford, 304 (Battle) Det Flt Sergeant J Perkins , 45F (Worthing) Sqn

Civilian Instructors The following staff have recently been appointed as a Civilian Instructor in the Air Training Corps within the Region.

Essex Wing A Fuller, 309 (Sawbridgeworth) Sqn D M Clancy, 1163 (Colne Valley) Sqn L A Higgs, 309 (Sawbridgeworth) Sqn J Harrison, 2317 (Harlow) Sqn C A Rivett, 1830 (Tendring Hundred) Sqn S S J Fisher, 1312 (Southend-on-Sea) Sqn E Tele, 1312 (Southend-on-Sea) Sqn T E King, 414 (Epping & North Weald) Sqn D Brown, 999 (Dunmow) Sqn Middlesex Wing M T Harrison , 862 (Sunbury) Sqn M A J Moore, 342 (Ealing & Brentford) Sqn M P Carter, 1083 (Uxbridge) Sqn J L Chering, 1374 (East Barnet) Sqn H Patel, 2236 (Stanmore) Sqn R R Dorai, 86 (Heston & Isleworth) Sqn A R Soden, 862 (Sunbury) Sqn M Connolly, 393 (Finchley) Sqn M J Collins, 862 (Sunbury) Sqn A D J Harley, 85 (Enfield & Southgate) Sqn

Surrey Wing C R Elliott, 328 (Kingston-Upon-Thames) Sqn R J Davis, 285 (Coulsdon & Purley) Sqn D S Stride, 450 (Kenley) Sqn E P Tierney, 97 (Croydon) Sqn A Ahmad, 219 (Sutton & Cheam) Sqn P J Greening, 144 (Richmond) Sqn L J Bellamy, 66 (Selsdon) Sqn O S Chappell, 219 (Sutton & Cheam) Sqn E A Lnadymore, 450 (Kenley) Sqn E Rogers, 219 (Sutton & Cheam) Sqn P A Downey, 1075 (Camberley) Sqn E Jennings, 565 (New Malden & Raynes Park) Sqn I S Baker, 1408 (Cranleigh) Det Flt L Myers, 261 (Guildford) Sqn J W Francis, 285 (Coulsdon & Purley) Sqn S E Stace, 11F (Brooklands) Sqn D J W Titmarsh, 229 (Farnham) Sqn F A Stj Rushton, 1254 (Godalming) Sqn L A Woolterton, 350 (Carshalton & Wallington) Sqn R Ronaldson, 135 (Reigate & Redhill) Sqn

London Wing S Serbis, 343 (Camberwell) Sqn N Baykis at 1475 (Dulwich) Sqn L Smith, 291 (Westminster & Chelsea) Sqn Z L Jolin, 56 (Woolwich) Sqn L E C Scally, 2324 (Chigwell) Sqn T Clarke-Roseman, 444 (Shoreditch) Sqn A Zachariades, 1475 (Dulwich) Sqn R Wraith, 34 (Balham & Tooting) Sqn M Badul, 12 (Walthamstow) Sqn S M A Shah, 1475 (Dulwich) Sqn J Oyinlola, 291 (Westminster & Chelsea) Sqn

Kent Wing N J Wardell, 312 (City Of Canterbury) Sqn A Wilkinson, 312 (City Of Canterbury) Sqn J W Nash, 340 (Edenbrdige) Sqn A M Hart, 99 (Folkestone) Sqn P F Ottersen, 99 (Folkestone) Sqn C J Lancaster, 312 (City Of Canterbury) Sqn L J Gilbert, 99 (Folkestone) Sqn A M Parnell, 1242 (Faversham) Sqn S D Reed, 1404 (Chatham) Sqn A M Kealy, 438 (Thanet) Sqn A Hogan, 2427 (Biggin Hill) Sqn


The Laser Autumn 2012

Staff Awards and Appointments

C Lawson, 438 (Thanet) Sqn A Copeland, 358 (Welling) Sqn C Collins, 1579 (Erith School) Sqn K Ginn, 129 (Tunbridge Wells) Sqn V J Preston, 438 (Thanet) Sqn G Spreadbury, 228 (Bromley) Sqn G N Keep, 2433 (Ramsgate) Sqn M A Baxter, 359 (Bexleyheath) Sqn L J Hamilton, 1227 (Sidcup) Sqn Sussex Wing J A Gordon-Hall, 172 (Haywards Heath) Sqn F E Whittington, 176 (Hove) Sqn K S H Rawlins, 1015 (Horsham) Sqn

G N Scott, 1140 (Steyning) Sqn J Corps, 225 (Brighton No 1) Sqn S A Walker, 225 (Brighton No 1) Sqn J A Kistnasamy, 225 (Brighton No 1) Sqn K Collison, 249 (Hailsham) Sqn A Campbell, 225 (Brighton No 1) Sqn D Bradley, 304 (Hastings) Sqn R C Davies, 304 (Battle) Det Flt A M Read, 1140 (Steyning) Sqn N D Loftus, 1343 (East Grinstead) Sqn S M Bacon, 45 (Worthing) Sqn J Stagg, 1414 (Crowborough) Sqn D A J Merriman, 19 (Crawley) Sqn

Honorary Squadron Chaplains The following staff have recently been appointed as a Squadron Chaplain in the Air Training Corps within the Region.

Essex Father T Barnes, 158 (Braintree) Sqn Reverend T M Bull , 308 (Colchester) Sqn Reverend J R Sawtell, 1476 (Rayleigh) Sqn

London Reverend F Ashford-Okai, 282 (East Ham) Sqn Reverend P P Welsh, 291 (Westminster & Chelsea) Sqn

Kent Reverend P Clark, 249 (Hailsham) Sqn

Awards The following staff have recently received awards for their work with the Air Cadet Organsation.

London Wing Air Officer Commanding Commendation Flight Lieutenant Phil Ralph of 82 (Wandsworth) Squadron Defence Council Letter of Appreciation Warrant Officer Les R Brandon of 82 (Wandsworth) Squadron Miss Linda Bonner of 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Squadron Clasp to the Cadet Forces Medal Squadron Leader Jerry Godden of 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Squadron Cadet Forces Medal for 12 years service Flying Officer Richard Walsh of 1475 (Dulwich) Squadron Flying Officer Nick Harvey of 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Squadron Commandant Air Cadets Commendation Squadron Leader Julian Loxton Flight Lieutenant Ian Perring of 296 (Stoke Newington) Squadron Flight Lieutenant Russ Hollington of 2048 (Dagenham) Squadron Mr Richard Barnes of 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Squadron The next edition of The LaSER is due out in December. If you have any news stories for our next edition, please email them along with high resolution images to


Providing specially trained assistance dogs to injured or disabled men and women from the UK Armed forces and Civilian Emergency Services

Profile for London & SE Region Air Cadets

The LaSER Autumn 2012  

The LaSER is the Journal of the air cadets in London and South East England.

The LaSER Autumn 2012  

The LaSER is the Journal of the air cadets in London and South East England.