Monthly Archives: May 2013

Moving Tribute to the Dam Busters

1063 (Herne Bay) Squadron Air Training Corps

An Air Cadets parade and a seafront Dakota flypast marked Dam Busters Day in Herne Bay in a fitting salute to Second World War heroes who took part in the legendary bombing raid.

Crowds filled the streets and applauded standard bearers and members of 1063 Herne Bay Squadron as they marched from the statue of Sir Barnes Wallis, the man who invented the bouncing bomb used in the raid on German dams in the Second World War.

The Squadron was joined by cadets and staff from 312 City of Canterbury, 2433 Ramsgate, 354 Dover and 2235 Deal Squadrons as well as members of the town’s Royal British Legion, Royal Air Force Association and ex-serviceman’s club.

Preparing to march on

Preparing to march on

The statue of the silent star of the show overlooks the seafront in recognition that early versions of his bomb were tested along the Kent coastline before being put into action during the mission 70 years ago.

The statue of the silent star

The statue of the silent star

There were other flypasts around the Country, including at Lincoln Cathedral, where 1300 people attended at a memorial service.

Lancaster bomber takes to the skies

Lancaster bomber takes to the skies

More than one third of the men who took off from RAF Scampton in 19 Lancaster bombers did not return from the raids on 17 May 1943. The mission marked a turning point in the war and more than 1300 people lost their lives as the bombs landed on key dams flooding the Ruhr valley. The devices were designed to bounce across the water towards their target before exploding underwater to destroy the dams.

For more information on the Air Cadets please visit

End of Tour…Back to Reality!

Cpl Sian Davies 128 Field Company REME

I am now back firmly on UK soil having completed my 6 month tour of Afghanistan with 12CSLR. Already I look back at it with nothing but fond memories.

Op Herrick 17 came to end for me at the end of March 2013 along with the rest of LAD. In the last month we started our end of tour preparations. The fleet of vehicles were already at good standard and we were sure to maintain that ready for the handover/takeover. This was one of our busiest times in theatre and we were working longer days and at a quicker pace. Morale was gaining momentum as members of 3CSLR started to come in ready for Herrick 18.

The new LAD arrived in full shortly before we left, allowing us a day or two to work together, going through common faults and discussing best working methods. Camp Bastion once again became very busy as it was accommodated by two Battle groups. It was very reminiscent of my arrival in theatre back in September 2012. This time however, I was getting ready to leave to come back home.

Once the workshop was handed over we had enough time to deal with booking out of Camp and pack. We left our ‘home away from home’ two days later. As in all cases after a 6 month operational tour of Afghanistan, we were Cyprus bound for Decompression.  On arrival at Bloodhound Camp, Akrotiri we were allocated accommodation then spent the day relaxing. Activities including chilling by the pool, horse-riding and go karting, amongst other things.

View from my lounger in Akrotiri

View from my lounger in Akrotiri

That evening we all enjoyed food, a limited amount of alcohol and a CSE show consisting of comedians and a band. It was a good day/night all in all but I was definitely looking forward to getting back home.

On arrival at Brize Norton, we headed back to 12 LSR, Abingdon. On dealing with a few admin issues I was free to make the final part of my journey back home. I spent a week at home before going back to Abingdon for three days of the standard 4 day ‘normalisation package’. This consisted of a PFA (personal fitness test), various briefs, talks from outside bodies and or course, a word or two from the Padre. There were mixed feelings about the normalisation process, but it was compulsory and everyone attended.

Meeting my Great Nephew for the first time on my way back from Brize Norton

Meeting my Great Nephew for the first time on my way back from Brize Norton

At that stage there was nothing left for TA personnel to do except to formally demobilise from Regular Service. My leave officially started on 11 April. I am due to go back to my civilian job as a Senior Solicitor on 18 June 2013.

I very much enjoyed my time spent with 12 CSLR and the experience of living in Camp Bastion and venturing out beyond ‘the wire’. I am truly grateful for having had the opportunity to experience an Operational Tour. I was particularly lucky with the timing of my tour as I had many friends out in theatre at the same time from the Army and RAF both reservist and regular. To be able to socialise away from my place of work was certainly something that helped pass the time.

Seeing my dad for the first time in a year in Tenerife!

Seeing my dad for the first time in a year in Tenerife!

I am making the most of my leave now, already having enjoyed a week away in Tenerife to visit family as well as a weekend in London for the Army v Navy Rugby. I will be back at work before I know it so I am embracing this as much as possible. Afghanistan already becoming just a memory.

For more information on 128 Fd Coy please visit:

Cadets All At Sea

Gosport Sea Cadets

The Commanding Officer of Gosport Sea Cadets, CPO Tony Salmon, Civilian Instructor Renee Smith and 7 Cadets from TS Hornet tested their sea legs on Thursday after a trip to sea in HMS Blazer was co-ordinated by Mike Highwood, Secretary of the Solent Branch of the Royal Institute of Navigation and by kind permission of the ship’s captain, Lt Amie Jackson, RN.

HMS Blazer

HMS Blazer

The Cadets mustered on Fieldhouse Pontoon at the Joint Services Association Sailing Centre, Haslar at 0915 to watch HMS Blazer come alongside in very difficult windy conditions. However, being Cadets, their watching soon turned into actions as willing hands caught the mooring lines heaved ashore by members of the crew. Once the ship was safely moored alongside, the Cadets mustered for photographs on the upperdeck and then adjourned to the dining area for a safety brief by the Executive Officer and the Captain.

Lt Jackson apologised for the fact that, due to the gale force conditions in the Channel, they probably wouldn’t be able to spend as much time at sea as she would have liked but that they would ‘poke the ship’s nose’ out into the Solent and see how things went. Details were given on what the Cadets should do in the event of ‘mal de mare’!

Gosport Sea Cadets

Sea Cadets onboard HMS Blazer

As it turned out, all the Cadets proved to be true sailors and, despite really lumpy seas, no-one was seasick. Lt Jackson gave them her hearty congratulations, followed by a very informative tour of the ship and some light refreshments.

All in all, everyone agreed, it had been a very enjoyable day.

The names of those who attended are:-

CPO Tony Salmon

C/I Renee Smith

OC Amie Varndell

Cdt James Williams

OC Kelsey Palmer

OC Matthew Pipe

OC Amelia Frasle

OC James Kirwal

Cdt James Potter   This is the order from left to right of the Cadets in the photographs.

For more information on the Sea Cadets please visit :

Survival Weekend

Survival Training with 1 Signal Squadron (V)

After arriving Friday night we were told that due to the snow around each of the TA Centres we would be staying at the TA Centre for the night and heading down to Yardley on Saturday morning.  Rugby Tp all suffered, trying to survive on booze and a take away.  After spending the night in the guard room, all personnel were up at 0700hrs and went about our morning ablutions.

After a quick jog to the local co-op we managed to have a half decent breakfast.  We kitted up at boarded for Yardley at around 0900hrs arriving around an hour later.  Once there, we had a quick tab from the drop off point to the admin bunker where we were given a brief for the exercise by Sgt Ian Chalmers.

There was a quick fire starting lesson inside the bunker, out of the wind to show how to set up starting a fire using fire steel and a striker against cotton wool and such before adding kindling and larger pieces of fuel.  The second lesson was similar but outside, much harder when battling the elements.  We were all given a few small wooden blocks and shown how to chop them down into smaller pieces to help start a fire later on.  Two methods were shown of how to stack up the kindling and smaller pieces of dry wood to start a fire, the first was like a Jenga stack, 3 or 4 pieces lined up next to each other all facing one way, then the next layer they were all at a 90 degree angle to the previous layer.  The second was based around a Tipi tent, three pieces leaning towards each other meeting at the top, kindling in the middle and adding sticks and other fuel on to create a pyramid.

Next was the shelter building lesson, were Cpl Jon Lloyd went over different types of shelters, which way they should face, how to incorporate a fire into your shelter area and so on.  Then we were divided up into teams of three, and were set loose in the surrounding area to scout out a shelter location of our own and start our own shelter construction.

Sig Tetteh outside his shelter

Sig Tetteh outside his shelter

Once all the teams had found a location we spent around 2-3 hours constructing a shelter, we were then called over for another lesson, Chicken disposal.  We were shown how to make the chicken dizzy/relaxed and then how to kill it by slitting its throat.  The survival instructor then showed us how to remove all the feathers by drenching the chicken in boiling water making them easier to pull of the feathers, then how to remove all the insides and divide it up into wings, legs and breast meat.

(L-R) Sig Akehurst, LCpls Prockter & Simmons, Pte Walker And LCpl Lloyd

(L-R) Sig Akehurst, LCpls Prockter & Simmons, Pte Walker And LCpl Lloyd

After a few more hours of finishing touches to our shelters, we started on getting our fires going as it was starting to get dark, and very cold.  With the help of a heavy flow tampon, some dead dry grass and the wood we were given to chop up earlier in the day, our group managed to get a fire going fairly quickly and before had quite a decent fire.  From here on in there was always one person watching/feeding the fire making sure it didn’t go out.  The others were gathering fuel for it to last us through the night.  Once a decent supply of wood was gathered and chopped up into manageable pieces, the person watching the fire had boiled an ammo tin of water, two of us went to get our food for the night.  We copied what we were shown earlier with regards to the chickens and soon had a decent amount of meat to cook for dinner.  Some people boiled the meat in an ammo tin, others fried the meat on the ammo tin lids and others put the chicken on a spit and roasted it.  After the chicken was eaten, we went about sorting out stag rotations to watch the fire through the night.  Our group did this in 2 hour shifts, which went surprisingly quickly, must be something to do with playing with fire, entertaining…

We got through the night with out the fire dying, all though we did have to gather a bit more fuel throughout the night, surprising how much you need.  Everyone was up between 0700-0800hrs and most of the groups were on the hunt for more fuel after the night shift.  There were 2 more lessons on the Sunday; the first was methods of gathering water, morning dew, condensation and snow to name a few.

The second was on making signals so you can be rescued.  These were divided up into 3 sections, sound and sight, sight was divided into 2 sections, natural and pyrotechnics.  After going through various ways of making you heard or seen, there was a box of Mini Flares for us all to have a go with as practice.  Shortly after this was end ex.  We dismantled our shelters, stubbed out our fires and returned to the Admin Bunker to pack some kit away before tabbing back to the Mini Vans and heading back to our respective TA Centres.

To find out more about 1 Signal Squadron please visit:




































Victory In Eurpoe 2013

Hastings Sea Cadets

Hastings Sea and Royal Marine Cadets were once again invited to join the Victory in Europe Day Parade 2013, in Twin Town Oudenaarde, Belgium from the 03rd-05th May 2013. The cadets enjoyed a weekend away joining the Hastings & Oudenaarde, TwinTown Committee and attend the VE Day Anniversary Oudenaarde Parade. The cadets also had the opportunity to visit sites of interest to encourage greater understanding and involvement in European affairs.

Hastings Sea and Royal Marine Cadets

Hastings Sea and Royal Marine Cadets

Sea Cadets is the UK’s largest maritime youth charity. 9000 volunteers support 14,000 young people (between 10 and 18) in 400 towns across the UK. Our aim is: “To give young people the best possible head start in life through nautical adventure and fun. Through nautical adventure they learn vital life skills like leadership, communication and team working and can earn extra qualifications which help boost confidence to give them a head start in life. More information can be found at

Attorney General Attends Sea Cadet St Georges Dinner Night

Marlow Sea Cadets host St. George’s Dinner Night

On Saturday 27 April, Marlow Sea Cadets hosted a St. George’s Night Dinner at their unit headquarters in Wethered Road.

The evening was well attended by over 50 supporters of the unit, including the Town Mayor, Cllr Jocelyn Towns; Deputy Mayor, Cllr Suzanne Brown; Head of the Defence Reform Unit, Commodore Nick Roberts Royal Navy and the Attorney General, the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP.

During the evening, honoured guests, instructional staff, trustees, parents and other supporters of the unit enjoyed a three course meal in the style of a formal Royal Naval mess dinner with the aim of raising much needed funds and celebrate cadet achievements over the past twelve months.

(L-R) Chief Petty Officer Kelly Searles, Lieutenant Nick Jones, Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Councillor Jocelyn Towns, Commodore Nick Roberts Royal Navy, Dr Sal Roberts and Richard Royall (Chairman)

(L-R) Chief Petty Officer Kelly Searles, Lieutenant Nick Jones, Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Councillor Jocelyn Towns, Commodore Nick Roberts Royal Navy, Dr Sal Roberts and Richard Royall (Chairman)

In his speech, Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Nick Jones praised the young people for all their hard work throughout the past year and went on to say that he was “particularly proud of the unit’s participation in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames last summer”. Afterwards he added, “It was excellent to see such great support for the dinner from across the local community, particularly being able to welcome our local MP to the unit for the first time in many years.”

Marlow Sea Cadets is a voluntary youth organisation and registered charity (number 300299) aimed at helping young people towards responsible adulthood by encouraging valuable personal attributes and high standards of conduct using a nautical theme.

(L-R) Able Cadet Sophie Hall, Ordinary Cadet Rebekah Roberts and Able Cadet Keron Davidson

(L-R) Able Cadet Sophie Hall, Ordinary Cadet Rebekah Roberts and Able Cadet Keron Davidson

The unit has over 30 cadets who meet every Tuesday and Friday evening, spending as much of the summer months as possible rowing and power boating on the River Thames and concentrating on land based training such as seamanship, ceremonial drill, piping, first aid, cookery and swimming during the winter months.

Events like this dinner provide vital funds towards the charity’s annual running costs of between £10-12,000 and help to keep activities as accessible as possible for young people throughout Marlow and the surrounding area. The charity is currently looking for more supporters who can give a little time to help with this fundraising. Anyone interested should contact Richard Royall on 01494 439763 or email

The Sea Cadets are the UK’s largest nautical youth charity established in 1856. It works across the country in 400 towns with 14,000 cadets aged between 10 and 18. Through nautical adventure the charity inspires young people to learn and develop new skills that boost confidence to give them a head start in life.

For more information on the Sea Cadets please visit: