Monthly Archives: May 2016

ATC Windsor 75th Anniversary Parade

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Flight Lieutenant Jane Wicks is a mum, grandmother and works full time “but I still find time to enjoy my time with the Air Training Corps”

Flight Lieutenant Jane Wicks, from Didcot, is an Volunteer Adult Cadet Instructor. Jane joined when her son became a Cadet.  Now 14 years later Jane is now a Grandmother with two grandchildren.  She works for in the printing industry and works for a Company called Digipress in Didcot. “I am proud to be part of the Air Training Corps., and I view it as a real pleasure to be involved.”


Flight Lieutenant Chris Tocher is a sector Commander and is responsible for 7 Squadrons of Cadets within the Thames Valley area

Flight Lieutenant Chris Tocher lives in Newbury and works in the Telecoms Industry.
Chris an ex Air Cadet joined as an Adult Instructor 13 ago. He said “Being an Adult Instructor with the Cadets has really helped with my career, it helped to get me into Uni and get me my job.”


Pilot Officer Luke Baker who lives in Earley in Reading. “As an Ex Cadet myself I always try to encourage the older cadets to become an adult instructor when they reach 20, which is what I did and I find it really rewarding.”

Pilot Officer Luke Baker, works at Granbury College pupil referral unit working with children who are excluded from school and main stream education.

Luke was a cadet in Bracknell and now as an Adult Instructor parades at 153 Slough Squadron.  He said, “I would recommend anyone to come along to see us and find out more about being an Adult Instructor.”

For more information please go to


254 Medical Regt – Exercise Executive Medical Stretch – Crowborough – Part.2

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Dr Anne Harwood: Dr – Foundation Year 2, East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust 

“My favourite activity was the command tasks as we all had a chance to lead and by the end of the 6 tasks I was beginning to understand the dynamics of the group and how we could work around the strengths and weakness of those in the team.   I enjoyed the assault course too and was glad that it was not competitive as I was painfully aware of how unfit I was. It has given me a good incentive to try and improve my fitness levels. I am going to download the Get Fit for the Army app onto my phone and make a start when my schedule allows (I’m just about to start a run of 7 nights and this may not be the best time to start!!!).  I think from the experience as a whole I realised that actually my leadership skills were better than I had thought as I don’t see myself as a natural leader.

I am also actively thinking and researching more about being a reserve as I enjoyed the weekend and feel that it is something that I could get involved with in the future.

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Dr Ratna Kothari: Trainee GP

“It was a very enjoyable experience that did help me consolidate on the attributes that can help make a good leader.   A highlight for me was listening to Anna Cross who survived Ebola, the assault course, and also being able to take part in a planning exercise.”

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Charlene Neale: GP Practice Manager

Charlene was a member of of the Yellow Team who won the Best Team Overall prize.  She said “We had a fab team and I think that we did well because we all were willing to listen to each other and took on board other points of view.  Also we had a fantastic instructor and I think Kate was pivotal in getting us to work together so much.”  Although Charlene hated it at the time she confessed “I think the Assault Course was my favourite activity of the weekend.  Closely followed by the planning exercise.”  She added “The main thing I learnt about myself is that if I really want something I can succeed”.

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Professor Amir Nasir: Consultant Surgeon, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

“I was exposed to new ideas, modern technology in trauma & warfare surgery and also the ethos of Medical practice in army in war situation.  The course was excellent in all aspects, especially the assault course and the physical exercises.  I enjoyed the rifle shooting despite missing the target 9 times out of 10!”

For more information go to

254 Medical Regt – Exercise Executive Medical Stretch – Crowborough

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Carly Bray – Primary Care Liaison Officer, Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery 

“It was a great weekend.  Personally I have taken away a clearer understanding of what type of leader I could be in the future and also identified some areas where I would need to improve to become a leader and the best thing was that it was done in a way that was fun but also challenging mentally and physically.  Thank you to everyone that was involved in organising it and running it on the day, I think it was a great success and have been passing on the message to those that unfortunately couldn’t make it this year to try and get them to come along next year.”

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Claire Casarotto – IDT Operational Lead, East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust 

Claire found taking part in the weekend hugely beneficial.  She said “The tasks highlighted my own behaviours, when working a team – what frustrated me, what I felt was helpful and how this enabled me to adapt my approach as the command tasks continued. This will be incredibly useful back here at work, as having the opportunity to apply any leadership skills in an unfamiliar environment really helps to clarify preferential behaviours.”   She added “The planning exercise for me was an excellent opportunity to utilise analytical skills, logic and the negotiation under time pressure. I really enjoyed the morning and have thought about that and how a similar task could be used as a learning opportunity in our own teams back here at work.  “Claire is afraid of heights and found the obstacle course a huge personal challenge but revelled in her achievement.  The greatest surprise to her was in the shooting competition. She said “Winning the Best Shot trophy was completely unexpected – I’ve never held a gun in my life, so to score 80/100 points was a bit of a shock for everyone I think!”

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Neil Delbridge – Clinical Nurse Specialist, Kent Community 

Neil found the weekend very worthwhile.   He said “I have a newfound respect for the military personnel, the roles they undertake, the fitness required to perform their duties, the way they plan, organise, serve, sacrifice and conduct themselves.”  He added “I found all the elements very useful in my development as a leader. The command tasks were practically helpful and the round robin element made me reflect on the way I currently lead a team.  Conversations with various officers were a very helpful resource in identifying how the Army prepares its leaders to be leaders, in contrast to the NHS, where clinicians are promoted to lead, often without any training to prepare them.”

For more information please go to


US/UK Exchange – 151 Transport Rgt/124 Transport Sqn

Written by Corporal Michael Marshall 


My name is Cpl Marshall of 151 transport regiment, 124 transport squadron Maidstone and I currently serve as a class 1 chef in the Royal logistic core, I have been in the reserves for 15 years.

Recently I have have had the opportunity to take part in the annual us/uk exchange, and was selected to represent the regiment in California at FORT HUNTER LIGGETT. And serve alongside the 786th QM Company, Provo, UTAH, on their annual two week exercise.

There role is to provide fuel to all other units taking part in the exercise, they deployed a week before the main force arrived so that they were able to build the bulk fuel distribution point. So as the units arrived they were able to refuel straight away without any delay in the process of moving forward to their locations.


It was while I was here and was assisting in numerous tasks they were surprised to find that my main trade was as a chef and not a fueller, so I was given the privilege of a tour around the battalion field kitchen, which is capable of feeding 800 troops a day, most of the food is bulk mres which are heated up and then served to the troops. Not fresh but it was there to provide a service and ensure that the troops had two hot meals a day the other would be ration pack or mre as they are called.

It then appeared that one day in the early days of the exercise that due to complications the main field kitchen was unable to feed the unit I was with, so I offered my services to use their own kitchen get it set up and then teach their own cook how to prepare a fresh meal for the troops in the field, as this is not how they feed in the field.

Supplies were found at the local Wal-Mart over two hours away mind you, and then came up with a menu. I had many volunteers to assist some had to be turned away as they had never been served a fresh cooked meal in the field kitchen.


The unit then asked if they could invite their sister unit that had just arrived to enjoy a fresh meal which was no issue, with the help of the volunteers in two hours we had a menu to serve 85 troops which consisted of chicken chowmein, kebabs on bed of rice , brattis in rolls with a chilli sauce.

So 85 soldiers very happy even having seconds and I do believe thirds.

With the senior ranks being astounded at what was truly capable a request was put in for another meal to be cooked two days later as a visit from a one star general with his entourage was arriving so I decide to do a traditional English cooked breakfast, some ingredients were hard to get but we got there in the end.

So some extremely happy officers and troops being fed proper food that was tasty and hot.

For more information please go to

7 Rifles – Malawi Blog

18th to 20th May 2016 – the story so far











Training has now commenced in earnest and we quickly saw how motivated and happy to be here the Malawian troops were.  Being selected for the course is seen as an honour within the MDF and there were more than 2 applicants for every place offered, even getting a space on the course was an achievement.  From the most junior Rifleman to the most senior officer, the MDF see recce as a vital skill the army needs.

The first full day of training involved getting the basics right and our 7 Rifles demo troop were well employed showing the MDF how things should be done.  The heat in the day is a significant challenge when carrying kit and it will be a few days until we acclimatise but the lads are doing well and enjoying working with the Malawians’.  To the MDF this is winter time and we are all amazed when they arrive wearing gloves even though we are sweltering!

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Day two of the course moved into a blank firing phase where drills were put into practice.  The MDF use a mixture of weapons but on this course they are carrying the FN FAL 7.62mm rifles (similar to the old British SLR) and General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs).  Whilst the MDF troops have been trained in British tactics the 3 Rifles instructor have a limited amount of time to achieve a lot in the next few days before the final exercise.

We have also learned a bit about our shared regimental history. In 1902, all British military forces in East and Central Africa were consolidated and renamed the King’s African Rifles and served with distinction in both the first and second world wars.  After independence in 1964, the King’s African Rifles became the First Battalion of Malawi Rifles of the Malawian Army.  To this day the Malawi Rifles wear a cap badge with the same bugle that we wear in the Rifles.

Thames Valley Wing Air Training Corps Celebrate 75th Anniversary

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Over 400 hundred Air Cadets from Thames Valley Wing Air Training Corps celebrated 75 years of the formation of the Corps by parading through the Town of Windsor on Sunday 22 May.

Joined by their adult volunteer instructors the Cadets, marched with military precision through the streets of Windsor where a church service was held at Windsor Parish Church.

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In the presence of the Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire Mr James Puxley, Mayors and Councillors from across Berkshire and

Commandant Air Cadets, Dawn McCafferty, the parade then formed up to conclude their celebrations with a march past Windsor Guildhall, where the salute was taken by the Lord Lieutenant and Commandant Air Cadets.

For more information please go to 

Kent Air Cadets Mark 75th Anniversary of Air Training Corps


More than 500 RAF Air Cadets from across Kent marched through Canterbury High Street on Saturday, 21 May, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the youth organisation.

A total of 561 cadets and 48 adult volunteers marched from St Peters Lane to Canterbury Cathedral, with the Wing Band leading the Parade, where they joined a further 150 cadets and invited guests for a service to celebrate the landmark anniversary.

The Air Training Corps was formed on 5 February 1941 by a Royal Warrant Issued by King George VI and currently consists of over 42,000 cadets across the United Kingdom. In Kent, there are 1,206 cadets who attend meetings twice a week at one of the county’s 34 squadrons, assisted by 302 adult volunteers.


The event in Canterbury is one of many taking place across the country throughout 2016, and is the first time that a county-wide parade has been organised for 35 years. The cadets marched past Air Vice Marshal Malcolm Brecht, CBE MA FRAeS RAF who is Chief of Staff for Capability at HQ Air Command and Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, Commandant Air Cadets.  The Lord Lieutenant of Kent, High Sheriff of Kent and Lord and Lady Mayoress of Canterbury also attended the event along with representatives from the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, RAF Benevolent Fund, Greater London RFCA, South East RFCA, KCC and Kent emergency services.

Wing Commander Russell Goodayle, Kent Wing’s Officer Commanding, said, “It is a great honour lead such a dedicated group of people on parade today.  It has been a fantastic day.  I am extremely proud of my cadets and staff and the work they do”.

For more information on the Air Training Corps in Kent or if you are interested in joining such a great organisation, visit

Hants & IOW Charity Walk


Saturday the 21 May 2016 saw the start of one of the most impressive challenges undertaken by a County Commandant from the Army Cadet Force.

Andy Dawes, who works as a self employed project manager currently working with Huawei and BT Openreach, is finding the time to walk around the whole of his Cadet Force County – the County of Hampshire and Isle of Wight and visit all of his 48 Army Cadet Units, an amazing 320 miles.  Andy will aim to average 25 miles a day.

Colonel Andy set off on his marathon charity challenge on Saturday morning 21 May, fittingly from the War Memorial in Basingstoke Town Centre.


Ready for his 320 mile walk which he will finish on Thursday 2 June – back at the War Memorial in Basingstoke. L-R Andy’s son Phillip (21), his wife Captain Helen Dawes who is also an adult instructor with the Hants and IOW ACF, Colonel Andy, Dad Brian (77), daughter Cadet Alex (15) and mum Eileen (75)

Andy who livesin Basingstoke and is an Ex Army Cadet himself said, “I am collecting for two charities Walking With the Wounded and Simon Says, both are my nominated Commandant Charities, I will posting my adventures on facebook under Col Dawes and also you can follow me on hash tag Commandants Walk.”

He added, “Also as part of ‘Op Reflect’ I will lay a cross at each of the memorials in each location in memory of those who gave their lives during the 1st World War”.

Andy who definitely made his send off a family affair was waved off by his Wife Helen – who is also a member of the Hampshire and IOW Army Cadet Force, his daughter Army Cadet Alex, his son Phillip, and Mum and Dad. Dad Brian, who will be following him with a safety car, will join Andy during the  walk when Andy arrives on the Isle of Wight, Dad, who is 77 will accompany his son walking a total of 55 miles across the Island.

If you wish to donate go to:


3PWRR Folkstone Training Weekend (Part.3)


Private Oliver Stockle, 37, is a member of HQ Company in Canterbury and passed out in April 2015.  Oliver is a student nurse in this third year, based in East Kent, who regularly endures 12 and a half hour shifts in A&E.   He joined 3PWRR because he wanted to serve his country and he sought a different challenge. He said “This weekend has been great training for me.  We’ve done a lot and honed our skills as we are in training for the International Military Patrol Competition in Lombardy, Italy later this week. The competition will take place over two days and is based around an enemy threat that has invaded a state.  We have 18 hours in which o investigate, suppress and overpower it.  Participation in this competition is our reward for doing so well and getting a podium finish in last year’s Cambrian Patrols Competition!”


Corporal Joseph Hewes, 26, lives in Haywards Heath and works for South East Water as a water regulations inspector.  He’s been a member of B Company 3 PWRR, based in Dyke Road, for seven years, having joined in 2009.  Joseph has deployed twice to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 15 and Operation TORAL and in 2014 was awarded Best Sussex Reservist for his enthusiastic approach to training new recruits from attestation to completion of their Combat Infantryman’s Course.  He said “I joined the Army Reserve for the opportunity to go on tour and that’s my motivation even now, after having completed two tours.  For me, it’s the chance to do the job that we’ve been trained to do”.


Lance Corporal Miguel Edwards, 29, is a project manager and has served with B Company, 3rd Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment for seven years.  He said “I love being part of this.  The Army Reserve tests you in the harshest of conditions and it gives you a sense of purpose.  I deployed to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 15 and that experience has definitely changed me as a person.  I have much more self-confidence and I know that I was part of history being made, not just reading about it.“  He added “This weekend’s training was good for me.  I stepped up and was a Troop Commander and ran the fire support group.  It tested me as I had to think about and consider the ground, the enemy, the threat and it’s made me think that I should go for promotion as I enjoyed having that role”.

3PWRR Folkstone Training Weekend (Part.2)


Recruit Himal Gaha, 21 works in a fast food restaurant.  From a proud Gurkha family, Himal’s father and grandfather both served in the Royal Regiment of Gurkhas, he has always been interested in the military.  He said “I’ve come along to HQ Company in Canterbury with some friends and I’m now four weeks into the recruitment process but at the very start of my journey.  I’ve got my interview on Wednesday this week and then I need to focus on my fitness.”  He added “It’s been an awesome experience so far. I’m meeting and making some good friends and brothers”.


Private Liam-Grogan Edwards, 26, has been a member of the Army Reserve for two years.  Serving with 3PWRR’s A Company, based in Farnham, he works in landscaping.  He said “I joined the Army Reserve for the army life and the experience.  I enjoy being out on exercise and being part of a team”.  He added “This has been a good training weekend – focussing on section and platoon attacks.  But getting up at 3am to “stag on” was quite a challenge, but all part of it”.


Private Dan May, 25, has been an Army Reservist for three years and serves with HQ Company, 3 PWRR, based in Canterbury.  Dan, a car mechanic by trade, has seen operational service in Afghanistan on Operation TORAL where he was part of the force protection and in Cyprus on UN Mission Operation TOSCA.   He said “I joined the Army Reserve because I thought it would give me a good insight into the Army as I hope to join the Regulars.  I really enjoy being with the lads and the camaraderie that we all have”.