Monthly Archives: June 2016

Banbury Armed Forces Day – 501 Sqn

By Sqn Ldr Andy Marshall – Officer Commanding 501 Sqn RAuxAF

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To celebrate Armed Forces Day 2016,  501 Sqn accepted an invitation and participated in the Banbury Town event which took place on 25 Jun. We saw it as an opportunity to show off the Sqn and the Reserves to the local community and so in the early Saturday morning a convoy of vehicles left Brize Norton and traveled up to Banbury to set up our recruiting tent and vehicle display.

In addition to 501 Sqn and the local Air Training Corps Sqns, it was hoped that the Royal Air Force contingent would be backed up by a Chinook from Odiham, but alas, aircraft availability, leaving Man SV Trucks as the military hardware on display. The weather played a part in the reduced turnout of the public, but those who did come to the event saw a range of displays from the Navy, Army and Air Force cadet forces, which culminated in Trooping the Colour by 142 Royal Logistics Corps, a Banbury based Reserve unit, supported by the Band of the Royal Artillery. This part of the event was to be supported by a Spitfire flypast, but the adverse weather conditions intervened and the flypast had to be cancelled.

Overall, during the day, Sqn personnel ran a recruiting stand for all of the Sqns based at Brize (and beyond) and dealt with several enquiries from people interested in service with the Royal Air Force Reserves. The SV truck proved very popular with the visitors to the show, many who got the chance to sit behind the wheel for a photo opportunity.

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Public Services Course at Reading College

Berkshire Army Cadet Force and Reading College have shared a vision and have joined forces to forge a joint working partnership between the ACF and the Public Services Course run at the College.


The initiative which has been developed between the two organisations will bring students studying and participating in the Public Services Course in touch with members of the Army Cadet Force and the Army Reserves.  Reading College will benefit from the advice, facilities and expertise that the Cadets can offer and the ACF will hope to introduce the College to the benefits and opportunities  the Cadet Force can offer, both youngsters and adults.

Today at Reading College members of the Berkshire Army Cadet Force and the College met to officially dedicate a classroom to the YOUTH OF BERKSHIRE.

Group Executive Director of ‘Activate Learning’ and Head of Reading College Campus, Mr Paul Newman, who was joined by members of his team said, “As head of the Campus I am delighted to open this newly dedicated public services classroom, this new initiative with the Berkshire Army Cadet Force is a fantastic opportunity for our students.”

He added, “We have a shared vision and the partnership will add a huge amount of value, creativity and opportunity, this is really ground breaking stuff.”


Major Kim Scott from the Berkshire Army Cadet Force who has been an adult instructor for 21 years officially cut the ribbon to the classroom and replied,  “I have taught public services in my day job and I have seen the benefits young people gain from these courses, learning team work, confidence fitness, and valuable life skills.” Major Scott concluded, “On behalf of the Commandant of the Berkshire Army Cadet Force I dedicate this classroom to the YOUTH OF BERKSHIRE.”

Surrey Air Cadets take on Pathfinder March



A team of Surrey Wing Air Cadets embarked on the Pathfinder challenge to complete 46 miles in 20 hours. They were joined by Army cadets from Lancaster Army Cadet Force, both sponsored by kit supplier Cadet Direct.

Together, with a combined team of 29 marchers, they started the challenge marching out of RAF Wyton at 04:00am. The team set off at a steady pace to take on the miles, which is unlike the traditional form of road marching. They left the roads that they were used to and entered the footpaths and bridleways where terrain was uneven, muddy, sandy and gravely. But that didn’t stop them; assisted by coming together and marching in step, all marchers pushed through the route, challenging their mental stamina throughout the 20 hours.

The marchers had an impressive support team consisting of 12 Air Cadet staff and RAF personnel, who all have experience supporting marchers in Nijmegen. The wealth of experience benefited all walkers as they were well looked after and all rest-stops, checkpoints and route crossings were flawlessly organised and well maintained.

Upon approaching the half way point of 26 miles, they planned a long stop, where all marchers completed a full uniform change including clean socks. By this point marchers had been on the route for eight hours. The cadets were pleased to be cleaned and fed, but now they were marching into no-man’s land, marching further and longer than they had ever marched before. They embraced this challenge and powered through, as the sun began to set they reached checkpoint eight of nine, where they were refueled with burgers and energy drinks. Together they then powered through the last six miles through fields. The biggest challenge ahead was seven field stiles to climb over. Together they had to support each other to climb over these while their sore muscles started kicking in. The last two miles back towards the finish line at RAF Wyton were thankfully on road, a terrain and surface our marchers are more accustomed with. It was now 2230hrs and pitch black. The support crew followed and the team all sang their way back to camp with their heads held high, completing the march as the one team they started.

Cadet Flight Sergeant Sutherland commented, “There were moments when the march was difficult with each of us facing our own personal barriers and overcoming these, but we worked together and when one of us was down the others will pick them up and carry on, the other challenge was navigating and though we went wrong slightly a few times, together we over came these and carried on pushing forward.”

Cadet Sergeant Griffin added, “This is the second time I have done this march and it is definitely the ultimate marching challenge, to keep going after our usual 8 hour marching day really becomes a mental challenge and having others to carry you through those down moments does really make you appreciate your team.”

Civilian Instructor Maria Ludwinski, who coordinated the fundraising efforts and sponsorship of the team said, “The sponsorship and equipment supplied by Cadet Direct was invaluable on Pathfinder. To know that all our cadets are fully equipped to march is an important part of being part of the training team and it is warming to know that all our cadets had access to the same quality kit.”


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