Monthly Archives: May 2017

Oxfordshire Army Cadet Force

Tyler Jeffs

Sergeant Tyler Jeffs – Banbury Jordan Detachment – Oxfordshire Battalion

Tyler became a Cadet as a number of his friends had enrolled and thought it was something new to get involved with.

Tyler has enjoyed the challenges of overcoming many obstacles including Fieldscraft, Physical training and has progressed to become a senior cadet within his company.

He feels that it has made him far more rounded as a person and developed skills that he never thought he has, all while making life long friends.

Tyler has found it inspiring to be able to support the younger cadets in learning new skills and developing themselves as people, which has helped him develop his own leadership and teamwork skills.

Megan Robins - Bourton

Cadet Megan Robins–Bourton – Bicester Detachment – Oxfordshire Battalion

Megan Robins-Bourton has wanted to work with the Army since she was little and was encouraged to joined by her Dads friends who helps with the Cadets.

Joining the Cadets has helped boost Megans confidence and with meeting lots of news friends, she feels that it has helped make it easier to socialise with people.

Megan has overcome a lot of fears since enrolling with Cadets and really enjoys activities that she didn’t think she would.  She said:  “It is really good fun and I definitely recommend joining up.”

Aleaha Stuart

Corporal Aleaha Stuart – Donnington Bridge – Oxfordshire Battalion

After seeing of the experiences that were available with the Cadets, Aleaha signed up to become a Cadet at Donnington Bridge.

With hard work and practice, Aleaha has overcome the skills she wasn’t so good at and believes it has made her more confident, self reliable and focused.

Aleaha believes that it has changed her for the better and best part of being a Cadet is all the friends she has made.

Why I became an Adult Volunteer

Wendy White

Adult Under Officer – Wendy White – Y Company, Hampshire and IOW ACF

Wendy White is an Adult Under Officer with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Army Cadet Force.  After her sons enrolment as a Cadet, Wendy was impressed with his boost in confidence, his health improvement and general attitude to school and other activities.

Initially out of her comfort zone, Wendy has become a ranges safety officer and has learnt a range of skills from teaching, teamwork right through to skill at arms.  Wendy found that the skills and experiences she has learned, reflected well in her work.

Wendy said; “I wanted to give that support to teenagers and learn new skills myself.  I absolutely love it and I have met some amazing people.”

Sarah Sturgeon

Flight Lieutenant – Sarah Sturgeon – 2260 Waterlooville Squadron ATC

As a Cadet previously, Sarah wanted to give back some of the fantastic experiences she had herself with the Air Cadets.  Sarah took on a failing Cadet unit and with her hard work and dedication, has lead the unit on to become South West Region Marshall Trophy Winners.

Alongside helping Cadets achieve their Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Sarah has also successfully graduated in City & Guilds in Youth Leadership and Management, which she believes has complemented her work with the RAF.  Her employers are very supportive of her role as an adult volunteer and give her 5 days annual leave for her work with the Cadets.

Chris Spratt

Captain RMC Chris Spratt – Portsmouth Volunteer Cadet Corps – HMS Excellent

Chris Spratt is an adult volunteer with Portsmouth Volunteer Cadet Corps.  After being a cadet himself, he wanted to give back to the community what he learnt from his time with Cadets.

Chris described his real sense of achievement whilst working with brilliant youngsters and helping inspirational young people develop into Responsible and Dependable Adults.  He also feels that it has enhance his Leadership and Planning Skills which brings an added benefit to his employers.

Andrea Colpitts

WO2 Andrea Colpitts – RMVCC (Portsmouth) Whale Island HMS Excellent

Andrea Colpitts became involved with the Cadets after her son as a Cadet with the RMVCC.  He has returned to the cadets as an Adult volunteer.

Andrea enjoys motivating the children and it has become a big part of her life.  She finds great joy in watching the young cadets grow into well-adjusted young adults.

She finds it heart-warming knowing that she has made a difference to the children and that they will take their skills and experiences into adulthood.

Wellington College CCF Royal Windsor

Report from Wellington College CCF:


Three of our top CCF riders competed at the Royal Windsor International Horse Show to compete in the prestigious Inter-services competition in the Castle Arena. Annabelle Turner, Millie Hockenhull and Georgie Murrin rode brilliant rounds to finish on a team score of 16 faults: Georgie ended up finishing as top individual in the first round in the fasted time with no faults, while Millie had a few undeserved poles, but rode incredibly well despite a very last minute change of horse! Annabelle had just one unfortunate pole, but coached round her home-produced young horse like a true professional.


After an anxious wait, we found out the team had made it into the top 12, so were in the jump off for the placings in front of Her Majesty The Queen! After a mounted parade of all the horses to Her Majesty, Georgie Murrin was selected to jump-off for the placings. She was extremely quick, but had an unfortunate two poles down. The pressure was immense with a full stadium, media and of course The Queen watching, but Georgie was very calm under the circumstances! The team finished in 6th place and the girls were absolutely fantastic; Demonstrating their riding finesse and proving to be excellent ambassadors for the college and CCF. It was a great day enjoyed by all!


TS Swiftsure

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Lilyann Yven-Dent – Cadet TS Swiftsure

Lilyann has been with the Sea Cadets for about a year as her mum thought it would be good to something with my spare time and agreed it would be something exciting.  Lilyann really likes the boating and found it really exciting to go on the sea and really enjoys doing the outdoor sports with the Cadets. Lilyann said:  “The people are nice and friendly and I would eventually like to join the Navy.”


Jake Myers Potter – TS Swiftsure

Sea Cadet Jake Myers Potter became involved with TS Swiftsure after being recommended by friend to join because of his keen interest in boats. Although having the opportunity to go sailing Jake has found the thing he likes the most is the lessons and going away for the weekends. Jake says being with the Cadets is amazing and has made so many friends after only knowing one person when he started.


Tyler Edmondson – Cadet TS Swiftsure

Tyler Edmondson followed in his families steps by becoming a Sea Cadet at TS Swiftsure.  His Mum, both brother and sister were Cadets and his sister is still with the Cadets. Tyler found his nights were boring when they were at cadets and was keen to become a Cadet himself.  The thing he most enjoys is the drill and looks forward to the summer camps, playing games and socialising with friends.

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Rebecca Crewdson – Adult volunteer TS Swiftsure

Rebecca becoming a Cadet with the TS Swiftsure as both her Dad and older Sibling were with the Cadets. As an Adult Instructor, Rebecca looks after the junior section which has four sections such as drill, seamanship, boating, first aid and outdoor activities which includes camping, walking and outdoor sports.  They also teach them about community and faith to help them to engage within their communities.

Rebecca enjoys seeing the children achieve their certificates and have made some great friends as there is such a lovely atmosphere. Rebecca said:  “I have learnt about how to approach different people and how to deal with different types of behaviour and encourage them to get involved. There is so much to do and you can make such a difference in kids lives, it is a really happy place for them to be.”

CIS Troop, 8 Engineer Brigade

SGT Wayne Adams1

Sgt Wayne Adams – CIS Troop, 8 Engineer Brigade

Sgt Wayne Adams served for 25 years with the Irish Guards and was encouraged to sign up by friends already in the Reserves.

Being in the Reserves gives Wayne the opportunity to work on familiar tasks as a team and assist those reservists who have never been involved with the military before.  He enjoys being able to experience the military activities and opportunities that aren’t available in any other environment.

Wayne currently works for the Crown Estate as a Warden on the Great Park in Windsor and has great support of being enlisted as a reserve, especially as his boss is the Duke of Edinburgh and is the head ranger of the park!

SPR Dan Wrixon

Sapper Daniel Wrixon

Working as a site manager SPR Daniel Wrixon has always wanted to sign up to the Army and the Reserves is the closest he felt he could get whilst still supporting his family.

Daniel enjoys the military lifestyle and the different people you get to meet.  The mentality of those in the military is that everyone mucks in to get the job done and he enjoys the drive and the push that comes with the Reserves.

The military training he has received has benefitted him in his civilian job and he has taken the structure into his role which he has used to plan and prioritise tasks.

Having never run before Daniel is now completing charity runs and marathons being inspired by his Reserve colleagues.

Daniel’s enthusiasm has now also encouraged his daughter to enroll with the Sea Cadets, which she thrives on.  She is really enjoying the trips, exercises away and being part of the military family.

PTE Lina Johnson - CIS Troop 8 Eng

Private Lina Johnson

Private Lina Johnson wanted to do something different outside of her boundaries that would push her.  Enjoying being outdoors and sports, she also felt that it would be nice to give something back herself, given all the services do to protect our Country.

As a personal assistant in London, Lina’s employers have been supportive of her Reserves role and she has been able to introduce them to the Reserves Employer scheme and show them all the benefits that are available to them.

Lina feels her confidence has grown since enrolling as a Reserve and she enjoys the support that she has received.  This has encouraged her to develop herself and she is grateful for all the potential opportunities that are available.

CIS Tp, 8 Engr Bde Veterans Event

CIS Troop, 8 Engineer Brigade held an Army Forces Veterans event at SERFCA HQ’s Seely House in Aldershot.

The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the Royal Engineers were showcasing some of their current operational equipment, giving Veterans the opportunity to see how the units have developed and progressed.

Corresponding with VE Day, Veterans met with both Regular and Reserve Soldiers to share their War Time experiences.  A number of Veterans spoke of what they had encountered during the D-Day landings and what equipment they had to use, compared to what is available serving personnel today.

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On his 18th birthday, Lewis Trinder volunteered to sign up and following seven weeks training, was deployed on Atlantic Convoys to protect merchant ships from German submarines.

Lewis served on HMS Magpie, escorting Arctic convoys to Murmansk and on 4th June 1944 his ship left the Solent to travel to D-Day which was the largest seaborne invasion in history that launched the Allied invasion of Western Europe. Mr Trinder recalled that D-Day should have been on the 5th June but the ship was forced to turn around due to bad weather.

Lewis was a Seaman Petty Officer aboard on HMS Opossum when it traveled to Asia in 1945 and was demobilised with 5,000 others from Hong Kong in September 1946.

Alfred Lee - HMS Nith

Fred Lee was just 17 when he volunteered for the Royal Navy in 1943.  As his three brothers were already enlisted, his mother was reluctant to give permission, but Fred was keen to enrol and began training on a newly-built river class frigate, HMS Nith.

In February 1944, the vessel failed its sea trials and was converted into a brigade headquarters ship.  The Nith was to be based at Normandy acting as headquarters for the 231st Infantry Brigade, which was to land on Gold Beach.

Fred was an apprentice boiler maker prior to the Royal Navy and wanted to take up the role of a stoker but was unable to because he was not yet 18, so was given the position of an telegraph operative instead.  Still keen to become a stoker, with a little help from the Padre, Fred’s CO agreed he could transfer into a Stoker Position given his previous experience.

Unfortunately, The Nith was struck by a Mistel (the German remotely guided weapon) which involved two aircraft which flew attached to each other. After repairs, HMS Nith sailed to the Far East and was at Rangoon at the time of the Japanese surrender, Fred was demobilised in 1947 and he returned to marry Joyce and raise three children.

An Education At Sea

A primary school teacher from Hampshire has spent the last 2 weeks at sea with the Royal Navy, learning what life is like on an Operational Warship.


Married, father of one, Graeme Nolan has gained invaluable experience embarked in HMS IRON DUKE as the Type 23 frigate took part in Exercise Joint Warrior, one of the largest tri-service and multinational exercises of its kind in Europe.  Based in HMS KING ALFRED in Portsmouth, Midshipman Nolan is one of the growing numbers of Reservists that spend their free evenings and weekends training as a member of the Royal Navy.

As part of his training as a RNR Officer, Midshipman Nolan has been getting to grips with all of the elements that combine to make a Royal Navy warship function.  From time spent with the Marine Engineering maintaining diesel generators, to time spent up on the Bridge witnessing a live gunnery off the Cost of Cape Wrath; seeing HMS Iron Duke during a war fighting exercise has allowed him to witness the RNs capability against Air, Surface and Sub-Surface threats.

Speaking of his time onboard Midshipman Nolan said,

I am delighted to have worked with my counterparts in the regular service over the last 2 1/2 weeks.  The professionalism and cheerfulness of the Ship’s Company is a credit to the ship and the wider service.  During Exercise Joint Warrior I have undertaken tasks throughout the ship with all departments on board.  The opportunities provided have been invaluable.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the highly-trained chefs in the Galley, conducting Replenishments at Sea, conducting rounds with the Weapon and Marine Engineering departments, gaining an understanding of the Operations Room, keeping watch on the bridge and assisting with flight deck operations.  The experiences gained will provide a solid foundation for the rest of my RNR career and will leave lasting memories.”

Berkshire Army Cadet Force

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Adult Volunteer – Colour SGT Samantha Harrison 15 Plt Theale, Berkshire ACF

Samantha Harrison was a cadet from the age of 12 and when she left cadets, she came straight back as an adult instructor. Samantha wanted to give back everything she had learned, all the knowledge and the life skills, the amazing memories I have from being a cadet and I wanted to give that back to the new cadets.

Samantha Said: “It is such a big part of my life and I would say to anyone thinking about signing up that you will make amazing friends and seeing the younger children grow and learn it and walking away as fantastic ladies and gentlemen is the best part of being with the cadets.”

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Adult Volunteer – Sgt Challis 13 Plt, Burghfield, Berkshire ACF

Sgt Challis was a cadet himself and joined the army and returned to the cadets as an adult instructor after leaving. Sgt Challis said:  “Watching the cadets join learn and go onto university or join the army, get commission and then come back and see you is the best thing about being involved. There is so much more to gain from joining up and getting involved, what have you got to lose by trying it.”

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Cadet – LCpl James Wallace, 15 Plt Theale, Berkshire ACF

Lcpl James Wallace wanted to join the Army and enquired about joining up and realising that he was too young, they signposted him into the Cadets which is the best thing he has done ever. James has learnt so many things such as drill, field craft and really enjoyed the shooting but it also taught him how to improve his leadership skills. James said:  “It is completely unique and it I believe my experiences such as leading people, will benefit me when I join the Police.  You only live once, it’s so good so sign up because its amazing.”

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Cadet – Cpl Lucie Shipp, 13 Plt Burghfield, Berkshire ACF

Cpl Lucie Shipp’s brother and sister were Cadets before her and she thought all their kit was really cool and that want to join in with them. The Cadets training programme links into other Duke of Edinburgh award, so she has been able to do them together. Lucie said that the Cadets has helped her grow in confidence and has managed to promote to a rank, which has then given her the chance to work on instructing skills as well as leadership whilst instructing the younger cadets. Once she leaves six form college, I she aims to potentially go onto University, or become an Apprentice or join the Army.  But most importantly, she would like to return to Cadets as an Adult Instructor.

Sandhurst Leadership Challenge 2017

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Keneati Nduka – Richard is the Head of recruitment at the Hampshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and encouraged a number of her team to come along to the event after putting herself forward.

When asking how she felt about the day, Keneati said:  “I had no idea about what was going to happen and the email said bring a change of clothes, so I came ready for anything and ready to take on everything. It has been interesting to see how everyone has supported each other and learning about understanding the different dynamics of the team. It has been great trying to learn through fun, doing something engaging and completely different.”


Louisa Calam is a Project Manager, Town Centre Development for Woking Borough Council and wanted to learn more about how to lead a team of people she had never met before and a chance to see happens inside Sandhurst.

Louise spoke about the day:  “I wanted to get an insight from military people about how they are successful with their experiences and complete some of the physical activities, which are very different from the office job that I would normally do. I have learnt about how physical tough it is and that if you don’t work well as a team, you won’t succeed in the tasks that you are trying to do. One of the things I found interesting was that as a leader you need to stand back to get an idea about what is going on because there needs someone to observe what is happening and work on the issues.”



Connor Guy is an Internal Graduate with Qinetiq and had done a little research before arriving for the Leadership Challenge but wanted to wait until I arrived to find out what it was all about.

Connor spoke about what he had learned from the day:  “I knew that we would be working with a team of complete strangers and achieving the common goal of working together as a team, with people you have never worked with before. My best part of the day was completing the gun run because it was all about that teamwork focus.  Because it came at the end of the day, it really cemented the team work we had been working on throughout the day and we all ran crossed the finish line together. My learning points were about building teams quickly and the importance of communication within the team.  The medical challenge didn’t go well because of communications.  We tried to be too proactive too quickly and we learnt that we need to step a back and doing the communicating first which will be my big take away from the day.”


Claire Aldridge is an Orthopaedic Sister at Basingstoke Hospital NHS and wanted to learn more about the Reserves and about what the Military Services do as well as Leadership and being in a team in a completely different environment.

When asking Claire about her experience of the day she said: “I had no idea what to expect so googled Youtube some of the videos of the day, by that point I had already committed to attending. I am about to take on a new role which may have more leadership requirements so I wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about military styles of leadership. It was really interesting doing the casualty exercise because my nursing skills didn’t stand me in any stead. The military intelligence was great to learn about thinking things through, looking at all the facts and making decisions upon all the facts.  Learning to step back from the task and look at it from a wider prospective.”


Amanda Boote is a local councillor for Woking Borough Council and jumped at the chance to learn more about leadership and to see inside of the impressive Sandhurst Royal Military Academy, which is an opportunity you would never normally get.

When asked about the day, Amanda said:  “During the military intelligence task, we were not allowed to have a leader which was quite frustrating but it was about taking lots of information and making sense of it and then putting into a logical order by working together as a team. Before the tasks began, we had a presentation that showed us how leadership works in the Army and what are the key components are.  The real tasks are giving us the opportunity to put them into practical action with the team. It’s been a lot of fun and I have had a chance to meet some of my colleagues I don’t already know and I have learnt more about being a good team player.”

Reservists from RAF Benson

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Cpl Simon Hartley joined up to the reserves following his interests in helicopters and refuelling

Enjoying the different way of life, camaraderie and an opportunity to see the world he has been privileged to work in Cyprus, Falklands and Afghanistan.

Being self employed, he is able to be flexible with his work and still continue his work whilst deployed.

Due to the recent  changes to the Reserves, the opportunities to progress through the ranks have increased and Cpl Hartley has recently been promoted.  He hopes to continue with the reserves for many years to come.

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After seeing an advertisement for the Reserves, SAC Hamlin started the process to see if he could complete the challenges required to become a Reserve.

Being self employed, he saw the opportunity to become part of the ultimate team and having constant challenges, as it is completely different to his civilian role.

As a specialist mover, he is able to supplement the regulars and work alongside them on shift and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer to do the job for real.

SAC Hamlin said “I had a fantastic week where I got to spend a week working at RAF Odiham, whilst helping them prepare to go on exercise which led to a flight on a Chinook, much to everyone’s envy.

The best thing is becoming part of the military family, the Reserves family and the Squadron family.  Everyone is great and with the diversity of all the different people, you learn to exist with everybody.  I’ve made some really good friends and you do have a special bond with the people you do your training with.  It’s the people you meet, the friends you can make and you have the sense that you are serving your country and you do your bit for real.”

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LAC Carters grandfather was a chief technician on the Vulcan Bomber and as an Air cadet himself, he hoped to join at 16 to work on the Chinooks at Odiham but was unable to do so.  As the Reserves has developed and more information has become available about how to get involved, he followed his ambitions and signed up to the Reserves.

LAC Carter said: “Brize Norton is the main hub and having so many opportunities there, I managed to complete all my licences at Leconsfield in less than a year and become operational.

I am loving the diversity of the role of MT Driver which can be anything from driving Artics through to chauffeuring the Royals.”

LAC Carter is proud to wear the uniform and work alongside the regulars.

“The amount of stuff I have learnt has been amazing and there are endless opportunities to get qualifications through the RAF, I can’t see a downside.”

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Whilst looking for another job to compliment her self employed job as a photographer, LAC Reed saw an advertisement for an RAF Photographer.

Following on from the open day and fitness test, she wasn’t 100% sure if it was the role for her as she progressed through the training programme.

One of 11 girls of a 30 string troop during basic training, she found it to be hard and challenging.  On completion, she had a specialist interview with the media team and went straight into the 606 squadron from the strength of her self employed portfolio.

LAC Reed is now enjoying the challenge and the disciplined side of military photography and being able to do something completely different, which brings another aspect to add to her portfolio.

When asked what has been the highlights, LAC Reed said: “The best thing so far has been being able to fly and completing the flight safety day alongside the regulars, learning essential skills required to photograph in the air.  It’s not an opportunity you will get anywhere else.”