Monthly Archives: July 2017



Air Cadets in Guildford are getting new experiences thanks to a grant from the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT).  261 (Guildford) Squadron received £1200 from the RAFCT to help their adult volunteers gain nationally recognised qualifications that allow them to provide new activities to the cadets.

The motto of the Air Training Corps is Venture Adventure, so naturally adventurous outdoor activities are high on the agenda.  To date adult volunteers have attended archery instructor, Lowland Leader and Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme leader courses, as well as gaining St John’s Activity First Aid qualifications to make sure things are done safely.

Two volunteers have also concentrated on getting cadets out on the water, one having completed the British Canoe Union 2 Star Award, and another has recently completed a Level 1 Award in Coaching Paddlesport.

But the Squadron hasn’t finished yet.  There are plans for qualifications in climbing and clay pigeon shooting in the pipeline, all so the cadets will get to experience an even wider range of activities in the future.

While the Air Cadets do offer some of the training courses, there is often still a charge to the individual for the national governing body.

Flight Sergeant Luke Cooper, the Squadron commander and now paddlesport coach said, “We strive to offer as many activities to our cadets as possible.  This grant has allowed our volunteer staff to gain the qualifications needed to make this happen.”

The RAF Charitable Trust was formed in 2005, providing support to the RAF family, including serving personnel (both regular and reserve), cadets and veterans.  The Trust’s mission is to promote the Royal Air Force, to support its people now and into the future and to encourage air-mindedness and the aviation-related education of youth.

If you want to join the staff team at 261 Squadron to help deliver these fun activities, or are aged between 12 and 17 and want to take part as a cadet; visit to out how.


TS Hazard Sea Cadets Support Faversham Nautical Festival

Sea Cadets from TS Hazard have been joining in with the community and sea-faring spirit this weekend by having a stand and showing the local community what they get up to, they also rustled up some tasty burgers!

The two-day annual event was opened by the local Mayor and is run by the Faversham Rotary Club and Faversham Creek Trust.

Residents and visitors saw the traditional vessels that have been invited to moor in the upper regions of the Creek over the weekend, including: Thames Sailing Barges, Dutch Barges, tugs, smacks and many smaller boats.


The medieval building, TS Hazard, the Sea Cadets’ home was used as a photographic and art exhibition in and entertainment included information stalls, exhibitions, a beer tent, Bar-b-cue and folk music.

Chief Petty Officer Bryan Goldsmith runs Faversham Sea Cadets and said:

“It’s a great way to engage with the local community, we’re often on the look-out for new cadets and adults to join. There’s no previous experience required – come along and find out more about what we do.

We offer lots of exciting challenges and opportunities, my wife is the training officer and all of my children have been, or are currently cadets and it really does change young people’s lives”.



Cadet 1st Class Thomas Peck

“I’ve been in for about three years now, I really enjoy it, my favourite experience so far has been archery and seamanship.

It’s a great way to make new friends and I really enjoy the range of training it offers”.

Ordinary Cadet Jonty Peck

“I’ve been a Sea Cadet since I was 11, my favourite experience so far was staying and sailing on TS Royalist for a whole week!

I’m writing my CV for work experience and the things I have learnt will help me to stand out to employers”.


Cadet First Class Freya Farmer

“I’ve been in for three years; my Grandad was with the Royal Navy and when I moved to Faversham seemed the perfect time to join!

Longhill CCF attend 11 Infantry Brigade’s Summer Camp

Longhill CCF attended 11 brigades’ central camp at Crowborough this year. It was a fantastic experience with lots on offer to both newer and experienced cadets.


Monday was range day. This offered the cadets an opportunity to experience paintballing, archery, laser tag, an obstacle course, ranges both indoor and outdoor and clay pigeon shooting on the shotgun.

Tuesday was Fieldcraft day. During this the cadets learnt survival techniques, teaching them to make stretchers and fires to enable evacuations in emergencies. They then moved onto learning the complexities of platoon attacks, the skills of a sniper on the sniper stalk and finally we got give Vehicle Check Points (VCPs) a try, searching vehicles and personal.

Wednesday was out of military mode and onto adventurous training (AT). This day had a big focus on team building exercises which worked very well. During the day cadets got to kayak, canoe on open boars, experience a MK6 Assault boat, go mountain biking and complete an orienteering challenge (with a twist!).

Thursday was competition day, a fantastic day showing just how close the schools worked as a team, all encouraging one another, even when in direct competition.
The events that were being competed in were; March & 25m Shoot, Obstacle course, Survival, Skill at Arms, Command Tasks, Military Knowledge, Drill, Shotgun, Mountain Biking and Archery.
It was a fantastic day, enjoyed by everyone, with all taking part in at least 2 events and supporting the others during the other events.
Longhill CCF walked away with 1st place in Obstacle course and Shotgun, 2nd place in Drill, 3rd place in the Shoot and Mountain biking and 2nd place over all out of the 13 schools attending camp that week. These were amazing achievements for Longhill CCF, especially with a quarter our cadets being shiny and new.


Thursday evening and Friday was an exercise phase ran by the school staff, testing some skills learnt during the week.

It was a great experience for the cadets and staff and we look forward to next year!

Captain I Tester- Training Officer, Longhill School CCF

Kent Challenger Games 2017

Over 500 young people from over 50 primary and secondary schools in Kent converged at the Julie Rose Stadium in Ashford, Kent recently for the Kent Challenger Games 2017.


The activities included: command tasks, stretcher racing, boccia handball, slalom run, soft javelin and a long jump. The stadium was buzzing with the Royal Gurkha Rifles Band opening the event, along with cheerleaders and a choir to help make the day truly special and memorable for everyone present.

The event was the brainchild of the Games Champion, Mayor of Ashford Winston Michael who was in attendance with other local VIPs, he said:

“Today has been a dream come true, some of these young people won’t have had the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities or sports at their schools, today really has shown what they are capable of, in a challenging but safe environment”.

The High Sheriff of Kent, George Jessel opened the event, he commented:

“This has been an excellent event for children of all abilities to participate in sport with a military flair, it’s been a fantastic day and we must thank all of the volunteers from Challenger Troop and for the sponsors for their support”.

Samantha Twyman (who is a Lt for the Kent Army Cadets) was in attendance with pupils from the North School, she said:

“The Kent Challenger Games was a great opportunity for our students to get involved in a range of activities that they would not usually access at school. They went back to school buzzing; not winning did not make any difference; they had so much fun taking part. A fantastic experience for so many young people from so many different backgrounds”.

One of the parents Emma Castle asked her daughter what she thought about the event:

“Amy has learning difficulties I had to prompt her a little but this is what she had to say, it was a good day, I really enjoyed it and it was really nice mixing with other schools, I liked doing the javelin throwing.”

Major Simon Dean, OBE, founder of Challenger Troop ensured the safe and smooth running of the activities on the day with his dedicated team.

“Today has been a team effort, it has been fantastic to see it all come together with so much support from the local community. It was great to see the young people getting stuck in and challenging themselves with unfamiliar activities – there was a real buzz and the feedback has been excellent”.

The games were kindly supported by: Kent County Council, Lawson, Tesco, Ashford Designer Outlet, The Polebrook Fund, Kent Community Foundation, Ashford Borough Council and Challenger Troop.

There was also a re-signing of the Armed Forces Covenant with Lieutenant Colonel Andy Betts from 3PWRR present to cement community and military relations. The Army and Air Cadets along with veterans and the REME all had stands at the event to support community relations.

Here’s some more comments from the schools:

Dean Hawkins, Wittersham Primary School;

“Today has been inspiring, there was a great atmosphere and the kids really enjoyed mixing with the military personnel.”

Oliver Quiddinton from Ham Street Primary said;

“This was a great day and really well organised, it was enjoyed by all.”

4624 Squadron Families’ Day – A Truly Reservist Occasion

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After months of planning by a small team our Families’ Day went ahead in glorious sunshine, despite the possibility of the day becoming a mini Glastonbury due to the week-long rain and wind.  Over 320 serving squadron personnel, their families, friends and 4624 Squadron Association members gathered to make the day truly memorable.

Following the opening address by the Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Bev Peart, the annual Medals and Squadron Awards ceremony began, this year held on Squadron lines in front of a large and appreciative audience.  The Presenting Officer was the Squadron’s Honorary Air Commodore, Air Marshal Philip Sturley CB MBE FRAeS CCMI RAF (Rtd) who graciously presented firstly the Volunteer Reserve Service Medals (VRSM) and Clasp before moving onto the Squadron awards.  These awards take various forms from HAC’s Certificates through to the Commanding Officer’s Trophy, and ultimately, the highly coveted Honorary Air Commodore’s Trophy awarded this year to SAC Pauline Griffiths-Jeans.

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For the first time in the Squadron’s history, the opportunity was given to families and friends to experience military flights.  OC 622 Sqn, Sqn Ldr Roisin O’Brien, originally offered the squadron a couple of C130 Hercules flights – brilliant we thought.  A week before the event, she also offered an A400M!  This was quite unprecedented and music to our ears and we are so appreciative of the support and personal assistance she gave us.  Ultimately 3 x C130 and 2 x A400M flights flew, taking a total of 209 passengers on the trip of a lifetime.  Passengers were given full access to the flight deck in-flight and the crews were fantastic, especially towards the more nervous passengers.  Families were even treated to flying with the ramp open, a little daunting for some at first, but it offered fantastic views of the local area and drew jealous comments from squadron members yet to experience this!

Passengers were processed solely by squadron personnel; an opportunity for the Operational Flights to showcase the Airport of Embarkation (APOE) element of their Logistics (Movements) role.  The ATSy role was carried out by corporals from No.3 (RAuxAF) Tactical Police Squadron from RAF Honington.  Passengers were scanned, bags checked and given the security brief following which they boarded the coach to their allocated aircraft.  This was the closest any family member will get to going through the same process squadron personnel undertake when deploying overseas on operations.

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There were plenty of activities on offer; around the Squadron the Operational Flights hosted their own activity areas including an auction and tombola arranged by A Flight.  It was so popular that they quickly ran out of tickets to sell!  Proceeds went to one of the Squadron’s chosen charities – Prospect Hospice in Swindon – raising £300 for this very worthwhile cause.  The only dedicated end of life care provider in the Swindon, Marlborough and north east Wiltshire area, it is funded through voluntary donations.  “The £300 could pay for five families to be fully supported by our Family Support team” said their Events and Community manager Genevieve Arney.

Cadets from 2120 (Witney) Air Training Corps Squadron kindly supported the event with their flight simulator which was a fantastic opportunity for all ages to test their skills.  The Regiment Section brought out all their big guns (literally) with a vast array of weapons on display; for the younger members the bouncy castle and goodie bags generously donated by the RAF Families Federation also proved very popular.

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Since the Families’ Day we have received many letters and messages of thanks.  Flt Lt Mike Caffrey, OC 2120 (Witney) ATC Sqn summed it up “I appreciate that seats were limited and it was an incredible act of generosity on the part of your Squadron to include my Cadets and Staff …. In my 17 year military and military reserve career, I have not been to a families’ day as well organised as yours”.  This event did not happen by chance, an enormous amount of effort was put into the day by so many individuals, both within and outside RAF Brize Norton.  We are extremely grateful to all those who gave their time to make this the truly amazing day that it was; it is going to be a very hard act to follow! 

Reserves Day Reception

Three serving members of 4624 (County of Oxford) Movements Squadron joined 150 reservists and their employers at this year’s Reserves Day reception held in the House of Commons on 21 Jun 17.  Hosted by Sir Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence, it recognised the valuable contribution reservists and employers make to the defence of the nation and it was also an opportunity for reservists across all three services to share experiences.

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One of those attending was SAC Pauline Griffiths-Jeans, a member of the Contract Monitoring Team at RAF Brize Norton who was accompanied by her line manager FS Neil Baker.  He was impressed with both the calibre of reservists and support shown by employers.  “As a representative of the full time military it was fascinating to see the diversity and quality of individuals who are employed in the reservist cadre. On speaking with the civilian employers present the military skill-set gained through reserve service offers benefits that are very much in demand. It was clear from the varied conversations I had during the reception that there was a very welcome and positive drive to capitalise on this skill-set”.

SAC Shelley Terrell attended the reception with Mr Jim Hartshorne, VP of DHL Operations for Home and Specialist Retail.  “It was a chance for us to discuss what DHL offers in support of Reservists and opportunities for full time service leavers.  Without the support of DHL I would not have been able to mobilise to RAF Akrotiri in May 16”.

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Making up ‘Team 4624’ was Sgt Andy Franklin, SNCO D Flight, who has responsibility for the administration, training and development of 25 junior ranks on one of the four Operational Flights on 4624 Squadron.  “Outside the RAF Reserves I am a Quality Auditor with the Ordnance Survey, the UK’s national mapping agency.  I have responsibility for checking the quality and accuracy of geographical information and datasets that make up the national mapping database”.  The event was, he said, “.. an opportunity for MPs to pay tribute to the valuable and much relied on service provided by the Reserve forces and a verbal thank you for the companies and managers who allow their employees to embark on this challenging adventure.  It was a good opportunity to meet other reserve force members from all three services and relate to their experiences…”

Although the event was held on one of the hottest days of the year, and despite being dressed in their No.1 uniform, ‘Team 4624’ certainly maintained their cool and clearly made the most of the tea and cake on offer!

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