RAF Benson Reservists

Corporal Simon Hartley

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

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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.


Senior Aircraftman – Hamlin – 4624 Movement Squadron

After seeing an advertisement for the Reserves, SAC Hamlin started the process to see if he could complete the challenges required to become one. He saw it as an opportunity to become part of the ultimate team and be constantly challenged as it is completely different to his civilian role.

As a self-employed 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.

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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.”


Leading Aircraftman – Carter

LAC Carter’s 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 developed and more information became available about how to get involved, he followed his ambitions and signed up to the Reserves.

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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. 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.”


Leading Aircraftman – Reed – 606 (Chiltern) Squadron

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

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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.”




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