The Duke of York’s Royal Military School “Exercise Dukie Warrior 2018”

This year as a Contingent, we planned and executed our own summer camp at Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) Wiltshire. We took 90 Cadets and 11 staff of enthusiastic adult volunteers drawn, in the main, from teachers within the School.
We deployed the day after Grand Day to SPTA, a training area used by British Armed forces and forces from around the world. The training area has many challenging training facilities with Battle Camp accommodation.

Challenge, adaptability and tenacity – there was time for self-reflection for the Dukie Cadets this year on Exercise Dukie Warrior ‘18. At SPTA we conducted build up training which felt seamless due to the year’s hard work and training preparation by the cadets and staff at the Schools unique training area and range.
Enthusiastic to hone their military skills further, the training programme for the cadets was full of new demanding and enjoyable challenges, culminating in a final confirmatory exercise set in an urban environment at Imber Village SPTA. We also had assistance from the 1st Battalion the Princesses Royal Regiment who brought with them two Warrior Armoured infantry fighting vehicles and a selection of Infantry platoon weapons. They instructed the Cadets in the role and effectiveness of a Warrior and platoon weapons.

The training began with vehicle check point drills, section attacks, weapon handling, team building, battlefield first aid, Bulford Ranges and a competition day.

The younger cadets were commanded by the Cadet JNCO and SNCO’S who the potential junior under officers were for 2018/19. They acted in an enthusiastic, strong-minded, confident professional manner with drive and determination, when put under pressure from their command appointments.
“Young Dukie leaders emerge from the shadows of Imber village”

The Potential Officers were given appointments to prove their leadership skills during the final exercise phase at Imber Village. This allowed the RSM and staff to select competent and confident Potential Officers to take up the role of under officer in September. This consisted of leading sections in a physically, mentally and demanding urban tactical environment.

The final attack consisted of 2 platoons attacking and securing Imber. It was then that the ambush was set for the enemy who were re-grouping to attack and take back Imber from the Dukie’s.  Imber was saved and the enemy forced to retreat.
The Dukie cadets worked hard all week during the build-up, training and the final exercise phase. For their hard work and efforts they were rewarded with some RNR with a fun day at Thorpe Park.

All the cadets and staff enjoyed their summer camp and looked forward to a well-earned and deserved summer break.
Credit to – CSgt Russell


678 Squadron Army Air Corps support the Medical Detection Dog team

The Milton Keynes Regional Support Team of the Medical Detection Dogs (MDD) have been to visit the 678 Squadron AAC. To enable the dogs to train, the charity needs human sample swabs to help with their scent work.  678 Squadron have volunteered themselves to help out and were given the opportunity to meet and greet the dogs with their handlers.


Guest speaker Tom Borland is one of the MDD volunteers and became involved after he saw an advert which peaked his interest and led him to go along to one of their open days.  He was hooked on day one and it inspired him to work for the charity after seeing first hand the life saying work the charity does.

678 Squadron AAC volunteered not only to help with proving samples but on the day also announced that would help to raise money for the charity and that they had named them as their sponsored charity of the year. 


Major General Bill O’Leary was in attendance, alongside Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Brown 6AAC CO.  In addition to being the Deputy Commander Field Army, the Major General is also the Deputy Lieutenant of the County, which enables him to visit some extraordinary charities in the County.  One those that he visited was the Medical Detection Dogs, he said: “It struck me that they were struggling to get samples that are vital to the training of their dogs.  It was obvious to me that a cohort of Army Reserves from Milton Keynes were an obvious solution to the problem, linking the charity to the unit.  Today has been an wonderful example of that being taken forward and I am so pleased to be able to be here to see that happening today.”


Sandhurst Leadership Challenge

Employees from companies that receive Silver and Gold status, have had the opportunity to attend the Sandhurst Leadership Challenge. The event is held at the nation’s prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) in Surrey, where officers in the British Army are trained, to take on the responsibilities of leading the soldiers under their command.


The Employer Recognition Scheme encourages employers to support defence and inspire other organisations to do the same.


The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the armed forces covenant.

The leadership challenge is organised and run by the Army’s 11 Infantry Brigade (South East) and the South East Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (SERFCA). The executives and employees who take part, are from a wide range of public sector organisations such as the emergency services, local authorities, NHS trusts and executive agencies are also eligible to be recognised.


Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Macpherson who is responsible for employer engagement at 11 Brigade said: “Todays been a fantastic day, all the candidates have really enjoyed themselves, there’s a real buzz amongst them now. They’ve not only had a great day but also have learnt a huge amount and we hope that they take away this not only an understanding of leadership as it is delivered in the army but also and understanding and awareness of the reserve forces and how that can be compatible with their civilian employment.”

Chichester Air Cadets Battle of Britain Parade

Last Sunday, Cadets and Staff from around the county assembled at St Andrew’s Church, Tangmere for the Battle of Britain annual Service of Remembrance.


Cadets gathered from all over the County to commemorate this event. The 40-strong squad marched from Tangmere Military Museum to St Andrew’s Church and joined by VIPs, including the High Sheriff of West Sussex – Mrs Caroline Nicholls DL. They then had the opportunity to remember those who fought in the Battle of Britain during World War Two and lay a wreath as a mark of respect.

The Cadets were able to meet and enjoy some refreshments with the veterans and commemorate those who gave their lives during the Battle of Britain. They also had the opportunity to explore the museum with the Veterans after the parade.


The Battle of Britain was the German Air Force’s attempt to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force from July to September 1940. It inspired Winston Churchill’s famous quote “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”- a reference to the Pilots who fought in the battle, who now are ‘The Few’.

Flying Officer Mark Sonsthagen, Officer Commanding of 461 (Chichester) Air Cadets, said:

‘These events serve to remind our communities that the younger generation, especially the Air Training Corps, are proud to represent the Royal Air Force in remembering the sacrifices others have made and continue to make to keep our Country safe. The Battle of Britain was a turning point in the Second World War and ‘we will remember them.’’


Chichester Air Cadets is recruiting, if you are interested in joining and are aged 12-17, you can contact us on for details of our next open evening. We also welcome applications for adult volunteers, who can contact us on the same address.

“Father” of the RAF‘s Grandson Inspects Air Cadets

Air Cadets from Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire had the great honour of being inspected by and parading before the Third Viscount Trenchard, Grandson of the “Father” of the Royal Air Force,  Lord Trenchard.


The cadets of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire Wing of the RAF Air Cadets (RAFAC) took a break from their annual Wing Field Day competition to form up on the Parade Square of RAF Halton in celebration of the RAF’s 100th anniversary. To make this occasion so memorable for all concerned was the presence of Hugh Trenchard, the third Viscount Trenchard, Grandson of the man who was instrumental in the formation of the Royal Air Force.


Accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Mr Robert Voss, CBE, and his Vice, Colonel Richard Beazley ACF,  the Viscount spent the morning before the Parade watching the cadets in active inter squadron competition showing their skills in foot and banner drill, music, aircraft modelling and other activities associated with the Air Cadet Training syllabus.

The Parade, made up of 350 cadets, band members and supporting staff made an impressive sight on the RAF Halton Parade Square that has witnessed the graduation of countless thousands of airmen and airwomen into the Royal Air Force either as graduates of the apprentice courses or, in more recent times, initial recruit training.


Viscount Trenchard expressed his feelings; “I was very happy to attend the Air Training Corps Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire Wing Field Day, incorporating a parade in celebration of the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force, at RAF Halton today.

“It’s clear to me that the air cadets are in excellent shape. I was delighted that over 300 cadets from the two counties turned out for today’s special parade and Wing Field Day, in the presence of Mr Robert Voss, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Hertfordshire, and Mr Richard Beazley, Vice Lord-Lieutenant.”

“I thought the cadets were very well turned out and was impressed with the standards achieved in the various activities. RAF Halton was one of the original pillars of the new air service headed by my grandfather and the commitment to training and excellence which have always been its hallmark have clearly been taken on board by the future generation, the cadets. I felt honoured to be invited and proud of my association with the RAF today.”

For the cadets it was an unforgettable day and one I am sure they will remember for a long time.



A National Reserve unit, lead by SSgt (Nick) Biggs and comprising of all four Branches of the AGC: Army Legal Services (ALS), Educational Training Services (ETS), Staff and Personnel Support Services (SPS) and Royal Military Police (RMP) visited Newquay on Exercise.


The aim was to develop leadership, through participation in challenging outdoor pursuits, and other qualities necessary to enhance the performance of military personnel to improve individual and combined combat effectiveness.


HILL WALKING – At 0930 on Monday 6th August, 11 members of CRHQ began their AT adventure with a two day 30 mile coastal walk along the beautiful Cornish coastline. We were dropped off just North of Hayle at Gwythian where we began following the very hilly coastal path which would take us back to Newquay.  Our first stop on the route was at the Hell’s Mouth Cafe followed by a stop for lunch in the lovely village of Portreath. We were not only lucky with glorious sunshine throughout the walk but were also able to get close to some of the local wildlife when a rare Adder (snake) slithered across our path, a rather startling experience for some of the group! After lunch we continued to the beach at Porthtowan before finally reaching our final stop for the day at Travellas Manor Farm campsite. After a very long day of 14 miles of walking very hilly terrain, we were all rather happy to find that our tents had already been erected for us and the beginnings of a BBQ had been assembled!  The facilities at the campsite were excellent, with ample clean warm showers and toilets, plate washing facilities and a coffee and croissant delivery van that arrives in the morning for you to purchase breakfast.


On day two we packed away all our camping gear and after coffee and croissants were consumed we continued our walking route from the campsite to Perraporth for our first stop and on to Holywell for lunch. For the final portion of our journey we traversed some large sand dunes and continued along the coastal path before reaching a beach and a footbridge to cross the river which stood between us and Newquay. The footbridge was nowhere to be seen and the only clue we had was that children playing in the river seemed to be able to wade across a channel which appeared to be more shallow. After some discussion with the locals it transpired that the footbridge on the map is only passable by foot at low tide unless you want to swim across! Having left our swimwear at RAF St Mawgawn it was decided to continue further round on the coastal path to Fern Pitt where we were able to get a ferry across the river and continue our walk to New Quay where we were collected by mini bus. The two day walk and camp was great fun and despite some blisters and tired legs was enjoyed by all.


SURFING – As we pulled on slightly wet wetsuits, we all hoped the effort would be worthwhile and that we would be quickly transformed into Bondi beach surfers. Facilities and instruction from the Newquay Water Sports Centre were excellent, so now it was just down to our own ability! After practising the ‘pop’ from the kneeling to the standing position on the boards whilst on the beach, we then had about two hours to practise our technique on the water. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day with the sun shining and the waves of a good height. And so it was that two members of our team, Chris and Dave, discovered their hidden Baywatch ability, and surfed the waves as if they had been doing it for several years. For others, it was mild frustration that the ‘pop’ which had seemed so easy on land (and for the thousands of surfers that were on the Cornwall beaches), was actually turning out to be extremely tricky. But we all continued and I am sure for some of the group, this introduction to surfing, has meant that they have discovered a sport, that they would like to do again. For others, it was simply fabulous fun to try an activity, and discover if they were a natural or not, and if not, gain an admiration for those that make it look effortless


COASTEERING – The session was a half day event and for our group was the afternoon activity that followed a morning of instructor led surfing with the Newquay Water Sports Centre.

All of the equipment for the session is provided and comes in all of the required sizes for adult groups. The equipment included; Full length wetsuits (winter – for warmth), helmets, buoyancy aids, water trainers (to protect your feet on the rock surfaces).

A quick session brief/safety talk takes place at the activity centre and a disclaimer is signed before the event. There are toilets available within 100meters of the activity centre, simple outdoor showers were available and a small set of changing rooms are available on site. Ample car parking is available with a £4 ‘all day’ charge.

Two instructors accompany the session and supervise//demonstrate all of the activities.

Our group of 10 mixed ability/sexes/ages were taken to the first set of challenges, which involved a short rock jump into the sea to ensure that individuals were safe and confident in the open water. Full demonstrations occur before each challenge.

Individuals who are not confident swimmers or who may be afraid of heights should reconsider this activity, as there is a moderate level of skill and confidence required (especially if the sea conditions were rough).

The group of 10 taking part, all successfully undertook all of the challenges, which included; A number of progressive jumps from rock platforms into the sea, a number of short cave swims (looking inside the cave entrance), a small amount of rock traversing (moving along the rock face to access the next challenges). a number of open water swims and sea to rock extrications (which requires good upper-body strength and flexibility.

During the session we also were joined by a couple of sea lions, which added to the experience.

The session invoked a good amount of laughter within the team, encouraged teamwork and communication and more importantly was a good confidence booster when the challenges were completed.

The sessions were conducted with safety in mind and the level of supervision was always high from the Watersport centre qualified instructors.


MOUNTAIN BIKING – Voted one of the top cycle destinations in the UK, mountain biking in the beautiful Cardinham Woods, Bodmin proved an exhilarating way to finish the week of adventure training. Under the expert tutor Adam, from ‘Trailmunki’, the group tackled the ‘Bodmin Beast’ twice during the day. During the first route, around in the morning, the group received superb instruction from Adam on the technical aspects such as the tight bermed corners and rollers, with some of the group, including WO1 Moran and Maj Martin, demonstrating their prowess from the outset!  Some members of the group even attempted the harder red section, ‘Dialled-In Dave’, a fast, alternative section to the more moderate, yet still challenging, blue route.  After completing the ‘Bodmin Beast’ for the first time, the group took a well-earned lunch break in the idyllic surroundings, with some sampling the culinary delights of the award winning ‘Woods Café’ in preparation for the afternoon ahead.  The group were able to apply the skills learnt in the morning to tackle the ‘Bodmin Beast’ for a second time in the afternoon.  This time we negotiated the route faster, with a number of the group choosing to take the second red section, ‘Hell’s Teeth’, a tough climb with many technical aspects, including an extremely steep bermed descent.  All the group, including those who had not taken part mountain biking before, thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the activity and were impressed with the high-quality instruction as well as the technical aspects of the course.


Berkshire Army Cadet Force

Corporal Jenson Smith – ACF Berkshire

With an interest in joining the Army, Jenson was looking to gain more experience and knowledge by joining the cadets.

BIO ACF Berks - Corp Smith.JPG

Jenson said:  “My confidence in leading has improved and my discipline has gotten much better.  The best experience so far, was the exchange program to Norway.  We trained with the Norwegian Home Guard, learning how to ski and how to survive in winter conditions.”


Lance Corporal Saranya Thillainadarajah – ACF Berkshire

Saranya was looking to be pushed out of her comfort zone and found the cadets offered more than any of the other clubs.

BIO ACF Berks - LC Thillainadarajah.JPG

Saranya said: “ I found that the first aid skills helped me so much in my civilian life but also many other skills.  Learning patience and good personal admin, have helped shape me into a better person.  One of the best experiences was overcoming my fear of heights on the obstacle course.”