Donnington Bridge – Oxfordshire Sea Cadets – Naval Parade 7 Feb 17

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Donnington Bridge Sea Cadet’s Ship’s Bell

HMS Euryalus was a 1941 war time Royal Naval Cruiser. The Bell from the Cruiser was presented to the Oxfordshire based Donnington Bridge Sea Cadet Unit by a Jersey Sea Cadet Unit some 8 or 9 years ago.  The Bell is proudly on display now in at the home of TS (Training Ship)  Euryalus.

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A volunteer who wears two uniforms – “Being in both the Sea Cadets and a musician with the Army Reserve offers me different experiences and I can make a contribution to society in more than one way.”

Adult Volunteer Petty Officer Joseph Yu, is a student at Oxford University studying anthropology, and not only is he an Adult Volunteer working with the Oxfordshire Sea Cadets, he is also a member of the Army Reserve.  PO Yu is a member of the Waterloo Band, of the Rifles and plays the Clarinet.  Joseph who joined the Sea Cadets in October 2016 was born in Hong Kong and came to the UK in 2012, he proudly explained that he was in the Sea Cadets in Hong Kong, which is where he got the bug.

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Cadets can join the Sea Cadets as young as 10 and there is no shortage of youngsters wanting to join 

Junior Sea Cadets – with the length of service ranging from 2 weeks to 8 months.

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Very much a family affair and something to celebrate

The Family Long have a very lengthy history with Donnington Bridge Sea Cadets, Dad Keith joined the Cadets as a Boy and went on to become an Adult Volunteer, Mum Jo is also a Volunteer, and helps out with all the catering, and then there are the 6 Cadets.

Brother Kieran, and his five Sisters, Jessica (next to Dad), Amie, Isabelle, Catherine, Sophie.

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“I enjoy being a Sea Cadet, it makes me feel good, I like the courses and I am always learning new things, I enjoyed my catering course the best.”

Sea Cadet Raage Mahamed joined the Sea Cadets 6 months ago and has never looked back.  Raage who goes to Wheatley Park School, in Oxfordshire, has completed his basic First Aid class 111 course, enjoys drill and has made some really good friends.

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Cadet Chloe Harvey – responsible for the junior Cadets on Parade during the inspection from Commander Trevor Price. She said “I do this for the fun of it.”

Cadet Harvey is a Cadet First Class and lives in Oxford and goes to Gosford Hill School, Chloe was the Parade Commander for the evening.

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Sister and brother – Junior Cadets at Donnington Bridge

Isabella and Luke Humphreys from Heddington in Oxford, have just moved from Guildford.  Both Cadets have recently joined the unit at Donnington Bridge, and are enjoying taking part in the many activities on offer.

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Adult volunteers and Cadets from Donnington Bridge Sea Cadet Corps with Commander Trevor Price, Sea Cadet Southern Area Officer after their very successful Royal Naval Parade inspection held on Tuesday 7 Feb 2017.  Commander Price said, “This evening has been a pleasure, it has been good to talk to the Cadets, they have been bright and engaging, and the Unit should be very proud.” 

Pte Hobbs – My year at Joint Service Parachute Centre (Netheravon)

picJSPW(N) Exercise Intrepid Sky ’17 – My 200th Jump at Skydive Miami, Florida, USA

I joined JSAT junior staff at Joint Service Parachute Wing at Netheravon in January 2016, and a year later I have just returned from Exercise Intrepid Sky 2017. Here is a brief outline of the training I have undertaken in that time, and the qualifications and experience I have gained during my time at JSPW (N). Intrepid Sky is our annual staff training exercise for all staff working at JSPW(N). The exercise was held at Skydive City in Zephyr Hills, Florida, and at Homestead USAF Airbase near Miami. During this time I received some world class coaching from world champion skydivers, and got to jump with the Golden Knights, the US Army’s Parachute Display Team. The three weeks spent in America was incredible, and my skydiving has improved massively, which I’ll cover in more detail later.

The Aim of Joint Service Adventurous Training

“To promote, through the conduct of arduous outdoor activities with exposure to hardship and danger, the Army’s core values, leadership, teamwork and other qualities necessary to enhance the Operational effectiveness of all military personnel.”

The Definition of Adventurous Training

“Challenging outdoor training for Service personnel in specified adventurous activities, involving controlled exposure to risk, in order to develop leadership, teamwork, physical fitness, moral and physical courage, among other personal attributes and skills vital to Operational capability.”

I qualified as an AFF (Accelerated Free Fall) skydiver in Florida immediately after joining JSPW, and on return to the UK began my normal daily work routine. Primarily the job of junior staff is to assist with training delivery to basic, intermediate and advanced parachute students from across the tri-services. Courses run from the end of February through to November, and in 2016 over 40 courses were delivered.

A big part of my job involves teaching students to pack their parachute rigs safely, which at times can be challenging, especially when, following a lengthy packing lesson students are sent off to start packing their own rigs (usually after their first jump), and all you can then see are blank confused looks on their faces! It really is rewarding to see that “light bulb” moment when everything you’ve taught them falls into place.


In addition to parachute packing lessons and assisting instructors, staff also deliver other lectures and presentations to all ranks, including the History of Parachuting, and briefs on the Category system and progression within the sport.

The OC at JSPW(N) recognises that staff development is crucial not only for ensuring soldiers remain fully fit for deployment during their time at the centre, but also for maintaining good relationships with parent units who allow their soldiers to join the staff. Additionally he is also keen to recruit more reserve soldiers at the centre, as he appreciates the additional skills and experience they can bring to the team.

One of the main aims for JSPW is to create a new generation of parachute instructors both from within the staff and also the students who attend courses. The aim is to make sure everyone who jumps is given every opportunity to continue the sport, and personal development for staff includes regular phys sessions, MATTs training, and of course skydiving. All staff are developed to ensure they return to their parent units with new skills and hopefully as potential instructors and leaders.

In April 2016 an advanced parachute course was run at our sister site in Cyprus, which I attended. Here I consolidated some of the jump skills I had learned as a student doing AFF in Florida, and was able to attain my FS1 qualification.

Whilst in Cyprus I was also interviewed by Forces TV for a report they were doing on military skydiving, and later appeared on TV!

On return from Cyprus, and in keeping with my agreement with my parent unit to maintain my infantry competency, I had been booked on the Assault Soldier Cadre, which was to be run by 1 PWRR. Unfortunately at the end of the first week of the cadre I broke my ribs in a Go-karting accident whilst on R&R, and had to be returned to unit.

I hope to complete the Assault Soldier cadre at a later date, as this was my trade when I previously served in the TA with 5PWRR. Following my injury, I was off sick for a while then out of jumping for a period of around 3 months.

When I started jumping again in September 2016 it took me a few jumps to get back into the swing of things, but finally I was fit and ready for our next challenge, Exercise Skyfall ’16 – a basic parachute course being run in Cyprus in November. With my new downsized canopy (175 square foot Triathlon) I was looking forward to some quality jumping.


Our staff assisted with the instruction for the course students, but I did manage to squeeze in a few jumps myself, including jumping with a couple of members of the famous Golden Knights, the US Army’s Parachute Display Team.

On return from Cyprus it was time to close down JSPW(N) for the season, and then we had Christmas leave. Almost immediately on return we were off again, for this year’s 2017 Staff exped to America. Ex Intrepid Sky ’17 would be a staff training exercise and bi-lateral exercise with the Golden Knights in Florida.

During this exercise I completed my 200th jump, I received coaching from World Champion skydivers, and I jumped with one of the most famous parachute display teams in the world.

All in all, it’s been a great year. I’ve now completed 205 skydives, gained multiple qualifications, I can deliver briefings and lessons to large groups irrespective of rank, and my self confidence and ability to overcome fear have improved immeasurably. All this has been attained by working at JSPW(N), and I hope it will continue for the foreseeable future.


Margate Cadets Raise Money for Odyssey Challenge and Battlefield Tour


Margate cadets recently carried out bag packing in their local Asda and raised over £580. They have kindly donated £60 of this towards Odyssey a charity that helps people overcome confidence issues after recovering from cancer treatment.

The detachment were also raising funds for a forthcoming educational and historical trip to visit the Battlefields in Ypres.

Cadet Sergeant Matthew Driver, 17 raised over £90 during the event.

The cadets will be holding more fundraising events and their chosen charity for the next one will be Tickled Pink.

2nd Lt Alison Green Detachment Commander said:

“I’m really proud of all the cadets taking time out to help us raise money for our forthcoming activities – it’s great that we are also able to donate a small amount from that which we raised to other charities to help other people”.

Hugo Iffla, Odyssey Project Director said:

“We are very grateful to the Margate cadets for this donation. All donations go towards enabling more cancer patients being able to benefit from attending one of our courses. Many thanks to all for your efforts”.

Celia Pett received the cheque on behalf of Odyssey; she has been on their courses and fundraised for them previously”.

Anyone wanting to find out more about joining Kent Army Cadets should visit:

Sussex Sea Cadets Adult Volunteers


Sussex Sea Cadets recently held an Adult training weekend at Crowborough training camp.

The course was aimed at new civilian members of the Sea Cadets including management committees and new instructional staff.
We wish them every success as Adult Volunteers.


As a youngster the more you can gain at an early stage is a great springboard for the future!

Stewart Bryant from Hastings was a Royal Marine & Police Cadet in his earlier years.
Stewart is currently a Senior Environmental Health Officer and has recently volunteered with the Royal Marine Cadets.
He enjoys working and supervising young people seeing them achieve their goals and reaching their full potential.
Stewart gets a sense of fulfilment out of the Cadets and thoroughly enjoys delivering the Cadet experience.


If you are looking for adventure then the Cadets is for you!

Sarah Trundle from Rye was a Cadet in the Sea Cadets for six years. She has a passion for community groups and loves to see young people develop. Sarah is now an Adult Volunteer with the Royal Marine Cadets. She decided to make the transition to becoming an Adult Volunteer from a Cadet because she had been so impressed on the differences it had made in her life that she wanted to pass it back on to others.

Thinking of becoming a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer?


As a youngster the more you can gain at an early stage is a great springboard for the future!

Stewart Bryant from Hastings was a Royal Marine & Police Cadet in his earlier years.
Stewart is currently a Senior Environmental Health Officer and has recently volunteered with the Royal Marine Cadets.
He enjoys working and supervising young people seeing them achieve their goals and reaching their full potential.
Stewart gets a sense of fulfilment out of the Cadets and thoroughly enjoys delivering the Cadet experience.


I recommend the Cadets to anyone who wants to see young people develop and improve their futures!

Andy Gooch from Hastings is an Adult Volunteer with the Royal Marine Cadets.
He decided to volunteer because his son was in the Cadets and of course Andy was driving him to and from events and drill nights. On hearing that the unit was looking for volunteers he thought as he was there anyway he would give it a go and since volunteering has never looked back.
Andy who is a police officer in Sussex found that he had additional skills that he could bring to the Cadet Experience.


Not only has my time with the Cadets been an addition to my CV but those core values and life skills has opened all sorts of doors and opportunities!

Callum Evans from Brighton was a Sea Cadet for 8 years until he decided to progress onwards and become an Adult Volunteer. Callum enjoys sport, video gaming and has become a box set fanatic. Callum is currently a chef but finds time to volunteer at weekends.
He has been an Adult Volunter for two years. He made this decision because he thoroughly enjoyed the Cadet Experience. He would encourage anyone to join the Cadet world, not only is he making new friends but he’s having loads of fun in the process. 

Z Company assist at Hell Runner Event


For the tenth year in a row, Z Company assisted with the ‘Hell Down South’ Hell Runner Event on Saturday 14th January 2017. Twenty-three cadets and 6 adults from 11 Platoon Eastleigh, 3 Platoon Basingstoke and 4 Platoon Overton all helped at the event.

The event based at Longmoor Camp has over 2000 participants ranging from ‘Little Devils’ to adults of all ages, take part in the run from hell. The run itself is described as ‘Tougher than Tough Mudder and Grimmer than the Grim!’. Those who finish most certainly deserve their medal, t-shirt and goody bags for their efforts.

SSI Shane Radford, Detachment Commander of 11 Platoon Eastleigh, originally made the connection with Paul from Brooks Sports to get the Army Cadet Force involved. Over the years, with more cadets in attendance, the ACF are able to assist with water points on the run, bag drop off and collection and handing out medals, t-shirts and goody bags at the finish point and packing away.

It was a long day with cadets meeting at 7am to get to the event for 8am. The first race started at 9.30am with the final race at 10.30am. Most runners had finished the race by 2pm. Following this, cadets assisted with the packing away of the tables, tents, equipment and barriers. They finished at around 4pm when they were then given a free goody bag to say thank you. SSI Radford then donated any bags left over to the Homeless Shelter in Southampton as they contained a variety of edible goods.

SSI Radford said: “We really enjoy helping at Hell Runners. Each year we receive a Unit donation from the organisers. We split this between the detachments who help. This is really beneficial to the cadets as monies raised can help with training back at their detachments. It’s great that they take ownership of this and come along and help. It’s also great to see them interacting with the public and being praised for their hard work.

It was a real team effort this year as there were so many people taking part. I would like to thank all the cadets and adults who came to help.”

The next Hell Runner event down south will take place in November this year where Z Company hope to be able to help again.

For more information visit

501 Sqn – RAF Brize Norton certificate presentation


501 (City of Gloucester) Logistics Support Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force


One of the oldest and most distinguished Squadrons in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, was formed in June 1929 as a special Reserve Unit.  On the outbreak of World War 11 the Squadron flew defensive patrols until the German attack on France in May 1940.  At the end of the War in 1946 501 was reformed as an Auxiliary Air Force Fighter Squadron, finally disbanding in 1957.  In 2001 the Squadron was reformed in a Force Protection (RAF Regiment) role and in 2013 its personnel were deployed in Iraq under Operation Telic.  April saw the Squadron again taking on a new role as it became a Logistics Support unit, with a wide range of trades on offer within the RAF.  The Squadron support both the Logistics Supply, Storage and Distribution Specialists and Driver Specialists trades.

501 Squadron’s task is to provide Reserve personnel who are fully trained logistics specialists to support the Regular Forces on Military Operations and Exercises or Humanitarian Operations, world-wide.

The Squadron also takes part in adventurous training, such as skiing, hill walking, sailing and all the sports facilities available on the base are open to use.  Ceremonial events also play a role, including the recent Remembrance Day parade in which 501 played a leading role where members took part in the Royal British Legion Remembrance events in Gloucester and Cheltenham.  The day marked the first formal parade since the Squadron reformed in 2014.


Head of Establishment at RAF Brize Norton Group Captain Tozer, presented certificates to members of 501 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force.  Officer Commanding 501, Squadron Leader Andy Marshall, said, “We are very pleased to announce the first 3 personnel, who have been training as Logistic Drivers have achieved and gained their Level 2 Certificates, awarded by the Defence Awarding Organisation (DAO) at Shrivenham”, and are believed to be the first ever such qualifications awarded to RAF Reservists.

Pic 33 – Squadron leader Marshall added, “These qualifications are an important recruiting tool for us, and we are keen to ensure the civilian employers are aware that their employees can gain civilian qualifications whilst undertaking Reserve Training.”

He continued, “Anyone looking at looking at joining the Reserves in the future may see the qualifications as a benefit as they are recognised civilian accredited courses, and might encourage to employers to see the training benefits that can be gained, at no cost to their own company – presenting a great opportunity for them.”

The Reservists had to achieve a level of competency, covering:

Work safety in a Motor Transport environment

Vehicle checks, Cab and Controls

Position and Secure Loads

Transport Dangerous Goods by Road

Defence Transport Documentation

Accident and Breakdown Procedures

Drive vehicles on and off roads


SAC Steve Yapp is a Military Transport Logistics Driver with 501 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton.  Steve has been in the RAF Reserves for 5 years and in civilian life is a Police Constable with the West Mercia Police Force, working as a Response and Taser Officer, responding to 999 calls within his area.

Steve was keen to show that his trade within the Squadron also adds value to his role in the Police.  He has recently been awarded with his Chief Constable’s Commendation for the saving the life of a victim in a fire.  Steve said, “During the incident which we were called to, I was able to give emergency CPR to the victim, and as soon as the emergency ambulance crews arrived my driver training came use as I was qualified to drive the ambulance whilst the crew continued to help save the victim, so my driving skills paid dividends.”

In his RAF Reserve role SAC Yapp is hoping to deploy to the Falklands next year.


Group Captain Tozer is Head of Establishment at RAF Brize Norton.

He presented awards to the members of 501, when he visited the Squadron during a training weekend,  and explained to the Reservists how they are ‘Part of the Whole Force’.

Addressing members of the Squadron he said, “It is about what you do and your ability to be trained to step in as a credible Force.”

“RAF Brize Norton is the largest RAF Station in the Country, and one of the most diverse, we pride ourselves on being a ‘Whole Force Station’ – Regular and Reserve.”

There are 5 RAF Reserve Squadrons on the base employing ex Regulars, and civilians alike, opening up scope for a whole range of Reserve Service.

Group Captain Tozer said, “The skill sets that Reservists bring to the party are amazing, volunteering and serving their Country.”  He added, “I honestly cannot tell a Reservist from a Regular, and today has been a small celebration of what they have achieved.”


LAC Mark Bissett has just been promoted quite an achievement, as he has only been with 501 Squadron for just over a year.

Mark who lives in Swindon works as a training manager for Anglian Home Improvements, and specialises in sales, management and product training, for the Company.

Mark was inspired to join the Forces by his Grandfather who raised him as a child, he said, “My Grandfather was serving with the RAF during the 2nd World War – James Bissett – who inspired with stories and experiences.” He added, “Joining the RAF Reserves has been the best ever decision I have made, I am really proud of being a member of the Squadron.”

Mark also plays the Pipes and is the Squadron Piper and has played at many high profile events, such as the Battle Proms Concert and  has raised over £62,000 for charity by playing the Pipes.  He added, “It was whilst I was playing at a charity concert that I was introduced to someone who suggested that I join the Reserves.”  Mark raises money for Combat Stress and hopes to reach a target of £100,000 before the end of 2020.


SAC Karen Mellows who lives in Poole travels to RAF Brize Norton at the weekends to train as one of the Squadron’s MT Logistics Drivers.  She is a qualified Category C, and Category C&E driver, able to drive vehicles over 7and half ton which means she can drive articulated trucks, and buses. In her civilian job, Karen works at a factory making moulds for cosmetics and has been with the Squadron for 18 months.

She had always thought about joining the Forces, and when she saw an advert for the Reserves, she knew that was what she wanted to do.

Karen said, “I love it, the whole bit, the training, the friendship, having to cope with different scenarios which stretch you, teaching you to cope outside of your comfort zone.”  She added, “It took a life changing event to give me the courage to join and I have not regretted the decision.”


Ex-Army full time Royal Engineer, Roger Marston, transferred to join the RAF Reserves in March 2014.  A veteran of Iraq serving with the Royal Engineers in 2005, Roger transferred to the RAF when he left the Regular Army.  He is now responsible for delivering the Military Driver Training for the Squadron.  Roger trains members of the Squadron to drive HGV, Coaches, Land Rovers, and other vehicles in the ‘white fleet’.  This includes vehicles used throughout the RAF Base at Brize including trucks used to move aircraft and clear runways, and move supplies.

Corporal Marston said, “The Reservists need a full clean UK driving licence when they join, and then we train them to drive a whole range of heavy vehicles.” He added, “Needless to say, all the driving qualifications we train for are extremely valuable within the civilian logistics sector.”