Change of Command for Chichester Air Cadets

Chichester Air Cadets has seen a change in its leadership over Christmas, with the departure of their previous Officer, a new Commander has taken over the rains and is now set to make Chichester Air Cadets the best it has ever been.

Parents, Cadets and Staff were able to witness the handing over ceremony of the Squadron Banner from Flight Lieutenant Emma Swatridge-Webb to Flight Sargent Kerry Harnes. This is a tradition that all RAF units observe when they change Commanders which the Air Cadets also observe.

Picture 2.jpgKerry receiving the Squadron Banner from outgoing Commanding Officer, Emma

This was coupled with another great moment, as twelve new Air Cadets were officially enrolled onto the Squadron by the Chaplain. For these Cadets, this was the culmination of months of hard work and training. They are now officially recognized as members of Royal Air Force Air Cadets and can now take part in the many activities that are on offer.

Picture 1Newly appointed Chichester Air Cadets along with current Cadets and their Staff

Royal Air Force Air Cadets have the chance to do many activities including Flying, Shooting, visits to RAF Stations, Adventure Training, Sports, First Aid & the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award plus much more. All the activities are recognized by our Parent Service – the Royal Air Force.

Newly appointed Squadron Commander of 461 (Chichester) Air Cadets, Flight Sergeant Kerry Harnes said:

“The Air Cadet Organisation provides great opportunities to young people, and I am so proud to be able to be leading this unit. I have been involved in the Air Cadets for 15 years since joining as a Cadet myself in 2002. I would like to thank Emma for all her hard work and I am looking forward to putting Chichester Air Cadets back on the map. ”

Picture 3Newly enrolled Cadet Alec Parkin (Left) joins his brother Corporal Jonty Parkin (Right) at the Squadron with Emma (Left) and Kerry (Right)

Chichester Air Cadets is recruiting! If you are interested in joining the other 56,000 Air Cadets across the country, and are aged between 12 & 18, come and visit us for our open night on Tuesday 6 February 2018 – contact us on for full details and to register your interest. We also welcome applications for adult volunteers, who can contact us on the same address.


“The Many” have become the few. 622 Sqn visit Bomber Command Memorial

“The fighters are our salvation but the bombers alone provide the means of victory”

– Winston Churchill, September 1940

That victory came with the fearsome cost of 55,573 young men lost, out of 125,000 airmen of Bomber Command, a number close to twice the manning of the modern day strength of the Royal Air Force.  They came from around the world; they were all volunteers, and throughout the war nearly half their number died on operations.  Flying day and night over occupied Europe, running the gauntlet of night fighters, anti-aircraft fire and mid-air collisions, the nerves of these young men were stretched to breaking point. They faced dangers we can barely imagine, all in defence of our freedom, but their sacrifice has too often gone unrecognised.


The Few of Fighter Command haven’t had a recognised day of commemoration since 1943, and the Many of Bomber Command had to wait until 2012 to get their memorial.  The Royal Air Force Benevolent fund have become guardians of the Memorial, their motto “The Debt We Owe” and there is no greater debt of gratitude we have as a nation than to those who served in the RAF during the Second World War.


On the 5th anniversary of the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial members old and new, or old and older, of 622 Sqn gathered in Piccadilly to remember the young men who flew with the Command during the Second World War. Today it is as well that we remember those lost in the air and on the ground, the families they left behind, and take time to reflect on the scars of conflict. We were also there to pay tribute to the surviving veterans who were able to be with us.


All in their mid-nineties, they have waited a long time for this moment of recognition, as they bring with them a living memory of their fallen friends and comrades. The wonderful Bill Gould stepped in at short notice to do a reading, beautifully delivered without microphone to a large gathering!  Our veterans all had an opportunity to give the Chief of The Air Staff a good talking to with their favourite true life war story. These stories, often untold for decades, continued to be relayed as the Vets where given their own VIP treatment with lunch at the RAF Club.


It is hoped that Bomber Command will get an official annual day of remembrance to recognise their extreme sacrifice, but until then we will continue to support our veterans through occasions such as this.  Sunday 24th June 2018 will be the 6th anniversary service.

55, 573 reasons……..

We will remember them

“The best part of being a cadet is meeting loads of new people”

Cadet Lance Corporal – Constance Stockman – Sussex Army Cadet Force
Constance would like to become a member of the Household Calvary and thought becoming a cadet would help her gain some military experience.  Having changed a lot as a person, she believes that the cadets has helped her to manage her personal admin and improve her confidence.

ACF Bio - Cadet Lance Corporal Constance Stockman

Constance said:” The best part of being a cadet is meeting loads of new people and being able to learn hundreds of skills.  Cadets is probably the best things I do at the moment.”


Cadet – Rachel Bishop

ACF Bio - Cadet R Bishop

Rachel joined the cadets knowing that it would open up so many new opportunities for her to experience.
Rachel said: “I really enjoy doing different activities with the friends I have made, like being out in the field for three days straight.  I have more confidence and I have learnt new skills such as leadership, enabling me to stand up and lead a group of people which I never would have been able to do before.”

Helping Inspirational Young People Develop into Responsible and Dependable Adults

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.


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

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

ACF Bio Adult Vol Andrea Colpitts

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.

“I absolutely love it and I have met some amazing people.”

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 son’s 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 and skill at arms.  Wendy found that the skills and experiences she has learned, reflected well in her work.

Ad Vol Bio 20th May Wendy White

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.”


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.

Ad Vol 20th May Bio Sarah Sturgeon

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.

“The whole package involves enjoyment and excitement”

Cadet Corporal David Holland

Being a cadet, David has learnt high standards of discipline, respect and morals that are expected from young people in life.

David said: “I became a cadet because of the core values of life and fun activities that the Oxfordshire Army Cadet Force can give.  I have achieved my first aid certificate which will help me with my future goals plus my Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award.  I do not agree that there is a best part of the ACF as the whole package involves enjoyment and excitement.”

ACF Bio - Cadet Corporal David Holland


Laura Lanigan

Sergeant Instructor Laura Lanigan wanted to become an adult volunteer after being a cadet herself.  As a maths teacher, Laura is lucky to have supportive employers who allow her to take her holidays in line with many Cadet events.

Laura said: “Its excellent fun and it’s great to have such fantastic relationships with other adult volunteers and cadets.  It’s brilliant to watch them progress.  I enjoy feeling like being part of a team and I have been able to study for level 5 CVQO.”

ACF Bio - Ad Vol SI Laura Lanigan

Swanley Army Cadets Raise Funds for Combat Stress

Swanley Detachment of the Kent Army Cadet Force Squadron RE recently presented a cheque to Peter Butterworth from Combat Stress UK for charity work they completed last year for the sum of £389.58.

The amount  was raised by the cadets completing a 10k speed march in boots and combat clothing, and also running a stall at the local Armed Forces day held in Swanley and hosted by Swanley Town Council.

combat stress cheque 2017 (1).jpgPeter Butterworth from Combat Street UK receives a cheque for £389.58.

Robert Marsh, Director Income Generation at Combat Stress said:

“We’re really grateful to Swanley ACF for choosing to support Combat Stress and veterans with mental health problems.

Each year we receive more than 2,000 referrals from former servicemen and women struggling with their mental health. The money raised by fundraisers, like Swanley ACF, means we can continue to support every veteran that comes to us for help.”

Colonel Chris Gilbert, Commandant Kent ACF said:

“I’m really proud of all the cadets at Swanley for taking the initiative to help raise funds for this valuable cause.

The Army Cadet Force plays an active role in the local community. A major part of the training for any cadet is citizenship training and the topic forms part of the syllabus.  Through participating in community projects like this we help develop young people in responsible citizens.

I’d encourage any young people or adults who want to find out more about joining us to visit our website for more information”.

We’re always looking for Army Cadets and adult volunteers: Come and find out more:

Swanley ACF Centre, Swanley Lane, Swanley, BR8 7LH on a Thursday from 7-9pm.

The Army Cadet Force is a national voluntary youth organisation based on the best military traditions and ethos. The ACF is not a recruiting vehicle for the Armed Forces, nor do its cadets or adult instructors have any call up commitment whatsoever.

It is sponsored by, but not part of the Army, and provides challenging military, adventurous and community focussed activities.

The ACF also offers young people and adults the opportunity to undertake BTEC qualifications, gain the Duke of Edinburgh Award and obtain recognised First Aid qualifications.

Its aim is to inspire young people, male and female, between 12-18 to achieve and develop qualities required of good citizens.

There are 34 detachments throughout Kent, with over 1200 cadets, 190 officers and adult leaders.