Cadets and Staff from squadrons throughout Dorset and Wiltshire took part in the annual Wing Activity Day held at Boscombe Down on Sunday, 21st September. Competitions were held in Aircraft Recognition, Aviation Art, Drill, Media Skills, Modelling, Photography, Presentation Skills, First Aid, and Initiative Tasks. Cadets then had an opportunity to try their hand at Archery, Weapons Handling Tests, a Model Making Teach-in and a Climbing Wall. There were also information stands covering such varied activities as Shooting, BTEC/Training, Gliding, DoE Scheme, and Adventure Training . Overall winners were 633 (West Swindon) Squadron “We had a really great day, with some hotly contested competitions” said Wing Commander Vanessa Toth, OC Dorset/Wilts Wing, “and I would like to congratulate everyone who helped make the day such a success.” All photographs by Fg Off Matt Lodge of 633 (West Swindon) Squadron. Crown Copyright
On Sunday 21st September 2014, 171 (Christchurch) Squadron proudly took place in the 74th RAFA Battle of Britain Parade.
The parade to the Priory Church was led by the Boscombe Band of the Salvation Army, followed smartly by members of RAFA, RNA, Wrens, The Not Forgotten Association, Veterans, Christchurch and Highcliffe Royal British Legion plus, of course, 171 (Christchurch) Sqn.
The Reverend Canon Raymond Hubble, conducting the service, said: “We are gathered here today to remember in the presence of God the victory given to us in the Battle of Britain and to pray that we may have such devotion to duty that neither the loving kindness of God, nor the heroism of those who fought, may have been in vain.”
A RAFA dedication was read by Cpl. Bramall, 171 (Christchurch) Sqn. saying “In friendship and in service one to another, we are pledged to keep alive the memory of those of all nations who died in the Royal Air Force and in the air forces of the Commonwealth. In their name we give ourselves to this noble cause. Proudly and thankfully, we will remember them.”
Hundreds of Allied and German airmen were killed as the Battle of Britain raged in the skies over England during the summer and autumn of 1940. RAF Fighter Command successfully repelled Germany’s attempts to gain air superiority of the UK.
After the service the parade made its way back to the Mayor’s Parlour, where Christchurch Mayor Cllr. Denise Jones took the salute, along with MP Christopher Chope.
On the 12th of August, band members from the 7 Overseas (Jersey) Sqn Air Training Corps were introduced to the visiting unit 948 Haverfordwest and City of St David’s Squadron. They were privileged enough to be able to train with their Band, where they were taught several of the Band’s drum solos, stick techniques, songs and eventually how to march and play with the entire Band. After several days of training, the Band from the Air Training Corps was invited to join Haverfordwest in performing in the Battle of Flowers Moonlight Parade.
For many 7 Overseas Band members this was the first time they had performed with a band in public, at the end of the experience several band members wanted to share their opinions of the experience. Cadet Chalmers-Hunt, 7 Overseas Band member said ‘For me in particular it was my first time performing in public, let alone with a Band the size of Haverfordwest. On the night of the performance the sound created was incredible and atmosphere was ecstatic, I had a lot of fun and hope the Haverfordwest Squadron come back next year!’.
Corporal Van Neste, said ‘It was nice to meet all the cadets from Wales and to be given an opportunity to play at the Battle of flowers – something we had never done before’. As a result of taking part in this major parade, two members of the band received their Drummers badge. Cadet Ribeiro, one of the members who received their badge, said ‘Each cadet was extremely welcoming and patient when teaching us their routine, which was long and complex. I am very grateful that we had this opportunity, as without this amazing experience I would not have been able to receive my Drummers badge’.
Air Vice-Marshal Turner, Air Officer Commanding 22 (Training) Group, was a welcome visitor to the Air Cadet Display at the 2014 Bournemouth Air Festival – the biggest free air show in Britain. A large number of people took the opportunity to visit the Air Cadet recruitment and publicity display, which formed part of the RAF “village” and many expressed an interest in joining.
Photo left to right – Wing Commander Vanessa Toth, OC Dorset/Wilts Wing, Cadet Gregg Turner of 130 (Bournemouth) Squadron, Corporal Alf Whitcher of 2358 (Ferndown) Squadron, Corporal Matthew Dancer of 130 (Bournemouth) Squadron, Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Turner, Air Officer Commanding 22 (Training) Group.
Dorset Air Cadets took full advantage of the opportunity to take a close look at the Red Arrows Hawk aircraft when the celebrated display team recently visited Bournemouth. The cadets, specially selected from local squadrons, were also able to talk to members of the ground crew, and get a full explanation of how the Red Arrows manage to provide such a full programme of flying displays throughout the country. At the end of the visit, the cadets were able to get a front row view of the team taking-off for their next display. “Awesome” seemed to sum-up the views of the cadets watching.
The Reverend Paul MacCarty, age 79, has just retired after serving for 37 years as
Chaplain of 130 (Bournemouth) Squadron of the Air Cadets.
Paul says he has had an interest in aviation since he was five years old, and gained an Aviation Certificate (the fore-runner of the PPL) whilst a member of the Bournemouth Grammar School CCF. This was presented to him by Lord Brabazon of Tara, the holder of the first such certificate issued.
He joined the Royal Air Force in 1952 as aircrew until, in 1958, he commenced a new career in promoting the British motor industry throughout Europe. He was ordained in 1975 and took-up a series of appointments in the Bournemouth area, including Christchurch Priory.
Paul was appointed as Chaplain to Bournemouth Squadron in June 1977, and has been a key member of staff ever since, with an active involvement in annual camps, adventure training and radio communications, in addition to his pastoral duties on the Squadron.
Paul was awarded a Commandant’s Commendation in recognition of his work, and he has also twice been awarded Lord Lieutenant’s Certificates.
A formal presentation was made to Paul by the Officer in Charge of 130 Squadron, Warrant Officer Jamie Green, and many former members of staff and cadets were in attendance to mark the special occasion.
“I have always been a great supporter of the Air Cadet Organisation, because it enables young people to achieve their full potential, and it has been my privilege and pleasure to provide them with support and encouragement over the past 37 years” said Paul.
Air Cadets from across Dorset recently celebrated two special anniversaries at Christchurch Priory.More than 200 cadets and staff were joined by Wing Commander Vanessa Toth, Officer Commanding Dorset Wilts Wing, to mark Air Training Corps Sunday, the annual founding celebration.
But the event had an added significance as it marked the 75th anniversary of the older Air Defence Cadet Corps, of which three Dorset squadrons – 130 (Bournemouth), 149 (Poole) and 171 (Christchurch) – were among the first units in the country.
To mark the occasion the cadets paraded into the Priory for a service, joined by civic dignitaries including Bournemouth Mayor Rod Cooper, after which they enjoyed refreshments at the Royal British Legion in Bargates.
Christchurch unit commander Adrian Hutchinson said: “The cadets all know about the history of the squadron and it is a source of pride for them to know ours is among the oldest in the country. There is a good bit of rivalry between the units so it is a great thing to have.
“We have our banner here today, which is also 75 years old, and I think they appreciate having something tangible to make them more aware of our heritage.”
As well as flying planes and gliders at Upavon and Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, cadets enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, sports and opportunities to learn new skills such as model making, and the corps aims to inspire confidence and leadership skills. Cadets also take part in military, civic and remembrance events across the county.
Air Cadet Drew Giggins has been awarded his Grade One Wings, making him one of the countries youngest fully qualified gliding instructors at the age of just 18.
Flight Sergeant Giggins, a cadet of 149 (Poole) Squadron, is a Flight Staff Cadet at 622 Volunteer Gliding Squadron based at Upavon in Wiltshire.Following completion of his two-year training course, which included both theoretical and practical subjects, he is now qualified to provide initial experience flights for younger air cadets – including his fellow cadets at Poole Squadron.
“This is a massive achievement for an 18 year old cadet” said Squadron Leader Steve Goddard, Officer Commanding the Gliding Squadron, “He is a great role model for younger cadets”.
Drew, a pupil at Corfe Hills School in Poole, plans to continue his gliding training, and then work towards his ambition to become a commercial airline pilot.
Even the wet weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of more than 300 cadets and staff from units throughout Wiltshire who paraded through Marlborough to mark ATC Sunday. It was actually a double celebration, because 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the host unit, 2293 (Marlborough) Squadron .
The parade marched along the High Street in Marlborough, led by the Officer Commanding Marlborough Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Andy Parfitt. The salute was taken by Wing Commander Vanessa Toth, Officer Commanding Dorset Wilts Wing, who was accompanied by the Mayor of Marlborough, Councillor Guy Loosmoor, and Mrs Fiona Loosmoor, and Councillor Noel Barrett-Morton. Civic Escorts included two Mace Bearers, the Beadle and the Town Crier.
The cadets and staff then attended a special
service at St Mary’s Church, followed by a reception at the Town Hall during which Cadet
Flight Sergeant Matt Cook was presented with his certificate of completion of the 12-hour powered flying course in Scotland, during which he went solo.
“ATC Sunday is always a very special day for everyone in the Air Cadet organisation” said Wing Commander Toth, “It is our
opportunity to show everyone the high standards that cadets achieve, and we were pleased to see how many members of the public turned-out to watch our parade and encourage the cadets”.