Cdt Bethany Mallett waits for take off
Cdt Jack Hammond after his flight
After a long year of disappointment on the Flying front, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) sqn was able to fill its flying slots on Sunday 24th November 2013. The recent cancellations due to aircraft grounding and the slow restart to flying, while pilots are re-acquainted with their machines meant a frustrating time for all cadets up and down the Country.
The Air Experience Flights are now beginning the long process of getting Air Cadets airborne again, with No. 8 AEF at RAF Cosford still only able to offer one aircraft to air experience flying, meaning that reduced allocations will be the order of the day for the next few months.
The weather was kind: Although overcast the cloud was high enough for flying to take place, a few breaks in the cloud cover in the afternoon even allowed a for few aerobatic manoeuvres.
Cadet Bethany Mallett describes her first Tutor experience: “On the 24th of November I visited RAF Cosford to go for my first flight lesson. We arrived at 8:30 and met Flt Lt Jonathan Price and Fg Off Ninja Thirtles, who was going to be the pilot for our lessons. We got to the briefing room where we received our safety briefing, including evacuating the tutor and using a parachute.
When it was my chance to fly I walked from the briefing room to the equipment & waiting area where I tried on a flight suit and a helmet. Then, I walked to the tutor and climbed on the wing and greeted the pilot. After checking the instrument panels we took off. The pilot explained the dials and the basic movements of the plane. He asked me to follow through to get a grasp of the sensitivity. I then learnt how to pitch the nose and how to turn.
Because of how blue the skies were I was lucky to have a start at aerobatics, the pilot thought it would be best to do a loop than any other. On the way back he showed me how it feels flying with different gravity. He showed me 2g, 3 and a half g and Zero g which were pretty exciting. Finally I arrived back on ground pleased with what I had achieved.
I received a First Flight Certificate as a memento”.
The Squadron would like to thank OC Flt Lt Price and Flg Off “Ninja” Thirtle, duty pilot on Sunday, for their effort in getting the cadets into the sky. All the cadets had a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Alarm goes off at 8:30. Wake up. Shower, dressed and finish packing. Squeeze last minute essentials into kit bag. Shoes and coat on. Last minute check for consent forms, passport, EHIC, 3822, rail warrant. Check. This is where my journey began. Friday 1st November 2013.
That day, I left for TS Royalist, a sailing training ship. I was early to the train station so I went and got some well needed snacks for my 6 hour train journey. I boarded my first train at 12:30 from Four Oaks Train Station. 30 minutes into Birmingham. I arrived at New Street, and decided to treat myself to a Starbucks and a pannini, not knowing how well I would be fed for a week. 1:04 train to Southampton, a 3 hour journey. I had a nap, read a bit and mostly watched Top Gear episodes on my phone. Change at Southampton, for hour and a half journey to Portsmouth Harbour.
Waiting on the platform: Then two people with large rucksacks and sleeping bags attached to the side strolled over and both, separately stood within a few metres of each other, I turned round and said “this might sound random if you’re not, but are you Air Cadets by any chance going on ...” and before I could finish my sentence they both replied “TS Royalist” and just like that three complete strangers had found common ground and it felt like I had already made two friends. The next train journey was pleasant, finding out about each other and realising that each was just as apprehensive as the next. We arrived at Portsmouth Harbour and from there we were to get a taxi to Whale Island where HMS Excellent is based. One of the boys joked about how that taxi fare was going to be cheaper and that we should go and get fish and chips with our spare change. We got some chips and sat in the harbour looking up at the Spinnaker Tower talking and eating, it was nice, and I felt a lot more at ease; like most cadet events and activities you settle quite quickly, as by nature most Air Cadets are friendly and polite. We finished eating and caught our taxi to Whale Island. Upon arrival we were supposed to meet Sqn Ldr Cope. There were a handful of cadets waiting outside the guardroom. And we were quick to establish that he wasn't here, he was stuck in traffic and would be late. The rest of the cadets eventually arrived and so the staff on base took us up to HMS Bristol, a training ship, on which we would stay the night. We had health and safety briefs and then with Sqn Ldr Cope’s absence some of the NCOs’ decided that it would be best to catch some sleep and so everyone just had an early night.
The next morning we awoke early in time for breakfast, forgetting how little room I had, I banged my head off the top of my bunk - not good. But we went to breakfast in the junior ranks mess, it was lovely, a ‘full english’, a perfect recovery from standing out in the rain the previous night. We returned to the ship, packed out bags and took them out to a car park, where Sqn Ldr Cope began to teach us Sea Cadet drill and courtesies and also just a basic overview of the week onboard, as Air Cadets we knew little of what to expect. We then took taxis back to Portsmouth harbour and caught the ferry over to Gosport, our bags were picked up to be taken to the ship and then the Sqn Ldr walked us over. We arrived and were welcomed with hot chocolate, the key to my heart! Then the girls went downstairs first into the Messdeck, we were issued with foul weather kit and a bunk to sleep in, and beneath the hanging bunk beds was a massive wooden chest, split into compartments, these were our lockers and we were told that all of our kit for the week was to be stored in this. As you can imagine, the girls thought that they were joking, but they weren’t! We began to unpack and compress everything into this little wooden locker.
We were to assemble on the Foredeck; this is the front part of the ship on the upper deck. We were shown around the ship, and shown all of the emergency exits, some of which were pretty cool for fire escapes, like little hatches in the ceiling and through the walls. Then later, we were introduced to a Task Book. This was to be filled out during the course of the week, it included chapters such as; safety, sail setting, sea terms, bend and hitches (knots), parts of a sail and buoyage. Most of which were quite alien to all of us! We talked through the workbook and then got taught how to put our harnesses on, although it was too windy for us to climb up the rigging.
Next up, dinner time! After full-on day of learning so many new things and so much information I was excited for dinner to really just chill out and get to talk to everyone properly. We had chilli for dinner, and as the first meal of our expedition, apart from Standeasy (hot chocolate and snack break), and wow should I have not worried about food! The cook was honestly one of the best that has ever served me food! Especially considering that she slaved away in a 2 square metre kitchen tucked away in the ships middle, and that she had to make 74 meals daily in that small space, the food was phenomenal, I’d go back just for the food! We had fruit and chocolate cake for dessert too, and this was just the beginning of the week’s delicious food! Then the messmen (the 4 people who were to serve dinner and clean up afterwards, which rotated daily) cleared up the table, and the bunks were let down and the Messdeck became a cabin instantly. We had an early night as dinner was a bit later than it was supposed to be anyway and then the Bo’sun read us a bedtime story and we all tucked into bed.
On the ship there were 7 members of staff, the Captain, Boatswain who controlled to forward part of the ship, Coxswain, who looked after everyone and organised Standeasies and just generally look after us, Sailing Master who was the Captain’s 2 IC (second in command), Engineer, he’s quite self explanatory, Cook, also quite self explanatory and also a Boatswains mate, who stays with the Boatswain and learns what to do, to become one in the future.
On day two, the wind had settled down and we were going to try an ‘Up and Over’ which is where you climb up the rigging of the mast, come up onto the platform and then go back down the other side. It was actually a lot higher up than a lot of us thought at first, and some struggled understandably, but everyone powered through and all completed the exercise. Then after lunch we were taught how to open the sails using all of the coordinating ropes and knots and then we ‘set sail’, quite literally’ and left the harbour to put our new skills into practice. After a sail around, I think everyone felt much more like a team, because we had to work together to do anything on this ship and it was very much one of the best team building experiences ever.
6:00 means dinner time again! Sunday dinner, how perfect! The cook went all out, with vegetables and potatoes and gravy, stuffing and it was a lamb roast too! And then for dessert we had apple pie and ice-cream, it was just gorgeous! We settled down for bed and that night we got to watch a film that the Engineer had selected for us because he was on duty to look after us that night. The film finished just as everyone started to drift off and then we settled down to sleep, day two complete.
Day three, we woke up at 6:00 hoping to sail to Cowes! We got dressed had our breakfast and went to our assigned stations, so that during the voyage, we could control the appropriate sails; putting up and moving when needed. Unfortunately as we set out, it became clear that the weather was just too severe to travel to Cowes so instead we sailed to Southampton and due to the bad weather we were to due arrive in darkness so the staff decided that it would be a good idea for us the learn about sea navigation so we had to create a route plan, much like we would for D of E or when flying.
We had to learn about all the buoys and how they would navigate us to the harbour in Southampton. We arrived safely to Ocean Village and we got to have lovely hot showers and a walk about after being cramped on a ship for a few days. Some of us got sea legs; this happens when you’ve been on a rocking boat for a while and then when you get onto flat land you still wobble about because you’re not used to the floor being still, its rather funny to watch! We had a gorgeous sweet and sour chicken dinner with homemade banoffee pie for dessert, banoffee pie is my favourite and it was honestly the best that I have ever tasted! We played card games and dominoes until bedtime at 10:30 again, and then we settled down to sleep in our new home, Southampton.
Tuesday, we set out to Cowes, but again due to weather we travelled across the coast, back to Gosport. It took another day to do so, but it was very much enjoyable, we anchored for lunch which consisted of pulled pork baps and apple sauce with crackling; cooked to perfection! Then we continued back to Gosport and we chilled out for a bit and then the staff told us about the Air Cadet Squadron that were on the base we were staying at in Gosport. So after a chat with their CO, we were welcomed to their Squadron Halloween disco. It was really lovely to meet people who do much the same as all of us, but still do things differently to some of our Squadrons, but it was nice that we all got to talk about Air Cadets for a while, as all of us on the ship were from different Squadrons and then we partied to a few classics like the Macarena and the Cha Cha Slide, we were all a little too old, being 17/18/19, but that just made the night even more hilarious! We returned to the vessel and rested our heads …
We were awoken earlier than usual and were told to get ready and muster on the foredeck asap. We were told that there were gales coming in and they thought it good to take us out to Southampton while they we could, saving us being stuck in Gosport on base where there was little for us to do. So we worked through the morning, and it was quite tough, we were all beginning to get very tired by this time of the week and we hadn't eaten breakfast yet. We arrived and had breakfast, we got a ‘full english’ as a treat. I was messman this day so I got an extra couple of slices of bacon because I made the wise decision to make friends with the cook! We were given shore leave to have a shower and pop to Tesco, we returned for lunch and then we were told we would be visiting a plane museum with an Air Cadet section, which seemed fitting. We returned for dinner to find out that we would be preparing for Pirate Day! We sat down and began to make hats out of cardboard and staples with felts and cellotape. Then we had to be judged for best pirate by the staff, who had also dressed up as pirates, in the wardroom (their equivalent of the Messdeck). Initially we had to wear our hats, do our best pirate ‘Argh’ and do a quick pirate dance move. Then there were recalls, four got selected and I was one of them! I had to then tell a pirate joke and do a proper pirate dance sequence. The results were to follow on the last day, so we drank our ‘grog’ and sat down for dinner, to find out that were getting a Dominoes and we were going watch Skyfall, then go to the cinema afterwards to watch Captain Phillips, it ended up being such a funny evening, especially because people had become good friends by now and there was a lot of camaraderie.
It was Pirate Day! We awoke early again to return to Gosport whilst the weather wasn't too destructive, we set all the sails that day and we also got sea boat rides! In groups of four we got to go in the sea boat, we went fast for a bit and then slowed down as we came past the ship so that we could take pictures. It was actually so exciting; I didn't think that it would be that good! Then we made a safe return to Gosport after a long and windy return home. We made a video of the week to show everyone back home and promote the trip to other Air Cadets. We watched the rest of Skyfall after our lovely beef casserole and packed away all of our kit. Then we hit the sack and dreaded the wake up to go home the next day.
We awoke to clean the ship, we had a de-brief from the Captain and we left the ship at about 9 when we caught a coach to the ferry terminal to return to Portsmouth and the train station home. We had to wait about an hour for our trains and so we made a Harlem Shake in the middle of the train station, before we all departed off to our homes. It was sad to leave everyone and especially that staff on board the ship, but it was honestly such a brilliant week, and I seriously would recommend it to anyone! You don’t need to know much about sailing or boats or anything related, you’ll get taught everything that you need to know, and so if you’re reading this and think that you would enjoy a week away with other Air Cadets from around the country and would love to explore new places in a completely new way then a week on TS Royalist or any of the other Sea Cadet Training vessels would definitely be for you. If you know anyone that would be interested or you are and have any questions feel free to speak to Cpl Beth Edmonds, I’m happy to help anyone get involved that wishes to!
On Sunday 10th November cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn joined with cadets from 491 sqn to attend the Remembrance Day Parade in Birmingham city centre. There were almost 50 cadets in attendance from the two squadrons, as well as eight uniformed members of staff.
It was an early start for the 487 cadets, with the now annual tradition of laying a wreath at the Kingstanding Territorial Army base taking place first. The squadron formed up and marched the short distance to the memorial, set up to honour members of the unit who sadly never made it home. Cdt Connor Fahey laid the wreath on behalf of the squadron, and Cdt Chloe Cusack read out the Ode of Remembrance; both completing their duties with excellence.
There was little time to reflect as it was straight into transport and off to the city for the Remembrance Parade. As there were a large number of cadets they were split into two flights, both led by staff. As always there were a great many serving personnel past and present, as well as members of the other cadet forces to complete a fantastic parade, observed by a great many members of the public. After wreath laying from all manner of representatives and an immaculately observed silence, it was time for the final march-past.
Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing’s senior officer Wg Cdr Stuart Iles was in attendance, and shared his thoughts with the cadets once the parade was complete, “I was very pleased watching on today, all Air Cadets in attendance were immaculately turned out and did the Wing proud. It was one of the coldest parades I can recall having attended, so I extend my praise and thanks to all involved.”
On Thursday 31st October, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn joined other local ATC units in a recruitment drive in Birmingham City Centre. They were all invited to a youth organisation day, bringing together all the youth groups and cadet forces in a bid to advertise youth organisations to the public, and to attract new cadets and staff alike.
The day was not the best for weather with on and off rain, but the cadets soon started to attract an audience. One of the platforms had been brought down from RAF Cranwell; this allowed the public to have a go on state of the art simulators. The cadets also got to speak to the Lord Mayor of Birmingham who was invited to open the event.
After watching the Army Cadets and Sea Cadets put on a drill display, the Air Cadets soon wanted to do their own sequence, so after 10 minutes practice the three squadrons threw a display together for the public to watch. The cadets held it together well, considering none of them had marched together before.
487’s attending staff member, FS (ATC) Steve Taylor, was pleased with how the event went, “The day was a success with several details been taken for squadrons up and down the country. 487’s cadets were very well turned out and behaved accordingly, attracting some very positive comments from members of the public impressed with what they had seen.”
We would like to thank the event organisers who did all the planning for the day and made it a complete success.
Over the weekend of Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd November, 26 cadets and four staff from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn hit the streets of Birmingham city centre. Their mission? To sell poppies to the people of the nation’s second city…
The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal raises money for British Armed Forces past and present, and also their families. The monies raised from selling paper poppies and other poppy related items changes countless lives for the better every year. The poppy is recognised as a symbol of remembrance for the fallen; those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Sgt (ATC) Nicky Gallivan, supervising staff member on the Saturday, was thrilled with the efforts of those in attendance, “We instructed the cadets to turn up with their uniform immaculate, and they did not disappoint. A great many members of the public have approached me today complimenting the behaviour and appearance of our cadets; it was a proud day for 487 all round. I have no doubt 487 will present themselves in a similar manner at the upcoming Remembrance Parade.”
We all now look forward to finding out how much money the squadron’s efforts have raised for this fantastic charity.
Two cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) sqn joined colleagues from 491 and 495 Squadrons, for a combined Bronze and Silver expedition, based in Derbyshire.
Cpl Kieran Small and Cdt Anna-Marie Ewins braved the weather conditions, which were definitely becoming autumnal. A weather warning for the UK named Storm St Jude had been issued by the Met Office and whilst the weather was wet and windy in the Midlands we were spared the worst of the storm which passed to the south.
Two Silver groups of four each and a Bronze group of five cadets left Alfreton Leisure centre on Saturday morning, at staggered intervals bound for the first camp at Bolehill, near Wirksworth. The routes split shortly after the start, the Silvers passing through Ambergate, the Bronzes taking a more direct line.
An initial period of steady walking brought the Silver groups into Crich for their lunch break, however after lunch, progress slowed somewhat with both groups making slow headway, navigation proving difficult in the mixed Derbyshire terrain. With the nights drawing in, and the clocks due to go back on that evening the girls group arrived shortly before dusk and the lads about an hour later, setting up camp in the dark.
It was recommended by the supervising staff that the cadets, forego the hour lie-in afforded to the rest of the UK to ensure that they got to camp two in good time.
During the night the wind picked up and it rained heavily. The cadets had planned to rise at 06.00 and be away for 08.00, a target which was nearly met. The route, although initially passing through a wooded area soon broke out into open farmland in the Derbyshire Peak, exposing the cadets to the sharp edge of Storm St Jude. Strong winds carried heavy showers, which combined with the heavy clawing mud underfoot, considerably slowed progress. However the navigation was much improved on Saturday’s effort and the checkpoints were passed in good time and camp was made well before 16.00.
Following another night of heavy rain and high winds the third day dawned cloudy and foreboding. An inspection of the BBC weather forecast indicated that the day was due to brighten. As the clouds lifted the sun broke through for the first time since the expedition began and by the lunch break the temperature had raised considerably, along with the spirits of the cadets, who fairly tore along the route to the finish point.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill who assisted with supervision commented “A good practice route in difficult weather conditions will set both up for their actual expedition during the Easter break next year”.
Following a request for help, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron, for the second year running, assisted the organisers of the Great Birmingham BUPA Half Marathon, where an estimated 20,000 runners would complete a 13.1 mile course through the city. Following the elite runners and the wheelchair races, the majority were split into waves setting off at intervals, to prevent bottlenecks in the streets.
Along with Cadets and Staff from 491 and 1459 Squadrons, we were requested to be at the Birmingham Indoor Arena for 07:30 on a wet Sunday morning. We were not alone, there were many other helpers. Various groups from across the City as well as enthusiastic individuals had also volunteered their services for the day. We were all issued with a packed lunch, drink, a poncho and a distinctive blue BUPA Marshalls jacket.
It was clear that the Organisers were well used to events of this size and nature. Each group was tasked with a particular job; the three Warwick & Birmingham Units were to be responsible for issuing Competitors with their Completion Packs (Large, Medium & Small), each containing a T Shirt, foil blanket, energy bar & drink and most importantly their medal. 487 Squadron, with 18 cadets in attendance were given the job of handing out the Medium sized packs to the exhausted runners. This was the largest category, with an estimated eight or nine thousand to be handed out.
We were taken to our allotted space behind the finish line, although we didn’t expect the first runners to be through until about 11:15. As most of the cafes and coffee shops in the City had opened early, many of the Marshalls took advantage of the break and went for breakfast.
With all Cadets back in place by 10:30, there was still a while to wait before the runners started to come through. As expected the fitter athletes started to arrive shortly after 11 o’clock, soon the trickle became a torrent. With thousands of runners collecting their souvenirs of the day in such a short time period, the cadets were constantly working, some directing runners, some opening the large crates, others in a chain passing packs to the front line were they were given to grateful recipients. Many of the athletes took time-out to thank the Cadets, not just for the packs, but for giving time on the day. Most of the runners had a fundraising or charity sponsorship as a target for completing and recognised the contribution of all the Marshalls time in support of their effort.
Because of the staggered start and the varying degrees of fitness of the entrants, the rate of which they finished remained fairly constant throughout the day, only starting to tail away after 14:30, although some were still arriving an hour later.
We were told to stand down by the Supervising Marshall who thanked the cadets for their efforts, and after a long but enjoyable day, headed for the transport home.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill commented “For most of the runners the event was purely about raising money for their particular charity or cause, many were exhausted or in some pain but were spurred on by the large crowds along the route to finish, if the Squadron provided any support to these selfless individuals, then all the efforts of cadets on the day and the early start were well worth it. The Cadets understood what they were there for, all working without complaint through a long day and taking away an appreciation of what some people do for others less fortunate than themselves.“
On the evening of Friday 27th September, 7 cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn set off to Nesscliff for a weekend packed full of leadership and fieldcraft exercises. From the moment they arrived, the exercises began. After an arrival briefing, the cadets were split into flights and began with a familiarisation exercise of the camp and teambuilding exercises to get to know one another. Those qualified were given a chance to fire on the camps DCCT range.
Saturday morning began early, and after a big breakfast the camp headed out to the exercise area to begin training. Flights were given instruction and got to practice camouflage and concealment, shelter building and field administration, and had to solve a tricky initiative exercise. After lunch there were even more exercises including a gorge crossing exercise, movement in the field and a simulation of a FIBUA (fighting in built up areas) exercise. The days’ activities were training and preparation for a night time exercise, and the nerves and excitement built throughout the day in anticipation of the culmination of all their training.
As the night drew in, the cadets were briefed in their flights and the exercise began. Using a mixture of all the skills acquired during the days training, the flights had to move to a number of locations to retrieve information, which ultimately lead them to their final exercise of rescuing a downed pilot hostage from the main bunker. Exhausted, but with the adrenaline running after a full days activities, the cadets headed back to their billets to rest up.
Sunday began with another hearty breakfast, and the cadets were taken to the exercise area to take part in a tracker exercise. The cadets had to ‘cam up’ and use their movement skills to beat the staff spotters and get as close to the objective area as possible. There were some very sneaky cadets who managed to get within only a few feet of the objective, and surprised the staff when they popped up from cover! Shortly after, everyone moved to the trim trail on the main camp. After instruction in each piece of apparatus, they ran the course for real, as an inter-flight competition! Whilst waiting for their turn on the course, the waiting flights competed in a ‘International Dry Land Swimming Championships’! Cadets had to ‘swim’ different strokes across the 25ft grass course, which isn’t as simple as it sounds.
After the winners of the trim trail and swimming championships were announced, the camp headed back to the billets for a final pack and clean. After a final briefing and the announcement of the overall winning flight, the camp dispersed back to their units, exhausted.
Flt Lt Cotton, OC 487 Sqn, was one of the directing staff, and commented on the weekend: “487 Squadron cadets showed once again that they are up for a challenge. The weekend was busy and tiring, but each cadet gave their all in every element of the training and showed that they are willing to learn and take the lead. In depth training and consolidation of skills was combined with fun and humour to make an excellent weekend.”
As with the junior team, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn had two cadets selected at the Wing Trails to represent Warwick & B’ham Wing in the Central & East Region Senior Football Competition. As usual, this was played at RAF Cranwell, on Sunday 29th September. Veteran, Flight Sergeant Kenny Morris & new boy Cadet Kurte Harris making his debut at Wing level played well in a fiercely fought set of encounters with the opposition Wings.
As usual, the competition format comprised a “Round Robin” tournament, where each Wing plays each other, in a series of twelve-minute games. Each team playing five matches. Following a poor start, losing the first game 2-0, the Wing team rallied, drawing next against the eventual winners and winning the third to put themselves in with a chance of the medals.
However the final two games, although dominated by the Bears, were both draws, and the Wing finished 4th overall in the competition. The tied games were the clincher in the final shake up, a goal or two makes all the difference between glory and disappointment.
Following the medal ceremony, a list of Cadets was announced, inviting them to attend the trials to pick the Regional team the following week, the names of both 487 Cadets were called out, along with 5 others from the Wing.
Although Kenny Morris was unavailable, Kurte Harris attended the trials. After a training session and a Probables’ v Possibles’ game the Regional Selectors made their choices. Included in the Regional Team for the Corps Competition in November was a delighted Kurte Harris, who had been nicknamed “Bomber” by his team-mates during the games.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, 487 Sqn, said “Once again I’m delighted with 487 Cadets, willing to try out for the Wing & Regional teams; they deserve their successes, particularly Kurte Harris, who put heart & soul into the trials.\"
Thursday 18th July
I had an early start on the Thursday; I met the officer and got into the minibus. We had to pick up several more cadets from different locations around Birmingham. When all the cadets were in the minibus we then set off to Heathrow Airport, however on the way we were stuck in traffic and had to call the Camp Com to tell them that we were going to be late, things weren’t looking too good! The traffic finally cleared and we reached the airport with minutes to spare, we quickly checked in our bags got our ticket went through security and got on the plane. The flight was 4 hours long I sat next to a boy who didn’t even think I was in the air cadets, his name was Danny, he was my friend for the camp. We arrived in Cyprus, grabbed our luggage and got on the coach. When I realised we had a 2 hour journey to get to the Troodos mountains I fell asleep. We arrived at Troodos very late at night we were all tired so we were shown to our rooms, briefed and went straight to bed.
Friday 19th July
We woke up early at 6:00am (4:00am English time) got into our uniform and went to the mess for breakfast. We had full English breakfast which made me happy so I ended up having two. After breakfast we did a FAMEX. A FAMEX is when you familiarise with a location by doing a variety of activities. There were three groups; A flight, B flight and C flight each had 10 cadets in with an IC and a 2IC. Flights gained points by achieving tasks. After the FAMEX we got changed into our civilian clothes and got into the minibus with our swimming costumes, we were going down to a local swimming pool to do a swimming test. After the swimming test we had dinner at the pool, we were also allowed to go and look around the town and purchase some gifts. After the meal we came back to the base for free time.
Saturday 20th July
Another Early start on the Saturday to go to the mess and have breakfast. We were briefed to get into uniform and form up outside the mess in our flights. We were then told that we were doing some initial exercises which consisted of real life scenarios and the flight that did the best would gain points. Later on in the day we went to Water World which was two and a half hours away from the base, when we arrived we were given an entry pass and a free meal pass. We ran into the park and the ATC had their own sunbathing chairs reserved so we dumped our stuff and went onto the water rides straight away. We got around the whole park and still had half the day left so we stopped had a burger and chips and a drink. The temperature was 42 degrees, it was so hot you couldn’t stand on the floor; we all had to run around the park because we all forgot to bring sandals. It was then time to leave so we got back in the minibuses and made our way back to base.
Sunday 21st July
It’s just the basics for cadets if you join you’re going to be awake at ridiculous times in the mornings, but it is good because you can fit so much in, in just one day. Our first trip of this day was to North Cyprus where we were learning about the history of the division in Cyprus. We were there for almost the whole day and why we were there we visited a castle that has the BEST homemade lemonade you will ever drink and also the views were outstanding. After we visited the castle we were let off into the town and told we had to come back at a certain time so we went around sat down had something to eat and brought more gifts. We all came back to the coach early so the staff decided to take us to a local beach. While we were at the beach the staff found a restaurant that was on the beach so we all sat down to eat after we played water polo at the beach. After the meal we then set off back to base.
Monday 22nd July
Everybody was used to getting up early now so we didn’t have any more late comers in the morning…it wasn’t me. On the Monday we were visiting another R.A.F station called Akrotiri. I was really excited because I had heard a lot about the station and they do have a lot there for entertainment they have a private beach and much more. On that day they decided to take us bowling. When we were doing the bowling there was a competition between the flights and which cadet could get the highest score. Me being a sporty and competitive person, I got a high score of 147 so C flight got the points! Because we were on an R.A.F base we could have dinner for free so we went to the mess for dinner. After dinner we were on the way to go karting. This activity was so fun because it was a big competition there were 6 cars and 2 people from each flight on the track at each time which made it even more fun everybody went on the track twice, there was also a beautiful sunset in the background which everybody was fascinated by. We then got back into the minibuses at a late time and got back to the base to have a little bit of free time.
Tuesday 23rd July
By this time in the week we were all very tired so the staff decided that we were going to do rock climbing. The rock climbing was led by two soldiers that were on their holiday and kindly offered to take three days out to do rock climbing with all three flights. Rock climbing was challenging because I had never done it before but I picked it up really quickly and did the hardest climb there with the quickest time which meant that C flight was bringing in the points. After rock climbing we travelled to a big shopping centre close to R.A.F base Akrotiri. In the shopping centre on the bottom floor was an ice rink so it was C flights day to go ice skating, we also had a chance to go around the shops and buy gifts for people back home. It was then time for something to eat so we went back to Troodos and there was a small restaurant on the way back to the station.
Wednesday 24th July
Another early start because there was a lot to do today with a variety of places to be. We started of the day by having breakfast then C flight got into their minibus and set off to the ‘Egg Club’, this was a shooting club owned by a few Americans who did clay pigeon shooting. We sat down and listened to the brief that we had. Clay pigeon shooting was a competition which flight could shoot the most clays each, every cadet had ten clays. Our flight won by 5 clays. We then back to R.A.F Akrotiri to go to the beach and we relaxed and had some ice cream. We then went over to the mess and had dinner at the mess. I was very pleased with the dinner and I will never forget it. It was chicken rice and peas and it was such a beautiful meal I can still taste it if I close my eyes and imagine I was there. Anyway as we were in Akrotiri we decided to do the DCCT which is target practice on the L98 cadet rifle. It was very fun but at the same time I was getting frustrated because my rifle wasn’t working properly and I was getting low scores for C flight. We left Akrotiri and went back for more free time.
Thursday 25th July
Thursday was a really relaxed day as we only had one activity to do all day and that was sailing. It was around the corner from water world where we went before. It was really calm we all had a turn of steering the boat into the gentle winds and was awarded flight point for sailing the closest to a yellow flag that was in the middle of the sea.
Friday 26th July
Friday this day was filled with a lot of different emotions throughout the day. All the flights came together on the last day so we could all spend time with each other the first thing we did was visit a UN base on the border, it was called the green zone, it was an airport that hadn’t been touched in 50 years from when the Turkish and Cypriots were fighting. The airport still has bullet holes in the glass and much more. It was really interesting to learn about the history and why Cyprus is split into two. After the UN base we went to a little village and rented the pool out and had a pool party with a really nice dinner and paper plate awards. We were in the pool for several hours we had dinner before we went in and had to wait about half an hour. It was a really nice day there was a beautiful sunset in the background as we all spent our last moment with each other. My paper plate award was the most excited unfortunately I won’t tell you why I got the award… we all sat together and reflected on the week and realised how good it actually was and how many new friends that we had made and what a great experience it was.
Saturday 27th July
The journey back was a lot more interesting now we all knew each other. We took the long Journey from the Troodos mountains to the airport. We were on time and everybody was happy, we had all been given these polo shirts which had ‘RAF Troodos 18th-27th July 2013’ on them we was all wearing them as we went through the airport we had a look around the duty free store and spent the last of our Euros. We waited in the waiting area just having a general conversation about what the first thing we are going to do when we get back into England. We boarded the plane and headed back to England, everybody was tired so the majority of us fell asleep, I did. When we landed it woke me up we all got off the plane and waited for our bags to come round when they finally came around the Camp Com had one last talk before we all went our separate ways. When she was finished talking we said our last goodbye’s to everyone as we were all close by this time now, it was very emotional and some people even started crying. It just goes to show how much of an impact the camp can have, to make such good friends within 9 days and have one of the best holidays I have ever had and I would recommend this camp. If anyone gets the chance don’t hesitate to rocket your hand up and be the first person on the list because you won’t regret it and you will remember this experience for the rest of your life.
September saw a shake up in the NCO team at 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn with the latest round of promotions, which covered all four cadet NCO ranks.
New Cpls Elliot Shepherd and Maxx Pearse were awarded their stripes following a positive report from the Wing JNCO course, and a week as acting Cpl at RAF Henlow where they both shone. Stepping up to Sgt were Ryan Borhara, Lucy Basaran, Ryan Daly and Nathan Steadman. All had grown and excelled in their roles as Cpl and all the staff agreed the time was right for them to take the next step.
Louise Johnson and Nick Johnson took a step closer to the top of the tree, with their well deserved promotions to FS. This continues their tradition of climbing the ladder together, and confusing everyone with their identical surnames. CWO Andrew Nye had received his crowns a little earlier in the summer, although the arrival of the certificate of his wing-appointed rank coincided nicely with the latest round of promotions, allowing him to get in on the applause!
487 OC Flt Lt Sarah Cotton commented on the new appointments, “With the squadron size continuing to grow it is absolutely necessary to ensure we have the correct leadership team in place. These latest promotions help cement this and strengthen the existing, already robust team. I would encourage those who missed out this time to not lose heart; there will be further opportunities in the coming months. A huge well done to all those holding new rank from all the staff team at 487.”
14 cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn travelled to Stechford Cascades on Saturday 7th September to take part in the Wing Swimming Championships. The afternoon kicked off and the 487 cadets were in the water from the off. Through heats and finals the cadets kept their cool and scooped an impressive haul of medals to show for their efforts. The girls triumphed on the day, coming third in the overall girls competition and second overall in the senior girls competition, an impressive result.
487 Squadron are proud to have attended every sporting event throughout the 2012/13 season, and aim to do the same for the 2013/14 season, hopefully bringing home some more silverware for the cabinet!
Flt Lt Sarah Cotton, Officer Commanding said this of the day: “As always at 487 Squadron we encourage a ‘give it a go’ attitude, and enter every competition in a positive spirit. Today was a perfect example of this and the girls in particular did us proud. I’m extremely proud of all our swimmers today and look forward to seeing what our cadets can do in the upcoming sporting fixtures.”
In recent years, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn has provided many Cadets to the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing team at the Central & East Region Training Day. This year having won the Wing Shooting competition for the 4th year running the Sqn sent four cadets to RAF Wittering to compete in this year’s event, in the late summer sun.
The journey to RAF Wittering was a long one, and the coach collecting cadets from 491, 495 and 121 Sqns along the way meant that it arrived at the station with only minutes to spare before the shooting team were due on the range. Warks & B’ham Wing had been drawn first to shoot, at the appointed time of 09.00.
On arrival at the range the team were briefed by the Conducting Officer. In addition to the normal safety information, the cadets received clarification of the rules and procedures relating to the competition itself. The format required that two cadets only fired at a time, allowing the other two an opportunity to provide spotting and coaching advice. Each practice was given 10 minutes to fire off 3 sighting shots and five sets of 2 shots into each of the targets. Such is the format of the Regional event, the team had completed the day’s duties by 09.35.
The many and varied competitions continued throughout the day, following which came the Final Parade, with each Wing forming up in a horseshoe shape for the more formal part of the day. Prior to announcement of the results, the new Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty talked to the Region, outlining to Cadets and Staff her vision of the Corps as it develops in the future, up to the year 2020. Time allowed for a short Q & A session before the presentation ceremony.
The results were read out and the trophies were awarded by AC McCafferty, with Group Captain Geoff Hewitt, C & E Regional Commandant, presenting commemorative certificates to the winners of each team and individual competition, as permanent reminders of their success on the day.
487 Squadron keenly awaited the results of the Shooting competition, where we finished a credible 3rd, matching last years result. Cpl Ryan Daly finished 2nd in the Individual Competition.
OC 487 Sqn, Flt Lt Sarah Cotton commented, “The consistency in the shooting performances over that past few years and selection for the Wing Team is a notable achievement, reflecting the hard work and training during the last 12 months. We hope to be here again next year.”
487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn’s annual summer camp took place this year at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire. 487 were joined by other cadets and staff from Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing. It was the intended Camp Commandant week of the late Flt Lt Barry Broom who sadly passed away earlier this year.
Flt Lt Ben Chapman took up the role of Camp Commandant, and his first task upon arrival was to make some temporary promotions during the initial camp briefing. Fortunately all four temporary promotions were to 487 cadets, with Cpl’s Nik Bhakta and Ryan Daly becoming acting Sgt for the week, and Cdts Elliot Shepherd and Maxx Pearse being promoted to acting Cpl. All four cadets were both surprised and thrilled with the appointments, relishing the opportunity to prove themselves and shine.
The week long camp covered a great many activities, such as section visits around the station, sports, museum and airport visits, a moving visit to Madingley War Memorial (US Cemetery) and for a lucky few first timers, gliding. One of the highlights of the week was a trip to Rutland Water, where kayaking, raft-building, rock climbing and a high ropes course were on offer. The sun shone brilliantly all day to add extra sparkle to the visit. Many cadets overcame personal fears to participate, such as Cdt Chloe Cusack of 487 Sqn. After a shaky start Cdt Cusack faced her fear of heights head on and completed the high ropes course; an achievement that played a big part in her winning the prize for Best Endeavour at the end of the week.
The traditional camp photo strayed from the norm, with not one but two photographs being taken. The first was the standard photograph, with all camp attendees lined up in rows organised by height order. The second picture however featured an empty chair in the centre, with a single officers’ cap on it; a tribute photograph to the late Barry Broom who was sorely missed by all who had shared the pleasure of his company. A sombre moment of reflection, and a fitting tribute to the popular officer.
As well as Cdt Cusack’s award, there were other notable achievements in the 487 camp: Cdt Gary Connelly won the award for the most improved cadet, Cdt Ebony Evans won the prestigious title of best cadet and Sgt Ryan Daly’s flight won the inter-flight competition, with his performance in the drill competition drawing admiration. Sgt (ATC) Nicky Gallivan, 487’s attending staff member, reflected on the week’s events, “ATC Summer Camp is always a long but rewarding week and this was no exception. On the whole behaviour has been fantastic, and it’s always great to see cadets from other squadrons forming friendships and bonds, some of which last a lifetime. From the 487 aspect, the cadets have done me proud and it was a pleasure to be associated with them… Most of the time!”
As the week was such a success we look forward to what next years summer camp will hold, and wonder how this year could possibly be topped.
Ten cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn ATC were recently presented with their Youth First Aider certificate, with more to come pending processing. This strengthens 487’s already strong team of cadets with the qualification.
487 have a strong first aid ethic at the squadron, having won the Wing first aid competition twice in the last three years. The Youth First Aid qualification requires cadets to demonstrate in a practical scenario-style examination an array of life-saving skills. These include amongst other things treating conscious and unconscious casualties, burns and bleeds, CPR and overall management of an emergency situation.
The cadets were taught the vital skills over a course lasting a number of weeks, leading up to the all-important practical examination. Cdt Ebony Evans said of her experience, “Doing the exam made me nervous but I was so pleased that I passed. You always hope you will never need to use the skills but I am confident that should the situation arise I would be able to help those in need.”
487 sqn are already making preparations to run the next training course for the newer cadets. No one ever wants to find themselves in a crisis but rest assured if you did in Kingstanding & Perry Barr sqn you would be in good hands!
A word from the WISE – Women in Science and Engineering
Cdt Charis Hunter from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn writes of her experience:
On the week of the 27th July to the 2nd of August, I’d won a rare chance on an RAF Engineering Work experience week at RAF Cosford. The course, part of the WISE initiative, was specifically aimed at girls, as engineering is seen traditionally as a male career, but good employers are encouraging young women to consider it as their chosen profession. There were only 24 places for girls from across the whole country. The scheme was oversubscribed with 3 applications per available spot; I was honoured with the opportunity.
I found out about the event through enquiring at school, as I knew that I wanted to be an Engineering Officer and was eager for the chance to gain some experience. The selection process for the limited places was mainly based on the 150 words we wrote as a part of the application process, which gave an indication of who we were. I think I was selected because I showed myself to be someone who both wanted to join the RAF and had a keen interest in engineering. Both these are true and I saw this work experience placement to be the perfect opportunity for me to gain an insight into the RAF, so I was beyond happy when I received my acceptance letter.
We arrived at RAF Cosford on Monday 27th July, and were greeted by Squadron Leader Glyn Dean and Group Captain Adam Samson, RAF Cosford Station Commander. We were issued with coveralls and boots, and then we were assigned to accommodation across the road from the Radio School, which was considerably nicer than the usual cadet accommodation I was used to! After a day of ice breakers, we were all ready for bed, but little did we know that the 6:45 wake up the next morning was the only “lie in” we’d get all week!
The next day, we went to the Radio School and learnt about radar, and about how stealth aircraft are engineered to be virtually undetectable by radar from most angles. We also learnt about ways the aircraft could be detected by other means, such as using waves and looking for disturbances in the patterns. We also had a lesson on theory of flight, and using this knowledge we designed and made a glider in our teams, out of bamboo and plastic. I was the team leader, elected by democratic vote. I think I was selected for this role as I am both a natural leader and confident, so I wasn’t fazed by not knowing any of the girls in the team of 12. But because nobody in the group knew each other, it proved to be more difficult than I’d initially thought; it took time to identify everyone’s strengths to be appropriately applied to the task.
On Wednesday, we were immersed in the repair section of the hangar, and learnt to take the wing flap from a Jet Provost, and then do a check on the components, and replace it. We also got a chance to sit in the cockpit of a Jaguar which we\'d jacked off the ground, and got to take full control of the undercarriage, the wing flaps, and the tail. That evening, we were treated to a meal in the Officers Mess, which was quite a contrast to the Junior Ranks Mess we\'d been dining in all week. It was a chance for the staff to show us how we\'d be spending our evenings if we pursued the career of an Engineering Officer, which many of us aspired to be.
On our last full day, we did a few field activities, including setting up a radio base with a 12 metre mast which gave the radios a 30km range. However, we didn\'t get a chance to test this, as we were merely 100m from each other. We also went to the \"squipers\" who were the safety equipment team, and learnt about the safety equipment required in a Typhoon and Tornado. We even got to spend the afternoon packing single man lift rafts into bags, the bags didn\'t seem anywhere near big enough to fit them in, but after some expert folding and a lot of man power we managed to fit them in. We also saw the packs fitted under the seats in case of the ejector seat being used. After that, we flew the gliders we\'d made earlier in the week, and our team won.
Through the week, we\'d been working on presentations so we could get a Silver CREST Award, which is a British Science Association Certificate. On Friday morning, our parents and some teachers came to watch our presentations, and then we were awarded Certificates from Group Captain Samson himself.
The week was a real success. The aim was to inspire the future women of engineering to take up a job where women are few and far between, and I am certain that I shall do so. This hands-on experience has confirmed my ideas that I wanted to have a career in this field, so I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be so fully immersed in the RAF this week.
Three cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron recently attended the Gold & Silver expedition assessments, based at the Llanbedr Air Cadet Centre. Cpls Nil Bhakta and Beth Edmonds were going for gold, whilst Cpl Lucy Basaran was on the Silver route.
Day 1: We started at Nantcol. The Golds started at 07.30 and the Silvers 08.00. The Silvers then took the easier route around the Rhinogs whilst the Golds went up and through the middle of them. After a steep early climb before the mid-afternoon heat the Gold group had done most of the route before the hottest part of the day. With the weather mainly dry the Silver group made it back to the Llyn Trawsfynydd campsite at 14.00. The Gold group arrived slightly later, at 18.30.
Day 2: We left Llyn Trawsfynydd at 07.45 and whilst the Silver group walked straight toward the second campsite called Byrn Bwbach which was a nice campsite, the Gold route was a longer plod. Day 2 was really hot and Beth Edmonds ended up with having heatstroke after the midday heat but still Day 2 was the easiest route out of the four days. The Silver group made it back at 16.00 and the Gold group made it back not that far behind at 17.00. Then we had plenty of time for messing around.
Day 3: The rain had been lashing down since 4 am so the tents were wet and morale was already low. Day 3 was, by far, for both groups, the hardest day mentally. It was the longest day in length for both too. The silver group had the motivation of walking for their last day and were making for Llanbedr village pub carpark, arriving at 17.00, for the staff members to pick them up. During the long trek, the Gold group had to deal with a cadet who was cold and wet through. After an 11 hour walk we made it we made it back at 18.00 to Park Isaf which was the best campsite.
Day 4: For the gold group we had to climb three mountains one after the other so walking wise it was the hardest day physically. Add in the fact it was a warm day and got really hot from about midday onwards. We struggled up hills and more hills in the heat but we soldiered on. We made it back to the finish point at about 16.30, barely walking and all out of water. But the sense of achievement was worth all the walking and pain we had gone through. We achieved our lifelong ambitions and now are off to meet Royalty now.
The RAF Regiment Work Experience Course involved travelling via train to RAF Barnham, joined by cadets from all over Britain. It was a three day course, excluding the travelling days, and involved physical exercise to the standard of the entry level RAF Regiment soldiers. We settled in on Monday evening. The Tuesday wakeup call was at 0600, the morning involved breakfast, inspections, and travelling to RAF Honnington to begin training.
Once the base was reached, the first activity was the bleep test where cadets aimed to achieve a score of 9.10; I managed to achieve a score of 10.2. This was followed by press ups and sit ups and cadet scores were compared with the RAF Regiment entry level requirements; I was able meet and exceed the minimum standard. The next activity was a swimming task, in which cadets had to swim 100 metres and tread water for an extra 2 minutes; there was no time limit which made this task much easier. After lunch, cadets attended a weapons presentation, where we were introduced to enemy weapons and the RAF Regiment equivalents. The final activity of the day was Battle PT, this involved extensive physical exercise including carrying a 75kg stretcher. During the Battle PT, cadets had the opportunity to give up by ringing a bell that was placed in the middle of the field. Staff communicated individually with each cadet encouraging them to give, testing their mental strength. Unfortunately a few cadets gave in and failed this task but I managed to stay strong and not give in. After dinner, lights out was at 2200.
The next day began with an introduction to the lifestyle of those training to become RAF Regiment soldiers. We then moved on to the assault course where there was an overview to each obstacle before the task was tackled. Cadets had 5 minutes and 15 seconds to complete the course. The course involved climbing a 6ft wall, a 9ft wall, walking across a plank with a width of a foot at 15 feet high, leopard crawling for 12 metres and climbing up over and down a 20 feet rope wall, amongst other challenges. All but three cadets were unable to complete the course within the time limit. After lunch, cadets were taken to the RAF Regiment museum which showed the history of the Regiment and the equipment they have used during their existence. The final activity of the day involved preparation for a presentation that the cadets would give about their chosen topic, which was researched during the museum visit.
The final day began with the presentation of the projects each group had been working on. The presentations had to be 15 minutes long, topics included the IRA, which was my group’s topic, and armoured vehicles, amongst others. Once the presentations were completed, the next challenge was the climbing wall. Cadets were faced with four walls of varying difficulty. No cadet managed to defeat the most difficult climbing wall. After lunch, activities involved field craft exercise where cadets were to save a downed pilot. The wounded pilot was carried on a stretcher across a field whilst staff “shot” cadets, changing circumstances in order to create new challenges and encouraging cadets to use their initiative in order to save their team members who were newly injured. That evening we prepared to return home.
The course was a challenging and a new experience, it has taught me not only about the RAF Regiment itself, but also about my own abilities and mind-set. I had the opportunity to test my fitness with those similar to myself, against the RAF Regiment requirements, in which I am glad to say I was able to meet. The RAF Regiment attributes are adaptability, professionalism, determination, loyalty, humility, spirit and intelligence; this course challenged each of these attributes and encouraged growth within each of these areas. I believe these characteristics are applicable to more than just the RAF Regiment; they can be used in everyday life. I believe it is a great course for cadets to undertake and would encourage anyone interested in testing their physical and mental abilities to do so.
On Wednesday the 24 July 2013, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn and 495 (Sutton Coldfield) Sqn band attended the Perry Barr Speedway track. They were there as VIP guests of the Royal Air Force Careers Office who have sponsored the Birmingham Speedway team.
Seven cadets from 487 attended on the night and were put to work by the Careers Office, handing out merchandise to the supporting fans. Then it was the 495 Sqn band’s turn to entertain the crowd with a fanfare for the start of the race. The cadets where then rewarded by food from the Careers Office which as usual the cadets dived into and cleared the plates.
After trying to work out how the rules worked and which coloured helmets to support the cadets got behind the Birmingham Brummies and cheered them on to a victory with a two point win.
The cadets enjoyed the night and were grateful for the experience and would like to thank the Birmingham RAF Careers Office for organising the event.
Following the recent unprecedented success at Wing Field Day, in which 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn retained the Per Ardua trophy for a record fourth consecutive year, a celebratory BBQ was held. The event was held at 487 HQ and was a welcome break from the recent period of intense training leading up to Wing Field Day, as well as a well deserved reward.
The Per Ardua trophy is awarded to the squadron from Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing who scores the most points overall over a varied number of disciplines. These include shooting, drill, first aid, aircraft recognition, aircraft modelling, media and a selected number of sports. Despite only securing overall victory in the shooting competition this year (alongside Cpl Daly as best overall shot), 487 managed to place in enough of the other competitions to secure the highest overall points tally.
Spirits were high and the weather was kind as almost 50 487 cadets, 6 staff and 10 guests joined together to toast the victory with a burger. BBQ master extraordinaire FS (ATC) Steve Taylor worked the grills well, even managing to feed some visiting cadets from 165 Sqn who were using the range that evening.
487 OC Flt Lt Sarah Cotton reflected on the evening, “These celebration BBQ’s are becoming an annual event, which is fine by me! What a remarkable achievement for 487 Sqn, four years in a row. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Civilian Committee for funding the event and the Territorial Army for the loan of the BBQ.”
Can 487 Sqn make it a cool five in a row next year? We certainly hope so!
We had been given an unexpected gliding day at RAF Cosford on Sunday 11th August. Another Squadron had dropped out a few days before. We met at the Squadron at 0730 in the morning and made our way to 491 Squadron to collect four other cadets with whom we were going gliding. The bus ride took approximately 45 minutes. When arriving at our destination, our names were taken and we were sent into a room and a DVD was played. The video informed us how we should enter the aircraft, safety precautions and how to wear a parachute.
None of the 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) cadets had flown before and I was the first on the list and after entering the aircraft, I got a quick briefing of what we were going to do. Once we were in the air it was an amazing experience as I was asked to take over and had the chance to move the aircraft up and down. As I moved it up, I went too far and almost went into a storm cloud and we went back down.
The pilot, who I was gliding with, was very funny and kept singing a lot. He was nice. When we were going down to land, because of the rain, we couldn’t. So we waited ten minutes for the rain to move, which was good because I got extra time (smiley face !!).
When we eventually landed, it was hard for the pilot to land nicely because of the rain, but it was still a great landing.
I had to wait for all the others to finish their flights. We were then invited to see the Air Ambulance Helicopter, which was right next to the Gliding School. The Pilot explained the instruments and the equipment they used. The crew of three is a Pilot, a Doctor and a Paramedic who also does a bit of navigation. He went through what they did when they were called out and that it only takes two minutes from alarm to take off.
Saturday: We got to Sennybridge at around 12pm and after dumping our kits in our billets, we all marched to the mess to be greeted by a fish and chip lunch. After lunch we went back to our billets and unpacked our kit. We later went out and gathered any kit that we needed for the upcoming week such as bashas, bungees, fleeces and webbing.
Sunday: Today was basically a “getting to know the training area” day; this included the camp being split up into 3 groups, basic, intermediate and advanced. We were all dropped off in the training area and recapped on tactics such as hand signals and ambushes and also some navigation, this took up the majority of the day and we were accompanied by the sun beating down on us, when we arrived back at base we had tea, showered and went straight to bed to ensure we got plenty of rest for the night ex the next night.
Monday: An early start of 6 am was followed by an inspection and breakfast. After breakfast we grabbed our kit and waved goodbye to our billets as we would be spending that night out in the field until Tuesday morning. Today we were split off into sections and given 4 tasks which included a sniper stalk, a snap ambush, a casevac and also section attacks. These four tasks were marked and the score would go towards our final flight competition at the end of the week. After completion of our 4 tasks we were all given our bergans and we did a 4 km speed march to our harbour area where we would be spending the night. Upon arrival at our harbour area we set up our bashas and ate lunch. We then all shipped out of the harbour area to complete different missions, my section’s mission was to do a recce on an enemy target, after completing this we tabbed back to the harbour area and cooked our ration pack tea and settled down for some sleep with a rotating pair of people doing sentry duties around the harbour area.
Tuesday: We woke up cold and quickly packed away our bashas and cammed back up. We patrolled to our enemy target location where we were to ambush and take out the enemies before going back to base for some catch up sleep and breakfast and the desperate need for a shower. After breakfast we went back to our billets to clean up and get some forced rest. The rest of the day consisted of some weapon training and cleaning up the rifles. Some of the more experienced shooters were given the chance to train on the l86 LSW gun.
Wednesday: The plan for the day was to be going to the fibua and to do some clay pigeon shooting however both were unfortunately cancelled due to the weather and regulars training. So instead we went back to base and the advanced cadre made models and gave orders for missions.
Thursday: We went shooting and the LSW firers helped coach the l98 shooters and keep the range safe. Back at the billets we packed up all our kit and returned any borrowed kit. We spent the majority of the night in the NAAFI bar with drinks and pizza. The rest of the night was spent getting ready to departure the next morning.
Friday: The last day of camp, all kit is packed and bergan upon bergan is loaded onto the trailer. The camp was split into two, those going to the 480 squadron pick-up point and those going to Wing HQ. People said their goodbyes and loaded themselves up onto the minibuses and said farewell to Sennybridge.
Overall, the camp was enjoyed by all who attended. It was Sgt Johnson’s third time at Sennybridge, with Cpl Bell and Cpl Small who had also stayed at Sennybridge once before. All of the 487 lot including first timer Cdt Nayyar said that they would return next year.
The week started eventfully, when I almost missed the taxi which was booked to take me and another cadet from 479 squadron to Luton Airport, where we arrived at 0430. The plane was due out at 0700, so after a couple of hours killing time in the airport we were ready to take the 2 hour 30 minute trip to Gibraltar landing on one of the smallest runways I had ever seen.
The week was jam-packed with activities such as waterparks, high ropes course, dolphin adventure trips, cable car trips, the WWII tunnel tour, trips into the town centre, trips to military bases and a lot more.
The WWII tunnels involved embarking on a 1.2 mile walk beneath the rock looking at the MOD tunnels built during the great siege and we heard how Britain gained the rock. The tour was led by RAF Gibraltar Station Warrant office who knows these tunnels inside out. The dolphin adventure was truly amazing; we had an hour of watching the dolphins get up close and personal to our boat. The high ropes course got everybody’s adrenaline pumping while cadets dangled in the middle of the air with one girl having to be saved by a member of staff. The waterpark set many cadets up for a couple days of pain as multiple cadets had forgotten to keep applying sun cream as they were too busy racing down the slides. They later felt the price of their mistake. All these activities helped to build the team right from the very beginning and during each activity there was a small inter flight competition which allowed the two flights to go up against each other and try to earn some extra points. The result of the competition saw 2 Flight as the winners.
The camp was great for making friends throughout the corps, everybody became like a small family, all looking out for one another especially when a few cadets had to be taken to the Medi-Centre and local hospital due to injuries such as serious sun burn, heat stroke, sprained ankles and stomach bugs. This meant that morale had to be boosted throughout the whole camp that’s where everybody came together as a group and looked after one another.
I would seriously advise all cadets to go onto an overseas camp as its nothing like a blues UK camp, its full of exciting memories, filled with great people and you’ll take away memories which you will keep with you for a life time.
With the upcoming Wing Gold & Silver Duke of Edinburgh expeditions the ACTC Llanbedr later in the month, a small group of Staff & Cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn set out on Friday 19th July for the Capel Curig Training Camp. As most of the cadets had finished school already a lunchtime departure allowed an easy journey to the Camp allowing a settling in period and an evening meal before a briefing session in one of the training rooms. Later in the evening another group of cadets & staff from Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing arrived, 485 & 163 Sqns, all cadets & staff were well acquainted with each other.
The Capel Curig camp is open to regular, territorial and cadet units of all services, as well as overseas visitors, on this occasion a number of Canadian Cadets were based at the Centre in an exchange with Welsh Army cadets.
The aim of the weekend was to afford the cadets an opportunity to practice their navigation in similar terrain and conditions to those expected further south during their expeditions in the Harlech and Cader Idris areas of southern Snowdonia.
The briefing focused on the techniques of mountain navigation, hill walking, group management and safety, as well as equipment to be taken. The recent heatwave was expected to continue throughout the weekend and special emphasis was drawn to the need to carry plenty of fluids.
Saturday 20th dawned bright and sunny, it was warm even before breakfast and with the warnings of heat exhaustion uppermost in the mind all ensured they drank enough prior to leaving and filled all bottles to the brim for the trek. Following breakfast and a kit check the group departed for Nant Gwynant,
The route went over the Moelwyns, eventually dropping into Tan Y Grisiau, near Blaenau Ffestiniog, and although not truly mountainous does involve some intricate navigation across the remote plateau in the centre of the walk. The climb up in the warm weather called for plenty of water breaks and a stop to top-up energy levels at the mid morning elevenses. Lunch was taken near Llyn Adar a cool breeze offsetting the heat of the sun. After a bite to eat, more fluids and another layer of sun lotion the group was off again in search of the next waypoint.
Towards the end of the day the route passed the now disused Rhosydd slate mine. Taking a few minutes to explore the area the cadets found the mine entrance, from which emanated a chilled refreshing flow of wind coming from deep within the hillside. Eventually drawing away from the cooling airflow, the group dropped through the eerie valley, where a century ago hundreds of slate miners lived in barracks close to the mine. A lonely ruined chapel is the only recognisable structure standing. The valley is home to a family of hawks, calling on the breeze where industry used to thrive. Reflecting on the scenery we descended to the pick-up point and then back to Capel Curig in time for dinner.
After dinner a short debrief in the training facility on the camp was followed by compiling route-cards for the following day’s exercise. The intention was to build on the experiences of Saturday to further improve techniques.
Sunday’s forecast was as that for Saturday, however a cloudy start was merely a false hope of some respite from the Sun. The cloud was soon to go and the day warmed quickly with the passing time. The route was slightly shortened to get the cadets into the meat of the route before the day got too warm. Ascending the steep slopes above Llyn Craftnant the group encountered a thick growth of ferns and other vegetation. The undergrowth covered paths, easily followed in less verdant times and made for interesting navigation and route finding. A few dead ends were encountered before finally popping out into more open terrain. The route continued upwards, by now in bright sunlight, the cloud cover having soon dissipated.
The route to Llyn Cowlyd crosses a bleak and wide bracken covered ridge, an excellent spot for a picnic lunch and a chat about practical navigation techniques and the upcoming D of E expeditions.
After a short break, the group set off to the dam at the end of Llyn Cowlyd. The valley was flooded in the 1930’s as a source of energy for the hydro-electric power station in Dolgarrog in the Conwy valley. It replaced a nearby dammed lake at Eigiau, whose dam had burst, with water washing down into Dolgarrog drowning a number of inhabitants.
Following the descent to the dam, which was soon crossed, the route followed the length of the flooded valley. Without a breath of wind, the steep sloped mountains either side, trapped the heat like a cauldron making the progress slow and difficult, the path which undulated as it went, saved the killer punch to the end, an almighty climb in the unrelenting heat to get out to the elongated bowl.
As if the weather and navigation problems set by Flt Lt O’Neill were not enough to contend with, he introduced emergency scenarios along the way, heatstroke, finding oneself when getting lost, first aid, getting help, finding shelter, the list was endless but required the cadets to think as a group even when tired and thirsty.
After a short water stop to recover strength and to check the bearing, the team set off towards Capel Curig shops for a promised ice-cream and within the hour were sitting in the shade talking of the day’s experiences.
Flt Lt Sarah Cotton, OC 487 Sqn, said of the weekend “The cadets showed remarkable resilience in the conditions, which bodes well for the upcoming expedition in the Llanbedr area. The navigation skills developed over the two days will stay with them for life and hopefully they will get plenty of opportunity to test themselves in the coming years”
Last month 14 cadets and two staff from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron travelled to RAF Cosford to volunteer their services at the Air Show. Little did they know HRH Prince Harry was also due to volunteer his services that day…
It was a very early 0530 hrs start for the team, but the promise of a beautiful sunny day slightly eased the burden of the early rise on a Sunday morning. The journey was largely uneventful and 487 found themselves the first air cadet squadron to arrive on the day. This prompt arrival was rewarded with the day’s work taking place at the Cosford Club, meaning if the cadets were not on shift they were treated to central runway views of the air displays.
Whilst on duty the cadets were greeting guests of the Cosford Club and providing them with their welcome pack, as well as acting as very polite ‘bouncers’, in turning away those without the special tickets required. Their dress and behaviour was complimented by both members of the public and the RAF Personnel in charge at the Cosford Club.
Whilst not on duty the cadets were treated to the best seats in the house for the aerial displays, including the added bonus of a ‘central stage’ view of HRH Prince Harry, or Capt Wales, flying his Apache helicopter. As well as this there were pilots in the vicinity throughout the day, most notably the Vulcan pilots who posed for photos with three lucky cadets.
After a long but enjoyable day the team assisted with tidying up the Cosford Club area, and then the cadets were given 30 minutes free time whilst the traffic died down. This sparked a happy turn of events for Cdts Anna-Marie Ewins and Luke Hayward who bumped into two Red Arrow pilots on their travels! They were only too happy to pose for photos and sign autographs. Cdt Ewins was completely thrilled by this, “I can’t believe it, we had already had the most amazing day as it was, but this just topped it all! I was totally star-struck.”
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, minibus driver extraordinaire, was very happy with how the day turned out, “We had everything today; the weather, the duties, the venue for said duties, fate really smiled on us. That said, the cadets still worked very hard today, in very hot conditions, and as always their behaviour and general demeanour was impeccable. A great day all round.”
The RAF Careers Information Office, based in Birmingham, is a Sponsor Partner of the City’s Speedway Team, the Birmingham Brummies. The Brummies team ride their home games at the Perry Barr Stadium. The evening of Wednesday 19th June was targeted by the Careers Office as a golden opportunity to attract recruits. The event was to be televised and to raise the “blue profile” Air Cadet assistance was sought. 495 (Sutton Coldfield) Squadron Band was asked to act as crowd entertainment prior to the match and 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron acted as ambassadors for the RAF, handing out pens, mugs and stickers and generally getting in the eye-line of the spectators and hopefully the TV cameras. Tickets were limited, with only six lucky cadets from the 25 applicants from 487 Sqn able to attend.
The match with the Poole Pirates attracted a larger than usual crowd, the Brummies are flying this season and a win would put them top of the Elite League, Speedways top division. The added attraction to Speedway fans was the presence in the Poole side of Chris Holder, the current individual World Champion.
The Cadets from both Squadrons played their part in an eventful evening, gathering praise from the public and thanks from Flt Lt Jamie Elliot OC Careers Office. Following the work, the cadets were invited into the Sponsors box, high in the stand, from which there was a fantastic view of the track and the added bonus towards the end of the meeting, the grand vista of the sun setting in the west over the Perry Barr rooftops and the final score line of Brummies 54 v Poole 40 capped the evening off in perfect style.
Cdt Ebony Evans from 487 Sqn, summed up the event: “We started our evening at 18:00 hours where everyone met up at the squadron. We then set off for the Perry Barr greyhound stadium where the speedway was being held, not knowing exactly what we were going to do ...
When we arrived we were joined by 495 Squadron who were the band for the event. We were then guided by members of the RAF into the stadium building where we were assigned our roles for the next few hours. All of 487 were on sticker duty! Basically, our role was to go around the while stadium promoting the RAF and handing out stickers, mugs and pens to \"everything that moves\" as the RAF put it. Everyone actually had a really good afternoon because we got to watch the speedway whilst on the job which was a bonus!
We started our journey back to the squadron at around 9:45 in the squadron minibus with everyone still smiling after having a good evening at the speedway”
Two Cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn travelled to Leicester to represent Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing in the Inter-Wing Championships in June. Cpl Matthew Bell took part in the Class C Junior Mens High Jump and Sgt Louise Johnson in the Class E Junior Women Javelin. As usual in Leicester the sun shone bright and warm all day. The Warks & B’ham Wing Staff assisting the event organisers, enjoyed a day in the outdoors supervising the Long Jump event. Each of the Wings in the Region is allocated a field event.
Congratulations to Matt Bell, bringing home a bronze medal. Matt & Louise also received a Wing Blue for their efforts from Wing Commander Iles. Both have represented the Wing previous years in athletics carrying on the fine tradition of 487 Squadron providing Cadets to represent the Wing (and sometimes the Region) teams in all of the various sports throughout the year.
Following presentations of cups & medals in the final parade Wg Cdr Stuart Iles thanked and praised the team in equal measure and encouraged all to continue their endeavours to achieve higher accolades.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, 487 Sqn commented “It’s always a pleasure when Cadets get selected to represent the Wing. It is a measure of their commitment and a just reward for their efforts, winning a medal or two is a great bonus”
Twenty-eight cadets and five members of staff travelled to Bramcote Barracks in Warwickshire on Sunday 16th June to take part in the annual Wing Training Day, an amalgam of competitions from the Air Cadet core activities list. 27 Squadrons competed in each of the activities, including Football, Netball, Shooting, First Aid, Foot Drill, Banner Drill, Aircraft Recognition, Model Making and Photography, Media & PR. Many of the competitions have junior & senior teams. In addition there are individual awards to Cadets as Best Drill NCO, for top Aircraft Recognition and the Best Shot.
Points are awarded to Sqns for each event, according to their position. The total points are totted up to find the overall winner, who is presented with the Per Ardua Cup, a trophy taken home by 487 Sqn in each of the last three years.
After a long day of competitions, the Wing was assembled onto the Parade Square for the formal part of the day. Over 550 cadets from all the Squadrons in the Wing were on parade, entertained by 495 Sqn, winners of the band competition whilst waiting for the final results.
Following presentations by Wing Commander Stuart Iles to Squadrons & individual winners of each event, came the final trophy result. Announcing the top three Squadrons in reverse order, Sqn Ldr McCarroll had the microphone, and he drew out the tension “In third place, 29 F with 36.5 points, in second place 492 Sqn with 45.5 points” the whole Sqn held their breath, could it be, again, the announcer continued to milk the moment, paused to great effect, “and this years Winners of the Per Ardua Cup, with 47 points are, (another pause) 487 Sqn”. A mighty cheer went up from the 487 Cadets and only the decorum of a formal parade prevented a very proud Flt Lt O’Neill joining in the celebrations.
The day also saw success with the Sqn, winning the Team Shooting Trophy & Best Individual Shot, repeating the achievements of the last few years. The Shooting team will now represent the Wing at the Regional Training Day in September at RAF Wittering. The Sqn were also placed in a number of other competitions, but one of the more pleasing results on the day was the Drill Team, finishing in third place, Flight Sergeant Kenny Morris also finished third in the Drill NCO competition.
A touching moment following the obligatory photographs with the trophies was an exchange of three cheers with the runners up, 492 Sqn. 492 had recently narrowly defeated 487 in the Wing football final and reflected a mutual respect between the two units.
A full list of the Sqns achievements will follow shortly, following publication by Wing.
Flt Lt Sarah Cotton, OC 487, contemplating on the moment, commented “The cadets at 487 Squadron should be immensely proud of their efforts, not just today but throughout the year. To win the Per Ardua Trophy for the fourth consecutive year was a shock, but truly reflects the hard work and dedication put in by the cadets on the day and in the build-up. For many of 487’s cadets this was their first Wing Field Day, and I hope that the successes of their first year spur them on for many years to come. A big well done to 487 Squadron cadets and staff, and to all those who competed in the event.”
Two Cadets from 487 Sqn, Sgt Nick Johnston and Cdt Josh Green, along with three other Warks & B’Ham cadets represented the Central & East Region in this year’s Corps Junior Football Competition, played at RAF Cranwell on Saturday 11th May.
The Wing’s recent success was echoed, with the C & E Region running out winners in the Corps Championships.
The competition format of the regional event meant that the six teams were divided into two leagues of three, each side playing the other two. C & E Region, winning both games, finished top of the group were drawn in the final with London and South East Region.
The final game was a tight affair with C & E running out as 2:0 winners.
Games are limited to 30 minutes (15 each way). This keeps all players on their toes, there being little time to rectify errors. The standard of football at this level is extremely high. Indeed as junior players this is the highest accolade any cadet can achieve.
Both Cadets from 487 Sqn managed to notch a goal in the tournament and were justifiably pleased with their contribution to the success. Both collected Winners Medals and a Regional Blue after the tournament.
Group Capt Geoff Hewett RAF VR(T) the new C & E regional Commandant awarded the cup and medals to the Winners.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, 487 Sqn, said “I’m really pleased with the effort of the whole C & E side; they were well worth the trophy. Five of the team were from Warks & B’ham Wing, including the two from 487 Sqn. They all played to their ability and did themselves and their Squadrons proud”.
On Saturday 25th May, the first day, we were at the Squadron for 0830hrs. Seventeen cadets from 487 attended the weekend. By 0900 hours, we’d loaded up the minibuses and were on the way to Earlswood. We picked up 2 cadets from 165 Squadron on the way, and then it wasn’t long before we were at the campsite. When we arrived, we were taught how to put up a tent, then told to do it ourselves, which proved to be harder than it looked. After much critique from various cadets and staff, we had perfected our tents and then were told to completely take them down and reassemble them in a straight line across the back off the campsite !
Once that was done, we ate our lunch, and then were briefed on what we’d be doing on the weekend. We were sorted into three groups. Flt Lt O\'Neill led an activity where he walked a distance, and we had to count the number of paces it took for us to go that same distance. We had no idea what this was for, but after doing this a few times, we had a number which was the number of paces it took us to walk 100 metres.
We were split into three groups; each assigned to a member of staff. We were told we were going on a “short walk”, and were to pack for a few hours, just water and sun cream because the weather was so hot. A short walk turned out to last about 3 hours. We all took it in turns to lead the group, which involved working out the bearings we’d walk on and making sure the group was all there (which, I assure you, is harder than it sounds. I managed to go about 100 metres before realising I’d lost Cdt Hughes and Sgt Johnson N).
We were back to the campsite for 1700 hours, where we got together our mess tins and our food for the evening. We had a variety of ration packs and dehydrated food, and somehow even the disgusting dried food tasted great because we were so hungry. After cleaning up, Flt Lt Cotton led a few teamwork activities, including the ‘impossible’ sit up and press up challenges. Later in the evening, we had free time where we were making the most of the last few hours of sunlight. ‘Lights out’ was at 2230hrs.
On the second day of the IET, we were up at 0730hrs, a lie in, considering we were all expecting to be up at around 6! An hour later, we were all dressed and sat around making our breakfast. Everyone ate, and then we had to go back to our tents and pack a bag for the day. We needed the same as yesterday, drinks and a waterproof, but then we also needed a packed lunch as today was going to be a longer walk. Before leaving we did a quick tidy-up of the shower building on the site.
We then got back into our groups, and instead of having the staff plan the route, we had to plan it ourselves. We knew where we were coming from, and were given a destination - Hob Hill trig point. By around 11am, we had planned the route and were already off again!
Our route started out, similar to the day before. However, barely half an hour in, we went the wrong way, so we had to recalculate the route slightly. We used techniques we’d learnt the day before, pace counting, compass bearings, and route planning. After a day of walking together, we’d gotten really accurate with our pace counting, which was where we all knew how many paces it took to go 100 metres, so we could precisely calculate how far we were walking along country lanes, which don’t really have an indication of distance unless you use this method. It was helpful for when we were going through forests, and a few 100 metres would make all the difference in a turning point.
Along the way, we had a few emergency scenarios thrown in, cadets getting injured or losing the group; and many other “what if’s”. These were helpful, as they were the sort of situation that you wouldn’t really consider in the classroom, and they taught us how we’d have to react in the real expedition environment.
We also made friends with an over-friendly horse, which was named Keith by Cdt Price. The walk to Hob Hill took us about 3 hours, where we sat for a while and refuelled before the walk back to the campsite, which was considerably shorter and quicker. Once back at Earlswood, we packed up our bags and tents, and then did a last check “fod plod” over the site to make sure it was left in the condition we found it. After a quick debrief, we loaded up the vans and travelled back to 487 Sqn.
Cadet Charis Hunter-Rice, said after the weekend “On this camp I learnt basic navigation skills and how to survive in unfamiliar environments. I also developed an understanding of the importance of teamwork, knowing that I’d have been unable to complete the exercises without the motivation and imput from my group. Overall it was a very successful weekend and I can’t wait to put these skills into practice on my Duke of Edinburgh expedition”
Twenty Cadets from 487 Sqn represented the Kingstanding & Perry Barr Unit at the recent Wing Athletics Championships at Solihull Athletics Centre in May.
The day long event saw the Unit win individual Gold Medals in the following events: -
Class A Junior Boys High Jump Andrew Edmonds
Class C Junior Men High Jump Cpl Matthew Bell
4 x 100 m Relay FS Kenny Morris, FS Andrew Nye, Cpl Ryan Daly & Cpl Matthew Bell
Class E Junior Women Javelin Sgt Louise Johnson
Other Medals awarded to 487 Squadron, went to: -
Cdt Ebony Evans Class E Discus Silver
Cdt Chloe Cusack Class E 400 m Bronze
Cdt Bethanie Hughes Class D 200 m Bronze
In the Team Competitions, the Squadron achieved the following placings: -
Class A Junior Boys 3rd Place
Class C Junior Men 3rd Place – equal with 485 Sqn
Class E Junior Women 3rd Place
Overall Girls Comp 3rd Place
The three individual winners, Cpl Matt Bell, Cdt Andrew Edmonds & Sgt Louise Johnson have been selected to represent the Wing in the Regional Championships, which will take place at the Leicester Athletics Stadium in June.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, 487 Sqn commented “Another successful day for the Squadron, although we didn’t bring home any of the team trophies, to achieve 3rd place in three of the five Classes, does maintain the Squadron’s position as one of the more successful sporting units in the Wing”
BACK: Harris, Belhana, Nayyar, Jeffries. MIDDLE: Daly, Holsey, Bhakta, Bell, Small, Johnson. FRONT: Shepherd, Morris (Capt), Fahey, Edmonds
Following Barcelona’s surprise dismissal from the Champions League, European press attention was drawn to the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing football final. The match had been postponed from its original date at RAF Cosford due to the RAF holding an international fixture with Royal Australian Air Force. The rearranged final was now to be played on Wednesday 8th April, at Kingstanding’s Burford Park and designed to fit around the packed TV schedules and international press commitment to the professional game.
492 (Solihull) Squadron arrived with massed support on a large coach. Both teams changed in 487 Sqn headquarters and walked over to the pitch for the 7 pm kick-off. With 487 Sqn also having a large contingent in support, the kick-off was slightly delayed due to congestion at the turnstiles. The final crowd was in excess of 60, with gate receipts of £ 1.27 p. A few passing strangers also stopped to witness the spectacle. There was a slight fall of rain, during the early evening although the sun came through as the game progressed glinting off the wet rooftops of the surrounding houses.
Sqn Ldr Pat McCarroll attending in his capacity as Wing Sports Officer wished both teams the best of luck in the final. The 487 starting eleven was the same as the Semi-Final line up, except Matt Jeffries, who was brought in to replace Josh Green at left back. The teams lined up before to the game, the Solihull side in red contrasting with the Royal Blue of Kingstanding. Both teams went through their pre-match exercises and warmed up prior to kick-off and both sets of supporters took the opportunity to exercise their vocal chords.
After the coin toss, the game duly began. 487 started like a house on fire, and within a minute Kurte Harris had latched onto a weak back pass. He charged toward the 492 goal, evading a tackle, he was pushed wide of the goal area, allowing the defender and goalkeeper to outnumber him and snaffle the ball to safety.
487 continued to press having most of the early play, in the 10th minute, a cross from the right wing arrived at the foot of Nick Johnson. Hitting the ball first time he launched the ball towards the goal, the keeper was well beaten, but the shot rebounded off the cross bar.
As the half wore on 492 showed some considerable skill, proving it was not luck in reaching the final for the second successive year, having finished as runners up in 2012. They pressed the 487 defenders and in the 23rd minute, during the melee prior to a corner kick the referee awarded them a penalty for holding. The ball quickly placed on the spot, was duly dispatched, although the 487 keeper, Matt Bell, might be considered unfortunate, guessing the right side, saw the ball slip just wide of his outstretched fingers. 1:0 to 492.
Worse was to come for the 487 side, when 5 minutes later, following a lapse in concentration, a cross from the Solihull right, was allowed to reach an unmarked 492 forward, having time to settle and control the ball he placed the ball past the beleaguered keeper. 2:0 to 492.
The remainder of the first half was uneventful and during the half time break the 487 team, were reminded not to ponder on the scoreline but to go out and play as if there were no score. The Kingstanding lads felt that the balance of play was not reflected in the scoreline and that there was still everything to play for. The second half kicked off and it was clear that 487 were not yet beaten.
The 492 goal was now a charmed place, with last ditch tackles and clearances. The Solihull keeper was called into action on numerous occasions. The 487 strikers also managed to hit both posts, increasing the Royal Blue frustration. Whilst the game was not all one-way, the 487 dominance during the half meant that the 492 defenders earned their corn on the night.
Then with barely five minutes left, the break-through; 487’s sixth corner of the half, lead to a scramble in the six-yard box. The cornerball taken by Kenny Morris was attacked by strikers and defenders alike but appeared to go directly into the net leading to a raising of the volume from the 487 cheerleaders and supporters. 2:1 to 492.
Spurred on by the goal and encouraged from the sidelines, the 487 team surged forward; the 492 grasp on the Winners trophy was loosened. The game was poised on a knife edge; it could have gone either way. There was no early exodus of spectators and the large crowd saw the team in red hold out to the final whistle. Final Score 2:1.
Following the game, the teams and spectators returned to the 487 HQ for the awarding of the shields and medals. Sqn Ldr McCarroll making the presentations, remarked “on the level of skill and commitment exhibited by both sides, how tight the game was and that even to the last seconds, the result was always in the balance”
The 492 trainer, C.I. Mike Burke, admitted that their “hearts were in their in mouths in the last 5 minutes, they were hanging on at the end”
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, 487 Sqn was, “very proud of the effort made by the 487 team. I also appreciated the support of parents and the ceaseless vocal encouragement from the other Cadets on the Squadron”.
The Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing inter-squadron 5-a-side football and netball competitions were held on Sunday 19th May. The events took place at Stockland Green School.
487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn turned up in numbers and were able to enter full teams into all three competitions; the junior and senior boys 5-a-side and the girls netball. Despite forecasts to the contrary, the weather was kind and the sun shone all day on the competitors.
The junior boys 5-a-side team showed they meant business from the off, beating 165 Sqn 7-1 in their first game. They carried that success all the way into the quarter-finals of the competition, an achievement that was also emulated by the senior boys’ team.
By far the surprise package of the day was the girls’ netball team, who reached the semi-finals of the competition. A remarkable achievement when you consider many of the team had never played netball prior to the competition!
FS (ATC) Steve Taylor, bus driver, team manager and admin assistant on the day, was reflective of the days events, “The best thing about today was the number of 487 cadets who turned up to take part and support their squadron. To reach the quarter and semi finals in all three competitions was a great result.”
The squadron hope to use today’s near-victories as a springboard to success in other sporting competitions.
All smiles after the competition
The team in action
Sunday 12th May saw the annual Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing Banner Competition; held at 2438 (Bishop Ullathorne) headquarters in Coventry. A team of five cadets plus one reserve travelled the short journey from Kingstanding to represent 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron; they were joined by 487’s adult NCO team, FS (ATC) Steve Taylor and Sgt (ATC) Nicky Gallivan.
Upon arrival the dark clouds were gathering, and it looked like 487 were going to follow the unwanted tradition of previous years and perform their sequence in the rain. However, fate smiled on the team and the wet weather held off until after they had completed their turn.
The team got off to a great start and were smart throughout, even managing to encase the banner without damaging the case! The small repaired tear mark in the case remains a permanent reminder of previous year’s mishaps. There was however an amusing incident towards the end of the sequence involving the banner being draped over Cpl Ryan Daly’s head, the wind playing its part in adding some comedy to the otherwise very impressive routine.
FS (ATC) Steve Taylor, who trained the team, was pleased with their efforts. He said, “We have worked extra hard this year to ensure 487 put forward the best team possible. The guys really did do well today, and in windy conditions too. Whatever the finishing position all the cadets involved can quite rightly hold their heads high.”
487 now wait for the results with baited breath, hoping to improve on last years 7th place finish.
Cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron recently joined forces with staff from Asda Queslett to raise money for Help for Heroes. The cadets assisted customers with packing their shopping whilst raising money for the worthy charity in the process.
Help for Heroes is a charity that provides assistance for servicemen and women injured in the line of duty. They work tirelessly to provide a better quality of life to the injured through such things as rehabilitation and support programmes.
As well as the bag-pack element, which was manned by the 16 cadets and 2 staff in attendance, Asda had a stall at the front of the store selling branded Help for Heroes items such as mugs, wristbands and pin badges. The combined total raised on the day was in excess of £2000, with the cadets bag-packing contributing over £700 of the grand total.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, who was in attendance on the day, said, “It is encouraging to see a healthy turnout of cadets wanting to do their bit for the wounded soldiers. As always they have conducted themselves magnificently and we have received many compliments on their behaviour and smart turnout from members of the public.”
487 hope to be invited back to participate in further Help for Heroes fundraising activities.
487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron ATC held a Spring Fayre this April; it was the first event of its kind the squadron has undertaken. The event took place at Maryvale Community Centre in Kingstanding.
There were a variety of stalls and games on offer including tombola, raffles, face-painting, lucky dip, a chocolate fountain and homemade cakes for sale. The event was organised by 487’s Civilian Committee, with all the proceeds going to the squadron’s welfare fund. The various activities were run by cadets from the squadron, with a little help from the staff and Civ Com.
The event was not solely a fund-raiser, it also served as a fantastic way to raise the profile of the squadron within the local community, with a variety of people attending on the day.
487 OC Flt Lt Sarah Cotton was pleased with the efforts of the cadets on the day, saying, “Those cadets in attendance today have in effect ran this event, displaying great teamwork in the process. They have shown themselves in a very positive light within the public domain and should rightly feel proud of their efforts.”
The event also had a surprise special guest in the form of Sqn Ldr Pat McCarroll, 487’s Wing Staff Officer, who popped down to show his support. As he was wearing his uniform he thought it best to avoid the chocolate fountain though!
FS Andrew Nye receives the Cadet of the Year Trophy from Wg Cdr Stuart Iles
March saw The Royal British Legion (Kingstanding Branch) play host to 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron’s Annual Presentation Evening. As with previous years the evening was a huge success with over 100 people in attendance.
The event is set up to look back on the previous year noting events and achievements of the squadron. Both achievements of the squadron as a whole and the efforts of individual cadets are celebrated. This years Guests of Honour were Squadron Leader Pat McCarroll, 487’s Wing Staff Officer, Wing Commander Stuart Iles and Squadron Leader Pablo Mason RAF (retired).
487 OC Flt Lt Sarah Cotton hosted the event, beginning with a look back at the key events of 2012. With the year having been such a successful one there was a lot to fit in but by far the most notable achievement was the retention of the Per Ardua Cup for the third consecutive year; the Per Ardua is
awarded to the best overall squadron in Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing. After a short drinks break the main event started: The presentation of awards and certificates to cadets. Every cadet in attendance was presented with a certificate in front of their friends and family; the certificate listed all their achievements and attended events throughout the year. Sqn Ldr McCarroll presented the certificates to the cadets.
There was also a selection of trophies given out to a handful of cadets who had gone the extra mile, the honour of presenting these fell to Sqn Ldr Mason RAF (retired), who said, “I joined the Air Cadets almost as an accident when I was a youngster, and I now approach a 50 year involvement with the Corps. If I were to have my time over again I wouldn’t change a thing.” Sqn Ldr Mason went on to have a celebrated career in the Royal Air Force as a pilot; he is also a well established public speaker and we were honoured to have him at our event. He presented awards to the following cadets: FS Kenny Morris received Best Sports Cadet, Cpl Ryan Daly received Best Drill Cadet and Cadets James Clewer and Connor Fahey shared the Service to 487 Award.
Presentation of the biggest award of the night, Best Overall Cadet, fell to Wg Cdr Iles. The 2012 title went to FS Andrew Nye who has tirelessly served his squadron over the last year and indeed before this. Wg Cdr Iles added, “487 have enjoyed success over a number of years now, and when you see the individual efforts of these cadets it is not difficult to see why. Be warned though, there are other squadrons chasing you hard for this success, it is important not to get complacent.”
As the evening drew to a close Flt Lt Cotton reflected, “The evening was a fitting way to look back at yet another successful year for 487. I would like to thank all the family and friends who attended and made the event so special. The cadets continue to make me and all the staff team proud with their monumental efforts. Well done to all the cadets, especially those who bagged silverware.”
487 have already begun training for 2013’s Wing Field Day competitions, as well as already enjoying success in sport events such as the upcoming football final. We hope that this time next year we will be reporting on an historic fourth consecutive Per Ardua Cup win!
Cadets Charis Hunter, Maxx Pearse and Kiran Johal keep their spirits up!
Seven cadets and two staff from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron recently attended a bag-pack at Marks & Spencers at The Fort Shopping Centre in Birmingham. The event was organised by 487’s Civilian Committee to raise funds for the squadron.
The attendees were treated to a lie-in by usual Air Cadet standards, with the activity not commencing until 10.30 am. It was all hard work from there on in however, with the cadets on hand to assist M&S’s customers with packing their shopping, all served with a friendly smile.
The funds raised on the day will go towards an array of things to improve the cadet experience at 487, such as vital minibus maintenance, adventure training equipment and a cadet welfare cushion when it is needed. Civilian Committee Chairwoman Jane Jennings, who organised the event, also happens to be an employee at The Fort’s branch of Marks & Spencer. She was thrilled with how the day went, saying, “It always gives me great pride to bring our cadets to my workplace. They are always well turned out, polite and courteous to the staff and the customers alike. Today was no exception. I would also like to extend my thanks to Marks & Spencer for allowing us to hold the event here.”
Officer Commanding 487 Squadron Flt Lt Sarah Cotton added, “Once again our cadets have gone out into the public domain and done us proud. Not only have they put some money in the squadron coffers, they have conducted themselves in such a way that it makes me proud to be their squadron commander. Well done and thank you to all who attended.”
The event raised a total of £277.
The Warks & B’ham Junior Football Team – Regional Champions
487 Cadets Josh Green & Nick Johnson with their Wing Blues
Nick Johnson receives the Cup from Sqn Ldr Kevin Bunn after the game
At this year’s Central & East Region Junior Football Competition, played at RAF Cranwell on Sunday 3rd March, the Wing repeated the achievement of last year and retained the trophy.
487 Squadron had two cadets selected to play in the 2013 competition: Sgt Nick Johnson, playing in his normal striker’s role and Cdt Josh Green, slotting in at right back.
The competition comprises a “Round Robin” tournament, where each Wing plays others in the Region, in a series of twelve-minute games. Each team plays five matches. The format requires a high degree of fitness as the short duration games are played at a high tempo. Although fast, there is a high degree of skill exhibited by all the teams. Players needing to concentrate for the full game, as mistakes are punished severely and the limited time allows few opportunities to redress any shortcomings. With only 12 players available on the day, team manager Sqn Ldr McCarroll had few options available for changing game plans in the course of the competition and little scope should there be any injuries.
The Warwickshire & Birmingham Team started the tournament in fine style with a 3 – 0 win over Herts & Bucks Wing. In all W & B Wing won Four and drew one of their games, without conceding a single goal all day and only Trent Wing managing to keep the Bears from the door. Wins over Beds & Cams, Norfolk & Suffolk and South & East Mids sealed the trophy for the Wing.
Following the competition the Regional Sports Officer, Squadron Leader Kevin Bunn, awarded the team with the Cup and Winner’s Medal for all who had taken part.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, 487 Sqn, acting as bus driver, assistant coach, photographer and linesman on the day, said “I’m delighted with the overall result and particularly proud of the 487 Sqn contribution to the Wing success”.
The 487 Sqn Team: FS Nye, Cdt Green, Cpl Bell, Cdt Hughes, Cpl Borhara, Cpl Small, Cpl Edmonds, Cdt Evans, Cdt Cusack, Sgt Johnson, Cdt Baigent
This years Cross Country Championships were moved from their usual November spot to the new February date to allow the Wing Sports Officer to pick a team for the Regional Championships held at RAF Cranwell in March.
Due to the intemperate climatic conditions on the day, the move was universally unpopular with all who took part, the organisers, the course marshals, Sqn supporters, but most of all the competitors.
The recently melted snowfall and a period of rain had turned the fields into a muddy quagmire. The clinging earth weighed down the runners, making it a very tiring experience. In addition it was a very cold day and the rain fell constantly throughout, making it the worst conditions in many a year.
But, through adversity comes glory. 487 had taken eleven competitors in the various classes, managing to enter full teams in most categories.
The first taste of success came when Cdt Ebony Evans, in her first representation for the Squadron since her recent enrolment, finished third in the Senior Girls race. She has been selected to represent the Wing in the forthcoming Regional event.
Later in the day, the older members of the Squadron won the Junior Mens race, emulating the success of 2011. FS Andrew Nye, Cpl Matt Bell and Cpl Ryan Borhara were the likely lads on the day.
After the event came the awarding of trophies and medals by Wing Commander Stuart Iles. Cdt Evans collected her Bronze Medal, hopefully, the first of many accolades in her Cadet career. Cpl Bell picked up the Cup for the team in the Junior Mens event.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill commented “We have for many years entered the male competitions in good numbers; this year was particularly pleasing in that for the first time in some years, we were able to enter full teams in both the female age groups. The new cadets have shown themselves willing to give things a try, this spirit, augers well for the Sqn in the next few years”.
BACK: CI Reynolds, Pearse, Johnson, Small, Bell, Holsey, Harris, Nayyar, Bhakta, Flt Lt O’Neill. FRONT: Brookes, Shepherd, Fahey, Morris (Capt), Green, Farr, Daly.
Reece Holsey takes a breather
Captain Kenny Morris says “Job done”
As this year’s Wing Football competition advanced the games have got harder. 487 Squadron had repeated their achievement of 2010/11 by reaching the Semi-Finals, where they narrowly lost to an extra time penalty. This year they hoped to go one stage further and make the Final Tie at RAF Cosford in April.
The draw had the Kingstanding Squadron tied against 29F of Rugby, who also have had a good string of results to arrive at the Semi’s. Although from Rugby they had a decent set of Soccer players on their books and looked a likely team in the pre-match warm up to upset the 487 rhythm.
The game was played on Sunday 24th February 2013 and although bright enough, the weather was bitterly cold, with a biting wind. There were a few snow flurries prior to kick-off, but both sides were keen to play the game with the prospect of the Final to come. A large crowd had gathered at the Castle Vale Stadium, unfortunately the tie was played on Pitch Nr four. In addition to the 29F contingent of fans, there were a few hardy souls in support of the 487 lads, braving the inclement conditions.
The 487 first eleven make-up was similar to their quarter final clash with 2504, except the goalkeeping position was now assumed by Cpl Matt Bell, who had been the third player used in that position this season. You can never have enough goalkeepers.
29F won the toss and elected to change ends, taking advantage of the wind direction. Flt Lt Les Vile, OC 163 Sqn had kindly agreed to referee and with a hearty blow of the whistle and a wave of the arm, the 487 forward line got play underway. Although kicking into the prevailing wind 487 had the better of the earlier exchanges forcing the 29F team onto the back foot from the start, with their Keeper the busier of the two goal minders.
Despite the possession, the Kingstanding side had not created any clear cut chances, until in the 9th minute a vicious shot from the edge of the penalty box was inexplicably handled on the line by a 29F outfield player, a penalty kick had been awarded to 487. Although clearly an involuntary reaction, as the shot may not have been on target, the crowd feared the worst for the unfortunate player as an audience with the referee was witnessed from the terraces. After a few moments with groans from the 29F fans, the Ref raised the red card and the fickle finger of fate pointed in the direction of the sidelines.
Drama surrounded the occasion, the 487 Skipper, FS Kenny Morris, took the ball and placed it on the spot. Stepping back a few yards, turned, began his run up and with a sweet connection neatly slotted the ball home past the outstretched arms of the keeper. Turning to his teammates he noticed that the Referee had blown the whistle for an infringement, demanding the kick be retaken. A 487 player had encroached the penalty area. Undaunted, Captain Kenny again took the ball and repeated the process. As usual with these things, matters did not run so smoothly and the keeper anticipating the speed and direction of the spot-kick got to the ball. Unfortunately for him it had enough pace and squirmed under his body into the net, allowing the 487 crowd to breathe again. 1:0
Clearly reeling from the double blow of the penalty and sending off, the 29F lads were rocked by the events and took a while to compose themselves and re-jig their formation allowing 487 to put further pressure on the beleaguered defenders. The second goal came in this period of indecision, in the 21st minute, a high hopeful cross from the left, looking a safe catch for the keeper, was allowed to bounce over his head into the 6 yard box. Captain Kenny Morris anticipating the mistake charged in from the inside right position and slotted home the unattended object. 2:0.
Paradoxically as the half wore on, through a combination of 487 sitting back and perhaps a few thoughts in the minds of the 29F team of inevitability, the Rugby outfit relaxed a little and began to play with the style and commitment they clearly had and began to press the 487 goal, forcing the defenders to work in the last 15 minutes of the half. A free kick on the edge of the penalty area resulted in a narrow escape as the ball crashed into the corner of post and bar, with keeper, Matt Bell a mere spectator.
The half time team talk centred on maintaining the pressure and to keep working to ensure that an early goal was not conceded letting 29F back into the game.
As expected the second half began furiously, 29F trying hard to notch a goal to give them something to fight for. However the 487 back four encouraged by the goalkeeper maintained a solid wall against the onslaught and try as they might 29F were restricted to long balls tidied up by keeper Bell or long range shots usually off target. Credit should also go to the midfield four, who battled throughout the 70 minute game, sometimes in support of their defensive teammates, breaking up 29F attacks, but also going forward on the offensive. 487 also had a few opportunities to extend their lead, but it was not until the 55th minute that the 29F defence was breached for a third time.
A brief interchange saw Kurt Harris with back to goal on the corner of the 18 yard area, swivelling on his left foot, he twisted his entire body and in one movement swung his mighty right peg, connecting soundly with the ball. The shot sped goal-bound and although the keeper touched the shot could not prevent it from passing under his body into the net. 3:0.
The last 15 minutes of the game saw 487 holding what they had, 29F at this stage offering little to alter the scoreline. On the final whistle the 29F team were gracious in defeat and wished the Kingstanding side the best of luck in the Final.
After a few choruses of “Wembley Wembley” and some congratulatory words, the panel unanimously voted Cpl Ryan Daly as Man of the Match.
Cpl Ryan Daly reflected after the game “Although I’m very pleased to be named man of the match, I must praise the whole of the back four who stood square and restricted opportunities for 29F to score. I’m particularly pleased we have kept a clean sheet, in recent games we’ve lapsed a few times and put pressure on ourselves. The whole Squadron, not just the team will be very proud to step onto the pitch at RAF Cosford in the Final”.
Cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron enjoyed success at the recent Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing hockey and football team trials.
The weather was kind and the trials took place on a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon, although with it being February there was still a nip in the air. Seven Kingstanding cadets travelled to Wyndley Leisure Centre in Sutton Coldfield for the opportunity to represent their Wing in team sports. Three tried out for Junior Girls Hockey, a further three tried out for Open Age Boys Hockey with the final cadet trying out for Junior Boys Football.
There was success in the Open Age Boys Hockey as Flight Sergeant Andrew Nye was selected for the team. FS Nye was reflective on his success, “There was a good turn out today so I am very pleased to have been selected. Sqn Ldr McCarroll told me that my experience from previous years in the team would be of value this year, I hope to prove him right.”
487 also enjoyed success in the Junior Boys Football with Cdt Thomas Farr making the reserves list. An impressive achievement as competition for places in this team is always fierce, especially as this is Cdt Farr’s first attempt at making the team.
A big well done and thank you to all the cadets who turned up and gave it a go; this embodies the spirit of 487 Sqn! It is a great experience that stands you in good stead for future competitions and trials. Congratulations to those of you who were successful, we look forward to hearing how you get on at Wing competition.
487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron have a new member of staff following the official appointment of Civilian Instructor Rob Jeffries.
CI Jeffries is no stranger to 487, having been a cadet at the squadron from 1986-1992! In his time as a cadet he represented the squadron in various competitions including drill, aircraft recognition, aircraft modelling and numerous sports. He also attended UK annual camps and overseas camp at RAF Brüggen in Germany, and reached the rank of Cadet Sergeant.
The experiences as a former 487 cadet perfectly place CI Jeffries as an instructor to the current 487 cadets. He is involved in all aspects of the curriculum, but his areas of expertise are Aircraft Recognition, Aircraft Modelling, Principles of Flight and Airmanship. He said of his appointment, “It is great to be back. A lot has changed since the early 90’s and I’m still learning, but it’s fantastic to see the core principles remain the same. I hope to help with leading the cadets to more trophy glory in 2013 and beyond.”
487 OC Flt Lt Sarah Cotton is thrilled to have CI Jeffries on board, “Rob will undoubtedly be a fantastic addition to the 487 staff team. With his past cadet experiences and his passion for all things aircraft he has a lot to pass on to our current serving cadets.”
CI Jeffries’ first task will be to train up this years Aircraft Recognition teams, with the hope of reclaiming the trophy having lost out last year. Bring on Wing Field Day!
Flt Lt Sarah Cotton with the three new promotees
It was an exciting start to the new year at 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron with 3 new promotions made. Cadet Ryan Daly became Corporal Daly, and Sergeants Andrew Nye and Kenny Morris were promoted to Flight Sergeant.
The promotions followed an NCO meeting earlier in the week, where all the 487 cadet NCO team discovered their new dedicated roles. FS Morris and FS Nye will now head up the NCO teams in charge of the flights, no doubt this will involve some friendly rivalry also! The two flights go head to head in an annual competition, with points awarded for an array of tasks including inspections, attendance and participation in sports and voluntary activities. It will be down to the new Flight Sergeants and their peers to inspire and guide their flights to victory.
Cpl Daly’s promotion came on the back of a successful JNCO course with an impressive course report. Coupled with his exceptional uniform and drilling standards, it was an easy decision for the staff team to make. Cpl Daly’s first task will be to reveal to the other cadets in the squadron just how he gets his shoes so shiny!
487’s OC Flt Lt Sarah Cotton was thrilled to make the promotions. She reflected, “487 is going through a period of change with a lot of our older cadets having reached their 20th birthday and timed out over the last six months or so. It was time for some of the younger ones to take the stage, and that is what they have done. I know for certain that with the NCO team we now have in place 2013 is going to bring yet more success to Kingstanding and Perry Barr.”
Time for a new trophy cabinet, perhaps?