The 487 Sqn Team: BACK: Shepherd, Bell, Belhana, Harris, Nayyar, Holsey, Daly, Morris (Capt). FRONT: Edmonds, Small, Green, Fahey, Bhakta, Johnson, Brookes
487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron progressed into the Warks & B’ham Wing Football semi-final on Sunday. A 5 - 1 win over 2504 (Archbishop Grimshaw) Sqn saw the Royal Blues of Kingstanding through to their second semi in three years. The game was played on the Castle Vale Estate, where seventy years before, Spitfires built at the nearby Castle Bromwich factory were roiled across the road to make their maiden flights. The day was bright and sunny, following the recent rains, ideal conditions for a competitive quarter final. The 487 side had made a number of changes from the previous round encounter with 8F Sqn. Cpl Nik Bhakta being recalled to fill the space between the sticks, following the withdrawal of Cdt Pearse. Other additions to the Squad included Cdt Josh Green in at left back and Kurte Harris in midfield, with Belhana and the new signing Brookes, both starting on the bench. Cpl Bell was drafted in as additional cover in the goalkeeping position.
The early stages of the game followed 487’s recent experiences of dominating early play without putting much pressure on the opposing keeper, until the tenth minute when following a piece of neat 487 forward interplay, Kurte Harris running from midfield received a pass allowing him to place a beautiful chip over the advancing goalkeeper, the ball hit the back of the net, rolled down and nestled in the corner, 1-0. Four minutes later 487 went two up, the goal coming from Nick Johnson, the 4-goal hero of the previous round. 2-0.
The demons that haunted the 487 side, from the previous game v 8F returned, and whether, through over complacency or loss of concentration, allowed 2504 to pull a goal back within 2 minutes. 2-1. The goal raised morale in the 2504 team and they pressed for the equaliser. The reshuffled 487 defence, coaxed by the replacement goalkeeper maintained an unbroken wall for the rest of the half. Half time score 2-1.
The brief half time interval allowed 487 to re-focus and ensure that the slip up allowing 2504 a first half goal was not repeated. The second half was played in the same vein as the first, with 487 forwards having the majority of the goal mouth action, although it was not all one-way traffic; Atkinson, the tall number 9 for the 2504 team went close on several occasions and was extremely unlucky not to add to the sky blue tally.
487 continued to be profligate in front of goal, reminding one of the Arsenal, wasting chance after chance to kill off the tie. With the half progressing suddenly 487 broke from midfield allowing Nick Johnson to notch his second of the game. 3-1. The goal was a blow to the 2504 lads, and with confidence slipping away Johnson scored a third and seven minutes from time secured victory, latching on to weak back pass and with only the keeper to beat slotted the ball home for his 4th and Kingstanding’s fifth. Final Score 5-1.
The game was a competitive encounter played in good spirit, both teams fighting for their Squadrons honour.
Cdt Josh Green was voted man of the match, showing remarkable skill at left back, charging forward, overlapping the winger, Kieran Small, to support the midfielders and forwards at every opportunity. The choice was a difficult one for the MOM Panel, with Nick Johnson repeating his achievements of the earlier tie, by scoring 4 goals, coming a close second.
The small crowd included Sqn Ldr McCarroll scouting for likely players for the Wing team. The main selection trials will take place in January, but no harm in looking at the likely lads early.
487 will play either 29F or 479 Sqn following their quarter-final game, due early in the New Year.
487 Team Captain, Sgt Kenny Morris, said in the post match interview “I’m ‘over the moon’ with the win, 2504 were gritty opponents, who made life difficult. It was frustrating that we had to wait until well into the game to finish ‘em off. I’m looking forward to the Semi-finals”
From left to right: Sgt Louise Johnson, Cpl Beth Edmonds, Flt Lt Sarah Cotton, Cpl Kieran Small, Sgt Nick Johnson.
The last uniformed parade night of 2012 saw four cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn earn promotion. Cadets Beth Edmonds and Kieran Small were promoted to the rank of Corporal, with Corporals Nick Johnson and Louise Johnson promoted to Sergeant.
Competition for promotion is very tough at 487; at the recent Wing Junior NCO course all five of 487’s candidates received glowing reports. All five who attended should be very proud of their efforts, but Cpl Small’s feedback is deserving of a special mention. He achieved a Distinction grade, the only one 487 OC Flt Lt Sarah Cotton has ever seen.
Sgt’s Nick Johnson and Louise Johnson have both managed two promotions inside one year, having only received their Cpl Stripes in May 2012! A remarkable achievement reflective of the effort and commitment shown by both Senior NCO’s.
Flt Lt Cotton was thrilled to make the promotions, “Nights like this one are amongst my very favourite tasks as Officer Commanding. All four promoted cadets now have the Christmas period to reflect upon their achievement, and then the hard work will begin. I have no doubt they are all up to the task.”
487 cadets will have a rare opportunity to relax in the coming week with the 10 pin bowling and Christmas Quiz nights completing the final parades of 2012. In the new year our new Cpl’s and Sgt’s will learn where they fit in within the 487 NCO team. Congratulations to our newly promoted, and to those of you not successful this time do not lose heart; opportunity is always just around the corner!
After the Rain – Tutor aircraft ready to go
Cdt Joshua Wright in the waiting area
487 Squadron received an additional slot to make up for the cancellations through 2012. Three cadets attended 8 Air Experience Flight at RAF Cosford on Saturday 1st December.
Another early start from Kingstanding saw 487 Sqn arrive first at the Flying School. The weather was very cold with a biting wind across the airfield. According to the weather forecast the low cloud and icy drizzle were due to be followed by a spell of clear weather later in the day.
Again, all the cadets from 487 were first time flyers. Cadets Jeffries, Wright and Johal were soon joined by cadets from the other Squadrons, who had also heeded advice and brought reduced numbers to allow for the lack of currently qualified pilots. The usual video, safety briefing and parachute training was followed by the cadets being allocated flying slots in the days lists. OC 8 AEF gave priority to first time flyers, and following inspections of 3822s, all the 487 Cadets were put into the morning half of the programme.
As promised the low cloud and rain disappeared giving way to weak sunshine, but the temperatures remained low throughout the day. The first details, suited and booted, made their way to the aircraft and were soon airborne.
The 487 Squadron cadets had all flown by lunchtime, and following the issue of first flight certificates were free to visit the Cosford Museum in the afternoon.
Cdt Jeffries said “I enjoyed every second we were airborne, the view was fantastic”
Cdt Johal commented “My first time in a small aircraft and I took control, The G forces were better than the Big Dipper at Blackpool”
The Squadron would like to thank 8 AEF, OC Flt Lt Price and Flt Lt Carter for an enjoyable experience.
Cheese! Photo courtesy of Cdt Cpl Nathan Steadman
As newly appointed Media & Communications Officer (MCO) for 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron, I recently seized upon the opportunity to attend a Regional Media & Comms course at RAF College Cranwell.
Upon my Friday night arrival I made my way to the bar in the Sergeant’s Mess, naturally. The Mess bar staff were kind enough to point out other candidates for the course so I was able to meet a few of them before the official course start time on Saturday morning. It soon became apparent we were from all corners of Central & East Region Air Training Corps, as well as a diverse group of personalities.
The course ran from Saturday morning to Sunday early evening. In that time a whole host of media issues were covered, including practical tips on photography and writing press releases. I was one of the, ahem, ‘lucky’ few selected for a practice interview scenario. This gave a very real idea of what could happen in a genuine situation with a journalist, as an MCO tasked to deal with the press. I will not go into detail with the scenario used as I would not want to spoil the surprise for those of you considering going on this course! Just think about how awkward politicians look when they are asked a difficult question and you will be on the right lines…
On the Saturday night we were split into groups and set a task, to write a press release and take a photograph to go with it. This gave us a great opportunity to put into practice the skills we had learned that day. It was based around gaining publicity for a squadron fund raising event, a scenario I am sure every MCO will be faced with more than once in their career. On our photograph we had to play the part of cadets, it would be fair to say the final product required a vivid imagination as far as us being cadets was concerned! Nevertheless it was a valuable and enjoyable task and we gained positive and constructive feedback from the training team the next day.
OC 487 Sqn Flt Lt Sarah Cotton was happy to see one of her staff team attending the course, “I always encourage development on the squadron for cadets and staff alike, so I was thrilled when Sgt Gallivan expressed an interest in attending the course. I have no doubt the skills she has learned there will be invaluable and will go on to be of huge benefit to 487.”
If anyone has recently become MCO or is thinking about doing so, I would thoroughly recommend this course. It has given me newly found confidence for my future dealings with the press, journalists and social media platforms.
Cdt Manisha Tank – Cockpit check prior to take-off
Cdt Joshua Mitchell after his flight
After the recent frustrations of reduced allocations, bad weather and the Tutor grounding cancellations, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron resumed their flying opportunities on Sunday 18 November 2012. However the weather gods balanced the recent run of bad luck with one of the finest November flying days in years. An overnight frost followed by a crisp cold morning with a glorious blue sky & bright sunshine encouraged the Cadets to dream of finally getting airborne. The short hop to Cosford from our Kingstanding base was a journey of optimism. The flying detail was again, at short notice, reduced to 24 from the allocated 30, due to Pilot currency, a short term problem, but meant that priority was given to first time flyers.
With the frost thawing and the mist slowly clearing from the airfield in the morning sun, the assembled Cadets received the mandatory briefings and parachute use checks. Soon after, the flying programme began. In flights of three, the Cadets donned flying suits, helmets and parachutes and entered the waiting room for their turn to get airborne. Sun glasses were also necessary in the bright November sunshine.
All of the 487 Cadets were first time flyers and eagerly, but quietly awaited their turn. One by one they came back excitedly relating their story to those yet to fly, making the tail-enders even keener to see the ground from above. By the time the late afternoon sun had sunk to the tree tops all the 487 Cadets had tasted flight and enjoyed the experience. Each Cadet received a “First Flight Certificate” from Nr 8 AEF as a memento of their trip.
Cdt Charis Hunter commented “This was my first time in a small aircraft. I flew the aircraft and we did aerobatics. We flew over the Wrekin and the views were brilliant. I want to fly again and would like to be a pilot one day”
The Squadron would like to thank the new OC Flt Lt Price and staff at No. 8 AEF for an enjoyable experience.
Cadet Pearse cleans rifles following the range practice
Three Cadets from 487 Squadron, Fahey, Pearse and Connelly attended the recent Sunday range practice at RAF Cosford. The aim was to provide opportunities and coaching to enable Cadets to achieve their marksmanship badges. The weather was very cold and there were periodic showers throughout the day, but despite the inclement conditions a good days shooting was had.
There were two ranges made available, allowing the Wing Shooting Team to organise the cadets into two groups. This enabled those suitably qualified to concentrate their practices on the L98-A2 rifle, with
the remainder dedicated their training to the 0.22 Nr 8 rifle.
A number of cadets did gain their marksmanship badges on the day, alas none from 487 Sqn made the grade. Following the practice all the cadets were involved in the cleaning of the weapons prior to their return to the armoury. A vital but time consuming process, especially with the complexities of the L98 rifle.
On Sunday 11th November 28 cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron attended the Remembrance Day Parade in Birmingham. They were joined by cadets from 1459 (Heart of England) Sqn and 491 (City of Birmingham) Sqn to make up the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing contingent. The Air Cadet representation was in excess of 40 cadets.
After travelling into the city centre, the three squadrons formed up together on Broad Street, in readiness for the parade. After waiting patiently for their turn, the time had come to begin the march into the parade square and Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill of 487 Sqn gave the order. The cadets were joined by uniformed members of staff from all three squadrons marching at the front and back of the Air Cadet squad. Wing Commander Stuart Iles was also in attendance and watched the parade with great interest, as well as laying a wreath at the memorial.
Once on the parade square the cadets joined representatives from all three armed services, Army Cadet Force, Sea Cadet Corps and Royal British Legion members, to name but a few. A large crowd of the public had gathered to pay their respects and remember the fallen. The parade was very well organised and ran like clockwork throughout, with the two minute silence observed immaculately by all. Many wreaths were laid on behalf of a great many organisations, including those laid by Wing Commander Iles and 487’s own Cdt Sgt John Daniel.
The last element of the parade was the final march past. The cadets looked smart and remained in step throughout despite some very cold and stiff legs! Wg Cdr Stuart Iles was thrilled with effort shown by the participants, commenting, “I would like to thank all who showed up today, the standard of drill and uniform was very impressive and was a fine representation of Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing on such an important day of the year.”
The parade had been preceded earlier in the day by a smaller contingent of cadets at 487 HQ. 17 cadets marched to the on-base memorial to members of the local TA unit who have lost their lives in combat. Cdt Charis Hunter laid a wreath on behalf of 487 sqn, with a silence observed by all.
The 487 Sqn Team: BACK: Pearse, Jeffries, Nayyar, Holsey, Small, Daly, Bhakta FRONT: Fahey, Edmonds, Johnson, Morris (Capt), Sidhu, Shepherd
487 Squadron played their first game in this years Wing Football competition with a 4 – 2 victory over 8F Squadron. The game was played at Bishop Ullathorne School in Coventry, the home of 2438 Sqn, in unusually mild weather for the time of year. This was a repeat of the first round fixture in December 2010, see article in our 2011 news page for details. Both Squadrons had attended their respective Armistice Day parades in the morning before the scheduled 2:00 pm kick-off and were keen for the match to begin.
8F won the toss and elected to kick up the slope in the first half, with the low autumn sun at their backs. 487 took advantage of the terrain, having a number of attacks at the 8F goal. A combination of poor finishing and fine work from Edward Towers, the Wing & Region goalkeeper, prevented 487 from taking an early lead. As the half wore on 487 maintained the upper hand without any reward until, in the 20th minute, a piece of fine interplay from the 487 forward line allowed Cpl Nick Johnson to get in a shot which zipped in under the 8F keeper.
The goal settled the 487 team and as the half drew to a close Nick Johnson using his skill and tenacity forced in another two goals for the Birmingham side, claiming a hat-trick before the half-time whistle. The score line seemed to suggest that 487 had total domination, however 8F had their moments and forced 4 or 5 corners and peppered the 487 goal on several occasions during the half. Half-time score 3:0.
If the 487 side thought the game was in the bag at half time, they were in for an early shock. Within minutes of resuming hostilities, 8F had dragged a goal back. The goal lifted the Coventry lads and with renewed confidence surged forward pressing the 487 goal at every opportunity, eventually the 8F team got the reward their efforts deserved, another goal, suddenly at 3:2 the 487 team knew they had a battle on their hands. The Birmingham side now knuckled down and recovered their first half composure, the game now ebbed and flowed, but toward the end of the half, 487 found again the key to unlocking the 8F defence. A jinking run from inside left, Edmonds tripping around defenders resulting in a save from the keeper, and a Nick Johnson shot against the bar were the highlights of the spell. Then 10 minutes from time Nick Johnson, 487’s star forward, found himself through on the goal with only the keeper to beat, maintaining his composure he slotted the ball home for his and 487s fourth of the game.
The game was a hard fought affair, but both teams were able to display a high level of skill made difficult on a sloping pitch with a few boggy patches at the lower end to contend with. It was an entertaining spectacle.
A delighted Nick Johnson, awarded the coveted Man of the Match Award after the game, commented, “You normally get a bottle of champagne and all I got was a tube of deep heat, but that’s football”.
487 will meet 2504 Squadron in the next round, who themselves notched six goals in their encounter with 163 Squadron. We look forward to the match.
Cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron volunteered at the recent Birmingham half marathon. The cadets had the rewarding task of handing out completion packs to the finishers, containing medals, energy drinks, t-shirts and space blankets.
It was an early start to the day, with the cadets meeting at the squadron at 0800 hours, travelling on to the city centre from there. After a briefing from the organisers, there were many boxes of completion packs to unload. Fortunately there was time for a quick tea break before the cadets took to the finishing line to wait for the participants to come through.
487 OC Flt Lt Sarah Cotton, who was in attendance, said of the cadet volunteers, “They have done a great job handing out the packs. Spirits have been high throughout the event and there has been a great atmosphere all round. A number of participants have complemented their behaviour and smart appearance, as well as passing on their thanks.”
For their trouble the cadets all received a blue jacket, a little memento of a unique experience. The squadron hopes to help out at the event next year as well.
487 Cadets collecting for the 2012 appeal
Cadets Tank and Pearse collecting in Birmingham City Centre
Over the weekend of 3rd & 4th November, 487 Squadron took part in the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal in the City Centre. Twenty cadets attended the Saturday session, followed by fifteen on Sunday. Both days saw raw temperatures, reminding us of the time of year. Sunday even saw a touch of sleet with the rain.
The Squadron will also hit the streets on Saturday 10th November in a final top up of the tins before attending the Remembrance Parade in Birmingham City Centre on the 11th.
487 Sqn has been affiliated to the Local Branch of the Legion for some years and is proud to support the Royal British Legion, assisting in the raising of funds in their support of ex-members of the armed forces and their dependents. The Cadets gave willingly of their time; fully appreciating the needs of the RBL. The Staff & Cadets thank the people of Birmingham for their generosity
Nichola Foster presents certificates to the cadets
487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron have been awarded Gold Star standard for achieving the highest level of health and safety possible.
On Tuesday 16th October Nichola Foster, Regional Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor for Central & East Region paid a visit to the squadron. She came to assess the level of health and safety on the premises, and to make sure rules were being adhered to. After a thorough inspection of the building and its surrounds, and a grilling of the staff, Nichola was able to award 487 the highest standard possible of Gold.
As 487 put its cadets through an entry level Health & Safety Award, Nichola also had the pleasure of presenting the cadets with their certificates. She said, “As only a handful of squadrons in Central & East Region have been awarded Gold Star status this is a real achievement. Congratulations to the cadets and staff for all their hard work.”
OC 487 Flt Lt Sarah Cotton was full of praise for Squadron H&S Officer FS Steve Taylor, “Whilst winning the award is down to a team effort from the entire squadron, it is Steve’s hard work that has been at the forefront. I’d like to say a big thank you to Steve for all the time he has put in.”
The squadron plans to continue the success by putting more cadets through the entry level Health & Safety award. This is a recognised award that can be named on a CV and is useful to everyday life.
487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn recently welcomed Wing Commander Stuart Iles for a visit for the first time since his appointment.
Having previously been 487’s Wing Staff Officer Wg Cdr Iles was no stranger to the squadron, although this was his first visit in his new role. Wg Cdr Iles enjoyed a tour of the squadron, speaking to cadets and staff along the way. He also laid on a rare opportunity for a Q&A session during final parade, managing to escape relatively unscathed!
Wg Cdr Iles explained the nature of his visit, “As newly appointed Wing Commander of Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing it is important to touch base with all my squadrons. It is a great way to speak to both cadets and staff alike and see them at work, in their own squadron environments.”
Wg Cdr Iles plans on visiting all 27 squadrons within Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing by the end of October. A tall order it may be, but as 487 were number 18 it is a target he is well on his way to reaching.
487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron recently said goodbye to Civilian Instructor Clare Tildesley, who is leaving the area to pursue an exciting and challenging new career.
CI Tildesley will be working with vulnerable young people, helping to build self confidence and self esteem amongst other things. Whilst this is a fantastic opportunity and no doubt a hugely rewarding career, it does unfortunately take her away from the Kingstanding area.
CI Tildesley will not be lost to the Air Training Corps however, as she is transferring to 1211 (Swadlincote) Sqn in the South & East Midlands Wing. OIC 487 Pilot Officer Sarah Cotton was first in line to wish her all the best, “During her time at 487 Clare has been a tremendous asset to us, her CVQO work with the cadets has been invaluable and of real benefit. We are sad to see her go but wish her all the best at Swadlincote Sqn, they are gaining a fantastic member of staff.”
We have no doubt CI Tildersley will make a huge success of her new career, as well as at her new squadron. Good luck and best wishes Clare!
Cdt Edmonds, CWO Lycett and Cdt Uppal show off their medals
Saturday 15th September saw 16 cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn travel to Stechford baths for the annual Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing swimming competition. Competition was fierce but the Sqn managed to come away with five medals, a great achievement.
The event was well attended by the wing as a whole with a great atmosphere throughout. The excellent numbers in attendance saw a later-than-expected finish, although no-one seemed to mind too much. On the contrary, the final event of the relay had as much energy and spark as the first race had earlier.
OIC 487 Plt Off Cotton said of the event, “Once again 487 have shown their have-a-go philosophy at it finest with a great turnout for the swimming competition this year. I know I echo the sentiments of all the staff team when I say I am proud of every single 487 cadet here, irrespective of whether they finished first or last in their races.”
Congratulations go to CWO Lycett for his third place finish in the senior boys freestyle, and Cdt Uppal for her second place finish in the junior girls backstroke. 487’s stand-out performance on the day belonged to Cdt Edmonds. B who finished second in the senior girls freestyle and individual medley, and stormed to first place in the breaststroke. Cdt Edmonds’ medals helped 487 to a second place finish in the overall senior girls competition.
Well done and thank you to all who turned up on the day.
37 cadets and 7 staff from Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing headed to RAF Henlow for a week long summer camp on the morning of the 11th August 2012. Arriving at the base at lunch time, there was no time to waste as the camp set about settling into their accommodation for the week. After initial briefings by the Camp Commandant Flt Lt James Martin, the cadets were split into flights and began their first task – the Familiarisation Exercise. The exercise is designed for the cadets to get used to their surroundings on the camp, and get to know the layout and key locations they might need to know for the upcoming week. It also marked the start of an inter-flight competition which would be scored based on different activities throughout the week.
The alarm clocks rang out around the accommodation block at 0630 hrs on Sunday, raising many sets of bleary eyes ready for breakfast at 0730 sharp. The first full day on camp was to be spent at RAF Wyton, No. 5 Air Experience Flight, where the cadets would all get an opportunity to fly in the Grob Tutor aircraft. After a thorough briefing and practice in the cockpit seat and parachutes, the cadets were kitted out to await their flight. Between the cadets they racked up an impressive 18 hours of flight during the day, and Flt Lt Westacott and WO Parker were also treated to a flight. An evening of sport in the sunshine and weapons training finished off the day.
Monday was a long and busy day starting with drill practice, then the camp photograph followed by the station executive brief from the Station Commander, welcoming the cadets and staff to the camp and giving a brief overview of past and current operations on the camp. It was then straight from the briefing to the pool, where cadets had the chance to gain their Basic Swimming Proficiency. A large number of cadets (and staff!) gained the award, and enjoyed some free swimming time at the end. There was no time to rest however, as the camp was joined by a special guest – Sqn Ldr Pablo Mason RAF (Retd). Pablo is a retired Royal Air Force pilot, who was part of the XV Sqn detachment to Bahrain as part of the RAF Tornado squadron during the Gulf War, and is now 165 Sqn’s Civilian Committee Chairman, the squadron where he was once a cadet himself. The cadets were enthralled by his introduction and the stories he told of his time in service, and were keen to question him further throughout his stay. After the evening meal, qualified cadets were taken to the DCCT range where they got to take part in a number of different range practices, which were then scored towards the inter-flight competition. The remained of the cadets took to the sports field, practicing fieldcraft skills and leadership tasks. Exhausted, we retired for some well needed sleep.
Tuesday saw the camp travel to the RAF Museum at Hendon, followed by the Cambridge American Cemetery. We were lucky enough to get a guided tour around the cemetery, and the sun was most definitely out for the lowering of the flag ceremony that all cadets and staff took part in. There was no time to rest as we headed back to Henlow for our evening meal, all mentally preparing for the evenings competition – bowling. The competition was fierce but there could only be one winner, and Sgt Yonwin emerged victorious with the best overall score of the night. ‘Gifted Amateur’ Sqn Ldr Mason, took the title in the staff category, despite having ‘never played before’, ahem.
On Wednesday we travelled to Uxbridge and were given a tour around the Fighter Command Bunker, the main centre for operations during the Battle of Britain in the Second World War. There is also a museum housing a wide range of memorabilia from the operation era of the bunker, which the cadets got to spend some time exploring at the end of the tour. After a lunch of ‘turkey and jam’ sandwiches, we then got to visit Runnymede Air Forces Memorial. This grade 2 listed building is a memorial to the 20,456 men and women from the British Empire who were lost in operations from World War II and have no known grave. There is a list of cadets from the Air Training Corps on one of the many walls of names, that served as a poignant reminder of the contribution the Corps made in World War II.
The week flew by, as Thursday took us over to MT where cadets were loaded two at a time into a Land Rover and driven round a bone-shaking off-road driving course by one of the MT staff. Rattled, we ate lunch and changed into civvies for a tour around the Henlow Aero Club hangar. The hangar houses all manner of weird and wonderful aircraft, including the last known surviving ‘Queen Bee’ – originally a ‘radio controlled’ plane, which the owner has now converted to fly and restored to excellent condition. Another trip to the swimming pool and the cadets were this time given chance to complete their intermediate swimming proficiencies and everyone took part in some ‘Pool PT’ organised by the pool staff. Thoroughly exhausted, everyone recharged their batteries at the evening meal, ready for ‘Laserforce’. Cadets and staff all had a go inside the 3-tier, extremely warm and sweaty arena, and all emerged exhausted but smiling.
Friday, the last full day of camp, was now upon us. Despite windy conditions, 5 cadets managed to go gliding at 616 VGS before they declared it not safe to fly. It allowed the flights some time to practice their drill sequences for the inter-flight competition that took place after lunch. Judged by the incoming Camp Commandant – Sqn Ldr Foster, the cadets all performed excellently in the scorching heat, and A flight just took the edge to win. After a ‘BBQ’ dinner, everyone assembled in the ‘Arch’ for the final presentations of the camp. Everyone was given a certificate of attendance, A flight were given ‘Best Drill Flight’ certificates and B flight ‘Best Flight’ certificates, after a narrow victory in the inter-flight competition. Everyone on the camp was also given a camp T-shirt, which was worn by every cadet on the coach journey home! After the presentations had been made, the cadets danced (in a fashion) at the Disco and returned in high spirits back to the block.
Overall, a great camp was had by all, and the time came round all too quickly for the cadets to say goodbye to friends old and new and return home. There were a good number of cadets for whom this was their first camp, and when asked, they all wholeheartedly agreed that they would do it all again next year!
BACK: Cpl Nick Johnson, Cpl Louise Johnson, CWO Steve Lycett, Cdt Ryan Daly, Sgt Andrew Nye, Cdt Alice Cotton FRONT: Cpl Matt Bell, Cdt Gary Connolly, Cdt Charlotte Roberts
Following on from the highlight of winning the Per Ardua Cup at the Wing Field Day in June, nine cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron attended this year’s Regional Field Day at RAF Wittering on 1st September 2012. 487 had won four of the Wing Competitions and its Cadets were duly selected to represent Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing in the Central & East Regional Competition. This continued the pattern of the past six or so years of 487 sending cadets to the Regional event, forming a fair sized contingent of the Wing Team.
The Shooting Team, the Cadet First Aid & Youth First Aid Teams, together with the aircraft modellers took part in the day’s activities. The teams were in competition with the best cadets from each of the other five Wings in the Region. The C & E Region comprises some 178 Squadrons each of who entered their own Wing competitions.
Notable successes on the day were the Shooting Team and the Cadet First Aid Team who both finished 3rd in their respective competitions.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, who accompanied the cadets to RAF Wittering, commented “The teams put in fine performances, especially when you bear in mind the high standard of opposition. The reward for the hard work during training, of the instructors and especially the cadets themselves, was well deserved. It is a reflection of the consistently high level of training which make me very proud to be associated with 487 Squadron”.
Wing Commander Stuart Iles, in his first address to cadets in the Wing following his recent appointment, thanked and congratulated all the Warwickshire & Birmingham Cadets prior to the final parade. He too understood the efforts that went into training and was extremely pleased with the performances on the day.
After gaining the official nod from Wing HQ, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn OIC Plt Off Sarah Cotton had the great pleasure of making a promotion this August. On this occasion though it was for a member of staff, with Sgt (ATC) Steve Taylor receiving his crowns to become FS.
FS (ATC) Taylor has completed 10 years in uniform throughout his ATC career. Between 2002-2008 he was a cadet at 487 DF (now 491 Sqn), reaching the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer. Upon turning 20 he wasted no time and went straight into uniform as Sgt (ATC) at 489 (Acocks Green) Sqn. After spending a year with 489 he then transferred to 487 in 2009, where he remains to the present day.
Plt Off Cotton said of the occasion, “What a personal treat it is for me to be able to make this promotion on our own Sqn premises. Steve sets a fantastic example to the cadets and it is great to show them how hard work can be rewarded. Well done on a thoroughly deserved promotion.”
I would also like to add something of a personal note on to this press release, as it feels appropriate. As a new member of staff to the Air Cadets, Steve went out of his way to make me feel welcome and valued. When I (Sgt Gallivan) went into uniform last year it was Steve who took me under his wing and helped me to become a better NCO. It just goes to show FS (ATC) Taylor is not only a great role model to cadets, but to staff also. Congratulations on getting your crowns Steve.
487 Sqn Cadets with their instructors at the end of a tiring session.
Sgt John Daniel ponders his next move.
Nine Cadets from 487 Sqn recently visited the Redpoint Climbing Wall in Birmingham for a taster session. The Group was split into two smaller teams, so that the two hour period of instruction and practice was very intense.
Following training in climbing and belaying on many of the indoor walls to gain experience on a wide range of difficulties, including overhangs, the Cadets finished off the session in the bouldering chamber. The small groups allowed the cadets plenty of opportunity to practice their newly-learned climbing skills and techniques under supervision of the qualified instructors at the centre. The main lesson taken away from the day was that good climbing is more about technique than brute strength, but having a bit of stamina does no harm.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, 487 Sqn commented, “I would like to thank the Staff and Management at the Redpoint Centre Staff for making the visit a memorable experience. The Cadets clearly enjoyed themselves and gained a lot from the friendly and patient Instructors.\"
On Saturday 4th August at 12.00 25 cadets and 4 staff gathered at 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) HQ. They would remain there until 12.00 on Sunday 5th August! 24 Hour Drill had arrived at 487 Sqn.
The entire squadron marched together for the first hour, after which the cadets broke into shifts, taking it in turns to conduct drill for half hour sessions. The groups were overlapped by two minutes to ensure drill was continuous throughout. The three shift groups worked on putting together a sequence of continuity drill, after being showed the basics by WO O’Neal. In the darker hours of the 24 noise had to kept to a minimum out of respect to the Sqn’s neighbours, so the drill continued on in silence.
During time off shift the cadets kept themselves occupied with activities such as fieldcraft and first aid. Parents were invited to join us for a BBQ on the Saturday evening, this was also an opportunity to showcase the activities offered within the Air Cadets. The cadets did a fine job of displaying what 487 and the ACO is all about, managing to put together displays with an ‘open evening’ feel for the duration of the parents visit. Well, when they were not on drill shift of course!
We ended the event at midday Sunday in the manner we had started: Marching together as a Squadron. All be it with a little more lethargy this time! 487 OC Plt Off Cotton was full of praise for the cadets; “What they have achieved over this 24 hour period is nothing short of remarkable. They have not only displayed personal commitment, but excellent team work in how they have picked each other up at low moments. It was a real struggle for all involved, and I include the staff in that, but on the whole it was enjoyable and rewarding, and a great way to raise funds for the squadron.”
As the event was sponsored the money is still coming in. The squadron is hopeful of raising in excess of £700, this will go towards such things as the upkeep of the sqn minibus and the replenishing of adventure training equipment for the cadets.
A final word of thanks to the civilian committee for their assistance with the organisation and food (especially the Sunday morning delivery of sausage sandwiches, they didn’t last long!), and to Sgt (ATC) Taylor for running the BBQ on Saturday night. 487 are considering making this an annual event due to its success and popularity, watch out Queen’s Colour Squadron!
The last parade in July saw 487 cadets enjoy a rare night off from the training programme, as the Civilian Committee and staff laid on a BBQ for them instead. This was in recognition of the hard work put in by the cadets in the last 12 months that saw them win the Per Ardua trophy for an historic third consecutive time. The Per Ardua is awarded to the best overall squadron in Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing, it is measured over competitions in a number of disciplines including drill, shooting, first aid, aircraft modelling and aircraft recognition.
Other than a small shower at the very beginning of the evening, the weather was kind and remained dry throughout. 487 OC Plt Off Sarah Cotton said, “The BBQ is only a small gesture of gratitude but it is important the cadets know their efforts are appreciated. Without their hard work and commitment the success we have become accustomed to would cease to be. It’s nice to stop, take a breather and say thank you at occasions such as these every once in a while.”
With over 30 people in attendance the event was considered a huge success, especially with it being held during the Summer holiday period. Mind you, not many 487 cadets will turn down a free burger!
After a long journey from Birmingham to Frimley and the half a mile from the station to the centre finally arrived. As soon as you walk through the gate you see the 200 year old house, still in use to this day. But there was no time for sightseeing it was straight to a waiting room to have your picture taken and to have an introduction from the SGT MJR and then back down stairs to collect the kit we needed for the course. Once I had my kit I was given a ticket which contained my Platoon, section and section fire team and tent number. I was soon into my combats uniform when it was time for another into from the course commander telling us what he expected and what we can expect. Soon it was off to the mess tent, honey roast gammon tonight. Once I had eaten it was straight back to tent to unpack and put valuables and unneeded items into our soldier boxes. 4 platoon quickly made ourselves known to each other and it wasn’t long until the jokes were cracked out, well they were until we were called for roll call at 22.30. Then it was heads down for the night ready for the next day.
No late wake ups this morning, up at 0530 with kit packed and ready for breakfast at 0600. We were soon formed up and ready to move out. First we had a two hour lesson on leadership, what it is, different types and core values. We headed down in front of the house and had our course photo taken. Now it was time to move out to the training area, however we had a surprise in store in how we would travel from A to B in the form off four tone army trucks. We soon piled in and quickly set off to the training area. A quick catch up on map and compass work which involved pacing and advanced map work with a quick assessment. The time soon passed and we were onto learning how to set up ambushes and what to do if we were compromised, with a quick practice it was time for lunch. Soon after we were sent over to a hill to watch the staff perform a section attack which everyone took notes. With a quick swig off water we got changed and did a one hour orienteering challenge with our section coming 3rd. We headed back and did some revision on skill at arms ready for the next day. With a quick dinner then it was onto inter section sports, this included the first round of the boat race and volley ball. With 11 section coming 4th overall it was time to have the briefing given along with getting kit ready and roll call and heads down for the night.
Again another 0530 wake up, with a quick breakfast and kit on, we set off to the obstacle course and log run, our section were battered and bruised as we ran with a 40kg log for over a kilometer with a one minute rest before we were set onto the course. Our section won the event with 14 seconds faster than any other team. However it wasn’t long before we were kitted up again and sent to the armoury to grab our weapons. From there it was back to the trucks and off to the training area to practice section and platoon attack drills before we were sent onto the blank firing area to try out our skills on the enemy (the staff). However the enemy was soon subdued by the mass of 37 riflemen firing as one. As soon as we fired the attack was over and we set off back to the trucks for lunch. Lamb stew was on the menu which warmed the soul as it started to rain. With moral high we had a few in-field lectures about basher building, hygiene in the field and finding a suitable harbour area which could be defended and which we could launch operations from without going a far distance and a quick lesson on sentries. With notes taken it was back to Frimley for dinner and more inter-section competitions which was the second round of the boats races and tug of war, which again 11 section was denied the top three places by coming fourth again. But it was soon to bed after another briefing for a well deserved rest.
Today we were given a 0600 start which was a relief. But it was soon to breakfast and all field kit had to be packed as we were told we were going out for two days. All civvie kit was stored and locked as we took our weapons from the armoury once more. With a quick lesson on how to do command tasks then it was back onto the trucks and off again to practice patrol skill with our kit. A 20 minute lunch and we were off. After 2km of walking everyone’s backs started to ache and one person was sent back for injuries. However, with an all round defence given and a reccy team sent out we knew soon camp would be made and to everyone’s delight this happened 500 meters later. It was time to dig into our rations packs for an early dinner before our section commanders brought us together for a brief on our mission later in the night. Our mission was a quick in and out operation which was to gather intel on the enemy from an infield agent. After a few rehearsals 200m from the camp we set off at 2130 and had to be back at 2300. The walk was quick and brief when we had eyes on our man, myself and the section commander approached to get our intel until it was the spy flashed out his torch and alerted and enemy 100m away and they opened fire upon us, grabbing the intel and with the rest of the section giving cover fire we withdrew and safely got back to the harbour area. With adrenaline still pumping I was on sentry duty at 0000 and 0200 which isn’t the best of times when you’re up for 0530 the same day. However I used what sleep I could get.
Again up at 0530, with breakfast eaten and kit packed we left at 0715 to go on the march and shoot. Everyone looked forward to this. After a two hour wait it was our turn to go. After a weapon and kit inspection we were off with our Para PTI. Arriving 30 seconds late to the range we put down our weapons and went onto the firing points, even with our lateness 11 section still won with the best inspection and shooting. And with command tasks to do throughout the day we had a lot to do. Soon it was back to an open area and a regroup before we set off to make camp once more with the added effect of the rain hammering down on us. After a bite to eat in the bashers as the stoves we ineffective to cook outside we had our meals cold. After a disappointing dinner we were briefed on tonight’s mission the ambush. Kit was packed and ammo given out, everyone had to be ready. We soon set off into the night and after 30 minutes of patrolling and stopping we came to our ambush site. After 20 minutes of waiting we thought the enemy would never come until an ambush flare went off and the kill teams soon got go work. It went quiet again then the right cut off (my part) flare went off and we opened fire to kill any runners and the enemy commander trying to escape. We withdrew faster than any man could and got back to the harbour area. Sentries were placed once again and there were reports of possible attack on the camp and also the enemy commander had been injured not killed in the ambush. Same sentry times again and the rain didn’t help and with no attack group moral shot down but in my head I knew we would succeed in our mission the next day.
The final greens day. Up at 0530 and off at 0640, camp gone and we were ready to make the final attack. We got into the bracken and undergrowth and moved through to the enemy position until a LSW post (light support weapon) opened up on the centre attack team and so it was up to me to make a flanking maneuver on the post to allow our guys to get through. With the post taken out we moved onto the enemy HQ and in one extended line off 37 rifles we fired, moments later three bodies fall out of a land rover one having a high ranking tab in his shoulders. However there was no time to celebrate it was off to Sandhurst to do another obstacle course and log run. We had a parade and met the General of Sandhurst who said he was proud off us all for getting there and telling us that my section came 2nd was a good feeling. It was then back to Frimley to relax, hand kit back in and have a BBQ and watch a film.
The last day. One more time up at 0530. With breakfast done and kit packed it was into formal dress for a church service in which I carried the ATC banner. Soon it was time for the final parade where the trophy was given and runner up medals with 11 section coming overall 4th. Then with certificates given it was almost finished until the weather had one more surprise… yes you guessed it smashed down with rain just at the end, but the CO was persistent and still wanted to do his speech with two cadets getting hypothermia. But we soon got back to the tents to find ours had been flooded but we carried on and finished at 1230 as planned, with a quick ½ mile walk to the station and I was on the way home.
On Saturday 23rd June everybody was set and ready to go, and after a long and tiring journey we arrived at RAF Shawbury. The coach dropped us just outside the sports hangar which we were sleeping in, although this was not on the RAF station it was still an MOD area. This hangar consisted of an assault course, an indoor football pitch, basketball courts and hoops and of course the ablutions. This hangar was huge! However there was no football for us yet. We were put into two different flights (A & B) and assigned to pitch our tents. All week the exercises we took part in were to be an inter-flight competition. Anyway, at first the cadets were struggling to pitch their tents, bearing in mind these things weigh a ton! A flight were to be on one side of the hangar and B flight the other. After 3 hours of hard work, the tents were up.
On the first night we headed straight into a familiarisation exercise, we were handed a booklet with many questions which we had to find the answers out as we looked around the base. The next morning we started to get a proper look at what life is like on an RAF base. The activities that we did were very educational and fun at the same time! One of the main activities consisted of getting co-ordinates of the ‘downed pilot’. To get the information we needed we had to stop and search cars and anything that tried to drive past us. The way we did this is by two cadets speaking to the driver, and two cadets searching the vehicle. Searching a vehicle includes searching everywhere, including the wheel arches. Both teams got the information they needed and we found the pilot figurine under the display aircraft out on the airfield.
Whilst we had a cadet on first aid, we had other cadets putting together a stretcher to get the pilot to the ATC (Air Traffic Control) Tower. The ATC tower was the temporary hospital. Fortunately, he survived!!!
Other activities we did included showing teamwork to build structures and objects, this made us think and was mentally challenging. One of the nights consisted of climbing the wrecking. We were split into small groups and we received a map and got told to follow the map to the top. Most groups got to the top, by most I mean one group walked 14km in the wrong direction, unfortunately it was mine! This taught us how to use and follow maps and look at the scenery around you to know that you were going in the right direction.
On the evenings it wasn’t all about doing more exercises. One night we went bowling and the other laser quest. At laser quest it was A flight vs B flight, A flight won with over 900,000 points and B flight had over -900!! We even got to watch the England game in the pub on base!
On one of the days some of the cadets got to go flying in a squirrel HT1! Unfortunately not all the cadets got to fly, however those cadets who missed out got to go flying in the Flight Simulator. This is still classed as flying in your 3822. The simulator was amazing! All the cadets got 30 mins flying time in the simulator. If we were to do this outside of cadets, it would cost £750 for just half an hour! Speaking of flying, over two of the days, the cadets got 20 mins of AEF at RAF Cosford. After the cadets had been flying they had the chance to check out the museum. As we arrived at RAF Cosford we saw a Eurofighter Typhoon!
Another day we were taken down to a hanger full of Hawks and Tornado F3\\\'s! All the cadets got to sit in the cockpit of one of the Red Arrows Hawks. Also in the Hangar there was Tucano and some helicopters. All the cadets had the chance to sit in some of the cockpits of the helicopters also. The cadets also got a look at the fatigue meter; a Red Arrows Hawk had pulled 8G 328 times!! On camp some of the cadets got to shoot and do there Weapons Training Theory. When some of the cadets were shooting, they saw two Red Arrows take off from Shawbury!
At the end of the week we had presentations. We received a camp photo along with a Royal Air Force Lanyard, an image of a Merlin and two certificates. A Flight won the best overall Flight, and B flight won the best Drill Flight. After the presentations we headed straight to Waterworld in Stoke-on-Trent. All the cadets enjoyed this and this definitely finished the week off! I’m sure all the cadets who attended gained experience and many of the cadets would attend next time.
Sunday 24th June saw an historic win in 487’s career, with the Squadron awarded the prestigious Per Ardua Cup for the third year in a row. The Per Ardua is awarded to the best performing Squadron overall in Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing at the annual Wing Field Day. Points towards the overall total are obtained through a number of events, including drill, first aid, aircraft modelling, aircraft recognition and shooting to name a few.
487 came first in the shooting and first aid competitions, as well as winning the junior and senior aircraft modelling competitions. The Squadron will now go on to represent Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing at the regional competitions in all these subjects. Special honours also go to the senior aircraft recognition team who placed second, and the senior five-a-side football team who finished third.
OIC 487 Plt Off Cotton said of the day, “It gives me great pleasure to say that the victory is thoroughly deserved by the cadets and is a tribute to the hard work and commitment they continue to put in, year on year. It is not only winning the events, but our ‘have a go’ attitude towards all events that sees the continuation of success at 487. Well done to every one of you, long may it continue!”
487 have now joined an elite group of Squadrons who have won the title three times in a row. Here’s hoping for a fourth next year!
Sunday 27th of May saw the Wing Shooting Final take place at 163 Sqn. Cpl Louise Johnson reports on the day:
\"Getting up early on a Sunday morning wasn\'t everyones ideal plan, but it had to be done. On route to 493 squadron for the shooting competition staying well clear of Newtons \"kill zone\", turns out Newton had been watching some videos on youtube about minibus crashes, great.
Anyway although it was still early, we were all full of energy, all eager to start the competition, we managed to dance to heart fm\'s non stop disco songs all the way.
After waiting for ages to shoot, it was finally our turn. We all took a zeroing target to see where our rifle was aiming then we took our actual 5-bull-target and began the shoot out. After we had shot, all four of us sat there in the blazing heat waiting to see how we had done.
Finally, the result time had come. Who would have thought, after reading the results from last to first. We had won. The 487 squadron shooting team had come 1st in the Collins trophy shoot. We even got a couple of best shots with Cdt Daly getting the best shot in the wing with a score of 93. Cpl Bell also got third best shot in the wing and CPL N Johnson got fifth best shot in the wing.
Now we go on to represent the wing at region field training day, hopefully coming home with another trophy. The whole shooting team is very happy with themselves even Cdt Daly who even smiled (or was it a twitch).\"
Plt Off Cotton commented on the days success: \"The shooting team have put in a big effort over the last few months in preparation for this competition, and it is great to see their efforts have paid off once again. Now the tough training programme begins to get them ready for the Regional competition later in the year. A big thanks must also go out to FS Andy Hudson for his hours spent on the range helping and coaching the cadets to victory.\"
6 cadets from 487 Sqn joined a contingent of 42 other cadets from Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing to take part in an activity day on Saturday 9th June, in celebration of the Queens Jubilee.
Nesscliff Army Training camp buzzed with activity, with over 800 cadets from all three cadet forces taking part in a number of different activities.
Cadets from 487 Sqn got the chance to fire the L98A2 rifle on the firing range, climb on the climbing wall, take a look around a training helicopter and take part in the inter-forces field gun run.
Cadets also got the chance to take a look around a number of stalls and ask questions of serving army personnel.
The day was rounded off by the finals of the inter-force gun run, in which a two ATC teams reached the final two, and Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing clinched the title!
A final parade was attended by all, where medals were awarded to the two best shooters fromeach cadet force, and the winning gun run team.
The cadets from 487 who attended had a great day, and said they would definitely attend again next year.
Following the recent Asda Help for Heroes event, 487 Squadron were offered the opportunity to raise some funds for the unit coffers by attending the Marks & Spencer outlet, based on the Fort Shopping Centre in Birmingham on Sunday 27th May 2012.
Civilian Committee Chair, Jane Jennings organized the event and the Squadron is extremely grateful to the Store Management for the opportunity to raise badly needed funds for a whole host of equipment and the upkeep of the mini-buses.
Due to the small scale nature of the store (just three & sometimes two tills), only four cadets were needed, although after lunch they were supplemented by the Squadron Shooting Team, returning from their exploits in winning the Wing Shooting Competition (but that’s another story).
During the day a figure of approximately £ 360 was raised, a magnificent effort with only a few cadets.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill attended the event and commented upon the friendliness of the store Staff and the good natured banter with the customers, which in no small way contributed to the success of the day. It is hoped that M & S management can be persuaded to repeat the invitation in the not too distant future.
Cadets and staff from 487 Sqn were thanked for their fundraising efforts at a ceremony at the Birmingham Council House on Thursday 17th May.
Presentations were made to all three cadet forces by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, in recognition of their efforts in the Poppy Appeal 2011.
Cadet Connelly of 487 was awarded with a plaque for being the top collector across all three cadet forces, collecting over £300 in 2 days.
Well done to everyone who helped collect for the Poppy Appeal 2011 - 487 Sqn raised a grand total of £3603.08.
Cadets at 487 Sqn were honoured with a visit from a second world war Lancaster bomber pilot on Tuesday 15th May. Cadets Clewer and Higgins were also presented with their GIC 1 certificates by Rusty.
Rusty Waughman volunteered for the RAF in 1941. After training in Canada, he qualified as a heavy bomber pilot. In November 1943 he was posted to No.101 (Special Duties) Squadron at Ludford Magna. He completed a tour of operations, which began during the Battle of Berlin, where they did several operations. Surviving a mid-air collision, only to write the aircraft off on landing, Rusty and his crew on a subsequent flight had a miraculous escape when their aircraft was blown upside down, over the target, at Mailly-le-Camp; they also survived the Nuremberg raid on 30th March 1944, when 97 aircraft were lost - including about one quarter of 101 Sqn strength that night.
Cadets were enthralled by his story and relished the opportunity to question him on his many extraordinary experiences.
Following a request from Amanda Howes, Manager at the local Asda supermarket in the Perry Barr Shopping Centre, 487 Sqn assisted the store’s aim to raise funds for Help for Heroes, selling wrist bands and providing a bag-packing service to customers.
Nine cadets and two staff (A/Sgts Dod Frieslick & Tracey Ashcroft) offered their services on Saturday 12th May 2012. The event was a great success with almost £ 900 collected during the day. The store management recorded the occasion on the Asda Website, for further details and more pictures, go to: -
Indeed, from a quick glance at the Asda news pages it becomes evident that many Air Cadet units, the length and breadth of the Country were similarly engaged in the initiative.
Both Asda Manager, Amanda Howes & OIC 487 Sqn, Plt Off Sarah Cotton thanked the cadets for their efforts. The Asda Staff are to be especially thanked for their assistance to the Cadets, especially those new to the bag-packing game. In addition 487 Squadron would be delighted to participate in any future events organized by the Store.
487 Sqn recognised the achievement of several cadets and NCOs on the evening of the 10th May 2012, with a round of promotions.
The squadron prides itself on the quality of its NCOs, and so has recently introduced an application and interview process for promotion to Corporal. The cadets who think they have what it takes first complete an in-depth application form detailing their achievements and suitability for the role. They then have to undergo an interview with the OC, Adj and SNCO, much akin to a job interview panel. The cadets are quizzed on elements ranging from their views on leadership to involvement on the Squadron. Selections were made after staff consultation and the best candidates were given the ‘green light.’
Promotions from Cadet to Corporal – Cpl Steadman, Cpl Johnson N, Cpl Johnson L, Cpl Bell M.
Once cadets reach the rank of Corporal then they are tasked with taking on more responsibility, given command of cadets and become more involved in the day to day running of the squadron. Two existing corporals had taken on this challenge with great enthusiasm, and so it was decided that they possessed what it takes to move up to the rank of Sergeant.
Promotions from Corporal to Sergeant – Sgt Morris, Sgt Nye (Made on 15th May)
Sgt Nye was also presented with his BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Public Services certificate, adding to his long list of achievements in the past 12 months.
And finally Sergeant Reynolds was promoted to the rank of Flight Sergeant, after demonstrating excellent commitment to 487 Sqn and the ability to lead and co-ordinate the NCO team in many of its activities.
Plt Off Cotton, OIC 487 Sqn, commented:
“The promotions this evening reflect a period of great achievement for 487 Sqn, where individual contributions are recognised. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to move up the rank structure within the ACO, and to carry out the duties of your rank is not always easy. Those who go that extra mile and are able to lead others often through adversity are the cadets who we select to be part of our NCO team. Congratulations to all that were promoted tonight, this is where the hard work begins!”
5 staff and 21 cadets from 487 Sqn travelled to Tudor Grange Athletics Stadium in Solihull, on Sunday 6th May 2012 to take part in the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing Athletics Championships. After an early morning start and only 3 minibus break-downs, the team reached the stadium raring to go!
Throughout the day the teams entered every event they could, with a good number coming away with medals for their efforts. As points are awarded for competitors placed outside of the medals also, everyone knew that every point counted towards the final total, and so gave it all they had to up the tally.
Later on in the afternoon it was time for the senior boys relay race, which the 487 team were warming up for in anticipation. As it transpired, they were the only team to run the relay! The pressure was on however to keep within the lane markers, swap the baton in time, and not to drop it! Thankfully, after a nerve-wracking race the team crossed the finish line and scooped 4 gold medals.
Cpl Nye also deserves a mention for competing in a distance race whilst battling with agonising cramp! He gritted his teeth and pushed through, finishing in 5th place but securing the squadron another few points. Ki Te Mutunga (Through to the end)!
The squadron came away with another trophy for the cabinet, after the Senior Boys won overall on the day.
Sgt (ATC) Taylor, the Team Co-ordinator commented:
“The cadets have put in a massive effort today and done 487 Sqn proud. Each cadet was eager to give their all to whichever event they could, ultimately coming away with a trophy. A big well done to all the cadets who participated today, and whether they won or not, they should all be proud of their collective efforts.”
Wednesday 2nd April –
487 Sqn were the first to be picked up by the coach, just after midnight on the 2nd April. Although the long journey to Luton airport allowed time to sleep, everyone was too excited, and so arrive bleary-eyed in the early hours.
As the plane came into land, an air of panic descended as everyone thought they were about to land in the sea! What we didn’t realise is that the runway extends out into the sea… phew! The first thing we noticed after stepping off the plane was the rock of Gibraltar, though we didn’t realise at first, that we were going to have to go up it…
It didn’t take long to get to our destination, and we were soon shown to our rooms that we would be sharing with 7 others for the week. Sharing with so many people made it hard to get any privacy, but made us bond with others on the camp. After an initial briefing we finally ate our tea. The food throughout the week was excellent, with lots of variety and an interesting mix of Spanish and English food.
The day ended in true air cadet style with a drill session, and as we were exhausted already it took the last of our reserves before we unpacked and headed off to bed.
Thursday 3rd April –
Reveille for the week was 0700, leaving us plenty of time for a big breakfast! Thursday started with a brief from the station commander, followed by a timely break in the rain for the camp photo. We then went to visit the fire section, who gave us a brief and a demonstration of how they control the vehicles on the runway. We were then shown round the fire engines and were allowed to try on the fire fighting gear. The final briefing at the station was about different kinds of explosives, and the equipment that was used when diffusing bombs, which was very interesting.
The afternoon saw us taking a ride up the side of Gibraltar rock in a cable car. It was actually quite scary, as I didn’t realise how high and steep the rock was! We were greeted by a group of monkeys at the top, and were told to keep our bags close. After only a few minutes it became apparent why, as the monkeys started stealing food from people!
Friday 4th April –
Time for the Med Steps… None of us had guessed how hard these steps would be to climb! The steps took us half way up the rock, and at points it seemed like we were climbing a mountain. This experience really tested me. There were times when I wanted to turn back but it would have been dangerous, so my team mates encouraged me through it and we made it to the top by helping each other. Once at the top we realised it had all been worth it and although our legs hurt, we were proud of what we had achieved. The view was amazing.
St Michaels Cave was an impressive sight as well, and we got to see inside the Jurassic limestone cave which is over 200 million years old.
After a tough day we all got to relax with a game of bowling, giving us chance to relax and socialise.
Saturday 5th April –
We spent all of Saturday in a theme park in Spain, which was brilliant! We got to socialise with everyone on the camp and got to go on as many rides as we liked. The weather was good to us too, and the sun shone all day.
Sunday 6th April –
Another day spent in Spain, this time we went to the Selwo Safari Park. We spent all day travelling around the park in small trucks, getting really close to the animals.
Monday 7th April –
After a couple of days spent relaxing and having fun, we started the day by getting stuck into some sports. We were surprised at how lazy we had become, and everyone stepped it up when the competition got tough!
After a brief visit to Gibraltar Squadron, we were taken off to the Dolphins Ocean Village where we were all seated in small boats and taken out to sea. We were hoping to see some dolphins but unfortunately they must have been shy, as the most we managed to see was a fin!
Tuesday 8th April –
In the morning we visited the dog section on the station, getting to see how the dogs were trained, how they did their jobs and how they are used around the base.
In the afternoon we were given the chance to go shopping. We spent all of our money on ice-creams and presents, but also got to see how Gibraltar is made up of old historic buildings mixed with new modern ones.
We were then taken into the lower WW2 tunnels underneath Gibraltar, which scared the life out of me! It was pitch black, lit only by some small torches. We did get to see how big the inside of the tunnels were though, and learnt that there is a hospital, toilets and a kitchen in there, that were all used in the second world war.
Wednesday 9th April –
The time had come to leave, and it was a sad time as we had made some good friends over the week which we were going to have to say goodbye to. It was a surprise how well we had all bonded, as we didn’t even speak at the start of the week but had become good friends by the end of it.
Overall the camp was a great experience. It was a great way to meet new people and see a different culture. I got to experience things I never thought I would, and would recommend this camp to anyone.
During the Easter holidays, thirteen cadets from 487 Sqn attended a week long joint adventure training camp in Snowdonia, based at the Capel Curig Training Camp. The camp was organized by Flt Lt Simon Jennings OC 485 Sqn, ably assisted by Plt Off Sarah Cotton, F/Sgt Andy Hudson and Sgt Nick Gallivan, all staff members at 487 Sqn and CI Ellen Seymour of 485. They were joined in mid-week by Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, OC 487 Sqn, and Officer Cadet Gemma Carpenter from 489 Sqn. CWO Enya Tabram from 163 Sqn in Coventry also attended the camp.
The camp was codenamed “Tigger 12” from the 485 Sqn badge, depicting Rudyard Kipling’s Shere Khan and to an adaption of William Blake’s poem “Tiger Tiger Burning Bright”, a reference to the climbing tigers of N Wales during the 1950s.
The group departed the West Midlands for North Wales early on a bright Easter Sunday, however shortly after the Shrewsbury services on the A5, the 487 minibus began to emit clouds of white smoke from the exhaust (and not a pope in sight). Of course, due to the bank holiday, there was to be a long wait for the AA. A phone call to Birmingham to interrupt Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill’s well earned Easter Sunday lie-in to request the other Sqn minibus attend and save the day was also made. Due to the Easter break he arrived (like Thunderbird Two), before the AA. The kit and cadets were swapped into the new bus and then the AA arrived. The very nice man from the AA fixed the bus in about 30 seconds flat, with a piece of sticky tape. With a Blue Peter badge and a hearty wave, the buses then made their way in opposite directions. The remainder of the journey North was uneventful.
However the mountain gods were again on that day to throw a spanner in the works of the organisers. After lunch, the first item on the programme was a pre-arranged visit to the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team (OVMRT), which normally is a very interesting experience. As the group arrived the team was rushing around as they had received a call-out. Initially the visit by the cadets continued, however, when another emergency call was received, we were asked to leave as the remaining team members were required for the rescue. A reference to our contracted visit was recorded in the local press.
After dinner at Capel Curig the cadets were divided into flights and briefed as to conduct on the camp and the programme for the week
Monday dawned. No let up from The Mountain Gods’ Met Dept. Inclement weather, with continual rain all day. The programme indicated navigation training. The Capel Curig training facilities were utilised to provide theory instruction in map & compass work, pace counting and timing. The whole camp was then taken to the Beddgelert forest to put into practice the morning’s instruction. Although the rain and the cold were not helpful all agreed that it was a useful exercise with many of the new cadets gaining a great insight into practical navigation in a wilder environment.
A visit to the National Mountaineering Training Centre at Plas-Y-Brenin was on Tuesday’s programme. Upon arrival the party was split into two groups, one to go kayaking and canoeing the other to take part in rock climbing on the nearby Capel Curig Pinnacles, a favoured & famed spot of climbers for many years. The groups swapped over at lunch time. Once more the weather was less than clement, although the majority of the exposure to moisture was self-induced during the kayaking. An easy day for the Air Cadet staff as the Centre instructors provided all the training and supervision. Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill & Officer Cadet Gemma Carpenter joined the camp on the evening to supplement the staff as the next two days were dedicated to the higher places in Snowdonia.
Mount Snowdon, was Wednesday’s target for most of the cadets & staff. A blustery day with showers meant that newer cadets were able to experience some of what mountain weather conditions can be like. The groups departed Pen Y Pass and followed the Pyg Track to the summit. Although shrouded in mist, Yr Wyddfa, the summit was busy, it was after all Easter week and the railway was fully operational, although many of the summiteers had ascended one of the many routes on foot. It is the highest mountain in Wales and is higher than all the English peaks. For the majority of the cadets this was their first experience of climbing a mountain and all the cadets made steady progress towards the summit. The reward for the effort was the realisation by many, that millions of people in England & Wales were below them whilst they touched the trig point for photos. We descended via the Snowdon Ranger path to complete the transit of the mountain. Shortly after leaving the top we dropped below the mountain’s cloudy cap into bright warm sunshine to the waiting transport at the Youth Hostel. A small also party undertook a low level navex in the surrounding valleys.
Thursday’s weather continued the previous afternoon’s fine spell (presumably the Weather Gods day off). The destination was the Carneddau range of northern Snowdonia. Although the routes were not as high or demanding as the previous days’ endeavors, the nature of the terrain, the round rolling foothills of the main Carneddau range required the navigation skills learnt in the Beddgelert forest on Monday. This part of Snowdonia is much less frequented than others, a point not lost on cadets who remarked that they only saw two or three people all day, compared with yesterday’s throngs on Snowdon summit. The good weather allowed fine views of the main mountain ridges and northward to Anglesey, where Holy Mountain near Holyhead was clearly visible. The Carneddau are home to large numbers of wild horses, roaming free in the largest area in the UK outside Scotland without road access. They are the descendants of animals released following the closure of the mines in the area during the 19th Century. It is also an area littered with pre-historical sites, a must for time-team enthusiasts.
The week was quickly drawing to a close. A presentation of Attendance Certificates & Camp Photos was made during the final debrief. The evening entertainment of a quiz and Pizza went down well with the cadets. The last day of the camp saw the cadets travel to the Sun centre in Rhyl to enjoy the relaxing facilities on offer a great end to the camp.
All the cadets and staff at 487 Sqn thank Flt Lt Simon Jennings, OC 485 Sqn who instigated the idea, prepared the programme and undertook the organisation with help from the other members of staff.
The consensus among the cadets of 487 Squadron, mostly at the beginning of their cadet careers, is that they enjoyed the experience and would willingly attend another camp of this nature. The weather did not dampen their enthusiasm or deter them. Many commenting on the range of activities offered and the excellent facilities at the Capel Curig Training Camp.
Sgt (ATC) Gallivan has completed her Senior NCO Staff Initial Course at RAF Cranwell.
The 5 day course packs in a range of ATC themed training and assessments, such as drill, teaching techniques and general ATC knowledge.
Sgt Gallivan runs the First Class training course on the squadron, and hopes to use some of the new techniques to enhance an already successful programme.
Flt Lt O'Neill, OC 487 Sqn commented on her achievement:
"There was never any doubt that Sgt Gallivan would perform well on this course. She does a fantastic job of running the First Class Course at the squadron, and sets a great example to the new cadets joining the squadron. Ensuring our staff are well trained and up to date is key in ensuring we provide the best training for cadets at the squadron. Well done to Sgt Gallivan."
Sunday 22nd April saw Sgt Bell and Cpl Borhara begin their Gliding Scholarships at 633 VGS (RAF Cosford). Over the next few weeks they will gain both theoretical and practical experience with the aircraft, building up to a solo flight.
The training takes place in a Vigilant aircraft over approximately 8 hours flying time. In this time the cadets learn the principles of control, airmanship and navigation, and put it into practice under the watchful eye of their instructor. At the end of the training, if they show the aptitude, they can even progress to flying the aircraft solo!
Good luck to both, let's hope the weather improves!
On Wednesday 28th March 2012 Cadet Warrant Officer Steven Lycett of 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron was invested as the Lord Lieutenant\'s Cadet for the West Midlands County. Representatives from the Sea Cadets Corps & Army Cadet Force were also honoured.
The ceremony was performed by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Tom Lloyd OBE TD DL and took place in the Council Chamber at the Council House in Birmingham. The Cadets were presented with framed Certificates and badges for their uniforms. The formalities were witnessed by proud parents, family and Staff from the various contingents, all agreed that the Cadets were excellent examples of the three Cadet Forces. The outgoing Cadets, including CWO Sam Quinn from 1459 Sqn were also in attendance. A number of escorting Cadets were drawn form the respective Units to act a Reception Guard for the Deputy Lord Lieutenant upon his arrival.
A Citation for each Cadet was read out by their Unit Commanders, prior to receipt of their Certificates, highlighting their individual achievements during their time as Cadets.
As Lord Lieutenant\'s Cadets, their duties will include accompanying the Lord Lieutenant at special civic and military engagements during the forthcoming year. During his speech the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, highlighted the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics, suggesting it would be a busy year. He went on to say that all the Cadets were a credit to themselves and their organisations.
CWO Lycett has been a member of 487 Sqn for six years. He has for some time been NCO i/c the Training Flight, initiating new recruits into the Sqn and providing them with basic instruction in Drill & other subjects.
During his time as a cadet, he has attended many parades. He has represented the Squadron every year at the Royal British Legion Remembrance Parade in Birmingham and acted as a Standard Bearer at their Freedom of the City Parade in 2010. He also assists each year with Poppy Collections and other fund raising events for the RAF Benevolent Fund & Royal Air Force Association.
Outside the Sqn, he has been a full time Volunteer Youth Worker at the Treehurst Youth Centre, assisting in the supervision & mentoring of young people between five and 14 years of age all under the direction of Birmingham City Council. Other hobbies include attendance at a theatre school and he is currently a member of a local football team.
As an Air Cadet, CWO Lycett achieved Staff Cadet (Pt 2) level and has recently attended and passed the new Method of Instruction Course, adding quality to the Squadron’s training programme as well as furthering his personal development. He also completed the Gold level of the D of E Award scheme in the summer of 2011.
In addition to attendance at numerous camps & cadet courses, he has recently undertaken the Wing Drill Instructors course and has attended the Cadet BASIC course for over 18’s. He is trained in & qualified to shoot the Nr 8 and L98A2 rifles and has represented the Sqn & Wing shooting teams at the Wing & Regional Training Days respectively.
CWO Lycett is a natural athlete and excels in many sports. As a Cadet he has, over a number of years, represented Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing in Swimming, Football, Rugby and Hockey and the Central & East Region in Rugby and Football
He has also represented the Squadron in cross-country & athletics.
He hopes to become an adult member of staff upon reaching his 20th birthday in order to further develop as an individual and to pass on the knowledge & experience gathered in the past six years.
Flight Lieutenant Brendan O’Neill OC 487 Sqn, commented, “This is a great honour for Steven; I have followed his progression from a thirteen year old recruit to the Squadron’s senior cadet, marked with many milestones along the way. It makes me vey proud to see him invested today as the Lord Lieutenant\'s Cadet. It is a reward for his efforts and a measure of his achievements. He can be justifiably proud of his record”
On the evening of Tuesday 27th March, the culmination of all of 487 Squadron’s efforts and achievements over the last 2 years were inspected. Group Captain Morrell and Squadron Leader Wiggins visited the squadron to see what makes us a contender for the honour of being crowned the best squadron in the ATC.
487 Squadron has celebrated success for the last two years by lifting the ‘Per Ardua Cup’, as winners of Wing Field Day. A culmination of successes in many different disciplines lead to us leading the pack overall and scooping the coveted trophy on the day, for two consecutive years. As a squadron we participate in not only Wing Field Day, but every other event on the annual calendar, making sure we field a team for each event. Encouraging participation in every event has sealed many a win in sports and athletics, and seen cadets gain valuable and sometimes life changing experiences. As a result of our performance, we were nominated as Warwickshire and Birmingham’s contender for the Lees Trophy.
After a short delay due to famous Midlands motorway traffic, a Guard of Honour greeted the visiting officers, with all cadets on parade ready for inspection. The Group Captain took time to speak to each cadet on parade, quizzing them on their service, best moments and future aspirations.
Group Captain Morrell was able to see 487 Squadron’s training for Wing Field Day in progress, visiting each classroom to see what kind of activities and training we undertake.
A surprise lay in wait for Sgt John Daniel on the final parade of the evening, where he was presented with his Gliding Scholarship Silver Wings, after completing his course at RAF Cosford.
As the first of the 6 regional inspections, 487 hope to set the standard for others to follow, and are keeping our fingers crossed that we get ‘through to the end’.
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Sgt Daniel Receives the trophy for Best Cadet
On Saturday 4th February staff, cadets and their families gathered at the Kingstanding Branch Royal British Legion for the annual 487 Sqn Awards Evening... Or at least that was the plan! A freak snow storm meant that those who had made it to the Legion through the elements had to be sent home before it became too dangerous to travel.
Fortunately though we were able to reschedule for the 8th March and this time it went off without a hitch. We had a fantastic turn out of cadets and their nearest and dearest, and two great guests of honour in Wg Cdr Ladwa and Flt Lt Simon Jennings. We were also lucky enough to have a number of 487’s ‘old boys’ join us, one of which brought his original 3822 with him just in case he was turned away at the door!
All cadets who had served the squadron throughout 2011 were presented with a certificate listing their achievements, with their proud families watching on. The newest Junior Cadets were also in attendance, gaining an appetite for what opportunities they have within the Air Cadet Organisation.
Everyone was treated to addresses from commanding officer Flt Lt O’Neill and Wg Cdr Ladwa, as well as a video of 487’s drill team in action at the 2011 competition.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of trophies to those cadets who had achieved that little bit extra:
Best Sporting Cadet – CWO Steve Lycett
Best Drill Cadet – Sgt Tom Bell (for an impressive third year on the run! Well done on your hat trick)
Best Flight – Merlin Flight
Service to 487 Sqn – Sgt Adam Reynolds
Overall Best Cadet – Sgt John Daniel
Wg Cdr Ladwa complimented the successes of the year, saying, “487 have continued their run of success with another bumper year of awards, and have proven themselves worthy of the Per Ardua Cup once again.” He went on to commend the efforts of the cadets, the staff, not forgetting the many parents in attendance for their support over the past 12 months and beyond.
Congratulations to all cadets on their achievements in 2011, here’s to an even more successful 2012.
Cdt Johnson leads the way
On the weekend of Friday 10th to Sunday 12th February 2012, cadets Johnson and Steadman attended the Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing JNCO Course at RAF Cosford.
From arrival on the Friday evening, through to departing on the Sunday afternoon, the cadets are put through a rigorous training and assessment programme, designed to test their skills in leadership and communication. The training prepares cadets for the roles and responsibilities they will take on as potential junior NCOs.
The Friday night gave the cadets no time to rest, as they were divided into syndicates and began by introducing themselves to their new team and the syndicate assessors. The cadets were then told that they would be delivering a group presentation on the Sunday, and so would need to begin planning for that straight away. After a tough night of planning the cadets headed to bed.
Saturday began bright and early, with the cadets being inspected on their dress and deportment by the Drill Instructor staff on the Learning and Development team. The training then begins in the classroom, on topics such as the role of a JNCO, leadership and leadership styles, communication, presentation skills and the RAF SMEAC briefing method. After dinner, it was then time to work on the syndicate presentations that they would deliver to the whole course on the Sunday.
Another early start on the Sunday saw the cadets grouped into their syndicates to carry out a series of initiative exercises, designed to test the cadets leadership skills in a practical setting. Each cadet was in turn given chance to lead their team through an exercise, using the SMEAC briefing method and managed their team throughout, whilst all the time being under close assessment from the assessors.
Sunday culminated in the syndicate presentations, again marked on a range of different criteria for each cadet. The topics ranged from fast food to bullying, proving both informative and entertaining for the rest of the course.
The course was finished off by presentations to each cadet, with a course photo and their certificate of attendance. Detailed course reports are then sent to the cadets OC for a full debrief.
Plt Off Sarah Cotton attended the course as part of the Wing Learning and Development Team, and comments on the cadets performance:
“This is an intensive course, designed for those who believe they have the potential to become JNCOs at their squadron. Cadets Johnson and Steadman did 487 Sqn proud this weekend, putting in a solid effort and approaching the course with great enthusiasm and humour. It now stands the cadets in good stead when applying for roles as JNCOs.”
Cadets who think they have what it takes are encouraged to contact Plt Off Cotton for information about the next JNCO course in May 2012.
The day started off cold, drizzly and windy with the force clearly not with the four young cadets as two of them forgot their 3822’s, one forgot to bring his lunch and the last one didn’t even turn up in uniform! A stroke of luck came when Sir turned up for the ‘mission’ slightly late so all the misfortunes so far could be corrected. Eventually they were all set to make the jump to light speed and set off for RAF Cosford.
When they reached Cosford, they were all sat down in a waiting room where they all waited in with as much anticipation as the rebellion army before their attack on the Death Star. The four cadets watched sheepishly as the Gliders were rolled out of the hangar and could not wait for the moment that they would take off into space and pilot them against the evil forces of Darth Vader and the Emperor.
Although they were eager to take to the skies, 3 of the 4 cadets were as disappointed as Luke Skywalker when he found out that his father was Darth Vader as they were told that the wind was the only force stopping them from flying. The dark side of the force must also have been playing its hand when they were told that the clouds had come down lower than they were before and so there was definitely no chance of them flying.
The journey home was long and quiet, the silence occasionally broken by a couple of Sir’s ‘jokes’. However, within that car sat one content cadet who sat in silence with a great sense of accomplishment at finally getting to fly on his third journey to RAF Cosford, in this case, the third time really was the charm. Congratulations, Cadet Rooprai.
On Saturday 7th January 2012, a group of 17 cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn, 163 (Coventry Phoenix)Sqn and 1459 (Heart of England) Sqn came together for a day of training on the cadet No.8 rifle.
Before any cadet can fire the rifle they must undergo a series of training exercises and tests to ensure that they are safe to fire. The cadet must understand and demonstrate the working parts of the rifle, how to handle it safely, how to deal with misfired rounds, and recognise the commands that will be given by a range conducting officer.
All 17 cadets demonstrated on the day that they have what it takes, and are now able to begin shooting the No.8 rifle at organised range practices.
FS Andy Hudson, event organiser, commented:
\"The cadets have worked hard today to demonstrate that they are able to handle this weapon safely. Every part of the test is scrutinised in detail and to pass a cadet must get everything correct. A big well done to all the cadets for their effort and concentration on the day. Big thanks must also go out to the staff who assisted with the training and smooth running of the day.\"
Cadets show off their badges and certificates. From left to right: Cdt Harvey-Allen, Cdt Johnson, Cply Nye, Cdt Small.
487 Sqn have made a good start to the new year with the achievement of 9 Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards. The cadets have been working hard through 2010 to gain their awards, putting in hours of marksmanship training, drill, expedition planning, fitness training and successfully completing two arduous expeditions on foot in North Wales.
The completion of the award is a motivator for both the cadets who have achieved it and plan to go on to their Silver awards, and the other cadets on the squadron who now want to get involved in the exciting programme.
The Duke of Edinburgh programme for 2012 is starting to take shape already, with 2 cadets nearing completion of their Gold awards, 9 aiming for Silver and many cadets beginning their Bronze training.
A big well done to Cdt Harvey Allen, Cpl Nye, Cdt Johnson, Cdt Small, FS Kirby, Cdt Farrell, Cdt Daly, Cpl Reader and Cpl Bhakta!