Sunday 16th October saw the Great Birmingham Run, a gruelling half marathon, take place throughout the streets of Birmingham with cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn on standby to help out.
The cadets were tasked with handing out the finishing packs containing medals, t-shirts and other goodies to the exhausted runners. An early and very wet start to the day was in order, with the cadets receiving a second wash that morning in the torrential downpour (or first wash in some cases I imagine!). Fortunately the bad weather conditions only lasted throughout set-up of the finish stations, and by the time the first runners were coming through the sun was breaking its’ way through the clouds.
The runners came through in waves, with the cadets working non-stop at times to ensure every successful runner received their hard-earned finishing pack. In between waves of runners the pace of finishers steadied, allowing the opportunity for a smile, congratulations and even a short conversation with some. There were a great many fantastic causes on t-shirts, with lots of the participants running for charity. Some of the runners were kind enough to thank the cadets and staff for volunteering to help.
By 15.00 the amount of finishers coming through had slowed to a dribble, with the sweeping van doing its rounds, bringing a hard days’ volunteering to an end. OC 487 Sqn, Flt Lt Gemma Carpenter, reflected on the days efforts, “It was a strange day weather-wise, with mother nature throwing everything she had at us. It’s quite unusual to be soaked to the bone and freezing cold, and later have a sweat on all within the same day. Despite this the cadets’ efforts were fantastic, enthusiastic and professional throughout. There were compliments aplenty from the runners, which of course I echo. We look forward to helping out again next year.”
On the 19th June 12 cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn visited RAF Cosford, to help man the Cosford Club during the air show. The Cosford Club is a central runway location which is ticket-only, offering a prestigious view.
The day was jam-packed with planes, rain, excitement and disappointment as the unfortunate downpour forced two jets to pull out last minute. Cadets worked in 2 hour shifts, allowing them to browse the many stalls and shops in between working, as well as viewing the static aircraft and watching the air displays. Cdt Cpl Connor Jeffries stated, “The day was great, apart from the rain. All of us worked hard and the flying displays we saw didn’t disappoint either.”
CI Lisa Wilkes added, “The cadets worked really hard today, they deserve all the praise they were given by the visitors in attendance and RAF personnel who they assisted in running the Cosford Club. We look forward to attending again next year.”
The 9th of June 2016 was no ordinary night for six of 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn’s Air Cadets. Indeed, it was a landmark first step up the promotion ladder for our newest batch of Corporals.
Following a rigorous period of assessment for all the would-be candidates, much of which was carried out by staff unbeknown to the cadets, those displaying the most potential were selected by 487 OC Fg Off Gemma Carpenter. Initially a probationary period, the heat is still on new Cpl’s Tom Wilkes, Connor Jeffries, Holly Daly, Isobelle Harper, Ebere Ikwuanusi and Toni Malone to prove themselves, as the rank can be revoked at any time.
The night was made all the more special as the promotions were presented by Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing’s Wg Cdr Stuart Iles, who was visiting 487 that evening. Wg Cdr Iles commented, “Some duties are always a pleasure, and this is undoubtedly one of those. The real hard work for the new Cpl’s starts here, I wish them all the best of luck for their future journey in the Corps.”
June 2016 saw a week full of action, adventure and activities for the cadets of 487 (Kingstanding and Perry Barr) Sqn. Cadets from around Warwickshire and Birmingham joined the seven 487 crew for an amazing camp in Capel Curig, North Wales.
Wales is renowned for heavy rain, thunderstorms, cold wind and snow, however this was not the case on this occasion. The sun was beaming down at 25 degrees, making multiple applications of sun cream a necessity. “I really wanted a suntan, but I’ll wear a fleece!” commented Cdt Cpl Toni Malone. The sun served to make the action packed week feel like a holiday.
There was gorge walking, mountain hiking in Snowdon and Tryfan, kayaking and a whole lot more besides. The gorge walking was a favourite of many, being a very exciting and interesting hands-on experience, with learning about an array of plants thrown into the mix. The instructor advised not to eat more than a leaf of wild garlic, but unfortunately for the people in Cdt Cpl Tom Wilkes’ dorm he devoured two leaves. The hiking, scrambling and navigating involved in the mountain climbing hit a chord with the young garlicky Cpl, who now has his sights set on a Mountain Leader’s course.
Overall the week at Capel Curig was a very exciting and interesting week, with many of the cadets commenting, “This is one of the best camps I’ve ever been on.”
June 2016 saw 4 representatives from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn take part in a very wet Regional Athletics competition.
Although, somewhat predictably, Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing did not come away with the trophy, the individual categories had improved. The Class E Senior Girls came second, though this did not match the overriding accomplishment of not drowning in the persistent torrential downpour. Indeed the 200m sprint closer resembled a 200m swim, thankfully there were no broken bones.
Representing the 487 contingent were Cpl Jeffries on discus, Cpl Wilkes 800m, Cpl Ikwuanusi E in 100m, 200m and 100m relay, and Cdt Ikwauanusi O 200m. Although no events were won, Cpl Ikwuanusi E came a very respectable 3rd in 100m and 2nd in 200m and will go on to represent the Region in the Corps Athletics competition.
Cpl Jeffries reflected on the days’ events and offered some wise words of motivation, “Let’s try to lose less next year.”
487 Squadron are down to the last three in the Sainsburys Local Charity of the Year and we need your votes.
Winning the charity of the year would see 487 Sqn be the nominated charity for the Castle Vale store for 12 months and enable them to take part in a number of fundraising activities and promotion for the squadron in the area.
All you need to do to vote is:
go to http://www.sainsburyslocalcharity.co.uk
Search for the Castle Vale Store and vote for 487 Air Cadets
If you are in the area and wish to vote in store also there is a stand next to the customer service desk where you can pick up a token and drop it into our box to vote for us.
Please vote and ask friends and family to do the same and support the squadron.
Thanks for all your support!!
The Camp Photo
On Saturday the 26th March 2016, 34 cadets from Birmingham and Warwickshire took a short trip to RAF Henlow for 7 days which consisted of: sport, section visits, competitions, social activities, education, drill and a sample of what it would be like to be in the Royal Air Force. Camps are fantastic ways of meeting new people and making great memories, in some instances camps help you to choose your career, this may be because you have spoken to some personnel and gathered information about the Royal Air Force. When you volunteer to go on a camp you feel nervous about meeting new people and trying to fit in but as soon as you get on the coach you meet a lot of friendly faces who welcome you and they create memories with you for which you will always remember. Being the only cadet from my squadron (487) I was looking forward to my third camp and was excited for the week to get started because camps are my favourite thing to do with Cadets.
We arrived at RAF Henlow around 15:00 and gathered in the briefing room with our luggage, waiting for the staff. With all these new faces around me I felt apprehensive but then I realised that us all being Air Cadets was like being one big family, we were all in the same position and the only way we could get to know each other was to conversate and so that's what we did. We immediately entered the briefing room to find 5 staff chairs in front of us which said different cheese names such as CI Lockton being Red Leicester I thought that this was a great way for the staff to interact with the Cadets and implied to the new Cadets that Staff will get involved in the activities as much as you and will enjoy the camp as long as the Cadets do! After the briefing all Cadets got unpacked and socialised followed by dinner at the Junior Ranks Mess. That night we all took part in a famex (familiaristaion exercise), despite the weather which appeared to be pouring down we got into flights and took part in a quiz which consisted of getting familiar with our surroundings which was the base, this gave the Cadets a great opportunity to communicate with those around us. Role Call that night was at 22:30 which meant that a register was to be taken to check that we was all present and an alert for lights out which would be in a short period of time.
Day 2, every Cadet and Staff member ascended from their beds at an early time of 06:00 hours, todays uniform was working blues. At 07:00 we marched in flights (A and B) to breakfast which was incredibly close to our building. At breakfast we had various options from cereal to a fry up, everyone grabbed their breakfast and took a seat. After breakfast we jumped onto the minibuses and drove to IWM Duxford which was an educational trip about the historic airfield and museum history of aviation, looking around I noticed that every Cadet was enjoying themselves and was getting involved as well as being respectful to the history that this place had to offer. After having a packed lunch, which not many people enjoyed, we drove back to the base to prepare for sports that night. A short time passed, it was time for dinner which was at 17:00 every day. A short trip to the gym was where every Cadet took part in a variety of activities such as: badminton, football and rounders, again this was a great chance for every Cadet to socialise and meet new people. Three hours passed and it was time to leave, we got back to the RAF base and back to our building. We had free time then to hang with our friends and prepare our uniform for the next day and so thats what we did, before we knew it time had flown by and it was time for role call.
Monday was a busy day which started at 06:00 hours. Today we had an inspection like most days and I was very happy to find out that my uniform was very good. Today we were off to two different places outside the RAF base which were Bletchley Park and Madingley (Cambridge American Cemetery.) Firstly in our working blues we went to Bletchley Park which is the central site for Britain's codebreakers during World War two. With our friends we explored and learnt about Bletchley Park, taking part in activities we found it interesting and felt bewildered that Britain's codebreakers played a huge role in World War two. After a look around I think that it was easy to say that everyone bought something from the cafe and sat down waiting to go back. Time passed, we had our packed lunch and went back to the building where we were informed that we were heading to Cambridge Cemetery in our wedgewood uniform, the journey began. We arrived at the cemetery where I felt astonished to be viewing such beautiful scenery with a powerful message, a tour was held followed by a few camp photos. Awaiting for the flag to be lowered we respectfully had a look around, it really is amazing what some people do for the country. The flag was lowered at approximately 16:00, it was then time to go. The long journey back to the base it was, arriving with just enough time to go to dinner.
Tuesday 29th March started off with the CAM visit which was the centre of Aviation Medicine, we were welcomed by personnel where they spoke to us about their job and we had a look around. During this visit we went to a chamber room where we watched marshmallows in a balloon losing oxygen, this caused the balloon to pop and the marshmallow to increase in size. The pop was caused due to the air pressure that the lack of oxygen was creating along with the height. This was followed by the camp photo which was took at the base in our wedgewood uniform. Lunch followed this. It was then time for drill as we hadn't done any so far that week. After drill we popped our green uniform on (MTP/DPM) and spoke to the outreach team who spoke about careers in the RAF and got us to participate in activities to show how our communication skills are as a team and if we listen to one another enough to follow instructions correctly, I feel that as a team we did fairly good as we had a leader and followed drill timings. After dinner we went swimming where the people who wanted to do swimming got their basic swim competence. Bowling followed this and in our flights we spent 3 hours playing Bowling, the winner which was the person with the most points won a bowling ball from the staff which was indeed very funny. We headed back to the building where we prepped our uniforms and lights out was at 22:30.
Wednesday was the day that everyone was waiting for, it was time for AEF flying at Wittering. In our working blue uniform we anxiously drove to Wittering where we had the long day of waiting to go up. Having been flying twice already I was last on the list so my day dragged on however; whilst waiting there were many activities to do such as: ping pong, play on the wii or watch a film so the day was a chilled day. All of a sudden it was time for me to go flying, I hopped into my suit and went out to the tutor aircraft, the pilot who was accompanying me was very enthusiastic and was keen to let me have control of the aircraft which I found very amazing to do especially that he was very lenient and allowed me to have control of the aircraft for a very long time. Memories like this are ones I will surely never forget and I was very glad that I had the opportunity to be in the tutor aircraft. We rushed back to the building just in time for dinner, we got dressed into our normal clothes and headed to laser quest where in our flights we took part in a competition and each flight won one game each. It was time to head back to the building where we sorted out our uniform and went to sleep as it had been a long and tiring day.
Thursday 31st March, breakfast started off our day followed by room and uniform inspection. We visited Hendon Museum, where we took part in a quiz in groups. Hendon Museum was one of my favourite visits as I found it really interesting exploring different sections and having a conversation with a group of French people. On this day we again had a horrible packed lunch but luckily I brought my own food with me which infact helped a lot. We headed back and got changed into our sports kit where we headed to the gym and took part in rounders for the flight competition, B flight won. It was then dinner time again so we marched to the junior ranks mess, a warm dinner was needed after the tiring sports activities that we had taken part in. After this we had free time for the rest of the night.
Friday 1st April, today was April fools day and the staff and Cadets each had their own little pranks to pull on each other. It all started when the Cadets were told to wear our working blue uniform with our ties and to slow march everywhere, we thought this was ridiculous so we wore our ties over our jumpers so it looked scruffy along with our stable belts over our uniform... eventually we was told by the Flight Sergeant to change as we looked a mess. It was time for the cadets to pull a prank on the staff so the NCO's put their rank slides on upside down and reversed each command. Then some NCO's filled Flight Sergeants desk with memes as he hates mess. This showed that the staff had as much fun as the Cadets and were willing to get to know you. Time for drill it was as we had the drill competition afterwards, I am very pleased to say that the flight I took part in won. We got into our greens and took part in initiative exercises these were: an assault course, wally, obstacle course and communication exercises. These were to go to the flight competitions to determine the winner. After dinner, our last one for this camp, we visited a hangar which was the last thing that we did, we got shown around by an ex wing commander who informed us about a variety of aircraft and what different parts of an aircraft consisted of. We went back to the building and started to pack ready for tomorrows departure. We all gathered in the briefing room ready for the presentation night where we got our paper plate award, t-shirt and camp photo.
Saturday, our last day on camp. Saturday consisted of packing and having fun with our mates. I was so glad to have been part of the Henlow camp and will happily go again next year as the activities were enjoyable and I met some very nice people who had as much fun as I did. The long coach ride home was a way of saying goodbye and thankyou to all of our friends for the great week as well as reflecting on the camp. After a long week every Cadet and staff member got home and relaxed as deserved. I recommend that more people go on camps because you would never know how much fun they are until you go on one. The first time I was went on a camp I was so nervous but I instantly knew that I wanted to go on more and more and so other people should give it a go too.
March 2016 has been a busy month for 487 Squadron –
The first weekend of the month saw 487 have cadets on 2 separate wing events.
The JNCO course was attended by Cadets Jeffries and Daly – The course teaches potential Cpls the basics of task leadership, getting things done, presentation skills, taking Drill and dress and discipline. Both Cadets performed well, with Cadet Jeffries being selected as Best in his syndicate, and are awaiting their Debrief from the CO.
The other weekend event was the Initial Weapons training weekend at Nescliffe. Cadets Ikwuanusi C, Ikwuanusi E and Butler were all trained on safe handling of the number 8 rifle and all successfully passed their weapons handling test enabling them to live fire the rifle.
On the following day the squadron managed to get in the air in a Glider – an early start saw 6 cadets travel to RAF Syerston for a day gliding. Due to the recent issues with the Gliders there have been very limited opportunities to go gliding within the Air cadets so the cadets were fortunate to be able to take up the opportunity – all had an excellent time and are raring to go again.
The second Saturday of the Month saw Cadets Wilkes, Daly, Jeffries and Harper attend a practice, arranged by the Wing warrant officer, for the Banner competition at this year’s wing training day. It was a very useful day to get the cobwebs blown away from last year and start thinking about this year’s competition.
On the same day Flight Sergeant Fahey and Cadet Agyare attended the One Day Basic Course for those cadets approaching 18 years old – the course covers child protection and outlines the responsibilities of being an Adult with the air cadet organisation.
On the Sunday Cadet Blake Waldo represented the Wing at the Junior Netball competition earning herself a Wing Blue – unfortunately they did not come away as winners from the event but played well.
Weekend three saw the Squadron support at an event they had not taken part in before – The Drayton Manor Mud Run. Although at the beginning of the day many of the cadets talked about taking part next year in the 5k or 10k course which goes around the wooded area at the back of Drayton Manor park, after a day of pulling competitors out of the mud and helping them over obstacles quite a few had changed their mind!
On the 20th Corporal Harris attended the Regional Football trials and was successful on his attempt to be selected to represent the region at the Senior football competition in April.
Finally for March on Tuesday the 22nd there was the opportunity to get in the air again, this time at the Air Experience Flying at RAF Cosford. Cadets March, Jobling and Jeffries managed to beat the weather and get hands on experience in the Aircraft.
Staff and Cadets are enjoying a well-deserved weekend off this weekend – Happy Easter.
The First photo on the website
487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron was one of the first units in the Corps to create a website. It has been going since 2005 and celebrates over a decade in service.
It complements rather than competes with the newer Squadron Open Facebook page, allowing visitors to access the Squadron news-pages in date order. Over the years it has become the 487’s biggest recruitment tool and is a fascinating insight into the development of the Unit in the last 10 years. It is also a permanent reminder and a record of the Squadron’s achievements in recent times and a trip down memory lane for those ex cadets and staff who feature in many of the items.
Unlike many other webpages, it is constantly updated; new cadets and more often their parents or guardians cite the website as the main reason they elected to join 487 Squadron rather than other Cadet Forces or youth groups in the North Birmingham and South Staffs area.
It is linked into a constantly updated network of Local Government and youth related sites which parents can use to search the locality for organisations offering opportunities for teenagers, often coming across 487 Squadron by chance.
Set up originally by AWO Alan Lodge in 2005, with only a few short articles, it has now developed into a constantly rolling news-reel, now with typically 30 odd stories a year. Alan’s farsighted initiative has helped the Squadron’s success over the years, promoting the Unit and maintaining a healthy recruitment of new cadets.
It’s impossible to estimate how many people visit the site; the Facebook page has nearly 600 likes, the website probably has a similar number of regular readers keen to keep abreast of the latest 487 Sqn activities.
An extensive image library, taken from the Website will be uploaded to the 487 Facebook page, how many people do you recognise. Just click on the link.
Flight Sergeant Fahey receives one of his awards from Wing Commander Iles
February saw another successful Annual Presentation Evening for 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn, with one young man doing particularly well out of the nights’ proceedings...
Once a year cadets and their families are invited to Kingstanding Warriors Club to celebrate the success of the previous twelve months. This year drew a larger crowd than previous years, not in part as it was 487 OC Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill’s last official engagement, although that is another story for another day.
All cadets are presented with a certificate listing the previous years’ achievements, with the newer cadets presented with a welcome certificate. The guest of honour, Wg Cdr Stuart Iles, was happy to make the presentations. Once the certificates had been presented it was on to the trophies for those special achievements, for cadets that had gone the extra mile in specific fields of the cadet curriculum. It must be mentioned that the points tallies were very close and there were a number of cadets who were agonisingly close to the winners, particularly in the sports categories, but the results are as follows:
- Service to 487 Sqn: FS Connor Fahey
- Sports Cadets of the Year: Cdt Ebere Ikwuanusi
- Best Drill Cadet: Cdt Holly Daly
- Best Overall Cadet: FS Connor Fahey
FS Fahey also learned on the night that he had been selected for a Flying Scholarship, an achievement which has not been seen on the Squadron for longer than the staff care to remember. This news wrapped up a remarkable night for FS Fahey, with all his efforts truly being rewarded.
Newly appointed OC 487 Sqn, Fg Off Gemma Carpenter, added, “These evenings are always a wonderful opportunity to recognise and thank all the cadets for their hard work, not forgetting the parents and family members that support the sqn’s exploits by ferrying their children to all sorts of events at all kinds of ungodly hours. I really look forward to the next year with 487, and the success stories that undoubtedly await.”
Two cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron, turned out to represent the Warks & B’ham Wing Senior Football team. Old hand Cpl Kurte Harris was this year joined by new boy, Cdt Rhys Marsh. Cdt Marsh has only been at the Squadron since October 2015, but has fitted smoothly into the sports routine.
Sunday 29th February. The RAF Cranwell weather was as usual balmy (for Lincolnshire), that is the wind howling in from the Ural mountains making it a tad on the chilly side. But at least no rain.
This year’s Wing side was mostly comprised of cadets from the younger end of the range scale many only recently turned 16. Whilst they did not win a game in the round robin tournament, drawing two and losing three (two of which were just 1-0 & the other; by the eventual winners, two goals to nil), they acquitted themselves well and with youth on their side, the future looks bright for the Wing in next year’s competition.
Cpl Harris was also selected to attend the Regional trials in March, hopefully earning a third senior footballing blue to add to his record.
Man of the moment at 487 Squadron, Flight Sergeant Connor Fahey, was also asked to attend in the capacity as a referee. This is an unusual occurrence for a Cadet, not yet 18 and an honour to receive the trust of the Regional Sports Officer, Sqn Ldr Kevin Bunn. FS Fahey, having either refereed or run the line in ALL the games was a touch stiff at the end, but comments on his handling of the games were nothing but highly complementary.
The picture shows Cdt Marsh, FS Fahey and Cpl Harris showing off their Wing Blues.
New Officer Commanding 487 Sqn, Fg Off Gemma Carpenter, commented “I’m looking forward to seeing more cadets representing the wing in the future”
To round off the sporting news of 2015, six more cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron, were selected to represent Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing in three sports, in the second half of the year.
Cadets Daniel Cox, Meth Mahavithana and Matthew Armitage have all won gold medals in the Wing Swimming Championships and were subsequently picked for the Wing Team at RAF Cranwell in September.
Cadets Subhaan Younis & Jahquan Richard collected their Wing Blues in the Regional Junior Football Competition at RAF Cranwell in October, following the trial at Kenilworth School.
Cadet Ebere Ikwuanusi attended the Wing Senior Netball trials and was chosen to play for the Wing team, at the Central & East Competition, in November, impressing the Regional selectors to be picked as a non-travelling reserve for the Regional Team in the national competition.
“Another batch of Wing Blues to add to those achieved in the first six months, a good effort from all involved”.