Monday, 15 November 2010
Early on Sunday morning a small team of cadets led by Warrant Officer David Wood and including two trumpeters, Cadet Sergeant Tom Smith and Cadet Corporal Rhys Leighton, walked the short distance from 1224 Sqn HQ to Ilkley Cemetery to visit some War Graves dating from the Second World War. Here the cadets played the Last Post and held their own 2 minutes silence.
Following this the cadets then travelled to Addingham for their first parade of the day including a full church service at St. Peters Church in which the trumpeters again played the Last Post in the church before the band formed up and led the parade from the church to the Addingham War Memorial playing some of the bands most well known songs including '1224', the Squadrons own march which was dedicated to Flt Lt David Stead, a former 1224 cadet who was killed when the Hercules he was piloting was shot down over Iraq in 2005.
Following the Addingham parade the cadets went to the British Legion club for some well earned food courtesy of WO Pratt.
Ilkley. The band formed up in Ilkley Car Park and let the way up Brook Street followed by the remaining cadets who aren't in the band.
The parade then went along The Grove before arriving at the Cenotaph.
There followed a service attended by a number of dignitaries including the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for West Yorkshire Mr Roger Whitaker - a guest at 1224s annual presentation evening in February.
During the service the music for the hymns was provided by the musicians of the Squadrons band.
The parade was the last for Cadet Warrant Officer Ben Bridge who will leave the Corps at the end of November after 5 years of dedicated service to the Squadron.
You can see footage from the Ilkley parade on the Squadrons YouTube channel -
Saturday, 13 November 2010
All seven crew members were killed in the crash - six of which were from the Royal Canadian Air Force. The youngest being 19 and the eldest 27.
The cadets held their own remembrance ceremony led by Warrant Officer David Wood with Cadet Sergeant Tom Smith laying a wreath and Cadet Corporal Rhys Leighton playing Last Post.
All cadets from the the Squadron were involved in the Poppy Appeal collection held in Ilkley and collected over £2,000 for the National Appeal.
For more information on the Halifax Crash see:
Monday, 1 November 2010
In my time as a cadet at 1224 (Wharfedale) Squadron I have already done so many things that I would never have even thought about doing if I hadn't joined the Corps such as being able to fly solo before I could drive and completing the Nijmegen marches just to name a couple but the next thing on my list to do was to attend an overseas camp.
During 2010 I was told that I had gotten a place on a camp at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. Akrotiri is one of two British Sovereign Base areas on Cyprus and is one of the last remaining full size RAF stations outside of the UK.
And so in late October I took the long Journey down to Heathrow Airport with other cadets from the North (the camp was actually a joint North Region and South West Region one with cadets coming from as far away as Newcastle to Carlisle and from Bristol to Plymouth).
We then flew with Cyprus Airways on a 4 hour flight to Larnaca airport before taking another long coach journey to RAF Akrotiri.
The accommodation was fairly basic but I couldn't really complain and the showers were some of the best I've ever been in on a camp.
During the first day we had the camp photograph taken in front of the Westland Whirlwind gate guard followed a by a number of briefings about health and safety. Following this we travelled to the pool at the base and did our Basic Air Cadet swimming tests. Following lunch we spent most of the rest of the afternoon at the beach.
The day after we went to the Force Development Centre which although sounding like some sort of Jedi training place was actually the location of some leadership exercises, some of which I had experienced before in the UK but also some of which were new to me.
The following day we travelled to Ayia Napa to the highly rated WaterWorld Waterpark where we spent most of the day in the sunshine!
The next day was spent on a boat on a cruise out of Paphos up the West coast of Cyprus and back. The cruise took us past many features of the Cypriot coast including Kionas Island and the shipwreck of the Demetrious II. After returning to the base we travelled to a local karaoke bar where my renditions of Queens 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' and Sterophonics 'Have a Nice Day' seemed to go down rather well!
Monday was spent training on the L98A2 (which I later passed my Weapons Handling Test on) and visiting 84 Squadron, the only flying unit still based at Akrotiri. They fly Griffins (a modern version of the famous UH-1/Huey helicopter) in a number of roles including Search and Rescue, Firefighting and Troop Transport.
The evening was spent at the Akrotiri Kart Racing Club which was a lot of fun!
On Tuesday we travelled to the Troodos Mountain Range and went on a hike round the mountain which although hot and infested with flying insects presented some fantastic panoramic views of Cyprus!
During the free time that evening we actually managed to acquire an acoustic guitar which entertained us for a lot of the free time during the week. I was actually surprised at how many musically talented people were on the camp!
The following day we travelled to Nicosia to see the United Nations buffer zone that divides the Turkish North of Cyprus from the Greek South following the 1974 invasion by Turkish Forces.
We visited a number of locations within the Buffer Zone itself including the British War Cemetery, the abandoned Nicosia airport and the UN garrison.
Since I was over 18 I was actually allowed to travel across the border to the Turkish part of Nicosia which was an interesting experience to say the least!
Later that day we went to a youth club in the base called the Tardis at Akrotiri where we helped paint it.
On the Thursday we travelled to the DCCT range at Episkopi Garrison where we fired the L85A2. Since I scored 20/20 on the range I was amongst the first to be able to fire the .50 Cal Heavy Machine Gun on the DCCT range which was a lot of fun!
After returning to Akrotiri we visited the EOD (bomb disposal) unit where they showed us the robots they use to deal with IEDs as well as letting us try on the bomb disposal suits and run around in the baking sun chasing the robot!
Luckily we were allowed to cool off later when we visited 417 Maritime Troop and their Landing Crafts. We all took turns in steering the ship as well as being given a tour of the different areas of the vessel including the engine room and the accommodation.
When we returned to shore we took part in an exercise involving us trying to seal up holes in a mock section of a ship’s hull with wedges and bungs whist being blasted with fire hoses!
The day was rounded off with another trip to the karaoke bar!
The day after we went to the bases 25m range to live fire the L98A2 which was a first for me but I did well and scored the best grouping for the day!
Later on in the day the Camp Commandant (Sqn Ldr Wadsworth, RMCO for North Region) made his inspections of the rooms with the marks going towards the inter-flight competition.
The day was concluded with the end of camp BBQ.
On the Saturday it was time to leave RAF Akrotiri, I'd met so many people on the camp it was a shame that we all had to go our separate ways after only 10 days but I'm sure that I'll stay in contact with a lot of them!