• Supporting Reserve Forces and Cadets in the South East

    Reserves & Cadets
  1. 151 REGIMENT RLC EXERCISE IRON VIPER 19

    151 Regiment RLC have recently returned following deployment on Exercise IRON VIPER 19, a 101 Logistic Brigade led exercise focussing on the role of a Theatre Logistic Regiment in a Divisional warfighting scenario. The Regiment along with other reserve elements from 157...

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    151 REGIMENT RLC EXERCISE IRON VIPER 19

    151 REGIMENT RLC EXERCISE IRON VIPER 19

    151 Regiment RLC have recently returned following deployment on Exercise IRON VIPER 19, a 101 Logistic Brigade led exercise focussing on the role of a Theatre Logistic Regiment in a Divisional warfighting scenario. The Regiment along with other reserve elements from 157 & 154 Regiments RLC, formed a composite Squadron as part of the Non-Regular Deployable Component (NRDC), supporting 10 The Queens Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment RLC. Reserve elements from 2 OSG and 103 Battalion REME were embedded within it providing additional support. Using a mix of vehicle platforms, the NRDC collected and distributed supplies and materiel from the Midlands down into the South East of England, despite some challenging weather conditions. 

     

    NRDC Troop Commander 2 Lt Dexter Cook (commanding white fleet C+E vehicles explains): “During Exercise IRON VIPER 19, the troops were running road supply moves using a mix of white fleet C+E commercial vehicles and military green fleet. Using different vehicle platforms to resupply and sustain the fighting troops tested our skills by taking us out of our comfort zone. Morale remained high despite some heavy rain, wet ground and boggy conditions”.

     

    The seamlessly integration of Regular and Reserve throughout the exercise demonstrated the strong bonds and shared values that exists within the whole force concept. Highlighting the importance of Regular and Reserve Joint deployments.

     

    NRDC Troop Commander 2Lt James Hancock (commanding green fleet vehicles) explains: “The Troops bonded well together and fully integrated with our Regular colleagues. Working together as one team with one vision, we tested our collective skills, meeting every challenge and task that was presented to us”.

     

    Forward looking and technologically advanced Regular and Reserve units honed their collective skills.  As a Reserve Logistic Regiment, Exercise IRON VIPER provided the opportunity to test our fitness and readiness for warfighting at scale.

     

    OC NRDC Major Paul Herlihy explains: “The exercise provided continuous, purposeful training that tested our leadership and trade skills, in our pursuit of professional excellence, as part of 101 Logistic Brigade (The Iron Vipers). By training hard, we jointly tested the robustness of the supply chain and the combat effectiveness of our soldiers. Ready to serve and deliver future logistic capabilities in support of 3 UK Division (The Iron Division)”.

  2. FIRST ISSUE OF RFCA FUNDED SQN BADGE

    In early 2019, No 501 Sqn were allocated funding by the SE RFCA to purchase their new supply of Sqn ‘tac flashes’, featur...

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    FIRST ISSUE OF RFCA FUNDED SQN BADGE

    FIRST ISSUE OF RFCA FUNDED SQN BADGE

    In early 2019, No 501 Sqn were allocated funding by the SE RFCA to purchase their new supply of Sqn ‘tac flashes’, featuring the famous boars head of 501 Sqn. 

    On Sat 21 Sep 2019, the first of these tac flashes was awarded to AC Amanda Harvey at the RAuxAF Basic Recruit Course Graduation which took place at RAF Halton.  It is a tradition of 501 Sqn that whenever a 501 sqn recruit graduates from Phase 1 recruit training, a member of the Sqn’s command team (usually the Squadron Commander), attended the event. 

    In addition to the Squadron Commander, AC Harvey’s husband Simon, a serving member of 501 Sqn was also in attendance (unknown to Amanda) and he had the honour of awarding her the tac flash.  She will begin her professional training with 501 Sqn as a Logs (Driver) in October. 

    Squadron Leader Andy Marshall, Officer Commanding 501 Squadron commented “ The completion of basic recruit training is an important event for any Serviceman, and for 501 Squadron in particular, it  marks the transition from the semi isolated recruit environment to the fully integrated environment of Squadron life and the beginning of professional training. The award of the Squadron tac flash at this stage is regarded as hugely symbolic and a good tradition for 501 Squadron to maintain ”.  

  3. 151 RLC - Pte Westrip

    Thinking Big,

    When joining the team at 151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, r...

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    151 RLC - Pte Westrip

    151 RLC - Pte Westrip

    Thinking Big,

    When joining the team at 151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, reservist Gareth Westrip set his sights on driving big trucks.  Gareth started his Reserve career as an infantry soldier but then transferred in order to develop his skills further as a driver.  Starting his driver training, he first passed his theory and driving test enabling him to drive.  Gareth said “obtaining a driving licence not only started my driving career in the Reserves, I was able to transfer the skills into the workplace where I am now employed as a civilian driver”   Developing his skills further,  Gareth has recently passed his LGV Cat C licence and is now starting his RLC driver trade training. During this time he will learn how to maintain vehicles, restrain loads and develop cross country driving skills.  Thinking big, Gareth has his sights set on obtaining his LGV Cat C+E licence, driving large articulated LGV vehicles. 

  4. ERS Silver - 2019 HMS VICTORY

    The 2019 Silver Employer Recognition Awards Ceremony has taken place on the historic ship HMS VICTORY in Portsmouth.

    22 employers from both the public and private sector, were awarded the Silver Award as part of The Defence Employer Recognition Sc...

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    ERS Silver - 2019 HMS VICTORY

    ERS Silver - 2019 HMS VICTORY

    The 2019 Silver Employer Recognition Awards Ceremony has taken place on the historic ship HMS VICTORY in Portsmouth.

    22 employers from both the public and private sector, were awarded the Silver Award as part of The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).  Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, presented the prestigious Silver awards to recognise their continued and invaluable support of the Armed Forces’ Community.  The community includes the Reserves, Service leavers, Armed Forces’ Veterans, the wounded, injured and sick, Cadets, military spouses or partners and their families.

    Charlie Field, Deputy Chairman from C.P.J. Field & Co said:

     “Receiving the Silver ERS Award is wonderful recognition of our companies support of the Armed Forces’ family. A number of our workforce have served in the Forces or are currently serving in the Reserve or Cadet forces; the skills, approach and positivity that they inject into our working day contributes hugely to the overall atmosphere and culture of CPJ Field. It was an honour to receive the award, which highlights not only our ongoing support for our Armed Forces’ but the value the Armed Forces’ community adds in supporting our customers on a daily basis.” 

    The ERS encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. The scheme encompasses Bronze, Silver and Gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the Armed Forces Community, and align their values with the Armed Forces’ Covenant. 

    Alison Lee, Managing Director from Biscoes Law said: “As a previous Silver Award Employer, and now a Gold Award Employer, I was, as the Managing Director of Biscoes, delighted to be invited back to meet the 2019 Silver Award recipients.  This is a wonderful achievement for all those organisations and businesses receiving their silver award this year and we are keen to encourage them not to rest there but to extend their support to Defence further and try for Gold next year or at some point in the future.”

    The event was supported by the Employer Engagement teams from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.  The fantastic Army Medical Service Ensemble welcomed guests to the Historic Dockyard and the evening culminated with the Beating Retreat played by the superb Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth.  The Salute was taken by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire and Rear Admiral Mike Bath, Flag Officer Reserves.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/defence-employer-recognition-scheme

  5. ADULT VOLUNTEER FROM SNODLAND AWARDED COVETED LORD LIEUTENANT’S JUNIOR LEADERSHIP AWARD 2019

    ADULT VOLUNTEER FROM SNODLAND AWARDED COVETED LORD LIEUTENANT’S JUNIOR LEADERSHIP AWARD 2019

    Staff Sergeant Instr...

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    ADULT VOLUNTEER FROM SNODLAND AWARDED COVETED LORD LIEUTENANT’S JUNIOR LEADERSHIP AWARD 2019

    ADULT VOLUNTEER FROM SNODLAND AWARDED COVETED LORD LIEUTENANT’S JUNIOR LEADERSHIP AWARD 2019

    ADULT VOLUNTEER FROM SNODLAND AWARDED COVETED LORD LIEUTENANT’S JUNIOR LEADERSHIP AWARD 2019

    Staff Sergeant Instructor (SSI) Amy-Jane McCann is a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer with the Kent Army Cadet Force (Kent ACF), she was recently awarded the Lord Lieutenant of Kent Junior Leadership Award for 2019. She lives in Snodland and works for Wickes Floor Operations. She is also Detachment Commander for Wrotham and has been with Kent ACF since 2014.

    The Commandant, Kent ACF, Colonel Chris Gilbert, DL  presented the award which is for Junior Adult Officers or Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs), as well as Cadet NCOs, who have demonstrated the most improvement in his or her leadership skills.

    SSI McCann said:

    “After hearing my name being called out on county parade, at first I thought what have I done now, then marching out to realise I was this year's recipient for the Lord Lieutenant’s Junior Leadership award, I felt shocked and truly humbled.

    Being the Detachment Commander at Wrotham is made easy by my staff team and of course my amazing cadets. As for being a part of D company, well they are my family. Having my name on an award with some great previous winners is truly bewildering”.

    Colonel Chris Gilbert, DL, Commandant Kent ACF said:

    “I would like to formally thank SSI McCann for all her hard work running the detachment and being a role model to other staff and cadets – without such dedicated volunteers such as Amy we would not be able to offer the youth of Kent such a wide range of fabulous opportunities that we do today”.

  6. Shoreham Squadron’s Tribute to “The Few”

    Shoreham Squadron’s Tribute to “The Few”

     

    On Sunday 7 July 2019 cadets and staff from 1440 (Shoreham-by-S...

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    Shoreham Squadron’s Tribute to “The Few”

    Shoreham Squadron’s Tribute to “The Few”

    Shoreham Squadron’s Tribute to “The Few”

     

    On Sunday 7 July 2019 cadets and staff from 1440 (Shoreham-by-Sea) Squadron, Air Training Corps were privileged to attend the annual parade and memorial service at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Capel Le Ferne near Folkstone. The Squadron had been invited to represent Sussex at this year’s event, joining over two hundred cadets from across Kent.

    The parade and service are held annually in July, marking the start of the battle that lasted until October 1940. The memorial itself takes the form of a stone pilot that sits on a clifftop overlooking the English Channel, not far from Dover in an area that became known at Hellfire Corner during the war. It commemorates all those who flew and fought in the battle that took place in the skies over Kent and Sussex 79 years ago.

    In the presence of veterans, invited guests and senior representatives of Commonwealth and allied air forces, including Poland, the cadets joined the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, and members of 600 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force parading the Queen’s Colour of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, in being inspected by the current deputy head of the Royal Air Force Air Marshall Andrew Turner CB CBE RAF.

    Speaking to the cadets after the parade Air Marshall Turner told them how extremely proud he was to be associated with such inspiring young people and thanked them for their efforts during the parade. He went on to extol the virtues of service with the Air Cadets and urged the cadets to take full advantage of everything that the organisation has to offer, including flying, gilding and academic qualifications.

    Following the parade the cadets and assembled guests were treated to a flying display by two Spitfires from the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight – paying tribute to “The Few” who fought for freedom all those years ago. Cadet Corporal Thomas Worth, 14, from 1440 Squadron said: “It was a real pleasure for us to attend the parade and although it was hard work, it was definitely worth it to be here with the Central Band and the veterans. We’ll definitely be back next year!” 

     

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  7. Roberts Twins - OUOTC & EUOTC

    OCdts Jennie and Iona Roberts are members of Oxford and Exeter University OTC’s respectively and were delighted to find that they were training together this summer in Gibraltar.  Iona Roberts had volunteered to be enemy for ...

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    Roberts Twins - OUOTC & EUOTC

    Roberts Twins - OUOTC & EUOTC

    OCdts Jennie and Iona Roberts are members of Oxford and Exeter University OTC’s respectively and were delighted to find that they were training together this summer in Gibraltar.  Iona Roberts had volunteered to be enemy for the fighting phase of Oxford UOTC’s camp which was some of the most intensive and challenging training either of the girls had undertaken.  But they loved it!

     

    “Doing an amphibious landing was exciting but fighting through the tunnels with limited sleep was especially tough,” said Jennie, “but we were all in it together and I got a great sense of achievement at the end of it.  I’m so pleased I went!” 

     

    “I really enjoyed attacking my sister and her friends from Oxford UOTC in Gibraltar! We made up on the sports field though,” Iona said with a laugh.

     

    This is not the first time the sisters have competed with each other, they recently represented their UOTC’s in the Queen’s Cup at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.  They are both passionate and dedicated sportswomen, something that began at school in Berkamsted where they both achieved the gold Duke of Edinburgh’s award.  This love of the outdoors and sports meant that joining the UOTC’s has enabled the girls to continue to compete and to learn new skills through university. 

    “I was delighted to come across Oxford UOTC at the Freshers’ Fair at Oxford Brookes then when I went to the Open Evening I knew immediately that this was going to be an important part of my life in Oxford.” said Jennie.  “The values, adventure training, army skills and people combined together for one organisation was something I truly resonated with.”

    OCdt Jennie Roberts has since gained skiing qualifications and has spent the rest of her summer with the UOTC climbing the 2 highest peaks in the UK and gaining mountain leadership skills as she trekked around Mont Blanc.

    To find out more about joining Oxford University Officers’ Training Corps, either as an Officer Cadet or a Regular or Reserve member of the permanent staff, visit http:/bit.ly/OXUOTC

  8. Alcon joins Mission Automotive and signs Armed Forces Covenant

    Alcon joins Mission Automotive and signs Armed Forces Covenant

    Alcon joins Mission Automotive and signs Armed Forces Covenant

    The UK Automotive industry initiative, Mission Automotive, gathers pace as founding member Alcon Components sign the Armed Forces Covenant 

    Internationally acclaimed brake company and Mission Automotive founder partner, Alcon Components Ltd, took the opportunity presented by their presence at Goodwood Festival of Speed to sign the British Armed Forces Covenant on their stand. In doing so, Alcon have undertaken to honour the Armed Forces Covenant and to support the community it represents. It gives formal recognition to the value that serving personnel, both regular and reservists, veterans and military families contribute to society and to the country.

    The Armed Forces representative at the signing, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Coton, Commanding Officer of 16 Regiment Royal Artillery said:  “The Armed Forces Covenant relies on those people, communities, and British businesses to actively support it in making a difference. So, the commitments made today formally enshrine what we know Alcon have already done for many years and are doing every day – to support the employment of service leavers and reservists in your workforce, their spouses and families, the wounded, injured and sick. I thank you whole-heartedly for these commitments.”

    Alistair Fergusson, Group Managing Director at Alcon said: “We’re honoured to have been invited to sign the Armed Forces Covenant today and to take our first steps as part of the Mission Automotive initiative. We’re committed to supporting the Armed Forces communities in any way we can. We recognise the considerable talent on offer as people leave the Armed Forces and the contribution they can make to a business environment such as ours, post-service”. He added: “Aside from our core motorsport business, Alcon has been solving braking problems in the defence and security sectors for over 10 years. We’re now the preferred supplier of bespoke performance braking systems to several major global defence vehicle manufacturers, helping to save lives across the world”.     

     James Cameron, CEO of Mission Motorsport said: “Alcon are an accomplished and innovative company whose products have international impact in motorsport, in automotive and in other areas where their name is less well known – including military applications. They have for many years been staunch supporters of Service causes, looking to make a difference through their work to help those whose lives have been impacted by military service. A leader in their industry, their engagement in the wider Mission Automotive initiative, encouraging others to follow in their footsteps forms powerful advocacy and is to be highly commended.”

  9. Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) 100th Anniversary Charity Event

    On the 12th July, Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) commemorated their 100th Anniversary by ho...

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    Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) 100th Anniversary Charity Event

    Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) 100th Anniversary Charity Event

    On the 12th July, Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) commemorated their 100th Anniversary by holding an event in which approx. 70 riders cycled to Ypres in Belgium to raise funds for the charity. Two of the riders, LCpl Golding and Pte Lawless Hughes, were from 220 Medical Squadron, Aylesford, part of 254 Medical Regiment.  WO2 Baker and Cpl Gilbert from 220 Med Sqn also attended the event in the capacity as volunteers, providing medical cover. 

     

    The ride set off on the Friday morning, culminating in cycling through the Menin Gate on Saturday and then attending the ceremony there at 2000hrs.  The Sunday then provided an opportunity to visit some of the memorials within the Ypres Salient.  As a group they lay a wreath on behalf of the Regt, with Pte Lawless Hughes as the most junior member laying the wreath itself.

     

    RBLI is an independent charity from The Royal British Legion which is based in Aylesford, Kent and is one of two sites that were set up in 1919 as TB colonies. In modern times, they provide housing and work opportunities for the whole of the Armed Forces Community. This includes, independent living for vulnerable service leavers right through to family housing and nursing care. They also provide work opportunities in their factory as well as other services to support the above community in to work.

  10. Biker Down Nepal

    As part of our going partnership working with the Armed Forces, the KFRS Road Safety T...

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    Biker Down Nepal

    Biker Down Nepal

    As part of our going partnership working with the Armed Forces, the KFRS Road Safety Team have been running Biker Down, ‘Train the Trainer’ courses for Army None Commissioned Officers and Commissioned Officers. As a result, one of our recent Trainees, Warrant Officer 1, Staff Master Driver, Adrian Myatt, sent the Road Safety Team the following message:

    “As you’re aware, while on my recent trip to Nepal it was my aspiration to deliver Biker Down Training to the civilians who are employed as drivers within Headquarters British Gurkhas Nepal.  I am pleased to confirm I was able to deliver 2 x courses to a total of 12 civilian staff and 1 military.

    With the aid of a Nepali First Aid instructor who delivered the Basic Life Support and first aid lessons in Module 2, both courses were successful and very well received"

  11. No 501 Sqn 90th Anniversary – A/Cpl Karen Marais-Mellows

    One week of intensive weapons drill practice instructed by Cpl’s Lurkins and Rivers. Followed by Parade through Gloucester from Cathedral to Guild hall, reception after and then Dining in Night at the Officer’s Mess on Brize Norton – the 501 Sqn ACT for 2019 in preparation for the Sqns 90th Anniversary.

    Monday morning and on with the No2 Blues. All congregated in building 2014 classroom and ready for what for many would be there first ever weapons drill. Off to the armoury, now I have to remember my ‘NSP’s’, safety on, ‘What’s next? Help given, it’s onto the coach and off to the airfield to base hanger to start our intensive preparation.

    Everyone’s excited and apprehensive. There are different levels of experience amongst us but we’ll all get there. The days are set up in a routine of Collect weapons, Drill for 2 hrs, break, drill for 2 hrs, lunch, drill for 2 hrs, finish for th...

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    No 501 Sqn 90th Anniversary – A/Cpl Karen Marais-Mellows

    No 501 Sqn 90th Anniversary – A/Cpl Karen Marais-Mellows

    One week of intensive weapons drill practice instructed by Cpl’s Lurkins and Rivers. Followed by Parade through Gloucester from Cathedral to Guild hall, reception after and then Dining in Night at the Officer’s Mess on Brize Norton – the 501 Sqn ACT for 2019 in preparation for the Sqns 90th Anniversary.

    Monday morning and on with the No2 Blues. All congregated in building 2014 classroom and ready for what for many would be there first ever weapons drill. Off to the armoury, now I have to remember my ‘NSP’s’, safety on, ‘What’s next? Help given, it’s onto the coach and off to the airfield to base hanger to start our intensive preparation.

    Everyone’s excited and apprehensive. There are different levels of experience amongst us but we’ll all get there. The days are set up in a routine of Collect weapons, Drill for 2 hrs, break, drill for 2 hrs, lunch, drill for 2 hrs, finish for the day.

    The HQ staff had arranged for some evening activities to keep us occupied so it was back on with the A flight vs B flight battle. Monday was quiz night. 7 rounds of the OC’s quizmaster specials unfortunately, it ended in an emphatic win for A flight but there were other opportunities to get even or better.

    Tuesday saw day 2 of attempting to perfect marching around smartly and in time. It started to click with most of us and pride started to replace apprehension, although by the end of the day feet were starting to suffer from the time being spent on them, in our unfrequently worn No2 shoes.

    Sport was the next after drill activity. Unihoc followed by bucketball. Split down into teams from respective flights, the battle lines were drawn, and battle commenced. Fun was had and the competitive nature of some of the troops was perhaps shown a little too much, but in the end, it was B flight who reigned victorious.

    Wednesday was day 3 of drill and there were a few new troops as there were some who had been in 501 when it had been a Force Protection previously that came to join us. By the afternoon, they were joining us in the lines and picking up all the commands and moves needed to complete our parade. We marched with weapons for the length of time we’d be doing at the weekend and for the first time it felt like a really long time.

    Tonight, there was a Games night that included darts, boules, pool, black jack and dominoes as well as a flexibility challenge which consisted of bending down to pick up a cereal packet with your teeth. All the participants managed this so some of the height of the packet was removed and the next round started. Andy Bartlett, Mark Frost and Jake Gregory all gave it a good effort and nearly damaged themselves in the process but bowed out. This left just 2 competitors vying for the win. Lisa Mclaughlin and Jon Mace both passed at this point and then then next round too, it went on and on until the cereal packet had become just a scrap of cardboard the size of a postage stamp. Down they bent, practically doing the splits and looking pained and strained but ultimately, they could not be parted so a draw was called, excitement and cheers were punctuated with shock at their efforts. Congratulations at how well they’d done were called out and then the last game of the night was bingo which was eventually won by Ben Rollins. The night went to B flight, but the winner was absolutely the sqn as the banter and morale was so obvious to be seen.

    Thursday came and the last of the sqn members who would be in the parade arrived and were put through their paces with an intensive lesson on the weapons drill. There was a morning of practise and then a run through after lunch before full rehearsal including the HQ staff doing their piece. We were getting the hang of this now and starting to look the part. One more day’s practice left before the day.

    Softball was the sport of choice after work tonight and again the competitive streak came to the fore of the usual suspects, Lisa, Will, Andy and myself all shouting and pushing the teams on to better results, everyone enjoying the innings where B flight went into the second innings 16 – 5 ahead. B flight took this out to 30 by the end of their batting and therefore A flight needed 26 to win. They fought hard and used tactics as well as a few other means to edge ever closer. I took it upon myself to be head cheerer for the B’s. I may have gotten a little carried away and over zealous on the shouting encouragement. As the scores became closer and closer, my frustration and worry boiled over and some thought I may explode at any moment. Not my finest hour but entertaining for most. Eventually the B’s did win by a short margin and euphoric enthusiasm and relief was exalted by the whole of B flight.

    Friday came around and everyone was in their smart No1’s, buddying up to check each other were dressed smart and looking the part. Our first stop of the day was over to the airfield to form up in front of the C-17, SV and Snow Plough for our Official Sqn photograph. Really good fun and a proud moment as this would be the picture hung on the wall in the Sqn HQ Corridor for all to see.

    Then it was over to base hangar for our full-Dress Rehearsal of the parade. It went exceptionally well, everyone was where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be, and it was spot on. Even the ‘Adults’ did well. Our reward for doing so well was to be stood down at lunch to get last minute kit finishing touches completed and to rest and relax following a full-on week.

    07:30 on Saturday morning and the whole Sqn was ready for the big day. Dressed in gleaming No1s and excited about the day. Everyone was calm, and all went well with only the exception of a missing bayonet which wasn’t missing and someone’s inability to count causing an ‘on the bus, off the bus, on the bus again’ scenario. Soon we were in transit to Gloucester and an hour or so later we were arriving at the Cathedral. As we were given freedom to do our own thing but be at the ready, in place, on time butterflies started to creep into my belly. This was exciting, this was exactly the kind of thing I had signed up for. Showing ourselves off for the public to see in our finery and looking and performing to our very best and in front of Royalty. It doesn’t get much better than this for me.

    As we congregated in front of the Cathedral and I look around, I could see sqn members chatting to family members who had travelled from far and wide to see their loved one be part of something important. I could see the smiles and sheer pride of everyone to be involved in this historic event for the sqn. It filled me with a sense of inclusion and almost overwhelming pride.

    At 09:55 we were in our 2 flights, formed up, flanking the Sovereigns Colour to RAuxAF, ready for next instructions. We were brought to attention, went through our drill moves and were awaiting the turn of the hour to march through the centre of town, to exercise our Freedom of Gloucester as No501, County of Gloucester Sqn.

    10:00 sharp we were given the order ‘By the left, quick march!’ and the 614 ATC band started and off we went. With each and every step, the pride welled up inside until I feared it may put me off but no, concentration was kept. The awareness of the good feeling coming back from those who came out onto the parade route to see us was palpable. They were cheering and clapping for us, for the forces. They were happy to see us, you could feel that this was felt by every member of the Sqn around you.

    It wasn’t a long parade, but it was superb. No one put a foot wrong and we all looked so professional. NAILED IT!!! Before we knew it, it was done, we’d finished, and it was off for a coffee and a slice of cake in the Guild Hall and a meet and greet with HRH, the Duke of Gloucester. What a privilege.

    My wife and my mum came as my family member guests and all 3 of us chatted about how exciting it had been, how good we’d all looked and they both got a chance to meet some of the other members as well as some of the HQ staff. It was an inclusive moment that we don’t often get. The whole morning had been a triumphant success as far as we were concerned. Nobody went away disappointed, we were all smiling extremely widely.

    All too soon, it was time to bid farewell to guests and climb back on the bus to Brize where we then had the afternoon off to get ready for our Dining in Night. At 17:45 we were back in NO1s but this time in evening dress of white shirt and dickie bow. More banter and fun were had before we all walked over to the Officer’s mess for the evening’s festivities to commence.

    Pre-dinner drinks and last-minute loo stops had, it was into the dining room. The band played, the guests arrived, the colour was escorted in and food and drink were had and enjoyed by all. There were toasts and speeches and games and songs. The merriment went on for a few hours before the unveiling of who had won the ‘Guess the length of the OC’s speech’ was announced. Ben Aston was correct with his 22mins 30secs as he was only 8secs out. The partying then moved into the bar and all ranks continued to enjoy themselves into the small hours.

    A later start of 10:00 was awarded to us due to our hard work for the week. The consensus from all of us was that this has been an extraordinary week, going from zero to hero in weapon’s drill. The thanks for the 2-drill instructor Cpl’s was ringing out and the tales from previous night’s celebrations would go on. The overwhelming feelings coming from everybody was absolute pride in what we had done. The effort, the camaraderie, the banter and the feeling of inclusion was what was pouring out from all. To be a part of that is something I have only felt and witnessed since joining the RAF.

    Thank you to all who were involved in anyway shape or form. I thoroughly look forward to 10yrs time when we reach the monumental age of 100.

  12. Maidstone Reservists Awarded 1st Clasps to the Volunteer Reserve Service Medal

    Two Army Reservists from 124 Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps, Maidstone, were awarded with their 1st clasps last night at an award ceremony attended by VIP’s and dignitaries from across the county.

    The first clasp is an addition to a long service medal and...

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    Maidstone Reservists Awarded 1st Clasps to the Volunteer Reserve Service Medal

    Maidstone Reservists Awarded 1st Clasps to the Volunteer Reserve Service Medal

    Two Army Reservists from 124 Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps, Maidstone, were awarded with their 1st clasps last night at an award ceremony attended by VIP’s and dignitaries from across the county.

    The first clasp is an addition to a long service medal and is recognition of 15 years loyal service.

    Corporals Michael Marshall and Lisa Ingram, both of West Malling were awarded their citations and clasps by Mr Trevor Sturgess, Deputy Lieutenant of Kent.

    Other guests included: The High Sheriff of Kent, Paul Barrett MBE; Councillor Marion Ring, Mayor of Maidstone; Mike Angell Past. KCC Chairman Deputy Commandant Colonel Richard Long Kent ACF (and councillor for Kent County Council and the families of the reservists.

    Major Paul Herlihy Officer Commanding 124 Squadron said: 

    “Our Reservists come from all walks of civilian life, many recruited from the Local Borough of Maidstone and the County of Kent. It is therefore important that we open our gates to show the local Borough what we do. Much of our training is nationally recognised, so it is possible to integrate these skills in the workplace benefitting employers.  We are proud to be part of Maidstone and our reservists are always ready serve with absolute commitment”.

    He also presented the Mayor with a RLC shield.

    Both recipients have seen combat in Iraq and travelled the world on other duties and training.

    Corporal Marshall is currently employed as the Squadron chef and is a driver for Shakespeare Transport as his day job, he said:

    “I am doing something I love and have been given so many great opportunities to travel the world and learn new things whilst getting paid for it!

    I qualified as a class 1 chef and am instructor qualified, I’ve also completed my driver’s course and become a chef production supervisor – there’s just so much variety.

    This is also a career and I feel fulfilled - if you have any spare time on your hands and want to learn a trade and escape the rat race this could be for you”.   Contd…//

    Corporal Lisa Ingram is a laboratory manager by day and said:

    “I have been to some amazing places, it’s definitely changed me as a person – I’m a qualified class 1 driver, summer mountain leader, combat marksman as well as a battlefield casualty drills trainer.

    It’s far more than a hobby and you have to juggle your commitments but the values and standards I have learnt carry through in my personal life – it’s so rewarding.

    If you’re interested in finding out more please visit: https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/the-army-reserve/