30 cadets and 8 staff from Central and East Region were welcomed to RAF Henlow on the 4th July for a week long summer camp. Upon arriving at the RAF base, we settled into our accommodation and were greeted by the Camp Commandant: Wing Commander Ladwa. After our initial briefings, we were split into two flights where we would put all our skills together to try and score as many points as possible. Our first task was a familiarisation exercise – this would allow us to find key locations around the base which may help us with the activities in the upcoming week.
Having set our alarms for 7am the next morning, we had to be ready for breakfast at 8. Our first morning was to be spent at the Hendon Museum. Here we had the opportunity to look around various aircraft. After lunch, we visited the Cambridge American Cemetery. Lucky enough to have gotten a guided tour around the Cemetery, we had the chance of lowering the flag which was definitely something to remember. With no time to waste, we headed back to Henlow for our evening meal and uniform preparation.
Monday morning came and all cadets and staff had a station brief and Centre of Aviation Medicine visit. We were able to learn how flying suits were measured and made to fit and then some were lucky enough to be able to try some on. After visiting CAM, we were sized off into height order for the Camp Photo. Later that day, we changed into greens where we visited the RAF Regiment. Whilst learning various drills, 3 cadets we able to practice shooting to improve their aim and skills. Having had a very busy day, cadets and staff gladly let their hair down for a competitive night at Laser Quest.
On Tuesday morning, we were up bright and early with 16 cadets having the chance to go flying. After breakfast, those cadets were taken to RAF Wittering where a safety brief was given and emergency drills took place. Unfortunately, the bad weather made it unsafe for the pilots to take those cadets flying so we had to head back to Henlow. This meant we had extra time to prepare our uniform for the next day before having another very fun night at bowling, this was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Having woken up at 6:30, the camp travelled to Uxbridge where we visited the Fighter Command Bunker – where most of the operations took place during the Battle of Britain. This gave all cadets and staff an insight of how the forces worked during the Second World War. Later that day, we headed to London to go to the Imperial War Museum.
The next day, we visited the outreach team where we were able to use all the skills we had gained to finish many activities. Our trust in one another was put to the test through various exercises and another morning was thoroughly enjoyed by all cadets. In the afternoon, Sgt Blofield helped all cadets improve their drill, ready for the competition the next day. After a tiring day, cadets and staff visited the local squadron, 2482 Henlow, where Sgt Blofield had organised an obstacle course. However, this was no ordinary course. Many cadets took part in the challenging competition where all their strengths were put to the test.
Our final full day had arrived which consisted of a drill competition and a disco! The competition was judged by the RAF Regiment with ‘A Flight’ winning. After an eventful week, everyone was able to enjoy their last night at the disco where ‘Paper Plate Awards’ were given out to every member of the camp. The awards were personalised to each cadet and staff and everyone left in high spirits at the end of the night.
Saturday morning came and all cadets and staff were sad to say that the week at RAF Henlow was over. After receiving the camp photo, camp t-shirt and certificates, everyone said their final goodbye. Overall, a very enjoyable camp was had by all. A special thanks goes to the staff for organising such a memorable camp and Sgt Blofield for organising an unforgettable obstacle course.