During Late August 2014, RAF Air Cadets from Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing ATC travelled to RAF Halton for their Annual Summer Camp. Five cadets from Nuneaton took part in the camp.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon and were immediately allocated our rooms which were in my opinion far better than other cadet accommodation I have slept in. Afterwards we were split into our two flights, and were given a briefing by the Station ACLO and Sqn Ldr Coates. The Station ACLO gave us some brief facts about the history and current use of the base, and after this Sqn Ldr Coates gave us a brief on what we doing over the next week. On Saturday night after dinner we all got our rooms cleaned and did our uniforms ready for the next day.
Sunday morning we arose out of bed very early ready for breakfast and our room inspections by WO Hibbit. After breakfast we travelled by coach to the Official Royal Air Force Museum, which is in North London. The museum was very interesting and gave us a lot of knowledge about the former and current aircraft which served in the RAF.
The next day it was also another early morning for us, after breakfast we marched to the Recruits Pass Out parade square, were we had our camp photograph in front of a Tornado GR4. After the photo we were split up into our two flights, 121 Squadron were in A Flight and we first visited the Trenchard Museum, which is a museum dedicated to Lord Trenchard (the founder of the RAF). The exhibits were very interesting, especially the piece of fabric which was donated to the museum, which was from the Wright Brothers first ever aircraft. The museum also had various displays including a weapons area, were many cadets took an interest the SA80, which the Armed Forces currently use to this very day. After a couple of hours at the Trenchard Museum we were transported over to Halton House. The house used to be an aristocratic home of the Rothschild’s family who are very important within the Jewish Community; however the house was brought by the Ministry of Defence many years ago. The house is now home to RAF Haltons Officers Mess were the Senior Officers within the base sleep and eat. The house was very grand and we were also told that television period dramas such as Downtown Abbey had scenes filmed there. Once we had a couple of hours there we were transported to the Junior Ranks mess for Lunch. After Lunch we got changed into our DPM CS95/ MTP PCS uniform in order to have some Weapons training on the No.8 Single Bolt Action Rife and the L98 A2. After some training all the cadets took their Weapons Handling Tests, and everyone on the camp passed on either the No.8 or the L98 A2. We then had dinner and then transported to the other side of the base, were we had a Fieldcraft Exercise with the Royal Air Force Regiment; the aim was to collect two beacons from the woods which were from a plane crash.
The next day (Tuesday) we picked up some weapons from the Station Armoury, and went to the Station Range in order to put our Weapons Training to the test. Overall we shot around 40 rounds between us, it was also good to get back onto the weapons due to the fact that some Squadrons haven’t had the opportunity to go shooting this year. The cadets who achieved there WHT’s on the L98 were also given the opportunity to try out the DCCT range (Disclosed Combat Trainer) effectively a shooting simulator. After a hard day at the range and the DCCT we had dinner, and then travelled to one of the local towns by the base to go bowling, for many of us it was a good opportunity to let our hair down after a hard and tiring day.
Wednesday morning we got up and were officially half way through the week, Wednesday 27th August would mark a day in History when “THE RAF AIR CADETS WOULD TAKE OVER LONDON”. We starting to drive to London very early in morning in order to get through the rush hour traffic, when we got into Central London we then marched to the Imperial War Museum, the museum gave us a brief insight into all the wars over the past 100 years including WW1, WW2 and the Falkland’s (etc). After the visit to the Museum we started the march around London (the part of the day when everything would get tiring).
We firstly walked alongside the River Thames and took some photos of the House of Parliament and the London Eye, we then walked over Westminster Bridge and made our way to Westminster Abbey and went inside for half an hour. The abbey was the place where many of the royals have been married, for example the more recent Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. After the walk around the abbey we walked past No.10 Downing Street and then we went to the Horse Guards parade square. This parade square is very important as it were the Trooping of the Colour happens every year to mark the Queen’s birthday. Sqn Ldr Coates thought that it may be a good idea to test our Drill out, and we had a mini parade on the Parade Square with WO Coles being the Parade Commander. After our parade with hundreds of the public taking videos, we walked down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. After we had a five minute break from walking we headed off to the Royal Air Force Club for some Tea and Biscuits. The Club is only allowed to be entered by Commissioned Officers of the RAF, RAF Reserves and the VRT, therefore it was a very good experience to be allowed in, we also had a tour around the Club, in my opinion it was very extravagant. After some tea we then marched back over Green Park to Buckingham Palace we were all excited for our tour of the Palace.
Despite not being allowed around the entire Palace, we were given the unique opportunity of exploring the State Rooms and then the Palace Gardens. After the tour around the palace we were then really tired and wanted our dinner. We therefore went to MacDonald’s, and had some dinner. By the time we left MacDonald’s we were all extremely tired and wanted to get back to RAF Halton.
The next day we were given a small lie in and immediately after breakfast we went to the other side of the base to take part in Low Rope Activities and various Leadership tasks set out by the RAF Outreach team. Doing the Low Rope activities were really good and funny, but also tested the Leadership of CPL Evans and CPL Dykes. Afterwards we took part in a leadership exercise with the RAF outreach team. The task was to build tunnels in order to transport a car through, as easy as it seems it wasn’t. After lunch we then took part in more leadership activities, the RAF Outreach team were really good to see whether or not our leadership techniques are good or not. During the night we then went into Hemel Hampstead to take part in two Laser Quest games.
Another early morning on Friday, but in a way it would be rewarding by the end of the day. We travelled to RAF Benson near Oxford which is home to the Merlin and Puma Helicopters, the reason we went to RAF Benson was to go Air Experience Flying with No.6 AEF in the Grob Tutors. Nearly everyone on the camp got to go Flying and some even tried out Aerobatics. To go into the Tutor this year was really good, due to the fact that they were grounded and most Air Cadets haven’t been able to fly this year.
After a long morning at the AEF, we travelled back to RAF Halton and got changed into our Civilian clothes in order to go for a walk in Wendover Woods. We also had the unique opportunity of talking to the Deputy Wing Padre who visited us for the day. After dinner on Friday Night we made our way to the Chiltern Club to have a end of Camp party, Sqn Ldr Coates ordered Pizza’s from the Mess and it was really good fun. On Saturday morning we packed up our belongings and cleaned the block ready for the next set of Cadets staying there, we then got on the coach and departed away from a really good Camp.
The five cadets who went on the camp CPL Evans, CPL Dykes, CDT Mouncer, CDT Humpage and CDT Khan would like to thank Sqn Ldr Coates and all the staff who went for organising the trip, and secondly to the team at RAF Halton for putting such a good camp together, hopefully the squadron may be returning next October during the half term.
View More Images from the RAF Halton Camp