Six cadets and two members of staff from the 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron have just returned from a weeks camp spent on board H.M.S. Bristol, ( ex flagship of the Falklands Task Force), which is now permanently moored at HMS Excellent part of the Royal Naval Dockyard Portsmouth.
Over this period the cadets had the opportunity to experience life on board `ship`, and view the Senior Service at close quarters. For the majority this was their first camp, and after a little surprise on how much room they had to stow their gear, the 3 storey bunk beds, together with the forced air conditioning and naturally the stairs!, they all settled well.
The cadets spent some time at the following activities:
- Action Stations the newest attraction with the Dockyard, showing how the Navy works and numerous simulators to then have a hands on experience from helicopters to anti aircraft missiles and steering both submarines and surface craft.
- HMS Victory The flagship of the Royal Navy and still a major tourist attraction.
- Swimming at the Pyramids Leisure complex well enjoyed by all.
- Hovercraft Trip - A trip to the Isle of Wight on a 100 seat hovercraft which is indeed an aircraft and as such they had 2 AEF flights followed by short tour and fish and chips in the town of Rhyde.
- Visit to the Royal Naval Air Station museum at Yeovilton where they were given a private session showing them the uniforms of pilots from the birth of flight to present day with cadets modelling the actual garments, and able to explore the Navy's Aviation Museum. The newly opened Carrier Experience is excellent and was enjoyed by all.
- New Forest A nice change to being in the public view, and all undertook navigational training and orienteering in the very beautiful part of the country.
- Tank Museum At Bovington was a real hit and especially the firing and movement display. The museum now has a new multi million pound set of building which will open shortly and will have many more interesting and hands on attractions we await our visit next year!.
- Fort Nelson A Napoleonic fort built to defend us from the French and never fired a shot in anger!. But a most imposing fortification and of interest in its own right.
Squadron Leader Bryan Coats the Camp Commandant said, The cadets received many compliments throughout the week, many from the Senior Service itself, which once more reflected the very good image and standard the cadets portrayed both on base and in the view of many. The light Blue footprint was certainly put back into Portsmouth Dockyard for a short while at least and our cadets were seen to be a credit to the ATC. Another enjoyable camp and we now start planning for the next one in October 2008
OC Wing, Wing Commander P Ladwa, also managed to spend 2 days with the camp, and said, This Wing has at least 2 and on many occasions 3 camps a year at HMS Bristol, and has done for at least 12 years. The sheer numbers of cadets that have attended over that time is approaching 2000, and reflects well on the experience they enjoy and that they continue to want to go. We shall continue to support these camps for many years to come they are good value and of obvious interest to the cadets.