Nuneaton based Air Cadets from the 121 Squadron hung up their wings for the weekend when they boarded the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Bristol.
Fifty Royal Air Force Air Cadets and staff from the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing of the Air Training Corps have just returned from a weekend camp at the Royal Naval Base at Whale Island Portsmouth. For the land loving Air Cadets this is a totally different experience to visiting an RAF Station, the main difference being that they were all accommodated on board HMS Bristol, a Type 82 Destroyer (the flagship of the Falklands Task Force), which meant that triple deck bunks and limited space together with numerous ladders, were a real challenge!
Much to the delight of the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing contingent aboard HMS Bristol they were joined by Squadron Leader Nathan Wilkes (Assistant Regional Commandant Central & East) who was well impressed by the wealth of activities offered to the cadets and the way in which the Wing was running its HMS Bristol camps.
The varied, interesting and very tiring camp programme covered numerous visits and activities that were designed to give the cadets an in depth view of life in the Royal Navy during their action packed weekend.
Cadets and staff alike enjoyed a visit to Action Stations with all its simulators and the laser quest where the cadets displayed some real initiative in their attempt to get one over on their staff. The cadets also visited HMS Victory (Flagship of the Royal Navy), the multi million pound HMS Victory experience, the Royal Marines Museum and Fort Nelson (A Napoleonic Fort). To complete the maritime experience the cadets went on a Harbour Boat Tour during which they saw some of the Royal Navy’s latest front line ships.
However one of the main highlights of the weekend for all was the opportunity to fly the flag for the Royal Air Force and the Air Cadets. Always keen for a really unique photo opportunity the cadets boarded Monitor HMS M33 and quite literally flew their flag. M33, the latest addition to the Royal Naval historic dockyard’s attractions is the only First World War surviving Royal Navy ship from the Gallipoli campaign.
The Camp Commandant Sqn Ldr Bryan Coats said, "This has been an excellent weekend camp with a multitude of interesting and valuable activities for our cadets, I am sure they will all have many exciting experiences to remember. Once again our cadets were praised by many of the places visited as to their behaviour and turnout, but the highest compliment was from the permanent staff on board HMS Bristol, who remarked that it was a pleasure to have our Air Cadets on board”.
“It was certainly the first time we had flown our flag aboard M33 and the challenge is now on to see if we can come up with an even more unusual place to fly the flag for the royal Air Force and the Air Cadets”.
View More Photographs from the HMS Bristol Camp