Over the course of the year the squadron attended many of the Cumbria & Lancashire Wing events, and we did great in them! First of all, I’ll talk about Wing Training Day, as it is one of the most important dates in the Wing calendar. Cadets compete in several competitions, including drill, first aid and shooting, at Kirkham Grammar School. Most cadets who were at the squadron at the time went, and enjoyed it alot! The drill squad performed wonderfully, making a few mistakes, but it was a huge step forward from the standard a few months before. The banner drill squad were great in the first half, including the uncasing of the squadron banner, before not knowing any of the sequence around halfway, but considering the majority of the squadrons didn’t compete in the event, I think we did excellently! The First Aid team, consisting of (then) Cadets Cookson, Markey, Pym & Sherrington, placed third, having just earned their badges just a few months prior. However, the flight simulator team, of Cadets Clifton & Greenwood were unfortunately disqualified. In February, Sergeants Ball and Brentley, Corporal Clifton and Cadets Cookson, Kent & Smethurst went to the cross-country competition, in which they did superb, with Sergeant Ball placing highly! A few months later, in May, cadets competed in the Wing Athletics competition, in which the Junior Boys came third, with (then) Cadet Sherrington earning gold in long jump, silver in the 400m and bronze in 1500m! In the junior football, rugby, hockey and netball trials, Cadet Markey was selected to represent Wing in Netball! In September, the cadets went to Lancaster to compete in the Inter-Squadron Swimming competition, in which the Junior Boys won their section, with the relay team of (then) Cadets Sherrington, Greenwood J, Greenwood H and Lloyd winning their race, and (then) Cadet Pym coming a close second in the butterfly race. Cadet Cookson was selected to represent the wing in the inter-region competition! Well done to all involved!
At the start of the year, the cadets vote for what camp at an Royal Air Force station to go to. This year, the cadets voted to go to RAF St. Mawgan in Cornwall during the Easter break, allowing them to visit the DTSO (Defence Survival Training Organisation) unit. The camp also visited various attractions in Newquay, such as the Newquay Maritime Museum. Corporal Sherrington said "St Mawgan was a great annual camp! The activities we did there were fun and interesting, and we got an insight into what RAF life is like!”
During the Summer, various camps took place, such as the Paddle Sports development camp in the Lake District and the Wing Summer Camp, at Halton TC, Lancaster. Of the cadets who attended these camps, they all enjoyed it! For some, the Summer Camp was their first camp with the cadets, including Cadet Jack Lloyd, who said: “Halton (Summer Camp) was my first camp as a cadet and I found it really fun and informative. I made friends at Halton that I am still in touch with today and I am probably going to stay in touch till the next camp we go on all together. I would definitely go back to Halton (Summer Camp), because the cadets and staff were all amazing and changed my perspective on cadets.”
Cadet Sergeant Ball went to the Paddle Sports development camp, in the Lake District, to earn his 3* qualification, learning new skills on the canoe. Unfortunately, he just missed out on getting the qualification. He says he really enjoyed it and would love to go again! One of the cadets who went on the camp, Adam Gilbert from 352 (Burnley) Squadron, filmed the week, and posted the video on YouTube. Click here to watch it! Sergeant Ball is on at 3:33 seconds, spotting an aircraft in the sky!
Over the year, the cadets went on several day trips, including some airshows, and one to London! RAF Cosford is home to one of the most famous airshows, and in June the squadron drove down to the midlands, and watched some amazing displays by some of the best aviation display teams in the world, including the Royal Air Force’s display team: The Red Arrows! Also, in September, cadets visited nearby Southport, and watched the aircraft entertain the crowd! Both days were amazing, and I’m sure most of the cadets who went are likely to go again! Bring on the 2015 airshows! As you may know, the Tower of London was flooded with some 888,246 ceramic poppies, one of which the squadron brought, and the squadron took advantage of this, and on the 25th October, the cadets (after arriving at the squadron for 0500, which some found more challenging than others!) drove down to London, arriving at around 0900, and visited the Tower of London! After this, and a lunch in the capital, we drove the RAF Museum in London, and went around the formerly Hendon Aerodrome, and seeing loads of types of aircraft, from the modern fighter jets to some of the first powered aircraft that took to the skies!
Unfortunately, the gliders are all grounded near our squadron, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go up in the Tutor! We were lucky enough to have several AEF (Air Experience Flight) places, including one on the 23rd November, in which many of the new cadets were able to take to the skies! Unfortunately, many of the cadets were too small, but those cadets were able to visit the Air Traffic Control tower at RAF Woodvale, and see what happens there! All those who go up into the skies said they really enjoyed the day, and we hope those who didn’t are able to go again soon
When you join the Air Cadets, you soon realise you get out what you put in. One of the things most squadron commanders insist you do are the three marches. They are ATC Sunday, the Battle of Britain Parade and Remembrance Day. Every February marks the anniversary of the founding of the Air Training Corps, on the 5th February 1941, and on the nearest possible Sunday (ATC Sunday), the wing marches through Kendal. This year was no different, and the cadets arrived in number, looking smart as every and thousands of cadets from Cumbria & Lancashire marched through the streets! In September, Cadets are also expected to march in remembrance of those who fought in the Battle of Britain, which was from July to October, 1940, which our squadron, as well as a few others in the local area, march in Fulwood Barracks, Preston. This year, our squadron was again, well turned out, with a lot of cadets going. The final march is obviously Remembrance Parade, which this year showed how big are squadron is. 29 cadets from the squadron, some of whom had only received their uniform a few days prior, attended the march around Tarleton, with Cadet Sergeant Ball carrying the banner, escorted by Cadet Corporals Greenwood & Sherrington. It’s not just marches we do! We have also done several bag packs throughout the year at Booths in Longton, and the Spar in Southport, as well as collecting for the RAF Association (RAFA) and the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, from 0900-1600 at Longton Booths on the weekend and 1930-2130 at Hesketh Bank Booths during the week. Well done to everyone who did it!
We as a squadron are looking forward to next year, and trying to get a higher score in our Annual Formal Inspection, during which we scored 6/7! This year has seen the start of not only our social media pages, but also a much larger squadron and we hope to continue the growth through to next year! We are planning on starting to post regular YouTube videos, with the expertise of Civilian Instructor Ben Cornwell, who has his own YouTube channel, posting flying videos, and the eagerness and determination of the cadets! We also hope to retain our trophies, and I’m sure the cadets who won medals, or just missed out, want to do better next year, and will also want to go on more trips, camps and activities, as well as attending squadron regularly!