The seven cadets from 1249 Dereham Squadron were on camp at RAF Odiham when they were offered the chance to spend 25 minutes flying in a Chinook helicopter.
Cadet Lauryn Neil, who was attending a camp for the first time, said: “The flight was amazing, I was really nervous at first but once we lifted off and flew out over the airfield it was brilliant.”
Flight Lieutenant Tracey Allan, Commanding Officer of 1249 Squadron, added: “These camps are always a great opportunity for those cadets who have an interest in joining the Royal Air Force, to see first-hand what life is like for service personnel. Air experience flights are one of the huge bonuses of being an air cadet.”
Just posted on the Wing Facebook page......"Congratulations to 1249 Dereham Sqn who have won the Swaffham Heat of the Wing Drill Competition. A very high standard or drill and uniform from all Squadrons who competed this evening. Well done!".........YYYYYYEEESSSSSS!!!!!!! AMAZING GUYS!! WELL DONE!! And Bond apparently you were just one point off being the best NCO so you should be really proud of yourself! I'm so proud of all of you!!!
We are absolutely delighted, to announce that 1249 (Dereham) Squadron will be the Central & East Regional Representatives for the 2017 Lees Trophy.
After their inspection from the Regional Commandant, Assistant Regional Commandant and the Regional Total Safety Advisor in April the squadron are now through to the next stage of the competition. Below is more information and we will keep you up to date with our progress! Thank you to everyone who has helped us get to this stage!
Cadets and Adult Volunteers from all of the cadet forces, recently joined local dignitaries and senior officers at the Army Reserve Centre in Norwich to attend an award ceremony hosted by the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson.
The Lord Lieutenant is the Queen’s personal representative and every year he offers a personal commendation to those who have gone above and beyond within the various cadet forces.
This year CWO Kristian Crittenden from 1249 (Dereham) Squadron was chosen as the Royal Air Force Air Cadet Lord Lieutenant Cadet for Norfolk. Kristian was nominated as his long and distinguished time in the Air Cadets has included him taking part in the Nijmegen Marches, the Corps, Drill & Ceremonial parade at RAF Cranwell as well as the prestigious Air Cadet Leadership course, he was noted as being a fine ambassador for his Squadron, Wing and Corps
Flt Lt Tracey Allan, Officer Commanding 1249 (Dereham) Squadron was also awarded a commendation for her work within the Corps. After initially being commissioned in 2003, she assumed command of her current unit in 2010 and was praised for her community involvement and also leading the squadron to be the Lees Trophy nominees for the best Squadron in the Corps.
Flt Lt Allan added “I am truly honoured to receive this Lord Lieutenants Certificate, I love being a volunteer for this organisation, and I get a huge amount of gratification supporting the young people in our community. I couldn’t do any of it without the team of other volunteers and cadets that work with me though, they are all brilliant.”
The achievements of over 30 young people from the Dereham area were celebrated at the end of December at 1249 (Dereham) Squadron’s annual presentation and awards night. The squadron welcomed nearly 100 guests, consisting of parents, friends and family, supporters of the squadron as well as the squadron committee for the evening at the squadron headquarters, which also included the enrolment of seven new recruits into the Air Cadet Organisation.
The evening opened with a presentation by the newly formed squadron drum corps, who after only a couple of months practice, pulled off an exceptional performance, this was followed by Cpl Williamson, Cdt Jackman and Cdt Kirk speaking about their experiences and highlights over the last year.
Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Tracey Allan then spoke at length about the varied camps, experiences the cadets had taken part in, including RAF Regiment Work Experience, annual camps in Germany and parachute courses. This is as well as the huge number of awards they had achieved such as British Heart Foundation Heartstart, St John Ambulance Youth First Aid and various BTEC awards.
Presenting the awards on the night, the squadron were delighted to welcome Councillor Philip Duigan, Mayor of Dereham, FS Stef Poole from the Dereham & Swaffham branch of RAFA, Flt Lt Peter Howlett Norfolk & Suffolk Wing Staff Officer, Ellise Owen and Carolyn Starling, Chair of the Civilian Committee. Awards presented were as follows;
Harry Brooker Trophy – Cdt Ellie Jackman
Sports Cadet of the Year – Cdt Laura Griffin
RAFA Award for Drill & Deportment – Sgt Ella Mitchell
RAFA Chairman’s Award for Adventure Training – Cpl Hugo Jones
Best Effort in Duke of Edinburgh Award – Cdt Sam Bush
Civilian Committee Award for Most Improved Cadet – Cdt Alex Jarrett
Best Junior Cadet – Cdt Lucy Kirk
Warren Owen ‘Vires Audent’ Trophy – CWO Kristian Crittenden
NCO of the Year – Sgt Ella Mitchell
Cadet of the Year – Cpl Evie Williamson
Flt Lt Allan added “We are incredibly proud of all of our cadets, they are a fantastic group of young people that have a huge amount to offer, and we are delighted to recognise their achievements this evening. In particular those who have won awards. They have gone above and beyond and have given a huge amount of time and effort into their time in the Air Cadets this year. We are very grateful for the Mayor of Dereham visiting us for the first time and we are looking forward to being involved in more community events next year.
More pictures are on the Gallery page.
At the end of July 40 cadets from across Norfolk & Suffolk Wing descended on RAF Benson in Oxfordshire to attend a week long camp with the aim to experience living and working on a Royal Air Force station.
After a long journey, the cadets were quickly allocated rooms and split in to flights before receiving a brief from the Air Cadet Liason Team, then completing a navigation exercise to familiarise themselves with the layout of the station.
The week was then made up of various trips both on and off station including the visiting the RAF Museum Hendon, section visits to the Air Traffic Control, high ropes course, Chinook Hangers, Fire Section, and a highlight was looking at the helicopter simulator centre.
Although, they could not get a flight in a Chinook the cadets were delighted to be able to fly in a Tutor with 6AEF, one lucky cadet was even able to fly with non-other than Wg Cdr Andy Green the current land speed record holder!
The cadets also enjoyed a visit to the NPAS (National Police Air Service) Benson and also Thames Valley Air Ambulance where they were honoured to give to them a donation of £176.52 raised from the camp canteen.
At the end of the Week award winners were Puma Flight for Best Flight, Best NCO Cpl Smale 863 (Thurston) Sqn, Best Cadet Cdt Elikwu from 231 (Norwich) Sqn, Best First Timer Cdt Warrick 1334 (Manningtree) Sqn.
Flt Lt Burlingham Camp Commandant added “We have had a fantastic week at RAF Benson, the whole station has been incredibly accommodating, and we can’t thank them enough for the effort they have put in to putting together an interesting and varied programme. The cadets this week have been excellent, they have pulled together and have set a fantastic example of the Corps – I am varied proud of them”.
After winning the initial Wing Sector Competition at Swaffham in June, they then went through to the Wing finals held at RAF Honington on Friday 15th July. All the polishing and ironing, in conjunction with the hours of drill practice paid off when the squadron pulled it out of the bag during the hotly contested final against 231 (Norwich), 1331 (Stowmarket) and 759 (Beccles) Squadrons.
Many of the cadets were highly praised for the effort they had put into their appearance and under the direction of CWO Crittenden the cadets executed their drill routine perfectly.
WO Lyons, who had been overseeing the team added “I am absolutely thrilled! Even after a few last minute changes the cadets have done themselves proud, I am so pleased that all their hard work had paid off. Now we need to focus on the Regional Field weekend and aim to win that competition too”
At the beginning of August I was selected to go to an overseas camp to USAF Ramstein in Germany. We first stopped over night at Luxembourg Military barracks, visiting Luxembourg city, the National Museum of Military History and then going onto Ramstein base.
The next day we went around the base visiting a range of different sections and went swimming.
On Saturday we went to the Technik Museum Speyer where they had, trains, classic cars, racing motorbikes, planes, a U-boat and a space shuttle.
On the fourth day we visited Rüdesheim, going shopping and seeing the Niederwalddenkmal monument which was built after the unification of Germany in the 1870s, overlooking the Rhein.
We got up early the next morning in preparation for an hour and a half flight in a Hercules C-130 over the German countryside. In the afternoon we did some sports at the NCO Kisling academy.
The next day we visited Spangdahlem which is another USAF base in Germany. We looked around the hangers, an F-16 and the fire department. We went swimming in a lake and went to a traditional German restaurant.
The rest of the week consisted of a variety trips including a visit to the German Luftwaffe Bushul, and a high ropes course – finished with a visit to a chocolate shop! I would certainly recommend this camp to any cadets – it was very informative and great fun.
On 2nd July 2016 I completed my Diamond DofE Challenge; the Fan Dance, a 15 mile hike over the Den Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. It is used in the Special Forces Selection process.
I did this challenge because I had just watched a TV programme about it and was fascinated. I love hill walking and walking with weight, so I knew this would be an ideal challenge. I chose to do the Diamond DofE challenge because I wanted to inspire others to get involved with the DofE and it’s another great once in a lifetime opportunity
Training was tough and I’d like to thank my mother for being chef, PT and logistics officer and driver. The event was run by a company made up of ex-Special Forces operatives called Avalanche Endurance Events. They recommended runs, 5x16km walks with 2/3rd weights and 2xfull distance with full weights. It took up a lot of time but it was worth it.
The actual day came round with perfect weather, cool and clear. I appeared to be the youngest person attempting the Fan Dance. My mother waved her goodbyes and cleared off for a full English breakfast. We received a safety brief which consisted of “If you see someone fall down, feel free to laugh at them and shout “Sniper”!” I suppose I shouldn’t have expected much more from the black humour of the ex-Special Forces.
I have never pushed myself so hard in all my life. Two miles in and I was hot and puffing. Metres crawled by and the feeling that I wasn’t going to make it increased. On the return leg however as I cleared Jacobs Ladder and reached the summit I have never felt happier and I wasn’t even finished. The last downhill slope has a blind spot which I fell over in, I was thankful I was hidden from the others.
When I reached the bottom I was greeted with a firm handshake, completion patch and the nickname ‘goat’. This was due to my slim build and accomplishment which put them in mind of a mountain goat.
It was no doubt the most physically and mentally demanding thing I have ever done and the best day of my life.
Well done to everyone who took part in the expedition this weekend! There's a couple of NNAS Bronze navigation awards on the way for Cpl's Wilkins and Williamson - well done! The rest of you are very close to meeting the required skill sets, so keep working on your nav skills.
Here's a few pictures from the weekend - I hope it inspires a few more of you on the SQN to sign up to the DofE award and join in...
Well done to all 8 of todays I.E.T participants (and the 2 from earlier in the month!) There were some good basic Nav skills demonstrated today along with a good walk in the countryside carrying a little weight in your backpacks; all of which will help see you all through your upcoming DofE expeditions.
There's also NNAS Bronze awards on the way for Sgt Jake Medley and Cdt Ellie Jackman- well done!
On 14th May several cadets helped out at the 5K Pretty Muddy Race for Life at the Showground in Norwich. This is an annual event to raise money for cancer awareness. We had several roles on this day, from preparing the medals and bags for those crossing the finish line, handing out drinks and goodies to runners and possibly the best job, spraying the water at the final obstacle.
The 5K course had a number of obstacles, tyres, inflatables, tunnels and pits, all of which had one thing in common.......cold, wet mud.
This is an event for female competitors and it seemed only right that a group of us put on our trainers and joined the fun. Six of us completed the course a little wetter and muddier but completed none the less. Roll on next year, training is already underway!
On 21st April the squadron underwent it's inspection for the Lees trophy. The Lees Morris Trophy is awarded to the best squadron in the Corps, and this was the first phase of the competition after the Squadron was awarded the Best Squadron in Norfolk & Suffolk Wing.
The inspection was carried out by Reg Cmdt Group Captain Nigel Gorman and Asst Reg Cmdt Squadron Leader Nathan Wilks. It was a somewhat chilly night but all the cadets were on parade when the Reg Cmdt arrived at the Squadron.
Along with the cadets, the staff were introduced to the Inspecting Officer, these included our Squadron Padre and some of our civilian committee members. Once the parade was completed and everyone had retreated to the warmth of the Squadron building the staff had a chance to sit and chat with both Reg Cmdt Gorman and Asst Reg Cmdt Wilks.
It was then the turn of the cadets to have a Q&A session with the Reg Cmdt, which from the laughter coming from the main hall sounded as if it was enjoyed by all. The cadets were incredibly smart and well turned out, they were smiling, polite and engaging and were an absolute credit to both the Squadron and the Wing.
Congratulations to Flt Lt Burlingham on receiving her Cadet Forces Medal for 12 years exemplary service.
Flt Lt Burlingham joined 1249 squadron in 1994 as a cadet before going on to become a Civilian Instructor and Squadron Officer. She took over the squadron in 2010 and has continued to build on the success of the squadron which was proud to be nominated for the Lees trophy this year
On 22nd April 2016 eight of our cadets headed off to the Wingfield weekend along around 230 cadets from the other squadrons in our region, along with approximately 80 staff.
A number of activities were undertaken including archery, first aid, fieldcraft, orienteering and raft building with river crossing.
It was a cold and miserable weekend weather wise but all the cadets gave their everything.
We were thrilled to come second in the shooting and second in the air craft recognition, beaten only by a tie-breaker.
Last weekend Dereham Air cadets joined in a national iniative to 'Clean for the Queen' whilst supporting a local heritage project.
Clean for The Queen is a campaign designed to clear up Britain in time for Her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday. The idea being that communities, youth groups and schools show their gratitude to Her Majesty by cleaning up our countryside.
The squadron was approached by the parish councillors of the village of Hoe to ask if the cadets would be willing to volunteer their time to clear a WW2 Pillbox on the edge of the village, that was previously part of the defence line for RAF Swanton Morley. The squadron has a history with RAF Swanton Morley after previously being based there up until 1994 when it moved to its current location in Dereham so were more than happy to help.
After a walk to the village, a determined group of 15 staff and cadets got to work with removing the thick carpet of ivy that had completely engulfed the pill box over the last 70 years, and after 4 hours of hard work, managed to clear it completely.
The local people were incredibly grateful and commented;
"What an impressive, ‘can do’, bunch your cadets are and what an impressive thing they achieved. It is wonderful project and really great that the Pill Box, the Search Light field and Swanton in WW2 are being kept alive. What delightful young people too."
CI Adam Flack who co-ordinated the event and also lives in the village added "The cadets all worked brilliantly, it was a huge team effort and the village are so grateful for the squadron's support."
This year sees Cpl Hugo Jones and Cpl Finlay Bond from 1249 (Dereham) Squadron take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme's Diamond Challenge.
The Diamond Challenge is set up to celebrate 60 years of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and encourages young people to choose a personal challenge, and raise money to support young people in your local area.
Cpl Jones and Cpl Bond have decided to complete the infamous 'Fan Dance'. This is a 24 kilometre hike across the Brecon Beacons carrying 35lb weight, and is used in UK Special Forces selection. "I decided to choose this as my Diamond DofE Challenge because it will be a great experience but also something that will be completely out of my comfort zone. We have already started training and are looking forward to doing more."
Cpl Bond said "Part of me thinks it's going to be great, but it is going to be physically and mentally demanding"
As part of the challenge it is required that all particpants raise a minimum of £60 for the Duke of Edinbugh Scheme, and as such any donations are welcome. To support their fundraising efforts they are asking people to visit https://www.justgiving.com/stormzyinnit/ and donate what ever they can.
Sunday 21st February saw cadets from across Norfolk & Suffolk Wing descend on Barnham Camp for their annual Cross Country competition.
11 Cadets from 1249 (Dereham) Squadron braved the windy weather to take part in the 3 mile course across the Brecks countryside, all completing the course in some great times.
From the 28th of September to the 11th of October I was lucky enough to be able to go and participate in the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme (ACPS) based at Tayside Aviation in Dundee, Scotland. I was one out of 184 lucky cadets selected each year from the entire corps. The ACPS involves 12 hours of flying lessons with RAF approved instructors, hotel accommodation and rail travel to and from Tayside fully funded by the ACO, with the aim of a solo flight at the end of the two weeks. The 12 hours of flying can also be used towards your Private Pilot’s Licence. With thousands of cadets applying for such limited spaces, you can’t help but feel extremely privileged and honoured to be given such an amazing opportunity.
The course began with a very early start and hopping on and off various trains as I made my way from Norwich train station towards Dundee, which was certainly a challenge whilst battling with a suitcase packed for two weeks (plus Sixth Form Work)! After finally arriving at the hotel, I met up with the 3 other cadets on the same course as me, all from different areas of the country. Due to way that the ACPS is operated there are always two courses running at the same time. There is a new intake each week so courses overlap, resulting in a junior and senior group. We met up with the senior group at dinner and we all became good friends. They also told us that the weather had been unusually good for the time of year, but low pressure was moving in so bad weather was on its way. Meaning the pressure was on to get in as many flying hours as possible and hopefully go solo before the weather took a turn.
Our first day at Tayside Aviation consisted of meeting Jim Watt, the owner, and the pilots who were to be our instructors. As cadets, we were given basic duties to perform at the start and end of each day. These included removing covers from the Piper Warrior aircraft used for the Private Pilot’s Licence students and moving our aircraft (Grob 115 Herons) in and out of their hanger along with basic cleaning and tidying tasks. We all managed to have our first flight that day due to the continued good weather, which consisted of basic manoeuvres and investigating how the controls effect the way the aircraft flies, similar to what cadets learn for their cadet classifications. We were also provided with all the information and equipment we would need for the two weeks, including a textbook and checklist for our aircraft.
Before all our flights we received a briefing about what exercises we would be doing with our instructors and also information about what the weather was doing that day as well as what aircraft we were flying in (they all had their own nicknames and personalities!). We soon discovered that the best time for flying was late afternoon, as the sun setting over the river Tay was a truly amazing and beautiful sight that you could never get used to. We certainly felt like real pilots and many Top Gun jokes were made
Over the two weeks, we covered all aspects of flying we would need to enable us to fly as a solo pilot, including:
We also had to pass a written exam which tested our knowledge of the theory aspects of the course.
When we weren’t at the airport, we spent our time mainly all in one of our rooms at the hotel helping and testing each other on the theory behind previous or future exercises (as well as watching and debating the rugby world cup!). I still feel extremely lucky that I was part of a group that gelled so well together, as I feel it helped make the experience for myself so much better. . During our time in Dundee we also managed to witness the Northern Lights, which was an amazing experience in itself.
All too soon the two weeks were coming to an end. Eventually the low pressure caught up with us, bringing low cloud and rain meaning we spent the majority of the second week on the ground. However, two cadets on our course did manage to complete their solo flight two days before the official end of our course, so we had cause for celebration before they left the next day. Unfortunately the other cadet and I were unable to attain our solo flight. Although this was disappointing, just the thought of all we had learnt and the experiences we had gained were amazing in themselves and reminded us of how lucky we were.
The ACPS is certainly an experience that I will never forget and is most definitely the best experience of my cadet career. I would like to extend my thanks to my flying instructors Tom and Alasdair for all their help (and patience!) over the two weeks, as well as all the ACO staff that made my experience possible. The ACPS has also helped me to realise that I definitely want to have flying as a part of my future career.
8 Cadets and 2 staff members from 1249 (Dereham) Squadron have just returned from Annual camp at RAF Benson.
The cadets participated in a wide variety of events on station including section visits to Air Traffic Control, Fire and Survival Equipment, off station there was a trip to RAF Museum at Hendon, Windsor Castle, Thorpe Park and even a Ghost Walk around Oxford!
There were many highlights but the main one had to be when the all the cadets managed to get a flight in a Merlin helicopter. A few lucky cadets even had the chance to sit at the open door of the Merlin whilst it flew 200 feet above the ground - truly an amazing experience!
Some managed to get flights in the Grob Tutor with 6 AEF, whilst others were able to see some of the Royal Air Force's most up to date technology by flying in a Chinook simulator.
Cpl Finlay Bond added "I was lucky enough to go in the simulator and it was amazing. The graphics were so realistic and it gave me a real insight into what it takes to fly a Chinook."
1249 (Dereham) Squadron cadets recently supported the Amateur Swimming Association Outdoor Swim at Whitlingham Broad in Norwich for their regional open water championships.
The event run jointly run and organised by squadron treasurer Paul Kendall sees over 400 athletes take part in a number of races over four distances, 5k, 3k, 1.5k and 800m.
The cadets assisted the organisers in a number of roles including handing out water, selling programmes assisting the competitors and liaising with the public.
Cdt George Rowley attending the event for the second year said “It was a great day, and we were kept busy by doing plenty of jobs including selling programs and help moving swimmers bag. The staff really appreciated us being there and got a free boat ride and lots of cake which was a bonus!”
Mr Kendall added “The cadets were a massive help, and we really appreciated the hard work they put in throughout the day”
Wednesday 4th February saw Norfolk & Suffolk Wing cadets join 300 Civilian and Uniformed members of staff at the Kings Lynn Corn Exchange for the 2015 RAF Marham Awards Night.
3 cadets from the Wing were in attendance after being nominated by their squadron commanders for Air Cadet of the Year award and for the honour of becoming the Station Commanders Cadet for the next year. FS Alex Stapleton from 42F (Kings Lynn), FS Kristian Crittenden from 1249 (Dereham) and Sgt Ryan Jackson for 864DF (Marham) were all interviewed on camera by the production team after being shortlisted for the award, which edited to be part of a film clip played in front of the audience on the night.
After a nervous wait, and watching themselves on the big screen the winner was announced as FS Crittenden from 1249 (Dereham) squadron and he was presented with his award by guest presenter Air Commodore David Waddington.
After returning from the stage FS Crittenden said "I can't believe it, I really wasn't expecting to win - it was an honour just to be nominated, so I am really surprised but very happy"
Flt Lt Tracey Burlingham - Officer Commanding 1249 (Dereham) Squadron added - "Kristian has worked really hard this year, and his achievements at the Air Cadet Leadership and drill courses have been amazing. More than this though he is committed to the ACO and has been fully involved in everything the squadron has been involved in - he really does deserve this award and I am very proud of him."
The evening saw 15 awards being handed out to deserving members of the RAF Marham family, both civilian and uniformed who have gone above and beyond in their particular field, and it's aim was to celebrate all the 'goodness' that happens at RAF Marham.
Further images can be found in the Gallery section
The 2014 Presentation Evening was held in the Drill Hall on 15 December 2014
The end of 2014 was a succesful one for 1249 (Dereham) Squadron with a fantastic turnout for the annual presentation evening.
Approximately 50 parents, friends and family joined the squadron team to see their cadets being enrolled and (for the lucky ones) recieving their much sought after annual awards. Joined by Sqn Ldr Green WSO3 and Sqn Ldr Jupe WTO the following cadets were awarded on the night for;
Enrollment into the Air Training Corps
First Class Exam Passes
Leading Cadet Exam Passes
Royal British Legion Youth Award - Winner of County Youth Standard Bearer & RBL Cadet Standard Bearer
Sgt Connor Bingham
Harry Brooker Trophy - Cdt Sam Bush
Warren Owen 'Vires Audent' Trophy - Sgt Emma Starling & Sgt Ben Sharman
Shooting Trophy - Cdt Keiran Spooner
Sports Cadet - Cpl Paige Hill
RAFA Drill & Deportment - FS Kristian Crittenden
RAFA Chairmans Adventure Training - Cdt Jack Day
Duke of Edinburgh - Cpl Harry Olley
Best Junior Cadet - Cdt Hugo Jones
Civilian Committee Award Most Improved - Cdt Jay Bartmeier
NCO of the Year - Cpl Bethany Wilkins
Cadet of the Year - Cdt Laura Griffin
Best Flight - Valiant
There are lots more photos on our Facebook page 1249DerehamSqn
Standard bearer competition: 12th October 2014
I represented the Air Training Corp in a cadet annual standard bearer competition. There were 10 competitors in this. 3 cadets were from Downham Market, 1 from St John’s Ambulance service, 3 army cadets from Thetford, 1 from Watton and 1 King’s Lynn squadron. We started on time 1pm and there was an hour inspection of the bearer and the standard and how correctly dressed your flag is. When the competition started, I was the first contestant on the parade square. Although I was the first to finish, I had to wait till the end of the competition for the results but unfortunately, I had to go to work. The Royal British Legion then rang me the following day and told me that I had won the competition. This was a great achievement and well worth the years training I had dedicated my time to.
Sgt Connor Bingham
Camp@ 26th July- 2nd August 2014 :
Overall, I enjoyed my time at camp, especially my work experience with the engineering section. This experience saw me servicing a defender and giving me more knowledge of each part. This camp had a great team spirit which helps everyone to get along and meet new people.
At the beginning of July FS Crittenden spent a week at RAF Cranwell taking part in the prestigeous Air Cadet Leadership Course. Here is an account of his week;
Air Cadet Leadership Course
Straight away, after arriving at RAF College Cranwell, we were thrown in the deep end and having RAF warrant officers shouting and breathing down our necks. We had just one minute to write down an A4 sized paper of information and pick up a shirt to then march up to another warrant officer to get signed in, and where our rank was also taken away from us for the week. The next couple of hours was spent finding the barrack blocks, ironing and preparing all the uniform and helping others to get sorted as well. After having a quick meal in the candidates mess we had to report to the station learning centre for briefs from the course commander and others. After some leadership theory it was straight to the drill square where they began to choose who will be doing what on the graduation parade. Turn by turn each person took the flight for drill and the RAF sergeant narrowed it down to the 3 best in the flight, me and 2 others. Then again we took it and was narrowed down to just me and one other. When each flight had at least one good person the best from each flight came out to the front to take the course for drill. And turn by turn people were taking drill and the DS (directing staff) were taking notes. After plenty of that drill it was time for uniform and room inspections before lights out.
This seemed at the time to be the most physically demanding, and having to wake up around 0430 hrs in the morning for PT, which was the start of Exercise Singleton (named after one of the founders of the course) which involved a mile and a half run in under 11 mins. At this point some had already been kicked off the course because they didn't complete it in time. And after some more PT it was time to get changed into uniform for more drill, it was then that they announced the rolls of people for the graduation parade, in front of College Hall Officers mess (which usually only officers can parade on) , where it was announced that I was selected as the parade commander and given 3 sheets of A4 paper to learn the drill sequence. After practise for our graduation parade it was back to Ex. Singleton which involved a 20km walk which only my flight completed. When we got back it was time to clean ourselves up again to be straight back in uniform for more leadership theory, then another room and uniform inspection before lights out.
Another early morning start of 0430 hrs to be doing drill practise for a couple of hours before breakfast then it was time for more leadership theory followed by demonstrations of how our tasks for the next few days should be carried out. There was little time for break and time to do the phase 1 command tasks ourselves. I was the second person in my flight to lead a task which was very successful with very good feed back. Person by person , everyone had a chance to lead an activity before inspection before lights out as before.
Yet again it was the same early start for more drill practise before breakfast, and luckily I knew the whole sequence off by heart by this point. There was first parade then straight into phase 2 command tasks which were more complicated and longer than before. I was first up to lead an activity and although it wasn't quite successful this time I still had good feedback for my approach and my leadership during the task. Again everyone had their turn to lead an activity then it was time for our phase 3 brief which involved a 2 day deployment at another part of the station. After the brief we had our mid course interviews which involved a formal talk with out flight commanders. We then had some free time, which of course meant we all spent it getting ready for the 2 day deployment and preparing uniform.
We had time for a lay in this day, we didn't have to be up until 0600 hrs! We had a parade and marched to the area we would be spending the next 2 days. We set up camp, got our ration packs, ate, then began our phase 3 command tasks. These were much harder and longer tasks than before which meant I didn't have to lead any tasks this day because there wasn't enough time.
We had another lay in this day! 6 o'clock ! A first parade then straight on with phase 3 command tasks. My task was the second of the day and was completed almost successfully with only 2 pretend casualties. Again I had good feedback and we carried on with the rest of the tasks. At this point everyone in the flight had lead 3 activities each and we were told there was one left to do but this time the team had to choose our own leader rather than the flight commanders choosing the leader for an activity. Unanimously my flight picked me as their leader and we carried out the final task. I took on everything I had learned previously and put it into practise and we almost completed the task and I got the best feedback yet! But now we had completed all the tasks there was no time for rest as it was time for Exercise Top Dog which involved orienteering and a log run, both of which were very physically demanding! A few people had been kicked off the course by this point, and it was a shame because there was only 1 day before we graduated we the course. Unfortunately my flight didn't win either of the parts of Ex Top Dog but was still good fun!
Then we had to sleep outside under bashers which of course meant it decided to rain that night!
Straight away it was fast paced, just as it had been up to that point, and we had to eat breakfast and pack up camp in half an hour! We got back, handed in all the kit we borrowed and spent the next few hours doing drill. This was our last practise before the graduation parade the next day so we had to get it perfect! And at this point only time could tell if it would go well. It was the. Time for our final interview with our flight commanders which is when we were told if we passed the course or not and told us our report they done on us during the week. It was also then that I was told that I was one of the only ones to pass the course with merit! Only about 25% of the whole course got that and only a few people done better than that! We handed in our ACLC rank slides and we could have our own rank again. It was then a social evening which we spent in the station bowling alley.
Back to the early started again to make sure we were all packed to go and ready for our graduation. We had breakfast and went straight to College Hall Officers Mess. A quick practise run through of the parade then we were ready for the real thing. Our parents came out. Then the Directing Staff. Then the reviewing officer, who is 2nd in command of the Air Cadet Organisation. I was in charge of the parade in front of CHOM which was amazing! I accompanied him round during the inspection as he handed out the badges. We then marched off past him and we officially passed the Air Cadet Leadership Course! I was congratulated my the warrant officers for a good parade and said we were excellent. We had just enough time to have some pictures then we had to go back to the barrack block to get our stuff then we had our good byes to our new friends then had to leave. I can honestly say that so far, this has been the best experience I'm my time at cadets. But it was also the hardest!
What were you doing on May 1st?
1249 Sqn Tubing Night at Norwich dry ski slope was a tremendous success for all 20 cadets that took part. Though it was not the warmest or sunniest days of the year, the slope lit up with the bright smiles of everyone that took part. This was a fun and team bonding event that achieved everything that was hoped-for, and somewhere that we will definately re-visit another time.
For more photo's of the day, see the photo's page.
2014 started with a quite a punch with 24 cadets achieving their "Heart Start" award in the second week back after Christmas, plus a potential 5 new cadets attended the Squadron Open Evening on 16 January with their parents on the next parade evening. During the Open Evening the Squadron gave the potential recruits an opportunity to see for themselves the wide range of activities that would be available to them within the ATC.
SMILING MYSELF SILLY AT 13000FT, WITH NOTHING BELOW ME BUT FRESH AIR!
By Cdt Cpl Ella Mitchell
On Saturday 12 October 2013, I completed a skydive in order to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund. When I woke up on the morning we had doubts whether the jump would go ahead, due to the weather, but after hearing the jump was able to go ahead, I was ridiculously excited, and couldn’t wait to get there! The jump was arranged to take place at Beccles Heliport, near to Lowestoft. During the hour long car journey, my excitement only grew and grew.
Upon arrival at Beccles, I had to complete some paperwork, stating that i was fit and healthy to jump, and that I had parental consent (and a sound mind) to jump . Then I was taken through a fifteen minute briefing about all the equipment I would be using, and how the jump needed to be executed; this was all necessary in order to stray safe. Next I was given an “extremely attractive” jump suit, with a tight leather hat that looked just like the ones I’ve seen at my Squadron in a picture of 2nd WW aircrew, and a pair of “top of the range” goggles; in reality these were little more than a cut-down polly-pocket attached by elastic bands. Then it was time to go!
We boarded a single engine high-winged aircraft, which I think may have been a Cessna Caravan, with around twelve other parachutists. All the while we were loading onto the aircraft my excitement continued to grow, I was completely unaware of anything else apart from the what was happening in the aircraft. The journey up to 13000ft took about 20 minutes, during which I was reminded of the safety points and also had time to enjoy the incredible view.
Myself and my instructor were the last to leave the aircraft; I couldn’t wait! We edged our way to the door, and then I had to get out the side door and hang out under the plane while he prepared for us to jump. As we left the plane, I bent my body into a banana shape to make it easier for my instructor to complete his safety checks. The wind blew past my ears as we plummeted towards the ground; it didn’t feel like we were going very fast, which surprised me as we were travelling at 120mph… When the parachute opened after falling 9000ft – we were now at 4000ft, we appeared to shoot back up before everything came to a standstill from my perspective. It was an absolutely incredible view, you could see for miles around, and even further it it hadn’t been so cloudy.
After a while in the air under the parachute, my instructor went through how to land with me one more time, and he explained how my jump suit was designed to help me do so. Then we floated down for about 5 more minutes, my hands were freezing cold despite the thick gloves I had on.
When I landed I had to lift my legs as high as I could to make it safe. Then my parachute jump of a lifetime was over. It was the best experience of my life so far, and I can’t wait until I can go again.
My parachute jump was in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund. If you would like to help my fund raising efforts, it is easy for you to do so through the “Just Giving” website. Please give whatever you can to my account by logging on to www.justgiving.com/ella-mitchell .
Cdt Cpl Ella Mitchell
RAF Boulmer Summer Camp
RAF Boulmer is an exciting place to be, and somewhere that gave cadets a wide variety of activities to participate in. These activities included all of the usual RAF station section visits and sporting activities, plus the opportunity to get really close up to the Seaking helicopter and other engineering equipment used by the station.
All the ATC cadets were separated into two flights, with each flight competing against the other over the week in a number of competitions to find the best flight; these competitions involved shooting, swimming, and drill.
The Seaking will shortly be retired from RAF service, so this weeks camp might have been the last time we could get near one that was in flying condition. For a lucky 4 cadets, there would also be the opportunity for them to actually have a flight in the aircraft during the week.
As there were only 4 places, the selection of the lucky 4 was going to be a difficult one for the camp staff, who tried to make it as fair a selection process as they possibly could. The staff evaluated all of the cadets, and decided that it would be their personality that “won” them a place on the Seaking; and I was very please to find that I was selected to be one of the four, and our flight was set for Thursday.
Cdt Poole said “On the thursday the four of us had to wear DPMs instead of “Blues”, and we had to report to the Seaking Squadron at 12:30. When we arrived, our aircraft was already running and hovering just above the ground. We were all going to be winched up into the aircraft one at a time, and then we went for a flight around the coast on an “Air Sea Rescue” training sortie.
During our flight we travelled for about 5 minutes from the camp to the coast, and then turned to follow the coastline. As we flew we went over a Castle where there were a large number of tourists visiting the Castle grounds. Whilst the four cadets took it in turn to sit in the open cargo door, the aircraft circled over the castle and we all looked down at the tourists looking back up at us. I found it very exciting, and it was quite funny seeing ll the people looking at us as we flew by.
Our flight only lasted for 45 minutes it seemed, though it could have been much longer in reality; it was all over far too soon and we had returned back to RAF Boulmer. After that highlight, the rest of the camp seemed to go really fast, and we came back home once again.”
Dereham cadets have seen off all commers within Sector 3 of Norfolk & Suffolk Wing to win the sector Drill Competition held at Swaffham on 03 July. This is the first time that a team from Dereham has won this award in the memoury of the current staff, though they have come close on previous occassions. The Squadron Drill Team now face the winners from the other sectors within the Wing at the final at RAF Honington on 19 July.
1249 (Dereham) squadron attended Old Buckenham air show from the 2nd to
the 3rd of June.
Classic cars ranging from the pre 1940’s triumph club to the classic military vehicles were on show along with shops ranging from food stalls to military extravaganza. The air show had a display from the well known spitfire to a custom jet stunt plane, there was also a surprise visit from the soon out of service sea king. The cadets had many jobs such as: Crowd control where the cadets had to make sure the members of the public were safe and kept behind the fences. Emergency gate, Front gate and car park. Some cadets even got to ride in the golf buggy taking the public to and fro!
Many of the cadets enjoyed this weekend where they had a chance to sleep in a hanger with aircraft, have a taste at ration packs and we were able to go to the 1940’s hangar dance which led to people dancing and having fun making the time at old Buckenham more enjoyable.
The one down side for most of the cadets was the breakfast, as we had muesli with water which isn’t a good combo. Overall it was a great weekend but could have had better breakfast!
On Sunday the 30th June a group of 8 cadets went to North Walsham
football club to participate in the Norfolk and Suffolk 6-a-side football
tournament, against 25 other squadrons.
Below is an account from CDT Olley.
“We arrived there at about 9am after driving from Dereham Squadron at 8:15am and we spent a lot of the journey going around in circles but we still managed to get there on time. 10 minutes after arriving we got stuck into are first game against Lowestoft and a few seconds into the game CDT Crawford scored the first goal of the tournament and then CPL Locke got the second goal followed by a Lowestoft goal and it finished 2-1.
After the first game we didn’t lose a match throughout the tournament. We won two and drew 5 and we finished 3rd out of our group. After we finish our group stage we thought that we had gone through but then found out it was a mistake and we finished 3rd in the group which still is a great result for the 1249 (Dereham) squadron, as it was better than last year!”
Local Police Visit.
On the 13th of June 2013 the air cadets had an interesting and insightful visit from PC Douglass AKA ‘spartacus’ from Dereham Police station.
He explained his knowledge and experience on the force and how rewarding it can be. We learned about how exciting being on the force can be, but also the dangerous and exhilarating side of being on the frontline in Norfolk and Metropolitan Police forces.
Air Cadets help keep runners moving
Dereham Air Cadets found helping at the “Race for Life” event at Norwich Show Ground, on the weekend 18/18 May, could be fun and rewarding work, when 12 cadets and 5 staff helped over 10,000 competitors enjoy and take part in this cancer research UK charity event. Organisers and participants alike heartily praised the cadets for their enthusiasm, professionalism, encouragement and support, especially at the finish of each race, where cadets welcomed the runners’ home and handed out medals and refreshments as participants crossed the finish line.
Gemma Turpin - Senior Area Event Manager added " the organisers and volunteers all spoke very highly of all the cadets, stating how they were supportive, helpful, and upbeat at all times. This is a credit to them and your team. Thank you so much for your help.
This event is just one of many exciting events or activities that Dereham Air Cadets assist or participate in throughout the year, the next being the Old Buckenham air show on 22/23 June. If you would like to know more about the cadets , further information can be found by coming to the Squadron open evening on Monday 10th Jun 13, at the Sqn HQ behind the TA Centre, Norwich St, Dereham. Come and learn about what the Air Cadets have to offer.
70 Cadets gather to remember ‘The Few’ in Dereham
Around 70 air cadets and their staff came together last week, to commemorate the few who gave their lives and fought in the Battle of Britain, in a parade through Dereham Town centre.
As well as cadets from 1249 (Dereham) Squadron, representatives from 2534 (Fakenham), 1986 (Wymondham), 864 (Watton) and 1894 (Swaffham) squadrons joined members of the Royal Air Force Association and veterans in a march past, followed by a service at the local church.
The impressive turnout was one of the largest seen in the town for many years and
was watched by a big crowd on the day. Flight Lieutenant Tracey Burlingham, Commanding Officer of 1249 (Dereham) Squadron added “Seeing so many cadets and staff on parade was a real
talking point of the town, and shows everyone that the younger generation still appreciate the sacrifices made by the men who flew in the Battle of Britain.”
Air Cadets Support the Tour of Britain
Cadets from 1249 (Dereham) Squadron Air Training Corps, spent the day supporting a local event in celebration of the first day of the Tour of Britain coming through a local village.
The lucky volunteers managed to cheer on Olympic and Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins and his team mate Mark Cavendish as they rode through Swanton Morley in the first stage of the 1350km race around Britain, as well as supporting a family fun day held in aid of Help for Heroes.
Corporal Kristian Crittenden added “After watching so much cycling on the TV over the summer I was really looking forward to seeing all these athletes in person. It was an amazing sight, seeing 100 riders racing through the village – it was just a shame it went by so quickly!”
Dereham air cadets adventure in North Wales
1249 Dereham squadron sent three cadets, to the Air Cadets’ Adventure Training Centre in Llanbedr, North Wales between the 14th and 21st July 2012.
Here is an account of their amazing week;
“After a long and tiring journey through beautiful Wales countryside, consisting of mountains and livestock. We arrived and unloaded our gear and said hello to our new home, a 12 man room.
The following day we woke up at seven to then eat breakfast half an hour later. We needed the large breakfast, as we spent the day climbing up the steep mountains of the North Wales. It was a very hard day, but well worth the effort as we were rewarded by the stunning views at the peaks of the mountains.
The next day was an equally challenging and rewarding day, we spent it rock climbing. We used an indoor wall, as the unpredictable Welsh weather made it impossible to climb outside. However this was in no way a letdown, as the indoor wall was just as much of a challenge and left us all with completely exhausted arms.
The third day consisted of mountain biking, the wet conditions made the riding so much fun, as we cycled through the massive puddles. The mountainous area we were in made for perfect riding, it was great fun riding up the slopes and even more to ride down them. Even the break for lunch was a highlight, as we stopped by a picturesque lake.
Day four was another day spent in the mountains, this time we were all hoping to gain the Bronze National Navigational Award Scheme, (NNAS). Once again conditions were tricky, this time large boggy areas contained mud as deep as a person’s hip.
After a hard day in the mud, it was so nice to be partaking in water sports the next day. We went all sea kayaking and sailing and even had time to go on a large yacht. The day finished with a game of beach football, which even the Wing Commander took part in.
The final day of activities was an even more unusual and fun than the previous, we went dry slope skiing. Cadets that had experience were able to ski freely, while those that were new to the sport were given lessons. The rest of the day was spent shopping and relaxing on the beach, soaking up the good weather.
The camp provided many new and interesting opportunities and also allowed us to meet new cadets from different squadrons, including those cadets from Gibraltar. Cadet Eddie Edge said: “It was amazing and I would recommend it to other cadets.” With Cadet Robin Locke adding: “It was one of the best weeks of my life, I cannot wait for next year.” Cadet Adam Davies said: “Best time in cadets, if I had the chance, I would go again.”
By Cdt Locke, Cdt Edge & Cdt Davies
Squadron Rewarded for Fundraising Efforts
On Thursday 19th July a group of cadets from the squadron went on an evening visit to RAF Marham to celebrate a successful fundraising event for the charity, Lifeline for Chernobyl.
The cadets had previously rode over 1000 miles on static exercise bikes to raise money for this charity, that supply aid for children and adults who are still suffering after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
During the trip they were able to explore the workings of a Tornado GR4 fast jet aircraft, and learn about the different weapons used on the aircraft. The evening finished with a BBQ in the Visiting Aircraft Section crew room and a presentation of a cheque to the founders of the Lifeline for Chernobyl charity.
The event was hosted by Senior Air Craftsman (SAC) Rich Williams and the tour was given by Sergeant Scutt and Sergeant Perkins, around the weapons training cell.
Here are some of the thoughts from cadets that went;
Cadet Matthew Wilkins said "My favourite part was learning about the features of the planes"
Cadet Kristian Crittenden said, “I enjoyed sitting in the cockpit of the plane.”
Cadet Ella Mitchell said, “It was a new experience and I would like to go again”.
Apologies for the delay but the photos from the Squadron's 70th Anniversary are available. Follow the link here to view just some of the images from a fantastic evening.
It is with great sadness that we have to announce that the squadron has lost one of it's most loved ex cadets today. Warren 'Sid' Woodward was a well respected, enthusiastic and impecably turned out member of 1249 who's drive and determination lead to him doing a job he loved in the RAF Regiment. His loyalty to the squadron carried on even after he left and he had returned recently to pass on his knowledge to our new cadets. Warren, you will be truly missed and we are all honoured to have known you. Our thoughts are with your family and friends - rest in peace x
New Cadets Welcomed to 1249 Sqn
Six probationer Cadets were formally enrolled onto the Squadron on Monday 2nd April 2012.
Giving their pledges to the Corps and receiving their 3822 Cadet record books the Cadets are now ready to further their studies and participate in the vast array of activities available through the ATC organisation.
Visit to Hyde Park Barracks
A coach filled with Cadets and their families visited London on Saturday 31st March. They visited the the Life Guards (part of the household cavalry) to learn about life as an Army musician in a mounted band. They looked around the stables, tried on some of the ceremonial uniforms and learnt about how the sadles and bridles are made specifically for each horse.
A visit to the Science and National Museums provided some free-time to finish off the day.
Walking and Expedition Training Day
Well done to those cadets who attended the Pre-DofE training day. It was a great oportunity to get to know each other, carry some kit and learn some basic navigational and map reading skills - with a few extra practical skills thrown in.
A great day was enjoyed by all and we look forwards to some additional DofE candidates signing-up over the next few weeks.
Charity of the Year Visit
1249 (Dereham) Squadron’s charity of the year - The East Anglian Air Ambulance visited the squadron this week to do a presentation on the work they do and what aircraft and equipment is used during emergency flights. Oliver Larkin Deputy Fundraising Co-Ordinator (Norwich) spent the evening talking to the cadets about the work the EAAA and also discussing with them what help they can provide for the fundraising activities that the cadets have planned for the rest of the year. Oliver added “I was very impressed with the cadets, they were very attentive and interested in the work we do and I am looking forward to hearing about the sponsored cycle ride they are doing soon”
Weapons Training Day for Norfolk Air Cadets
Cadets from squadrons around Norfolk attended a weapons training day in Dereham last week to become competent and qualified on both the No 8 and L98 rifles. Cadets from 231 (Norwich), 1249 (Dereham) and 1986 (Wymondham) Squadron spent the day learning all aspects of both rifles, from cleaning and maintenance to how to fire the weapon safely and correctly. 17 cadets passed their Weapons Handling Test on the No 8 rifle, and 14 cadets completed most of the training on the L98, the rest of which is due to be completed at the next RAF Marham Shoot.
Keep on Running!!!!
8 cadets from 1249 (Dereham) Squadron competed in the annual Wing Cross Country competition on 19th February at RAF Barnham. The 3 mile long course, was set around the scenic parts of training area and although cold the sun was shining which made the distance a bit more bearable! This was the largest number of cadets the squadron had taken to the event and all cadets finished in good times. Notably, Cadet Paige Hill came first in the Junior Girls event and Corporal Anna Currington came third in the Senior Girls which meant both girls will be running for the Wing at RAF Cranwell on 10th March
Wail of a time at Windermere!
This year’s February half term was not spent playing on Facebook and the XBox for one group of cadets from 1249 (Dereham) Squadron Air Cadets.
Instead 4 cadets and two members of staff spent a week at the National Air Cadet Adventure Training Centre in Windermere with other members of Norfolk & Suffolk Wing Air Training Corps (ATC).
The cadets took part in a range of activities including canoe journey on Thirlmere, doing their bronze navigation award, climbing, mountain biking, swimming, high level walking, and some achieved their 1 star kayak award after a day spent paddling on lake Windermere.
Cadet Ella Mitchell said “this was my first time away with the cadets and although I was nervous at the start I can’t believe how many activities we did - it was fantastic!”
Cadet Alec Coles added “the best bit of the week was when we had to capsize our canoe in the lake, it was freezing but I was really glad I did it. The mountain biking was fantastic too!”