On the third anniversary of AWO Norman McGrath BEM passing away, 106 cadets of the Squadron took part in the McGrath Trophy competition at Crowborough on Sunday. Norman gave 51 years unbroken service to the Squadron as adult staff, after 6 years in the Army during the Second World War, including active service in France and Germany.
The competition has been running for five years and is fiercely fought over by the 9 sections of the main Squadron. Led by their Corporal’s the sections train all year to become winners of the coveted trophy. The competition is a test of leadership and military skills and this years winner are:
Drill – 11 Section led by Cpl Troy
Shooting – 3 Section led by Cpl Cross
Steeple Chase – 6 Section led by Cpl Rice
Obstacle Course – 1 Section led by Cdt Lalloo
First Aid – 6 Section led by Cpl Rice
Leadership Skills – 1 Section led by Cpl Burgess
General Service Knowledge – 9 Section led by Cpl Grant
Camouflage and Concealment – 1 Section led by Cdt Lalloo
THE OVER ALL WINNER – 9 SECTION LED BY CPL JAMES GRANT
– 2nd 3 Section Led by Cpl Mike Cross
– 3rd 2 Section Led by Cdt Ali Lalloo
THE BEST FLIGHT – ONE FLIGHT
Many Congratulations to the winners but also to everyone who took part. The spirit and effort of the cadets on Sunday was outstanding and showed the true spirit of the Squadron and the Corps. I am sure Norman McGrath would be very proud of his Cadets and his Squadron.
I would like thank all of the SNCOs and Staff who helped run the event and also Dr Davies for judging the first aid competition.
By Sqn Ldr Chris Day, Officer Commanding.
In just a few days Ian Rogers, an ex cadet of the Squadron will heading off for Everest. Ian started his climbing career as a member of the Squadron’s first mountaineering team who summitted Mont Blanc in 1981. This trip will fulfil a dream of Ian’s which started as a cadet on the Squadron. We have received the following mail from Ian updating us in his expedition.
In a few days time I shall be heading for the Himalayas and joining an expedition to climb to the North Col of Everest. At just over 7000m/23,000ft the North Col is the gateway to Everest’s North Ridge and the key to an ascent of Everest from the North. It is reached by way of a 2,000ft headwall of snow and ice that rises from the basin of the East Rongbuk Glacier in Tibet. The climb to the North Col is one of the steepest and most physically demanding sections of the North Ridge route on Everest.
The expedition will itself be part of the larger Jagged Globe Everest North Ridge Expedition and we will join the main summit team at Advance Base Camp. This team is one of the strongest and most experienced on the mountain, with three of the team having previously summited Everest from the more traditional, southern side of the mountain in Nepal. Most notably, the summit team also includes the legendary polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who aims to add Everest to his already extraordinary list of achievements.
For me, to climb on Everest is the realisation of a long-held dream and it would be great if I could also use the opportunity to raise a little money in aid of a very good cause – Cancer Research UK.
The North Col is a tough challenge. At these altitudes there is just 40% of the oxygen normally found at sea level and the rarefied air makes even the simplest of tasks a huge effort. Contrary to popular belief, there are no easy ways up Everest. Only one climber in ten reaches the summit and for every five that do reach the top, one will die trying. It is a pretty harsh environment!
Your sponsorship would be greatly appreciated and undoubtedly give me a much-needed boost during my breathless flog up the mountain!
To pledge/donate, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/ianrogers
Cpl Andy Webb has just been awarded a prestigious 6th Form Scholarship by the RAF, who will now pay for Andy’s costs during his A Levels. Selected after attending a course at RAF Cranwell there is fierce competition for these awards, and Andy is to be congratulated on his achievement.
Cpls Natalie Ali and Tommy Rice have just returned from a two week camp at RAF Akrotri in Cyprus. Full details to follow.
3 more Cadets have completed their Gliding Induction Courses at 614 VGS Weathersfield on Saturday 16 Apr 05, and can now go onto their Gliding Scholarships.
Cdt Ashton – Griffiths
The Shooting Team attended a weekend camp at Pirbight on 16 – 17 Apr. Training was carried out on the L81 Target Rifle and live fire practises carried out at Stoney Castle and Pirbright Ranges. many of the Team were new to the L81 and the capabilities of the rifle were an eye opener to them.
Scores where generally good, and have opened the 2005 season in fine style. Congatulations to Ben Filer, who was the best shot at 300 yards (with 32.1) and the best overall shot of the weekend (with 60.1 out of 70), and to Dave Zealander and Kris Pisano who were the joint best shot at 500 yards (with 32.2 out of 35).
Also happy birthday to Brad Davis who celebrated his 14 birthday on the range.
On Wednesday 6th April 2005, the Armed Forces Memorial Appeal was launched at a ceremony held in the cinema of the Imperial War Museum, London. The Appeal is to raise money (four million pounds to be exact) to build an Armed Forces Memorial at the National Arboretum, Staffordshire.
The memorial is to commemorate all the members of Armed Forces who have died whilst in service since the end of the Second World War in 1945. It will be unique in that it will include service personnel who have died during exercises or accidents as well as those who have lost their lives on operations.
There were many high profile guests at the launch including Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge, CinC Strike Command; General Sir Mike Jackson, Chief of the General Staff and a high ranking Naval Officer as well as BBC news reporter John Simpson and Falklands veteran Simon Weston.
Also invited to attend was Plt Off Daniel Davies, Cdt FS Daniel Goldman and Cdt Sgt Michelle Cheah all of 241 (Wanstead and Woodford) Squadron. Two Army Cadets and two Sea Cadets as well as their members of staff joined us. The cadet’s job was to meet guests at the entrance to the museum and escort them to the cinema where the appeal was being launched. The staff were tasked with escorting their respective Service VIP and showing them to their seats.
Once we had completed our task we were free to enjoy the complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits and listen to the appeal launch. Once the launch was over, a reception was held during which the many reporters present took pictures of the models of the memorial and the VIPs. Myself and Cdt FS Goldman tried to strategically place ourselves in the frame but we were politely requested to move!
Overall, it was a very prestigious event and one which I am extremely proud to have been a part of, albeit a small one.
Plt Off D. Davies
32 Cadets attended Air Experience Flying at RAF Benson on Wednesday 13 April. In spite of a rain soaked journey around the M25 in rush hour, the weather smiled on us and the rain lifted early on allowing all cadets to experience taking control of a fully aerobatic aircraft during their flights.
Cadets also visted 33 Sqn (Puma helicopters) and 28 Sqn (Merlin helicopters) during their time on the base. Flt Lt Godden also managed to come away from the clothing stores with a bag full of surplus kit for the Sqn!
On Sunday 3rd April 2005, nine cadets led by Plt Off Davies attended a church service at the RAF Church at St. Clement Danes in London. The subject of the service was ‘Celebrating Diversity’ as well as to celebrate the formation of the RAF on the 1st April 1918.
After the service a reception was held in the Royal Courts of Justice. During this the cadets were able to talk to several very senior officers in the RAF and also World War 2 veterans about their experiences.
All in all it was an enjoyable experience for the cadets and one which reminded them of their links to our parent service – the RAF.
20 members of the Squadron’s Mountaineering Team have just returned from a weeks winter skills training in Scotland. The team received instruction in snow craft (including use of ice axe and crampons) they learnt about setting up belays in snow and took part in ice climbing at the Ice Factor. During the week they summitted two mountains over 4,000 feet high – both in complete white out conditions.
Following the very successful expedition to Ecuador in 2004, the team are currently training to take part in a major expedition to Bolivia in 2007. This week offered the team a chance to develop the specialist winter skills required for such a trip. In addition to mountaineering, on the rest day the cadets visit Fort George and had a great time on the slides of the Inverness Aqua Dome.