Our Longest Day 21 June 2009

Ok so it does not match the day in the calendar, but it was a long day for us.

Having been bathed in sun from 0800hrs when we met at the main gates, the day concluded with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly past. We had just finished assisting the Royal Air Force at their mobile Careers office at The East of England showground, probably one of the biggest events in the area. All over, so now onto Waterbeach Barracks Army Cadet HQ for an overnight stay for Sundays First Aid Competition.

The Ladies enjoying the finer things in life at the East of England Show, Cadet Natalie Clampin, (standing) Cadet Kayleigh Boyce (sitting) with a Cambridgeshire Army Cadet….. Picture courtesy of Capt Tony Ansell MCIPR

An uneventful journey ended as we parked in the Army Cadets Headquarters, ready to de-bus, and claim our beds for the night.

Then it started.

The Boss rang before we had turned off the engine. “There’s been an administration oversight, and 616 Volunteer Gliding School at Royal Air Force Henlow have spaces available for gliding this evening. We cannot get anyone else as the rest of the Squadron are doing a Radio Communication Course this weekend at the Squadron HQ” This is also 616’s annual “Longest Day” Gliding event, where they try to get as many cadets as possible flown in the Vigilant Glider. Starting at approximately 0400hrs working in shifts through to sunset. “Can we get 4 cadets to Henlow tonight?” The response was obvious from the excited BUZZ from the 4 cadets in the car. “Were leaving now, will be there within the hour, can you let 616 know”

Arrived at Henlow, sorted the cadets out in flying suits, flight safety brief and across to the waiting area control caravan. We were serenaded by Staff and cadets from 616 Volunteer Gliding School, singing, guitar playing and some dubious joke telling all helped to ease any nerves of the 4 cadets, who had not flown before.

Cadet Stephen Page in Tail No. 211 of 616 VGS

Cadets all flown, down to earth, now a trip to Waterbeach for Sundays First Aid Competition. On route we stopped off at a well known fast food chain, so we could replenish spent energy from this longest day. Orders made by keen hungry cadets, “Sorry no fries, we stopped cooking them at 2200hrs” Ok so no fries, “sorry no Latte coffee, we’ve just emptied the machine for cleaning,” Wing WO slowly losing the will to live at this stage. All fed and arrived at Waterbeach 2300hrs.

After a very successful First Aid Competition, which saw the Young Adult team qualify for the National Cadet Competition at Sandhurst later this year, and valuable experience for the youth team, time to come home.

Then it started.

As we pulled into the Squadron Car park, most of the cadets safely handed over to loved ones, a very unlucky, (or lucky depending on your point of view) member of the public decided to part company with her push bike, knocking out one of her teeth as her face hit the tarmac hard.

Pilot Officer Angela Bone OC 51 (Orton) Squadron, a Paramedic with East Midlands Ambulance Service assisted by two First Aid qualified cadets, Cadet Kayleigh Boyce and Cadet Ryan Turra went into action like a well oiled machine. Bleeding stemmed with what kit that was available, tooth recovered from the nearby footpath and placed into milk. The casualty’s bike was loaded into Mr Boyce’s car, and safely delivered home. The casualty’s husband took his bike home, and then travelled to Hospital to meet up with his unlucky wife. OC 51 took the lady, (and tooth) by car to the local Peterborough District Hospital and stayed with her until her husband arrived.

All in all, a pretty normal, average weekend in the life of a cadet, member of staff or parent from 51 (Orton) Squadron.

If this has interested you, why not visit www.51sqnatc.co.uk for more information. If you are aged between 13-18 come along to any parade night Tuesday and Wednesday between 1900-2115 at the Squadron HQ. You will find us at Orton Longueville School near the main reception.

Chris Bone
Squadron Warrant Officer