Recently, I had the privilege of attending RAF High Wycombe in Walters Ash for a week. Home to Headquarters Air Command, it has been the most educational experience I have had so far in my cadet career.
As the RAF base is sectioned into three, we had visited the Fire station in site one where the cadets were able to experience real fire training. This included using both a water and co2 fire extinguisher, a hose with pressure up to 20 bar on the side of a fire engine, and test our individual agility to rescue dummys in a smoky building. Taking a ride in the passenger seat of a fire truck around the site was my highlight.
Battle of Britain
During the Battle of Britain, in order to protect airfields from the Luftwaffe, Churchill had arranged for road signs to be removed and bases to appear as ordinary villages. The Fire station on site one was portrayed as a church and Sir Arthur Harris' office, a school. I and other staff and cadets had the advantage of sitting at his very desk, also to see how "Bomber" Harris would have presented bomber command with his original maps and newspapers were also laid out on display. Later on in the day we had a superb walk through underground passages and tunnels beneath the base.
Formerly used by No. 11 Group Fighter Command during the Second World War, My favourite visit was to the Battle or Britain bunker in RAF Uxbridge. It was a hop back in time being able to see an underground operations room. It was exhilarating to know I was in one of most significant places in British history.
The camp had spent a day with the RAF Regiment at High Wycombe where we partook in team building exercises such as running 500m with two very different stretchers, a demonstration on how to wear camcream correctly and also simple room team tasks. To warm up, a very big field was a suitable location to shout as loud as you could to train your communication skills. Metal stretchers are supposedly easier than a basic material stretcher however either way I enjoyed discovering what motivation and commitment you need in the regiment that I can hopefully use in cadets also.
For my third time flying, I was fortunate enough to have 42 minutes in the air at RAF Benson in South Oxfordshire. The weather had been superb and even better me and a few other cadets had spotted a Chinook taking off.
Further into the week B-Flight where given a tour around the spectacular Halton House built for Alfred de Rothschild between 1880 and 1883. Personally it is the most beautiful country house I have ever seen. Each room continues it's luxurious theme and even the garden, which was out of bounds, is made to look immaculate with levelled trees and flowers in colour order. Alfred was a huge collector of paintings and so had them in every room which are now exorbitant. The estate was purchased for the Royal Air Force by the Air Ministry in 1918 which is now the officers mess, somewhere I aspire to dine in my future air force career.
The Flight then moved on to the Trenchard Museum where they preserve and display items that relate to the history of Halton. I particularly liked this as I had seen how trainee pilots in the second world war where trained. I also managed to have a swift landing on the latest addition they have to the museum which is a flight simulator. Exactly outside of the museum was a drill square with very intimidating instructors.
Overall, RAF High Wycombe is a remarkable Easter camp to attend. It is beneficial for cadets of all ages to be educated on glorious events in British history and how they are relevant today. Taking part in this camp also encouraged me to have huge amounts of pride due to small achievements like reaching the top of a podium during a high ropes activity and winning best flight as well as winning the drill competition.
Written by Cdt Mya Park