Cadets from 198 Squadron joined others from Warwickshire and Birmingham wing last week to stay on HMS Bristol. The HMS Bristol camp is a well-known one with many cadets from across the wing having been on it at least once, each one being different in experiences, and this latest camp was to set the bar even higher!
Sixty plus, Royal Air Force Air Cadets, spent a week aboard the Falklands wartime destroyer getting a small glimpse at what Royal Navy life would have been like on a ship. However, that wasn’t to be the only ship the cadets went aboard. The Hinckley cadets were invited by US Navy submariners to come aboard one of the latest U.S. nuclear attack submarines, the U.S.S Virginia. The American Navy showed us around their submarine, giving cadets a chance to see what the latest technology has done to change the look and layout of underwater warfare, for example, no more periscopes! The submarine was perhaps a once in a life time experience for the cadets, but it didn’t stop there.
Hinckley Air Cadets then went aboard one of the UK’s six latest destroyers, HMS Defender. This ship’s tour was much appreciated as the ship and personnel were to depart the next day on training, but they still took the time to show the Air Cadets around. HMS Defender showed how the modern Navy lifestyle compares to HMS Bristol from the 80’s, and again, how modern technology has helped changed the layout of war ships.
It was all modern ships they went aboard, other trips planned were visits to HMS Victory, the Royal Navy’s flag ship, and famous for carrying Lord Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar. They also went aboard HMS Warrior, the Royal Navy’s first iron-hulled armoured warship. Other visits took them to Southwick Park, the home of the Royal Military Police Museum and the site of the actual room where former Prime Minister Winston Churchill and former U.S. President, at the time General, Eisenhower planned and executed the D-Day landings from. It was an amazing room to stand in front of this giant map, left as it was in 1944, and is something very special to remember.
Other visits took them to the Action Stations - a mixture of physical challenges, simulators and technological experiments, to the Royal Marines Museum, the Tank Museum at Bovington - one of the world’s biggest and best, and to the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton, where they got to see the history of the Royal Naval Air Service, and finally a visit to the London Air Traffic Control Centre (Military), located at the National Air Traffic Control Centre Swanwick, a civilian run establishment where both civilian and military personnel work together. All of these visits meant the cadets were able to see life, past and present, of most parts of this Country’s Armed Forces. The cadets were also joined at the end of the week by Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing’s Commander, Wing Commander Iles.
I would recommend this camp to anyone who hasn’t been, it is an experience that has to be taken up at least once in a cadet’s career.
198 Hinckley cadets would like to thank all staff for the Camp and also the Camp Commandant Squadron Leader Coats.