8 Apr 2014

1239 Squadron Dining-In Night & Presentation Evening

Report by Flt Lt M Richards RAFVR(T)

Over 70 people attended the recent Annual Dining-In Night and Presentation Evening of 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron at the Nazeing Golf Club.

After a four course meal, Squadron boss, Flight Lieutenant Mark Richards introduced the top table and welcomed all guests who had joined the Squadron for the evening. All Squadron members gave a toast to their guests and Flight Lieutenant Richards went onto give an overview of the varied and numerous achievements attained both individually and collectively by the cadets on the Squadron during 2013, after which, a toast was given to the cadets.

Before the presentation of the annual awards, a number of certificates were presented for classification exams and first aid qualifications, as well as the presentation of the Inter-Flight Competition trophy.
Wing Commander Paul Mimpress, Officer Commanding, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire Wing, then commenced with the presentations of the of the annual awards. The recipients of the annual awards were as follows:

  • Best New Recruit for 2013 - Cadet Cem Tokluhan
  • Mark Coram Shield for Best Sporting Cadet during 2013 - Cadet Sergeant Zoe Pickering
  • Hallas Trophy for Exercise & Expeditions for 2013 - Cadet Shannon Metin
  • Endeavour Trophy for 2013 - Cadet Sergeant Laura Connolly
  • Community Shield for 2013 - Cadet Corporal Alex Francis
  • Hoddesdon Royal British Legion Trophy for Most Improved Cadet during 2013 - Cadet Albie Wilson
  • Best Cadet for 2013 - Cadet Josh Brand
  • Best NCO for 2013 - Cadet Corporal James Pickering
  • 1239 Cup for 2013 - Cadet Corporal Connor McLean
  • The Royal Air Force Association Trophy for Best Overall Cadet for 2013 - Cadet Flight Sergeant James Wingate

After the presentation of the annual awards, Flight Lieutenant Mark Richards presented Certificates of Appreciation to the Nazeing Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, the Hoddesdon Branch of the Royal British Legion and to Alan Warman for their continued support to 1239 Squadron.

Wing Commander Paul Mimpress then made two promotions; Cadet Flight Sergeant James Wingate was promoted to Cadet Warrant Officer and Corporal Alex Francis was promoted to Cadet Sergeant.

A number of cadets then presented bouquets of flowers to the female guests and members on the top table.

Wing Commander Paul Mimpress closed off the formal part of the evening with a speech in reply, congratulating the cadets and the wider Squadron on its’ achievements and proposing a toast to 1239 Squadron.

Flight Lieutenant Mark Richards said “the evening was a great success and it’s pleasing to be able to hold events like these to reward and recognise the cadets for their continued efforts and achievements. Well done to the cadets and staff on their awards and qualifications and I’d like to thank all who attended and supported the Squadron this evening, it really was a fantastic occasion that everyone has thoroughly enjoyed”.

Photo 1 - Wing Commander Paul Mimpress presents Cadet Sergeant Zoe Pickering with the Mark Coram Shield for Best Sporting Cadet.
Photo 2 - Mr Alan Warman presents the Endeavour Trophy to Cadet Sergeant Laura Connolly.
Photo 3 - Cadet Corporal Alex Francis receives the Community Shield from Wing Commander Paul Mimpress.
Photo 4 - Mr Cyril Phelps, President of the Hoddesdon Branch of the Royal British Legion presents the Most Improved Cadet Trophy to Cadet Albie Wilson.
Photo 5 - Wing Commander Paul Mimpress presents the Best Cadet Trophy to Cadet Josh Brand.
Photo 6 - Cadet Corporal James Pickering receives the Best NCO Trophy from Wing Commander Paul Mimpress.
Photo 7 - Wing Commander Paul Mimpress presents the 1239 Cup to Cadet Corporal Connor McLean.
Photo 8 - Mr Roy Howe, President of the Nazeing Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association presents the Best Overall Cadet Trophy to Cadet Flight Sergeant James Wingate.

MPS Dog Section visit 1239 Squadron

Report by Flt Lt M Richards RAFVR(T)

Air Cadets from 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron were recently visited by the Metropolitan Police Dog Section at their Squadron headquarters.

Neil Bye, a dog handler with the Metropolitan Police gave a presentation about the history of the dog section and showed the cadets some of the protective kit used by the dog handlers.

During the presentation, Neil talked about the capabilities and skills of the dogs within the section and the type of duties that they perform. To help with the presentation police dog Rosco demonstrated a property search and police dog puppy Ralph was also introduced to the cadets.

Officer Commanding 1239 Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Mark Richards said “the evening was both interesting and informative, the cadets really enjoyed learning about the work of the Police Dog Section and it was great to meet Neil and two of the police dogs; Rosco and Ralph. Special thanks to Neil for making the evening possible and giving such an interesting presentation and demonstrations”.

Photo - Staff and Cadets of 1239 Squadron Air Cadets with Rosco an operational police dog with the Metropolitan Police.

1239 Cadets Thanked for Fundraising Efforts

Report by Flt Lt M Richards RAFVR(T)

Air Cadets from 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron were recently invited to a ceremony at County Hall, Hertford for the Hertfordshire Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal Cadet Challenge.

The cadets were formally thanked for their contribution towards the Royal British Legion's 2013 Poppy Appeal campaign by Commodore Tim Hennessey, a Deputy Lieutenant for Hertfordshire, on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant, the Countess of Verulam.

During November's collections, the staff and cadets raised £1099.99. The Squadron were joined at the ceremony at County Hall by local Poppy Appeal organiser Ray Cook of the Hoddesdon Branch of the Royal British Legion. 

Numerous cadet units from the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force as well as other Air Cadet Squadrons from across Hertfordshire attended the event and collectively, cadets across Hertfordshire raised a fantastic total of over £88,000.

Cadet Corporal Alex Francis of 1239 Squadron was also fortunate enough to be nominated for, and selected by the Lord Lieutenant, for the Outstanding Cadet Award.

Squadron boss, Flight Lieutenant Mark Richards commented “it was great to hear the fantastic total raised by cadets from across Hertfordshire for such a great cause and 1239 Squadron were pleased to play a part in helping to raise these vital funds. Additionally, it’s fantastic to have one of our cadets, Cadet Corporal Alex Francis, selected for the Outstanding Cadet Award by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant”.

Photo 1 - Squadron OC, Flight Lieutenant Mark Richards and cadets of 1239 Squadron with Commodore Tim Hennessey DL

Photo 2 - Cllr Richard Smith, Chairman of Hertfordshire County Council, Commodore Tim Hennessey DL, Cadet Corporal Alex Francis, winner of the Outstanding Cadet Award and Larry Heyman from First Capital Connect

11 Mar 2014

Red Arrow at 332

Report by CI G. Orwell

The Air Cadets from 332 (High Wycombe) Squadron received a special visit from Wing Commander Neil Fraser RAF, Officer Commanding the Red Arrows.  
As well as being in charge of the Red Arrows, Wing Commander Fraser is a former Air Cadet at 332 (High Wycombe) Squadron.  He talked about his experience as a cadet and how he progressed to becoming a pilot in the Royal Air Force.  His presentation included how the Red Arrows was formed, how they perfect their formations and highlighted the various roles the Red Arrows plays at home and aboard.  The cadets asked many questions about the Red Arrows and the Royal Air Force itself. Wing Commander Fraser was happy to chat to the cadets afterward and had photos taken with many of them.  It was a truly inspiring evening for 332 (High Wycombe) Squadron.
“When we found out that Wing Commander Fraser was visiting we were surprised and exited. It’s not every day you have such an amazing visitor on a parade night. He gave a really interesting presentation on the history of the red arrows, as well as showing us some awesome videos. I would love to be one of the ‘circus engineers’ for the red arrows – I’d really like my own aircraft to look after and to travel the world with the Reds” - Cdt Cpl Matthew Goff
Flight Lieutenant Pamela McCarthy RAFVR(T), Officer Commanding 332 (High Wycombe) Squadron said “I am very grateful that Wing Commander Neil Fraser took time out of his busy schedule to come back to his old Squadron.  As his formative years mirror that of our current cadets he sets a fantastic example of both how a passion for and career in aviation can evolve from being an Air Cadet and more generally how with hard work and dedication a young person from High Wycombe can rise to the top of their chosen career.  On behalf of everyone at 332 (High Wycombe) Squadron I would like to wish the Red Arrows Team all the best for 2014 season.  We are all looking forward to seeing them in action in the summer.”
Photo: Wing Commander Fraser RAF with 332 Sqn

London Calling for 1239

Report by Flt Lt M Richards RAFVR(T)
Staff and Cadets from 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron recently visited London, following an invitation to be given a tour around London’s historic Mansion House.
The Mansion House, which was built between 1739 and 1752, is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London and its’ elaborately decorated rooms are used for some of the City of London’s official functions.

The Squadron’s tour around the historic Georgian building started on the ground floor in the Walbrook Hall, which was created in 1845 and is the Lord Mayor's private entrance to the Mansion House. After a tour of the ground floor, covering Walbrook Hall and Waiting Hall and the various paintings and sculptures, the Squadron moved to the first floor via the North-East staircase viewing some of the paintings of the Harold Samuel collection, which comprises 84 paintings by 17th Century Dutch and Flemish masters.
On the first floor, the Staff and Cadets visited several rooms including the Saloon and Passage Room which contained numerous items of furniture, Sculptures and paintings. The Saloon is reputed to have 'the best chandeliers in the country, except for Buckingham Palace' and which date back to 1875; the largest chandelier of which, has 36 lamps, 1,007 pieces and weighs 606 pounds.
After viewing the Long Parlour, the Squadron entered the State Drawing Rooms where VIPs gather before a reception. The State Drawing Rooms has further paintings from the Harold Samuel collection.
Next was the Egyptian Hall, which is the main reception room at Mansion House and is so-called because it was designed on how it’s architect, George Dance, thought how an Egyptian Hall would look. The Egyptian Hall has beautiful stained glass windows that were designed by Alexander Gibbs and which were installed in 1868, and its walls are lined by specially commissioned statues that represent figures from the classical world.
Before leaving the Mansion House, the Squadron visited the Plate Room which houses one of the largest and finest gold and silver plate collections in the world including the Lord Mayor's sword and mace, and the pearl sword which, according to legend, was used by Elizabeth I at the opening of Royal Exchange in 1571.
After the Mansion House visit, the Staff and Cadets went to the Guildhall which is the home of the City of London Corporation, and has been since the twelfth century. Like the Mansion House, the Guildhall is used for official functions i.e. banquets in honour of visiting Heads of State and other dignitaries, royal occasions, and receptions for major historical anniversaries.
Whilst at the Guildhall, the Squadron had lunch and then a tour that included the ‘Great Hall’ which is where the ‘Silent Ceremony’ (the admission of the Lord Mayor of the City of London) is held each year, the Crypt (of which, the East Crypt, which is the oldest part of Guildhall and dates back to 1042 and Edward the Confessor). The stained glass windows of the Crypt depict numerous pictures of famous figures in history; Geoffrey Chaucer, William Caxton, Sir Thomas More, Sir Christopher Wren and Samuel Pepys. The Squadron also visited the Grade II listed Old Library and met the Clerk to the Chamberlains Court, who gave a very interesting talk on the Freedom of the City of London.
After the Guildhall tour, the Squadron visited the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly for light refreshments and a tour of the facilities of the club. The club contains numerous paintings of aircraft and aviation through the ages, and on the first floor corridor there are hundreds of RAF Squadron crests on the wall. The Staff and cadets took the opportunity to have a photograph taken in front of the stained glass window situated at the back staircase. The stunning window, which measures twenty feet tall and seven feet wide was commissioned to commemorate the Royal Air Force’s 90th anniversary and depicts a Battle of Britain pilot scrambling to get airborne and looking up to a sky filled with aircraft and events from every decade of the RAF's existence.
The final part of the day involved the Squadron visiting the Bomber Command memorial at Green Park to pay their respects to the fallen. The memorial was unveiled in 2012 by HM The Queen and honours the sacrifice of Bomber Command aircrew and commemorates the 55,573 airmen who lost their lives.
Bronze sculptures of seven aircrew stand at the heart of the memorial and the design for the roof incorporates sections of aluminium recovered from a Handley Page Halifax III bomber (LW682 from 426 Squadron RAF) shot down over Belgium on the night of 12 May 1944, in which eight crew were killed.

In all, the Squadron’s visit to London was a busy, yet informative and enjoyable day.
Photo 1 - Staff and cadets of 1239 Squadron pictured at the Mansion House in the North State Drawing Room with John Davies Keeper of Walbrook Hall.
Photo 2 - Murray Craig, Clerk of the Chamberlain's Court. Guildhall with staff and cadets of 1239 Squadron.
Photo 3 - Staff and cadets of 1239 Squadron pictured at the Royal Air Force Club, Piccadilly.
Photo 4 - The Bomber Command Memorial.

20 Feb 2014

1239 Remembers Op Jericho

Report by Flt Lt M Richards RAFVR(T)

On Sunday 16th February 2014, Staff and Cadets of 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron joined members of the Nazeing Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association and the Hertfordshire Airfield Memorial Group (HAMG) at the former Royal Air Station Hunsdon for the 70th Anniversary Service of Operation Jericho (the Amiens Prison Raid).

The order of Service was conducted by David Scott, Reader, St Albans Diocese. After a number of hymns and prayers, Mr Denis Sharp of the HAMG read-out the names of the fallen:
  • Flight Lieutenant Richard Webb Simpson,
  • Flight Lieutenant Aland Broadley DSO DFC DFM,
  • Group Captain Percy Charles Pickard DSO DFC. 

After the reading of the Royal Air Force Dedication by Mr Roy Pearson of the Nazeing Branch of the RAFA, all present observed a two minutes silence, followed by wreath laying.

After the reading of the Kohima Epitaph and the Closing Prayer and Blessing there was a flypast by a Hurricane of the Hangar 11 collection.

Photo – Staff and Cadets of 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron at the World War Two memorial at the former Royal Air Force Station, Hunsdon.

14 Feb 2014

1239 ATC Sunday Service

Report by Flt Lt M Richards RAFVR(T)

On Sunday 2nd February, staff and cadets from 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron Air Cadets celebrated the anniversary of the formation of the ATC with a Service at Hoddesdon Baptist Church.

Nearly twenty staff and cadets attended the service led jointly by Janet Ince and the Squadron’s own Padre, Rev Chris Johnson. Cadet Flight Sergeant James Wingate answered various questions to inform the congregation of the work of the Squadron and its’ links into the local community. Various hymns and prayers were undertaken and the cadets also had an opportunity to renew their cadet promise.

Flight Lieutenant Mark Richards, Officer Commanding 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron said “The cadets were very well turned out and credibly represented 1239 Squadron and the wider Air Cadet Organisation. We thank both Chris and Janet for allowing us to celebrate this special occasion with the Hoddesdon Baptist Church and for the opportunity to inform the congregation of who we are and what we do. After the service, the cadets received some very positive compliments around their turn out and engagement”.

EOD Visit 1239 Squadron

Report by Flt Lt M Richards RAFVR(T)

1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron recently hosted a visit from the Metropolitan Police Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit at their Squadron Headquarters.

The EOD Unit presentation covered the actions and procedures of a first responder on the discovery of a suspicious item. The cadets had an opportunity to see the various items of detection equipment used by the EOD Unit, along with personal protection equipment; a bomb suit, body armour ballistic helmet and a robot.

During the evening, the cadets had an opportunity to control the robot around the Squadron Headquarters and wear some of the personal protection equipment. On Sunday 2nd February, staff and cadets from 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron Air Cadets celebrated the anniversary of the formation of the ATC with a Service at Hoddesdon Baptist Church.

Flight Lieutenant Mark Richards, Officer Commanding 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron said “The evening was both interesting and informative, the cadets really enjoyed learning about the work of the EOD Unit and having a go at controlling the robot. Special thanks to Vaughan and Andrew for making the evening possible and giving such an interesting presentation”.

Buckingham Calling

Report by Sgt (ATC) Emily Campbell

One cadet from Buckingham Sqn has recently completed her provisional Air Cadet UHF/VHF radio operators course.

Cadet Edwards attended a one day Provisional Radio Course on Sunday 19 January hosted at 1066 (Hitchin) Squadron Headquarters.

Alongside cadets from other squadrons, Cadet Edwards was instructed in the ways of handling radios in the correct manner and the correct procedures when transmitting over the radio. She was also taught the phonetic alphabet and the working parts of the handheld radio.

She was then tested by two mediums, both verbally and with a written exam, before being told she had passed and could now move on to making her way towards the Full Air Cadet Radio Operators course and eventually her Communicators Badge.

Picture: Cadet Edwards (L) with one of the course instructors, Cadet Flight Sergeant Bradbury (R)


Report by Plt Off Samuel James RAFVR(T)

Six cadets from 1066 (Hitchin) Squadron are celebrating after receiving their hard-earned promotions. Wednesday 8th January saw four cadets receive their first step onto the NCO ladder with the presentation of their Corporal stripes.

The new Corporals had to prove themselves through various assessments and a final interview. After careful deliberation, Officer Commanding 1066 (Hitchin) Squadron, Flt Lt Honour Callaghan, promoted Cadets Hunt, Taylor, Travers and Turner all to the rank of Corporal.

In addition, two of the Squadron’s most suitable candidates, Corporals Ballard and Kemp, were fortunate enough to both receive promotions to the rank of Sergeant. The newly promoted NCOs are all looking forward to settling in to the next stage in their cadet careers.

Photo: - “Stripes Galore - New NCOs show off their stripes with pride”

Aylesbury Reception

Report by Lt Col L.J. Williams MBE TD

The Mayor of Aylesbury, Cllr Tom Hunter-Watts and Mayoress Mrs Ayse Hunter-Watts held a Christmas Reception in December 2013 for local charity based companies and organisations from Aylesbury at the Judges Lodgings.

They were delighted to have the support of six 1365 Sqn Cadets during the evening: Sgt Beaumont-Smith, Cpls Sara and Small with Cadets Barbeary, King, Collie and Downey, who assisted the Mayor, Mayoress and Town Clerk by meeting guests and showing them to the main reception room.  

They also assisted with the serving of the canap├ęs during the evening.  The catering staff were also very grateful for their efforts in helping clearing away during and after the event.

The Mayor said that they were a credit to their Unit and should be very proud.

21 Dec 2013

A Charitable Year for 1239

Report by Flt Lt M Richards RAFVR(T)
With the recent confirmation of the amount raised for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, 2013 has certainly been a charitable year for 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron Air Cadets.
Throughout the year, staff and cadets have been involved in numerous events and fundraising activities, and have raised over £1000 for each of the following charities:
• Royal British Legion
• Royal Air Forces Association
• Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
• Soldiering on Through Life Trust
• Hertfordshire Air Ambulance
Flight Lieutenant Mark Richards, Officer Commanding of 1239 Squadron, said “2013 has certainly been a busy year on many fronts, including raising much needed funds for a number of charities. From bag-packing and selling raffle tickets to selling poppies, the staff and cadets of the Squadron have raised over £1000 for each of five different charities, and when all the funds raised are combined, this exceeds an impressive amount of over £5000 for some really great causes.
The Squadron are pleased to be able to help these charities and I thank the public who have been so generous in supporting the various fundraising activities and allowing to raise such a fantastic total”.
Photo – The Hertfordshire Air Ambulance, during 2013, cadets and staff of 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Squadron Air Cadets have helped to raise over £1000 for the charity.

15 Dec 2013


Report By Plt Off S James RAFVR(T)
On the evening of Monday 9th December 2013, staff, parents and cadets from 1066 (Hitchin) Squadron were present to see five of the squadron’s newest recruits take their Cadet’s Promise and become officially enrolled into the Air Training Corps. Cadets Joseph Kasperowicz, William Langrish, Kyle Webb, Sienna Emanuel and Sabina Pogoson all stepped forward together to make their promise which included “to serve their unit loyally” and “to be good citizens”. They will now work towards their First Class Cadet classification.
However, more success and achievement was to be recognised as after months of hard work and dedication, eight cadets were presented with their First Class Cadet certificates and badges by Officer Commanding Flight Lieutenant Honour Callaghan.
During the past couple of months the new recruits have undergone training in areas such as Drill, Initial Expedition training and learning about the Air Training Corps and the Royal Air Force. Cadets Esme Gianfrancesco, Christian Frame, Freya Brooker, Meg Stephenson, Jodi Bednarz, Georgia Spencer, Lucy Malyon and George McElroy are all now looking forward to their next stage of training which will include working towards further classifications, First Aid and Fieldcraft, which will in turn open up more opportunities for adventure and development.
Officer Commanding Flight Lieutenant Callaghan said: “I’m very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by the cadets and tonight’s parade was a fantastic opportunity for parents to see their children being enrolled and presented with their certificates. I wish them all the best in their future cadet service”.
1 - 1st Class Graduation Party
2 - Cdt Brooker receives her certificate and badge
3 - Plt Off James enrols the new cadets

6 Dec 2013

Regional Rugby Success for 4 Aylesbury Air Cadets

Report by CI Lini Forrest
On Saturday 30th November 2013, four air cadets from Aylesbury Squadron spent an eventful day at RAF Cranwell as part of the Central and East Region Rugby Union team at the Corps Senior Rugby Competition.

The competition sees cadets aged 16-19 from the six different Regions, Scotland and Northern & Ireland, North, Central & East, Wales & West, London & South East and South West, compete against one another for the title.

Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire Wing had a large number of cadets in the Central and East Region team and it was a great achievement for 1365 (Aylesbury) Squadron to have four players in the team.  We are extremely proud of Cadet Sergeant Kyle Beaumont-Smith, Cadet Sergeant Luke Slaney, Cadet Corporal Connor Flowers and Cadet Corporal Daniel Flowers.

Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty who follows the squadron twitter account (@1365aircadets) sent a tweet to say, "Four players from one Sqn - impressive!"

Squadron Adjutant Sergeant Ian Wilkinson (ATC), who helps referee at the Competition said, "The team played some really dominant rugby on the day defeating South West Region 14-0 in their first game.  This was then followed by a 13-5 win against Wales and West Region to reach the final.  In the final against North Region they played brilliantly and the 12-0 scoreline reflected the teams ability."

For the latest news from the squadron, you can follow us on Twitter @1365aircadets