24 Dec 2014


by Officer Cadet G Orwell RAFVR(T)

Back in September the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) invited the newly-formed Herts and Bucks Wing Marching Band, along with the Middlesex Wing Choir, to perform at Vicarage Road Stadium. Vicarage Road is home to Watford FC, who were to play Wigan Athletic on the day of the performance.

With a capacity of over 17,000 and the prospect of Sir Elton John being in attendance, this was a tall order for the fledgling band, who were formed to compete in the Air Cadet Organisation's regional band competition.

They rose to the challenge with a repertoire that included the Match of the Day title music, as well as some festive numbers. The band were then joined by the Middlesex Wing Choir for the main focus of the performance. 

On Christmas Day, 1914, soldiers in the front-line trenches in France heard their enemies singing 'Silent Night', or indeed 'Stille Nacht'. Details of what happened next are unclear, but we know that the singing inspired the men to come out of the trenches into no-man's-land and have a friendly game of football.

The band and choir was made up of Air Cadets aged between 13 and 20 - an age range overlapping that of some of the younger soldiers who must have bravely left the protection of their trenches that Christmas, 100 years ago.

Conducted by Corporal Lesley Vincent of the RAF Central Band the cadets performed Silent Night, beginning with a verse in German, to commemorate this event.

The cadets and accompanying staff got to enjoy the match, and also ended up learning some of the home fans' chants! There was also small team of cadets and staff collecting money for the RAFBF, who support RAF Personnel past, present and future.

The band and choir went back onto the pitch at halftime to perform a medley of classic World War One songs, in front of a huge crowd which included Sir Elton John, who earlier had opened a new stand named in his honour.

The game ended with many of the cadets looking forward to their next public performance, and a 2-1 victory for Watford FC!

25 Sep 2014


Report by Sgt (ATC) Emily Campbell 

1563 (Buckingham) Squadron have been awarded with a Gold Star Award for Health and Safety.

Every year, Health and Safety inspections are conducted at every Squadron in the UK. The Air Cadet Organisation has a robust Health and Safety policy and from this all Squadrons have guidelines they follow.

Each Squadron is assessed on a Bronze/Silver/Gold sliding scale as laid out by Headquarters Air Cadets. The idea of this is so that parents/guardians and anyone else who looks at an individual Squadron can see how ‘risk-aware’ they are.

After their most recent inspection, Buckingham Squadron has been found to have reached the Gold standard award. 

The photo shows the presentation of the Gold Star Award certificate to Flt Lt Buggs RAFVR(T), OC 1563 Sqn, by Mr John Mauger, Central & East Region H&S Advisor.

28 Jul 2014

2014 Wing Field Day Results

Congratulations to 871 (Penn) Sqn who have, once again, captured the Herts & Bucks Wing Field Day competition title, held on Sunday 20th July 2014.

The runners up were: 2nd - 2313 (The Chalfonts) Sqn; 3rd - 1563 (Buckingham) Sqn.

Congratulations to all units who took part and our thanks to all those staff who helped to make the day a success. Overall there were 29 units, with a total of 414 cadets and 95 staff in attendance, plus numerous visitors from around the Region including the Regional Field Day planning team. Also in attendance was Nicola Foster (Regional H&S Officer) who is moving on to a new role and a presentation was made by Flt Lt Turner (Wing H&S Officer) to her on behalf of the Wing on the final parade.

For the competitions with definitive areas the results are as follows:

Scale Model Winners:
Class 1                 2409 (Halton) Sqn
Class 2                 1113 (Berkhamsted) Sqn
Class 3                 871 (Penn) Sqn
Class 4                 1113 (Berkhamsted) Sqn
Best Overall Scale model – F/S Innes 871 (Penn) Sqn

Art results:
Class 1                 2457 (Tring) Sqn
Class 2                 220 (St Albans) Sqn
Class 3                 2457 (Tring) Sqn

Best Cadet           Sgt Kubiak - 2352 (Milton Keynes) Sqn
Best Staff             Flt Lt G Bowles – 2204 (Chesham & Amersham) Sqn

Best Cadet entry:  2203 (Hatfield & De Havilland) Sqn
Best Staff entry:    2203 (Hatfield & De Havilland) Sqn

Aircraft Recognition:
Best Individual in A/C REC Open Comp – CWO Wingate 1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Sqn
Best Individual in A/C REC U16 Comp – Cdt Matthews 1187 (Hemel Hempstead) Sqn

Model Flying:
Chuck Glider       2203 (Hatfield & De Havilland) Sqn
BMFA Dart         795 (Harpenden) Sqn
Open Glider         1811 (Marlow) Sqn
Helicopter           1563 (Buckingham) Sqn
Blimp                  1239 (Broxbourne & Hoddesdon) Sqn

Solo/Duet            Cdt Muliwa from 2532 (Milton Keynes) Sqn
Ensemble             871 (Penn) Sqn
Percussion           332 (High Wycombe) Sqn
Solo Bugler         Cpl Haynes of 332 (High Wycombe) Sqn
Solo Drummer     Cdt Humphrey of 332 (High Wycombe) Sqn
Band                   936 (Hertford & Ware) Sqn

Best Small Drill Squad 936 (Hertford & Ware) Sqn
Best Turned out Squad 220 (St Albans) Sqn
Best Drill Commander F/S Henson (St Albans) Sqn

Full competition results here:

23 Jun 2014


Forty Air Cadets drawn from four Herts & Bucks Wing ATC Squadrons recently had the honour of providing a route lining party at the RAF High Wycombe dining out night for Air Vice Marshall Mike Lloyd CBE RAF.

The Cadets, from 332 (High Wycombe), 871 (Penn), 1365 (Aylesbury), and 1811 (Marlow) Squadrons, supported by Wing Staff, gathered at RAF High Wycombe in their No 1 uniforms on a warm and sunny Thursday 19 June for their initial briefing.

The nature of the task was a surprise to the Cadets, who were incredibly excited to learn that they would be representing the whole of the Air Training Corps in the presence of a number of senior Army, Navy, and Air Force officers who had gathered for the occasion. The Air Force senior personnel present included the entire Air Training Corps upward chain of command: Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford KCB CBE ADC RAF (Chief of the Air Staff); Air Marshall Barry North OBE RAF (Deputy Commander Capability & Air Member for Personnel and Capability); Air Vice Marshall Lloyd (Air Officer Commanding 22 (Training) Group); and Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty (Commandant Air Cadets).

Due to the relaxed nature of the event, all four senior officers took time to personally stop and talk to every single one of the Cadets lining the route up to the Officers Mess and ask about their Air Cadet careers. This act was greatly appreciated by the Cadets who were thrilled that senior officers were genuinely interested in their experiences.

Following the arrival of AVM Lloyd, the assembled guests gathered on the lawn to watch the flypast of an RAF Tutor and a Puma helicopter in honour of AVM Lloyd. The opportunity was also taken to present AVM Lloyd with a desk shield as a reminder and in appreciation of his association with the Air Cadet Organisation.

The final task for the Air Cadets was to form a guard from the lawn up to the door of the Officers mess, through which all of the assembled guests processed into dinner. Many of the officers congratulated the Cadets on their appearance and demeanour as they passed.

Following the task, Wing Commander Paul Mimpress RAFVR(T), OC Herts & Bucks Wing ATC, thanked the assembled Cadets and Staff for their attendance and said: “I am very proud of you all for your conduct this evening – on behalf of the whole of the ATC and, in particular Herts & Bucks Wing, you have upheld the finest traditions of the Air Cadets in full view of the senior staff of the RAF.”

Photo Captions:

Photo 1 – The Air Cadet route lining party in position
Photo 2 – ACM Sir Andrew Pulford chatting to one of the lining party
Photo 3 – AVM Lloyd arrives for his dining out night
Photo 4 – Presentation to AVM Lloyd
Photo 5 – The proud ATC team 

6 May 2014

2014 Wing Commanders Exercise

Congratulations to 871 (Penn) Sqn, the 2014 Winners of the Herts & Bucks Wing Commanders Exercise.

Photo 1: The Winning Team

Photo 2: Herts & Bucks Wing

30 Apr 2014

Chesham - On The Buses

Report by Flt Lt Geoff Bowles RAFVR(T)

2204 Squadron has always encouraged its cadets to try the full range of ACO opportunities, while  enjoying close ties to the RAFA and other service charities, schools and other cadet groups in the local community. In recent years this has been achieved despite low staff numbers, increasingly tired accommodation and the scrapping of the Squadron’s elderly  minibus.

Over the last 12 months the squadron has received a number of very significant ‘upgrades’. We have gained several new staff members – including ex-cadets - and our old buildings have been completely refurbished to give us a fantastic new Headquarters. After a quiet summer while the building work was completed we are actively recruiting again, and some outstanding new cadets are already fully involved in Squadron and Wing activities.

Now we enter the busiest time of the year with a succession of major Wing events, local fetes, parades and carnivals, a new DofE programme and plans to visit RAF bases and aviation related museums and air-shows, so just getting cadets to the right place at the right time becomes a major challenge.

The remarkable efforts of our Squadron civilian committee chairman, and the active support of local councillors managed to secure a number of grants from local councils and we were finally able to go shopping for a minibus. We found an excellent dealer who was very generous to us, and we now have a superb vehicle.

The acquisition of this minibus is perfectly timed. It allows cadets and staff to travel to events together rather than relying on long-suffering parents to drive to strange places at odd times but more importantly it allows the squadron to grow and to provide a wider range of activities to many more young people. This is a very exciting period in the Squadron’s history, and we are very grateful for the support we have received from our committee chairman, local councillors and the M4 Minibus Centre.

Photo: the press shoot for the new minibus at the war Memorial in Chesham Town centre on Saturday 26 April. Personnel listed from left to right are: Cdt Willmoth, Cpl Winchcombe, Cpl Gammage, Cdt Levy, Cpl Smart, FS Smart, Flt Lt Geoff Bowles, Fg Off Tricia Whelan, Mark Shaw (Mayor of Chesham), Councillor Noel Brown, Councillor Peter Hudson and Mr Shane Willmoth (chairman of the civilian committee)


Report by Flt Lt Elaine Porter RAFVR(T)

Air Cadets from 1113 (Berkhamsted) Sqn had a surprise on Monday 28 April when the elder brother of one of their number dropped in for a parade night visit in his Sea King MK4 helicopter.

Lt Aaron Cross RN, together with fellow pilot Lt Adam Dean RN, and crew member Lt Stuart Perie RN, all of 845 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Yeovilton, landed in the grounds of Ashlyns School in Berkhamsted with the kind permission of the school Head teacher and Governors.

They had come to visit Cadet Jude Cross, younger brother of Lt Cross, and his fellow Cadets and Squadron Staff members following a conversation between Lt Cross and FS (ATC) Mark Abson at a previous Squadron open day where the idea for a visit was first discussed.

Football teams on local pitches stopped playing to watch the landing followed by tours of the aircraft and photographs for the forty strong Squadron audience.

Following the visit, a visibly proud Cadet Jude Cross, 15, said: “I'm very proud to have a brother in the Royal Navy and it was cool that he visited the squadron tonight.” Flight Lieutenant Elaine Porter RAFVR(T), Officer Commanding 1113 (Berkhamsted) Sqn was equally pleased with the visit: “It was a fantastic visit from the Royal Navy. Watching the Sea King arrive over the school was awesome and the Cadets took every advantage of the fantastic opportunity to see the helicopter up close. All of the Cadets and Staff thoroughly enjoyed the visit and I am very grateful to Lt Cross and his fellow crew for making it happen.”

Photo 1 – Sea King arrives
Photo 2 – The Cross Brothers: (L) Cadet Jude Cross and (R) Lt Aaron Cross RN
Photo 3 – 1113 (Berkhamsted) Sqn Cadets & Staff

25 Apr 2014


Report by Sgt (ATC) Emily Campbell

40 Air Cadets and 10 staff attended the 2014 annual camp at RAF Henlow from Saturday 5 April to Saturday 12 April.

This year, Annual Easter camp was held at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire. On Saturday 5 April 2014, 40 Cadets arrived, many of whom were on their first ever camp as a cadet. Once all settled in, the cadets were briefed, split into their flights and after a quick change into uniform, were sent off on a familiarisation exercise of the RAF base that would be their home for the week.

An extremely busy week took off with a visit to Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford, about an hour away by coach. Whilst at IWM Duxford, each flight had a task to investigate and throughout the visit gather information and visual aids in order to give a presentation later on in the day.

Days three and four included several visits and talks on base, including a very interactive Question and Answer session with the Station Commander Wing Commander P Marshall RAF. Several cadets got to experience using fire extinguishers at the fire station on base, as well as learning that RAF Henlow does not have any fire engines.

Other visits included, the RAF Careers outreach team, ADATS (Air Defence and Air Traffic Systems), DCSU (Defence Cultural Support Unit) and the Signals museum.

Day five was a three-stop mystery tour for all Cadets, who were only told to wear Wedgewood Uniform (Light blue with tie) and be ready for the coach at 0830. We then made our way to the first destination, RAF Uxbridge and the bunker that housed the Operations room for No. 11 Group of Fighter Command during the Second World War where most of the RAF’s side of the Battle of Britain was coordinated.

The second stop on the mystery tour was the RAF Club in Piccadilly. The cadets were served light refreshments and given a tour of the club, which is primarily only open to serving or retired commissioned officers. After taking a photo on the famous staircase, the camp then moved on to the Bomber Command memorial in Green Park, stop three.

Day six was a slower paced day, with half of the cadets getting to fly with 616 VGS (Volunteer Gliding Squadron) in the Vigilant, a Self-Launching Motor Glider  and the other half spending their time at Bedford Oasis Swimming Pool for a bit of down time! After lunch, the groups swapped so that over 30 cadets on camp got to fly!

Cadet V Bromiley (13) of 1563 (Buckingham) Squadron tweeted: “Gliding was AMAZING! Got to fly the glider… the whole time…!”

Day six included a trip to the Madingley American Cemetery near Cambridge, as well as a drill competition, judged by the Station Warrant Officer, and the end of camp presentations. Cadet Daisy Allen from 57 (Potters Bar) Squadron was award best cadet on camp and Cadet Victoria Marshall from 936 (Hertford & Ware) Squadron was awarded best first timer. As the camp only had four cadet NCOs, all received a Flight Commander award to thank them for their hard work. Out of the four flights, A1 won overall and were very pleased!

After returning to RAF Henlow, the cadets got themselves ready for the end of camp disco!

Camp Commandant, Flight Lieutenant I Hutchinson RAF VR(T) said; “bearing in mind the young age profile of the camp and that 31 out of the 40 cadets were first timers, I was very impressed with the standards and behaviour of the cadets, as well as the dedication and hard work from the adult staff. We had a brilliant camp that everyone seemed to really enjoy.”

Group shot: the camp in front of the spitfire at RAF Uxbridge Battle of Britain Bunker
Outreach: Cadets trying out various activities with the RAF Careers Outreach team
RAF Club: the cadets on the famous stairwell of the RAF Club in Piccadilly
Bomber Command: Cadets reading the memorial plaque at the Bomber Command memorial in London
Fire Station: Cadets getting to grips with some fire extinguishers
Gliding: Cadet V Bromiley (from 1563) in a Vigilant

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”.