After a long week of practice, more than 300 air cadets from across the UK came together for a huge parade at RAF Waddington which also featured a fly-past from the Red Arrows.
The cadets – aged between 14 and 19 – had been training Arms Drill during the week-long camp at Beckingham in preparation for the grand-scale final parade on 27 July.
Five cadets from Highland Wing attended the camp. They were Cadet Adam Doughty from 161 (1st Highland) Squadron based in Inverness and Cadet Flight Sergeant Marcus Huby, Cadet Sergeant Ben Avery, Cadet Corporal Morgan Wood and Cadet Corporal Jodie Allen all from 423 (Elgin) Squadron.
Throughout the week the cadets had been practising for the continuity drill sequences in flights, however, due to the sheer numbers involved they were unable to practise the full sequence together.
The parade at RAF Waddington was the first time the cadets and volunteers performed the full drill continuity sequence as one.
As well as perfecting drill skills, the training also helps cadets build on their teamwork, communication and coordination skills, as well as gaining a sense of pride and achievement from taking part in such a huge technical challenge. Cadets also had the additional challenge of the camp taking place during one of the hottest months on record, with the go-ahead for the full parade only being giving hours before.
Squadron Leader Jess Bradshaw, the parade commander, said: “It was a privilege to be picked as the Drill and Ceremonial Parade Commander for 2018. It will stay with me forever.
“Being the parade commander means I have to lead on the parade, give the correct orders, move the parade around to the march past and the inspection and generally leading everyone in the correct direction at the right time.
“I’ve really enjoyed the camp. This is my third year and I think it’s a brilliant chance for both sides of the organisation, the CCF(RAF) and the ATC, to get together and to learn a bit about each other and to learn together to perform one parade that will shine.”
Sergeant Emily Twinam, who was one of the 300 cadets who took part in the parade, said: “We’ve worked very hard all week especially in the heat and everyone’s been putting masses of effort in so it’s nice to get the opportunity to let that shine through and get it over with as obviously it’s a bit nerve-wracking with the build up to it.”
The parade showcases some of the best RAFAC talent in front of VIPs, family and station personnel. VIPs in attendance included AOC 22Gp, Air Vice Marshal James Warren, Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty and Wing Commander Anne-Marie Houghton who was the RAF100 parade commander at a recent ceremony in London.
The parade was also supported by the band from Central and East Yorkshire Wing who also had the opportunity to perform a 15-minute marching band display to the VIPs and guests in attendance.
Although a lot of the camp activities revolve around preparation for the final parade, cadets also experience non-drill related activities such as archery, clay-shooting, a climbing wall and target paintballing.
Corporal Mariya Juneydi, said: “We’ve done lots and there has been a BTEC qualification open to us which I didn’t realise as I thought the camp was mostly drill. It isn’t what I expected it to be. We’ve done clay pigeon shooting and climbing. They’ve really motivated us to do the BTEC just because of how important it was and we were all ready to apply for college.”