After over six months of training, Flying Officer Buckingham and Cadet Warrant Officer Parr joined the Wing Road Marching Team at the International Four Day Marches in the Netherlands. The marches are spread over four days and each team has to complete 40 km (about 25 miles) every day. All males over 18 years old also have to carry an additional 10 kg dead weight.
The team began forming in a cold and gloomy January with the first training at 2070 (Glenfield) Squadron. Since then they have marched almost 400 miles in preparation, including 50 miles at the RAFWARMA Two Day Marches at RAF Cosford.
The team arrived in Nijmegen three days before the first march and spent the time preparing their kit and getting familiar with Camp Heumensord, the temporary Dutch barracks built every year for the military marching teams. This also included a rainy visit to the British cemetery of the Battle of Arnhem and the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeck.
Thankfully by the first day of the marches on Tuesday, the weather had vastly improved to glorious sunshine. As the team spent the four days marching, it became evident that they have all come a long way in both personal fitness and team development. The majority of the team were completing the marches for the first time and were overwhelmed by the support of the Dutch locals and the 45,000 other marchers taking part. The energy was tangible and an uplift when the heat and tiredness began to set in.
The entire team completed the marches with 500 other British military and cadet teams marching through the centre of Nijmegen through the cheering crowds. Flying Officer Buckingham was presented his 1 year medal and Cadet Warrant Officer Parr her 2 year medal, having previously completed the marches in 2013, by Pilot Officer Redwood, the Wing Team Leader.
Cadet Warrant Officer Parr said “I’m really glad to have come back and completed the Nijmegen marches again. The team have done really well to help each other through with the hot weather and should be proud of themselves. Bring on next year!”