In July 2011 after months of hard work and preparation, Cadet Warrant Officer Jessica Kment (19) cadet Sergeant Liam Osbistion (17), Sergeant Abigail Jones (17) and Cadet Corporal Matthew Carre (17) (1360 Stapleford and Sandiacre squadron) were accompanied by Cadet Warrant Officer Katie Elam (19) (2195 Long Eaton Squadron) on their Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition. The expedition was the final part of the award, which has taken them around a year to complete. The team decided to do their expedition in July in Derbyshire’s High Peak area and despite varying weather conditions they successfully completed their 4 day expedition, which is often described as the most difficult part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s awards. The focus of the expedition was to investigate aircraft wreckage that remained on the High Peaks, after crashing during WW2- there is a reported 60 crash sites in the peak district. The team managed to successfully find wreckages of larger aircraft that had crashed into the hillsides in low cloud, especially impressing their Duke of Edinburgh expedition assessor, who had never seen them before! Everyone was especially amazed when they found the wreckage of a Boeing B-29 Superfortress in Bleaklow. The aircraft had crashed in low cloud on the 3rd November 1948 on a routine 25 minute flight, killing all 13 members on board. To say that it had been 63 years since the crash, the team couldn’t believe how much wreckage still survived, they found engines, wings, radiators and much more scattered over the site, which stretched over a quarter of a mile!
The B29 Crash Site When asked how they found the expedition, CWO Jessica Kment had this to say, “None of the team expected the expedition to be easy, but we made sure we kept our morale up and tried to keep smiling the whole way! It was definitely worth it and we all felt a great sense of accomplishment when we finished the last day.” Although the expedition is often the first thing to come to mind when people talk of Duke of Edinburgh awards, the cadets also had to a lot more. They also had to successfully complete the other sections of the award- residential, physical, skills and volunteering- in which they found the Air Cadet Organisation to be a great help to completing these aspects of the award. Flying Officer Phil Prudham, 1360 Sqn’s Duke of Edinburgh Award Officer said: “The group worked extremely well together and were always in good spirits despite an extremely arduous route which involved a lot of climbing”.For these 5 cadets, the hard work is now over and they can all look forward to taking a trip to St James’s palace and receiving their Gold awards from the Duke of Edinburgh himself.
CWO Jessica Kment
1360 Stapleford and Sandiacre Squadron ATC