The drill squad from 1359 (Beeston) Squadron were at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire on Saturday 28th November representing the Central and East Region of the Air Training Corps against five other squadrons representing their respective regions.
This was the culmination of hours of drill practice, which has seen the team going through the routine time and again, giving up numerous nights and weekends, to hone their drill skills to give them the best chance of success. They had already seen off competition from the 28 other squadrons in the South and East Midlands Wing in early July and then went onto the Regional Competition in September where they beat the five other Wings in the region to give them the opportunity to represent the Region at the Corps competition.
The team travelled down on the Friday night along with Flt Lt Bannister, OC 1359, and WO Gary Tinsley. They immediately set to work on their drill by having several practices before they settled down for the night. These late night sessions were essential as for the last few months they had had to practise without their usual drill commander, CWO Marie Grant, who has been away at university in London. She met the squad at Halton on the Friday and took the opportunity to get back to grips with the routine and the commands.
Saturday morning dawned and the squad prepared themselves for the competition ensuring their uniform was in top condition and went through the routine again. They put in their best performance yet and all the effort was proved worthwhile as they finished in second place, just 14 points behind the winning team and 100 points ahead of third. The Best Drill Commander trophy went to CWO Grant, an extremely well deserved personal success for her, especially as she had been named joint Best Drill Commander at the Wing competition and won it outright at the Region competition.
The trip had proven to be very successful and the whole squad were in good spirits for the long drive back to Nottingham, especially as that same evening the squadron were holding their annual Winter Ball. They were soon changed into their suits and ball gowns and were celebrating their success.
They were presented to all the guests and received a standing ovation from everyone present. Fit Lt Bannister praised them all for their efforts, “these cadets have all given a lot of their personal time up to prepare for this competition ensuring that their drill and uniform were to the highest standard, and that effort has all paid off with this result, I am extremely proud of them all. Thanks also to those staff from South and East Midlands Wing who helped, advised and encouraged the team along the way.” CWO Grant was overjoyed with the result, “I am so proud of the guys, when I met up with them on Friday for the first time in several weeks I couldn’t believe how good they looked, they were fantastic. I’m so pleased to have won the award but credit to all of the squad for finishing second, it really is a brilliant result.”
Congratulations to the squad from the staff, the cadets and the Civilian Committee of 1359 (Beeston) Squadron, you did them all proud!
CI Mike Hill
Media and Communications Officer
1359 (Beeston) Squadron