12 cadets from 2229 (Loughborough) Squadron attended Annual Summer Camp with cadets 1181 (Syston) Squadron at Defence Fire Training and Development Centre in Manston , Kent last week. The cadets and staff were given some amazing opportunities whilst at the camp that was purely down to the hard work of the staff to organise. Everyone arrived in good time and spent the first afternoon unpacking and having a walk around the base to familiarise themselves where everything is.
Manston was certainly a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of affair as there was a rough training programme for the week in place however opportunities that were not to be missed kept cropping up. Our first full day at camp was an easy start with a trip out to the local museums to look at some war time aircraft and various bits of memorabilia, this was then closely followed by a jam packed afternoon on the range doing some target shooting. The following day we visited Chatham Historic Dockyard to see how the navy make ropes and survive in a submarine. We rounded off the day with an opportunity to watch the current recruits doing their penultimate test putting out lots of fires in the training area. On the third day the cadets all bussed out to Dover for a walk round the castle and visited the memorial at Capel-le-Ferne and after a bit of dinner back at base went out swimming in the evening. Wednesday saw some worried cadets as they were handed over to the station Physical Training Instructor to put them through their paces in a fitness test with some very good results! After lunch everyone went across the road for a quick visit around Kent International Airport and had a look inside their fire training facility; a huge Boeing 747, that’s been converted to simulate a cargo and passenger plane all in one. We were given another opportunity to watch the recruits doing their Breathing Apparatus Tests and had a look around the training facility on station. After giving the station staff some encouragement, we were given another rare opportunity on Thursday morning to watch a back-draft demonstration. Here the station staff set fire to some pallets inside a shipping container, once the fire got going they shut it all up to get he gases to build up and then opened a small door on the side. Once the correct mixture of gases and oxygen had built up inside the whole lot ignited and from a safe distance, we got to see a huge jet of fire and smoke roar out of the door. After we saw this it was off out for a picnic lunch at Fowlmead Country Park and a run around the confidence course with B Flight taking the winning run. When everyone returned to camp it was time for the long awaited inter-flight drill competition in front of the Station Warrant Officer. Again B Flight took the winning marks! We ended the day off with a nice round of crazy golf down by the beach. With our last day on camp looming the staff were still unsure of the programme for the day. After chatting to station staff once again we were offered another great opportunity for the last day. In the morning the cadets were shown around the fire training section and the fire engines with the Best Male and Best Female Cadets of the camp, Cadet Sergeant Bradley Setchell (1181 Sqn) and Cadet Corporal Kayleigh Wilcock (2229 Sqn) given a drive round with the sirens on. In the afternoon the cadets were allowed to use the training apparatus used by the recruits to simulate crawling around obstacles. The cadets worked in pairs and blindfolded and told to enter a room. Here they had to follow a wall around until the found an entrance to a set of stacked cages. They then had to move through the cages negotiating doors, hatches and tunnels before coming back out and exiting the room. Everyone had a fantastic time on camp with many cadets raving about it to their parents and friends when they returned home.