#LookingFine209 #SEMWwhoweare #WhatWeDo
For one Cadet at 209 (West Bridgford) Squadron, Royal Air Force Air Cadets, a camp like no other was on the cards this summer holiday. Cadet Sergeant Freddie Filz spent the week at Gibraltar with other Cadets from South and East Midlands Wing. Keep reading to hear his about his week!
I have been a part of the Air Cadets for three years now but my best experience by far was going to Gibraltar for a week. Even from the moment we landed on the compact runway I knew it was going to be a trip to remember.
Upon arrival we had a large amount of free time to stow away our kit and get to know each other. The day after we started by getting into our uniforms for camp photos in best blues before marching down to Air Movements Section for briefs from the station Warrant Officer and getting medical, safeguarding and security briefs from different MOD personal stationed on the base. After this we changed out of our uniform into civvies for a tour around the WW2 tunnels; Gibraltar houses a rock around 450 meters high which has been used frequently since British presence on the island. We were taken around an area often closed off to the public by a tour guide who told us all about the important role it played from its first use holding gun battery’s to the modern day where the MOD use it as an ammo cache.
The next day we were in our sports kit and went out to play some sport with the PTI for the morning. Later we went to the dog section where we had a talk from Mario who was one of the dog handlers on base followed by a demonstration.
After changing out of sports kit we went to St. Michael’s caves and walked around inside taking a multitude of pictures of the mood lighting that illuminated the colossal structures the limestone had formed over time. We also met the cadets from No2 O/S sqn (The local Gibraltarian ATC Sqn) and played rounders.
On Friday we went to Buffadero which was a Royal Gib reg/EOD base. Here we had participated in command exercises whilst others shot on the DCCT range. After this a member of the EOD talked us through what life is like in bomb disposal and showed us one of the (very) expensive robots they use and let one of us try on the bomb disposal suit. Later that day we went into the local town centre and also went to the beach for the evening.
On Saturday we ventured into Spain to go to a water park called Bahia for the day and went down loads of slides whilst tanning excessively in-between rides. This day was one of the best as there was so much to do as we split up into groups and took on the water park. However, the day became even more enjoyable when we returned to base to go into the town centre again to see a free concert. Without a doubt this was the most memorable experience as we danced and jumped around whilst the band played. Surprisingly, we were the only ones; a collection of exuberant Air Cadets partying amidst a sea of unmoving Gibraltarians. Eventually we ran out of time and went back to base with a skip in our step after an amazing evening of celebration.
Sunday meant another trip into Spain but this time to experience the Spanish equivalent of Go Ape called “Amazonia Park”. Here we travelled around tree tops around a hundred meters off the floor. Again in small groups we braved the heights and went around an assortment of courses that tested our balance and courage for the majority of the day. When this finished we came back to Gibraltar and, yet again, returned to the beach for the evening.
The penultimate day lead us along the coast to spend the day at another beach which had a long pier that was prime for jumping off. We spent the morning and afternoon here having loads of fun enjoying our last full day in the sun with each other. By this point strong friendships had formed and everyone was adamant to hang onto every minute we shared before eventually going our separate ways. After a few hours jumping into the sea and enjoying the pool we travelled back to our accommodation for a BBQ with the Gibraltarian cadets (Or Giblets was we called them) followed by paper plate awards. Unfortunately, before we knew it our last full day drew to a close.
Last day and sprits were high as we embarked on our final endower as a camp, up to the museum built in towards the top of the rock covering military use of The Rock over time. Though briefer than the other days this was also one of the most memorable as we enjoyed each other’s company for the last time. After touring The Rock for our last time we went into the town centre one last time then headed back to base to ship out and leave for England. At the airport in England we all said goodbye and went our separate ways, bringing a close to an amazing week that is without a doubt the highlight of my cadet career.
209 (West Bridgford) Squadron