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RAF Gibraltar, Autumn Camp – 23rd-30th October 2012

Article posted: Nov 13, 2012 by Sqn Ldr Utting

One early morning in October, 60 Royal Air Force Air Cadets (from all over the country) congregated in Luton Airport ready for the 0700 departure to Gibraltar Airport.
At this point, being the only Cadet from my squadron of 858 Rushden sqn was going, I did not know a single person so I soon got chatting to a few other cadets from my wing about what other camps they had been on and who we knew as mutual friends. The flight from Luton to Gibraltar took 2 hours 30 minutes and after a very scary landing (those who have seen the runway in Gibraltar will know what I mean) we were bussed to the “Devils Tower Camp” on the other side of the airfield where we would be living for the next week.
We were then left to take in the amazing views of ‘The Rock’, the Bay of Gibraltar (or Algeciras if you’re Spanish!) we also got an opportunity to walk into town and get our bearings. A good night’s sleep was welcome.
While in Gibraltar we seized the opportunity of being on a working RAF base and after various security and fire briefs we met with the Gibraltarian Bomb Disposal squad and got an opportunity to drive the rover they use and experience what it was like to be under pressure and use the equipment to deal with a dangerous situation calmly and safely. We also met up with the Navy stationed in Gibraltar who explained to us what their role was and how important Gibraltar is strategically. We were also given a tour around the ships they have there, the HMS Scimitar and Sabre.
We also got chance to travel into Spain and visit a theme park in Seville, there was also a choice to go on a Safari or a high ropes course, also in Spain. Although, without a doubt, the most exciting event was visiting the tunnels within the rock, some of which were public, for example the siege tunnels where the world’s first depression cannon was invented but we also got given a special tour round MoD owned tunnels which are not open to the public.
We were shown around by the station warrant officer who turned some long dark tunnels into a fascinating history lesson. He explained how there are more roads within the rock than there are outside – one of these roads within the rock is 3 miles long and is in fact the straightest road in the country! – there were also some very surprising things within these tunnels, for example 4 hospitals, many Nissan huts and most surprising of all was two great big diesel generators designed to power the whole tunnel complex which was worked to be able to keep people alive for one whole year, fortunately, ‘The Rock’ was never used for the purpose of which it was designed for.
By the end of the week I had made some great friends, most of which I am still in contact with,
I’ve been on previous camps such as Swynnerton which is a greens camp but this overseas camp was completely different as it offered me more of an experience and an understanding of how ‘base life’ is. I got to see a country that I possibly wouldn’t have seen and over the course of the week I made some great friends from all over the corps. It was a really unique camp that I enjoyed in its entirety and I would recommend it next year to everyone!
Corporal Kurtis Middleton.

Rushden Squadron recruit teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 if you are interested feel free to attend the squadron during a parade evening on Monday and Wednesday nights from 7.00p.m till 9.30p.m at the Drill hall on Victoria Road in Rushden. For more information please call (01933) 411383 (Mon & Wed Evenings) or email 858sqn@semids.org.uk
In addition we are also seeking Adult Volunteers, aged 20 and above, no previous cadet or military experience required, to assist in providing opportunities to cadets in Rushden. For details please contact Flying Officer William Kellock 07714952452.