On 24th May 2019, the 2018 RAF Police Dog Demonstration Team received a Force Protection Force Commanders Award from the Deputy Force Protection Force Commander/Provost Marshal (RAF) Group Captain Dave Wilkinson for their outstanding contribution to the RAF100 dog demonstration season.
During RAF100 the 2018 RAF Police Dog Demonstration Team have wowed Senior Leaders, celebrities, members of the public, colleagues, veterans and families with their amazing displays. RAF Police Military Working Dog teams from RAF Brize Norton, Northolt, Marham, Leeming, Waddington and the High Readiness Dog Unit at RAF Henlow put on numerous performances all over the country.
It all began on a very cold blustery day in January when 10 enthusiastic RAF Police Dog handlers and their dogs arrived at RAF Henlow. Their first performance was in March, so time to learn the routine was not on their side. Under the strict eye of Project Director, Warrant Officer Phil Brown, and Team Manager Sergeant Jimi Thomas, the Team began to learn one of the original routines carried out by the old and bold in the early 90s! The team gelled immediately and worked tirelessly to perfect the routine; countless hours of practice meant they were ready and raring to go for their first performance at Crufts; one of the biggest dog shows in the world.
Lead on by Corporal Leanne Hallworth, the audience roared and cheered as the handlers and their dogs marched into the arena. Not once did their nerves show even though they were performing in front of a live audience, Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group and the Provost Marshal (RAF).
“You delivered a fantastic performance especially as a lot of work has been done in your own time around your normal duties”
Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group
Air Vice Marshal David Cooper
The next few shows were at Lincoln and Cosford Air shows, but it was National Armed Forces Day on the 29 Jun 18, in Llandudno, that proved to be a day to remember. It was a double whammy for Corporal Kieron Jones because, not only was he performing in his home town, but it was also his 30th birthday! He was beaming when the crowd (egged on by Sergeant Jimi Thomas) sang Happy Birthday to him. The icing on the cake for him was that he was the RAF100 Hero for the day!
One of the best crowds they had was at Weymouth Carnival. This was a unique experience for the Team because it was the first time in dog demo history any handler had performed on sand. The audience were overwhelmed by the spectacular performance. Carnival Chair, Stacey Andrews, was reduced to tears because she was so happy to see them.
“I have never seen such a fabulous show; the handlers have such control of the dogs it makes you want to cuddle them all (we were quick to advise her that it wasn’t a good idea!)”
Mayor of Weymouth and Portland
The season finished with the Military Working Dog Trials, held at RAF Honington, in September, which was probably the most nerve wracking because they were performing in front of their colleagues, friends and families. It was also a sad day, because it was the last time that Warrant Officer Phil Brown was taking the salute.
Warrant Officer Brown has since retired from the RAF with but his parting words to the Team were : “I want you [the Team] to know how incredibly proud of you I am. Seeing you gel as a team on those cold frosty mornings at Henlow, culminating in some brilliant performances has been truly humbling.”
All that’s left to say is congratulations to the 2018 RAF Police Dog Demonstration Team as they pass the leads and white gloves to the 2019 Team.