Blind veteran from Milton Keynes to march at Cenotaph this Remembrance Sunday
Archbold, 89 known as Ned, will be marching at the Cenotaph in London
with more than 100 other blind veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK,
the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women. Ned
says: “I can’t wait to attend this year’s march. For me, Remembrance is
about the pride of serving one’s country. It’s also about remembering
the people who gave up their lives for the very same cause.” Ned
served in both the Royal Artillery 601 Field Battery and the Royal Army
Service Corps. Ned was later transferred to the Royal Air Force (RAF),
where he served in Ceylon with the RAF Police (Auxiliaries). “I was
very proud to have served, and extremely proud to have been promoted to
Lance Bombardier in the Army,” he said. “I also received a commendation
in the RAF Police for tackling and arresting a baton-wielding intruder
in the RAF camp.” It was not until 1985 that Ned’s sight began to
deteriorate as a result of age-related macular degeneration. Ned says:
“It was a horrible process. Gradual, but horrible. “I
found myself in the awful position of being unable to do most of the
things that I’d previously enjoyed doing. I was unable to read or
write. I couldn’t even see facial features.” Fortunately for Ned,
social services put him in touch with Blind Veterans UK after learning
of his military background. Ned maintains that the support the charity
has provided him with has been hugely beneficial, particularly the IT
assistance. He explains: “The IT support, specifically the Synapptic
tablet device the charity has given me, has been fantastic. It’s given
me the opportunity to keep in touch with family and friends, and for
that I’m enormously grateful.” Ned is set to march with other
vision-impaired ex-Service men and women supported by Blind Veterans UK
as part of the national Remembrance Sunday commemorations in London on
executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB
says: “Remembrance Sunday is always a very poignant time for our blind
veterans and it is fantastic that Specsavers are able to support them
to get to march at the Cenotaph. “Today, Blind Veterans UK supports
more blind and vision-impaired veterans than ever before in the
charity’s history and we have set an ambitious target to double the
number of veterans we support in the next five years.” Blind Veterans
UK is the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men
and women, providing vital practical and emotional support to help
veterans discover life beyond sight loss. The charity estimates that
there are currently 59,000 blind veterans that would be eligible to
access its specialist support, most of whom are not currently aware of
it. If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces or did
National Service and are now battling severe sight loss, find out how
Blind Veterans UK could help by calling 0800 389 7979 or visiting
congratulations to Amy Cokayne HQ RAF Sport Sportswoman of year
Official of year runner up is Michelle Crolla
19/10/17 Caistor black belt Amy wins British judo title
belt Amy Atkins will fight for Britain next year after managing to win
a national title without a training regime. A hectic schedule as
mum-of-two and businesswoman denied Amy the time to prepare properly
for her trip to the British Masters Judo Championships. But she came
through four matches to win the women’s -63kg F2 (age 39-plus) title in
Cardiff on her debut appearance at a British Masters tournament. By
winning this title she is now ranked the British number one for her
weight and age category “I wasn’t expecting anything really because I
hadn’t really done any training,” she said. “I must have just had a
good day. “With the gym to run and two little kids there just wasn’t
the time, but I do a lot of exercise classes which helped me to stay
fit.” Amy (39) took up the martial art at the age of nine and had a
successful junior judo career which included a British Open title. She
gained a coveted black belt aged 16 and gained her second dan seven
years later. While
serving in the RAF, she also won national and international events
representing the military all over the world, and now represents the
air force as a reservist. But Amy, a second dan black belt, ranked her
latest win among the best of her career. “I took judo very seriously
when I was a kid,” she added. “But in terms of British Opens it is the
best result I’ve had for a lot of years,“It’s brilliant and means I can
give something back to the military who support me to go and compete.”
Having joined up in 2000, she quickly received both the RAF and
Combined Service colours and became Armed Forces champion for her
weight category, a title she held for most of her career. Amy went on
several tours of duty, including Iraq, but the birth of her first
daughter Caitlin (5) persuaded her to return to civvy street in 2014.
But within 18 months she re-joined the RAF Police Reserves, allowing
her to continue with her RAF career and represent the service at judo.
After second daughter Amber (2) came along, Amy came up with a business
idea and decided to convert a disused Caistor warehouse into a gym.
Lincs Gym has had more than 600 members through its doors since opening
a year ago this week. Despite this heavy workload, Amy will have to
find time for a training regime after earning a place in the British
team thanks to her win in Wales. She said: “The next thing is to start
training for the British team, and the next big competition is in
Scotland in January. “I will compete in as many (international) matches
as I can. “My kids have never seen me compete so I hope they will be
able to come along, too.”
An RAF serviceman surprised his long-term girlfriend in the best way
Corporal Justin Duncan has served three tours of Afghanistan and is currently working in close protection
An RAF military police officer serving in Afghanistan has delighted his long-term girlfriend with a surprise visit to herTunbridge Wellsoffice today (Thursday).
Charlotte Cox, 32, who lives in Snodland, was not expecting Corporal Justin Duncan home until later this evening (October 5).
He said: "I've been based in Kabul for four months and have two weeks' leave. I'm a military police officer with the RAF.
"In Kabul I work in close protection, we're looking after a VIP for our duration. Where he goes, we go."
morning a phone call to his girlfriend's desk from her office's
reception informed her her 'brother' was waiting downstairs for her.
Cox, who works in recruitment, said: "He had been messaging me saying
he was at Dubai and his flight was delayed. i got a call from reception
this morning saying my brother was here.
saw him sat there and said 'you have done it again!', it's not the
first time he has surprised me like this. It's a nice surprise."
In the meantime the pair are looking forward to relaxing and in Cpl Duncan's case "eating some really good food".
added: "We're going down to Cornwall to see my mum, I'm looking forward
to eating some really nice food! The food in Afghanistan is edible -
have proper dining facilities now and it's all shipped in from Dubai -
it's better than it was. It used to be ration packs but there are good
facilities there now!"
Duncan, also 32, has served in the RAF for 10 years and has seen action
during three tours of Afghanistan. He currently he works in close
protection and provides the security for a top British general.
The pair have been dating for six years.
Riders deliver vital supplies
Blood bikers: Former RAF dog handlers Martin Cadogan (left) and Ian Firth
charity that helps ensure urgently needed blood and other vital medical
supplies are delivered to Nottinghamshire hospitals out of hours is
looking for more volunteers.
are about 30 Blood Bike groups that each act as individual charities.
Most also belong to the National Association of Blood Bikes.
Martin Cadogan, of Fernwood, joined the Nottinghamshire group, and his friend, Ian Firth, the Lincolnshire group.
Both are former RAF police sergeants and both served as dog handlers.
Martin said after they left the RAF they wanted to get involved with a charity.
“We are both keen motorcyclists and so the Blood Bike project seemed a perfect one to volunteer with,” he said.
Martin volunteers to be on duty from a Friday evening to Sunday, which he does every two months.
He picks up one of the liveried motorbikes from the group’s fleet that is ready to be used when he is called upon.
“We are very visible and because we are on a bike we can normally get through the traffic,” said Martin.
“It gives you a real sense of purpose and you are potentially saving lives.”
membership officer for Nottinghamshire, Mr John Devlin, said the Blood
Bike idea started more than 50 years ago when a group of bikers were
told how long it would take to get blood needed by a friend after an
accident — and decided they could do better. The idea spread and groups have been set up across the country.
They offer an additional service to that of NHS Blood And Transplant, which provides transportation through the day.
Devlin said at evenings and weekends the service available to hospitals
was more limited so sometimes taxis were used that could prove
“We aim to replace purely that expensive service and provide free cover,” said Mr Devlin.
year they completed 1,086 jobs and have already done 769 this year.
They achieve an average call-to-collection time of 34 minutes.
Items taken include blood samples and blood stocks, platelets, microbiology, swabs and donor breast milk.
Devlin said the trusts they worked with may still use taxis during the
day and some, like Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, were only
making part-use of them.
“We are ready and willing to do much more,” he said.
The Nottinghamshire group has almost 100 volunteers but wants another 20 riders to give them more flexibility.
Volunteers must be over the age of 25 and obtain a recognised advanced rider qualification.
Another ten to 15 volunteers are needed to act as controllers.
They operate from home, answering calls from hospitals and passing delivery details on to the riders.
The service survives on donations and corporate sponsorship so is also looking for volunteers to help with fundraising.
More information is available at www.nottingham shirebloodbikes.org or www.lebbs.org
Airport-style security checks for Scampton Airshow visitors
Random vehicle checks will also be carried out
to the inaugural Scampton Airshow this coming weekend will have to pass
through airport-style security checks on the way in.
terrorist attacks including in Manchester, London, Barcelona, Paris and
Nice, the security services and organisers of the show are leaving
nothing to chance during the event on September 9 and 10.
There will be several airport-style security scanners that visitors to the show will pass through on entry.
Measures also include armedpolice patrols, spot checks of vehicles and enhanced CCTV.
The current terror threat in the UK is classed as 'severe', which is the second highest of five after 'critical'.
But organisers say the precautions aim to ensure that the thousands of visitors expected at the show "feel safe".
air show spokesman said: "Public safety is at the very heart of this
air show and we are committed to making sure visitors feel safe at all
significant number of marshals will be highly visible at this year's
show with support from RAF personnel and Lincolnshire Police. The team
will all be engaging with visitors to ensure an enjoyable safe show for
"We are delighted to be working in partnership with Lincolnshire Police and RAF police to deliver you a safe and enjoyable show.
visitors will enter an through an airport style security system; so
please arrive in plenty of time to go through these processes.
actively encourage any visitors who see suspicious behaviour to report
it to either the police or to speak with other show staff who will act
on your information.
Scampton site benefits from a dedicated control area which has
extensive CCTV which will be continuously monitored and recorded for
"We wish you all a safe and extremely enjoyable day."
RAF Police Rugby also doing a sterling job collecting at Paddington this
Battle of the Moray lawmen sees victory for Police Scotland
RAF POLICE TEAM lost out in a penalty decider in their charity match
against Police Scotland at Borough Briggs, the home of Elgin City,
earlier this week.
game ended 1-1 after the regulation time resulting a penalties to
decide where the trophy would go – that honour fell to Police Scotland
who won 5-2.
small crowd turned up to support the two teams who were raising money
for the Lesser Borough Briggs Community Trust (LBBCT). Both teams’
goalkeepers were responsible for some great saves and each team had
periods of dominance.
goals came in the last fifteen minutes, with an unfortunate own goal by
the RAF Police team leading to a spirited fightback from them. Just
five minutes later the RAF Police team had put the ball in the net at
the other end of the pitch, and despite efforts from both sides the
match ended 1-1.
RAF Police team’s penalty kicks let them down and they missed three
attempts, whereas Police Scotland scored the full five. Man of the
Match was awarded to Flt Lt Nick Hanover of the RAF Police team.
time entertainment was provided by the RAF Lossiemouth Pipes and Drums.
After the match the trophy, named the Jewel of Moray, was presented to
Police Scotland’s captain PC Jamie Durkin by RAF Lossiemouth’s Station
Commander, Group Captain Paul Godfrey. Final donations amounted to just
under £500 for LBBCT.
behalf of all the organisers Sgt Dave Halil expressed his thanks to
everyone who had supported the even, saying: “It’s been a real team
effort to get the match set up, but I’d really like to thank Elgin City
FC and Gordon & McPhail for supporting us, and everyone who came
along and donated some money.
money raised will go towards creating an all-weather pitch that will be
available for all of the sports players of the future in an around
7/8/17 Police forces pledge support for Moray group’s artificial pitch dream
from the RAF police and Police Scotland will go head-to-head to raise
funds for the Lesser Borough Briggs Community Trust. Scores between
rival police forces will be settled on the pitch to boost a Moray
group’s campaign to take control of a football pitch.
is preparing a bid to Moray Council to take control of the land next to
the River Lossie in Elgin to maintain the pitches.
The grassland is currently held in trust for the people of the town by the local common good fund.
Dozens of children at a time have been playing on the park during the summer holidays as part of coaching classes.
if the group’s plans are approved then an artificial surface could be
put down on the grassland to allow sessions to take place whatever the
Now the two police forces have pledged their support by
asking fans to make donations to the trust as they make their way
through the gates to a charity match between the sides.
Dave Halil, from the RAF police, said: “We try to have a football match
against our Police Scotland colleagues every year.
really closely with them to ensure the safety and security of not just
the RAF base, and RAF families in Lossiemouth and Elgin, but the whole
community in the area.”
The match will kick off at Elgin City FC’s ground, Borough Briggs, on Monday, August 7 at 7pm. 1/8/17
The Firmin Sword of Peace, previously known as the Wilkinson Sword of Peace, is
an award given to units of the British Armed Forces for activities above and
beyond the unit's normal role that improve relations with the community, either
within the United Kingdom, or overseas. The award was established by British
sword maker Wilkinson Sword in 1966, with the company presenting a ceremonial
sword to one unit each of the Royal Navy, including the Royal Fleet Auxiliary,
British Army, and Royal Air Force; each unit having been judged as making the
most outstanding contribution to community relations within each service during
the calendar year. 20 July 2017 - HRH Prince Harry of Wales presented the
Firmin Sword of Peace to the RAF Police at RAF Honington today and it was
received on their behalf by Group Captain Steven Horne, Provost Marshal &
Commander RAF Police. The RAF Police had previously been awarded the sword in
serving in Afghanistan and the Middle East during a military career spanning
nearly four decades, an RAF veteran has finally conquered his biggest fear on
his last day in uniform – riding a horse.
Ken Prentice has stood down as a warrant officer at
RAF Lossiemouth following nearly 38 years of service.
Generations of military tradition dictates that
personnel stepping down from the post are escorted from their station on
horseback to mark the end of their duties.
And, despite having a fear of the animals, Mr
Prentice bravely saddled up on a large mare called “Red”, measuring 16 hands
three, before being paraded around the Moray base.
During his first-ever ride, the former warrant
officer was led by Aneesa Parry from the Lossiemouth Saddle Club and Corporal
Kerry Norgate as he waved farewell to personnel, including station commander
Group Captain Paul Godfrey.
Before straddling the horse on the saddle, the
former warrant officer stood on top of a chair before climbing aboard.
Horse handlers held Red still, so the nervous rider
could size up the animal while settling his nerves.
Family and friends met Mr Prentice at the entrance
gates to the base on his last day in uniform.
And despite stepping down from the role he has held
for nearly four decades, the veteran is eager to continue serving in some
capacity in the future.
He said: “I’m genuinely sorry to be leaving the
Royal Air Force, but I hope that I can find a reserve role that will allow me
the opportunity to continue to support the RAF.
“I was truly humbled to be led off the unit on what
must be one of the largest horses that I have come across, and to see so many
personnel present to witness the occasion.
“I couldn’t believe that, in my last few hours, I
had to overcome my biggest fear and mount such a large horse. I had no idea
that anything had been planned as it was my intention to leave quietly.”
Mr Prentice’s career in the RAF began in November
1979. During his long period of service in the forces, he has been posted to
myriad bases across the UK as well as in Germany, Belgium and as far afield as
the Ascension Islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean.
He said: “I have enjoyed every minute of my time
serving in the RAF.
“My personal highlights have been representing the
UK within the Nato Counter Intelligence World, being appointed WO (warrant
officer) Counter Intelligence Squadron, fulfilling the role of principal
security adviser to the UK Maritime Component Command in Bahrain on three
operational tours and being WO to No. 4 RAF Police and Security Squadron based
at RAF Lossiemouth.”
21/6/17 Bedford man tells all about being a reservist ahead of Armed Forces Day
Police Inspector with Bedfordshire Police joined the Royal Air Force
Police just under two years ago and hasn’t looked back since. His
current role with Bedfordshire Police is the management of the Rural
Crime Team across the county but in recent months he’s been exploring
further afield in the USA and Canada as part of his role as an RAF
reservist. In January he spent five days travelling on a C17 Transport
Aircraft to provide security as required for crew, cargo and aircraft.
He was part of a four person team where the other members were all
regulars. In July he will be supporting the security operation for the
Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford and providing support to
the Police Flight at RAF Wittering, completing duties with the regular
RAF Police personnel. “The reservist experience is an incredibly
rewarding one,” he said. “It can be a challenge at times, but I’m lucky
in that my employer, squadron and family are very flexible and
proportion of my duties have similarities to my day job as a civilian
police officer. However the focus on protective security is an added
dimension which supports my day job.” Bedfordshire Police currently
employ fourteen reservists and in 2014 received a Silver Award as part
of the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme. The programme
celebrates and recognises the support given to Defence personnel by
employers that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to the Armed
Forces Community. Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “Volunteers and
reservists are a hugely important part of policing and supporting the
armed forces and Mark is a shining example of skill sharing across the
much the same way that volunteers enhance our front line through the
Special Constabulary and through watch schemes, it is tremendous that
Mark is able to use his skills to help the RAF while also gaining
unique experience to bring back to Bedfordshire Police. “I look forward
to continuing the great relationship we have with our armed forces
through schemes such as these.” So what is the secret to becoming a
reservist? Married, with four children and a black Labrador, Corporal
Mark Farrant knows all too well that it boils down to forward planning
and good communication. “Make sure you have the support and
understanding of your family. There will be times that it can cause
additional stresses and pressures. “Make your decision jointly. Then
you’re free to enjoy the experience of a lifetime,” he adds.
11/6/17 This image shows an RAF PoliceCorporal and PoliceDog
Eron, from RAF Northolt (West London), on security duties outside the
polling station set up at the South Ruislip Christian Fellowship Hall
yesterday during the UK general elections.
Major public events this weekend including the FA Cup final are having their security reviewedwith thousand of troops on standby to guard them.
was closed to the public and the changing of the guard at Buckingham
Palace was postponed on Wednesday, as the UK’s terrorist threat level
was raised to its highest state in a decade. Armed Police will also be
deployed to the Chelsea Flower Show.
Army said no date had been set to pull troops back to barracks after
around 1,000 soldiers on Wednesday took on guarding duties at
high-profile buildings including Parliament, embassies and Sellafield.
armed with SA80 rifles, from the Parachute Regiment, Royal Artillery
and foot guards regiments could be seen in London. Small numbers of
Royal Marines and RAF police are also deployed.
Join the troops in the Military Village at Suffolk Show 2017
year’s show sees the return of one of the Military Village, run by 6
Regiment Army Air Corps. As one of the most popular areas for
interactive fun, the area will provide a window in to military life and
a platform for the forces to display their capabilities. The village
also enables show visitors to get hands-on with the hardware and
provides an opportunity for service charities to work alongside the
personnel that they support.
Jamie Milnes explains: “This year will see a broad spectrum of military
personnel, their kit and equipment. The Apache Attack Helicopter will
be at the centre of the display with Lynx and Gazelle helicopters
available to sit in, to have a feel for what pilots and aircrew work
1 Squadron RAF Regiment, 2623 R(Aux)AF Regiment and 3 Tactical Police
Squadron will be on hand to let you look at the suite of combat
vehicles and weapon systems, including snipers, mortars and heavy
weapons, while The RAF Regiment and RAF Police will be on the ground
displaying the Force Protection element of the Royal Air Force.”
‘Outstanding bravery’ of cops who saved ‘bomber’
Suspect who had coloured wires protruding from his jacket ‘could have been shot’ during incident near the Emirates Stadium
officers who tackled a suspected suicide bomber near the Emirates
Stadium have been commended for some of “the most outstanding bravery
team of constables were awarded the Met commissioner’s prestigious
Excellence Award on Friday for their actions in subduing the man, who
had wires and mobile phones strapped to his chest in Avenell Road,
bomb turned out to be a fake, but police chiefs said that the terrorist
threat was so believable that the suspect would have “undoubtedly” been
shot by armed officers had the constables not intervened.
Jason Hodgson and Alex Field were responding to reports of a man
walking the streets armed with a machete in January last year.
they approached the suspect, he dropped the weapon and they were able
to detain him after a violent struggle. PCs Sam Homer and Marc Woolmer
joined the others at the scene and fired Tasers at the man.
Nick Davies, who presented the officers with the award at Camden Town
Hall, said: “At this point they noticed coloured wires protruding from
his jacket and what appeared to be a trigger device. They noticed he
appeared to be wearing some sort of improvised explosive vest, aware
there was possible imminent danger to themselves and everybody else.”
used two pairs of handcuffs to detain the man and “had the presence of
mind to restrict his movements to prevent any triggers being used”, he
Wayne Pullen, a former RAF police officer with experience of improvised
explosive devices, then “bravely undertook the task of searching the
man”, SI Davies said.
added: “The suspect looked every inch a genuine terrorist, he was
clearly causing large fear within our community. He was in the vicinity
of Arsenal football club, which would be a viable target.”
Pullen described the moment he began to search the suspect, finding
several mobile phones, bits of circuit board and a web of wires wrapped
around his torso.
key thing was to find out if it was a viable device. If it was, then
we’d have to change our approach and begin evacuating the area,” he
was a trigger on his chest with “what looked liked a viable positive
and negative lead” coming from it and a battery wrapped in black
electrical tape, he said.
He was eventually able to establish that it was not a viable explosive device.
was a white wire leading from the battery and I was able to follow it
round to his back, where it came to a dead end,” he said.
man was sent to a mental health hospital to receive the “appropriate”
treatment, PC Pullen said, adding: “The way he was dressed and the way
he behaved, I have no doubt it could well have ended a lot worse for
Field said he spoke to bomb disposal experts, who later arrived on the
scene, who confirmed that their intervention had saved a life that day.
“They said he would have had a bullet in his forehead if it wasn’t for us,” he said.
Davies said: “It’s quite difficult for me to effectively convey to you
how we feel about these officers and how proud we are. The suspect
could have been met by an armed officer and would have undoubtedly
ended in a shooting, but for these officers bravery.”
5/5/17 WATCH: Heartwarming moment Harrogate girl is re-united with military dad
magical moment a little girl from Harrogate was re-united with her
daddy returning from deployment in Qatar has gone viral. A video taken
by Hannah Caffrey of her four year old daughter, Emily, and husband,
Jon, seeing each other for the first time in months has been viewed
thousands of times over on Facebook. Jon,
a Sergeant currently on six months detachment in Qatar, had just landed
at RAF Brize Norton for 10 days rest and recuperation when Emily ran
towards him for a much-deserved cuddle. But the short time together was
perhaps even more special, as little Emily was diagnosed with a brain
malformation just last year. Hannah
Caffrey said: "Because of the problems she has, she's not very vocal. I
had explained to her in the car that we were going to see daddy but it
wasn't until she saw him that I think she fully realised. "My daughter
is the strongest little girl to go through what she's gone through
Emily with dad Jon as she rides her pony. Picture: Hannah Caffrey "Emily
was born at 28 weeks and we have travelled around the country since she
was born, moving with Jon's postings but we have bought a house in
Harrogate so we have a base. "Sadly she's one of those children that
has a malformation of no name. Long term, no-one has any idea what it
might mean, we don't know what she'll do, it's very much take every day
as it comes and see what happens." Although
the family can Whatsapp and video-call while Jon is away, Hannah
explains that it is difficult to get Emily to properly talk to her dad
over webcam. She said: "He sees massive changes in her development and
just in herself, she's turned into a proper little girl. He's
overwhelmed by her, she is out and out a proper daddy's girl
Emily and Jon enjoying quality time together. Picture: Hannah Caffrey
her for the last 10 days has been really good for him to see how much
she's changed in that time." The couple also have another
seven-month-old daughter called Molly and while Jon was home, the
family celebrated Emily's fourth birthday. Jon
Caffrey said: The greeting I got from Emily when I arrived back in the
UK was more than I could ever of hoped for, I have often seen other
fathers being greeted by their kids but never knew how special it
really was until Emily came running up to me like she did. Luckily the
video hides it, but I was closer to tears than I like to admit. "She is
a very bright and happy little girl and also very much a daddy's girl,
which makes it all the more difficult to leave her as she understands
enough to know daddy is leaving but can't comprehend how long for or
why he isn't coming home everyday. "Although I have done several
deployments in the past, this is the first time I have been away for
any significant period of time since having children which makes it so
much harder for both me and Hannah. Jon who usually works at RAF
College Cranwell within the RAF Police Special Investigations Branch is
not due back from his detachment until August. On Tuesday (May 2) Jon
flew back to Qatar and said goodbye to his family who he will see again
when he finally returns home in the summer. He
said: "Hannah, who is an amazing Mum and wife, has her hands full when
I'm away, and I don't think people appreciate just how tough it is for
military wives/husbands when their partners are deployed, especially
when children are involved. "The 11 days I had back in the UK were
amazing, especially as it was over Emily's fourth birthday, so we had a
couple of parties for her as well as some good quality family time.
"Sadly though that is all over now and I won't be back home to see them
1 May 17
Wife claims husband left to 'suffer PTSD in silence' after serving in Afghanistan
mum-of-three says her husband has been 'continuously let down' by the
Ministry of Defence after developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Luke Dallison, who works for the RAF Police, spent seven months in Afghanistan in 2012 and now suffers from PTSD.
wife, Nikita Dallison, is accusing the MoD of 'sweeping [us] under the
carpet' after discharging the 32-year-old from their treatment centre -
despite attempts to take his own life.
Mr Dallison has served with the RAF Police for 12 years.Credit: Nikita Dallison
who lives at the RAF Shawbury base in Shropshire, has shared a video
discussing her husband's PTSD online, which has so far been viewed over
a million times and shared by 30,000 people.
I first noticed his PTSD in early 2013. By 2014 he was a completely different person.
is no longer just about my husband, but it's about thousands of others
who are being or have been neglected by the system too.
like the MoD to address the issues faced by servicemen and their
families. I want them to improve the 'Duty of Care' they promised our
loved ones in accordance with the armed forces covenant.
men and women, these families, my husband are not just numbers. I want
them to be treated with the dignity, compassion and respect that they
deserve, that they are owed.
– NIKITA DALLISON
mental health of our people is of the utmost importance, which is why
we provide a variety of support including education and access to
We encourage those that need help to come forward and get the assistance they deserve.
– MINISTRY OF DEFENCE SPOKESPERSON
26/4/17 A veteran whose career was ended by a devastating injury has turned his life around – by creating his own vodka brand.
And Chris Gillan’s Heroes Vodka is already challenging the big boys of the booze industry after supermarkets agreed to stock it.
Chris served with the RAF police in Iraq and Afghanistan and was selected for special operations alongside the SAS.
he suffered a severe leg injury in training, which forced him out of
the military and put paid to his future plans to join the police.
then found himself unemployed and temporarily homeless, but has managed
to turn his life around after starting the vodka business which he
planned from the spare room of his council flat.
Chris, 37, said: “I was in quite a dire situation financially. It was a dark part of my life.
had to turn to the armed forces charities to get some assistance.”
Using funding he received from the British Legion, Chris launched his
The vodka is bottled at Broxburn Bottlers in West Lothian and is now being stocked in 350 Asda stores across the UK.
who employs forces veterans at the firm, added: “A minimum of 20 per
cent of all profits go to our charities – the Royal Navy & Royal
Marine charity , the Army Benevolent Fund and the Royal Air Force
the wake of the tragic death of PC Keith Palmer a charity single has
now been produced with the lyrics penned by the children of a serving
police officer. Two boys aged 11 and 13 have written a song about what police do and how officers across the country work together.
aim was to have a member of every police force in England, Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland represented on the song to raise money
for the charity Care of Police Survivors (COPS).
The profits of
the all sales of the track will go to COPS. This is a charity that
looks after families of police officers who have died in the line of
duty. The track features singers from 20 police forces around the UK which includes RAF Police.
a lot of hard work the track is now available for download on iTunes,
Google Play, Spotify and Amazon as We Stand Together by The Thin Blue
A female pensioner who was filmed having sex with dogs has been spared jail by a judge.
Bowditch, 64, had sex with a St Bernard, a black labrador and an
Alsatian claiming later she did not realise that it was illegal.
activities were exposed as a result of an RAF Police investigation
which centred on a man identified as organising a bizarre sex party .
Owners watched their dogs having sex with women, who then had sex with the men. Details of the event were later posted on an internet forum specialising in bestiality.
investigation led police to visit Bowditch and when her home was
searched officers found a DVD and a USB stick which both contained film
of her with dogs. Victoria Rose, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court "When the DVD was analysed it was found to contain extreme images. "Those images portrayed persons committing penetrative sexual acts with dogs. "Also included were images of this defendant herself carrying out sexual activity. "Included
was an eight minute and 59 seconds video of Mrs Bowditch engaging in
vaginal and oral sex with a St Bernard dog named Oscar. "When the defendant was interviewed she admitted she had penetrative sex with dogs. "She accepted it had taken place over several years. She was unaware it was illegal." Miss Rose said that at least eight photographs were found of Bowditch having sex with dogs and 30 moving images. Bowditch,
64, of Evedon, Lincs, admitted a charge of having sexual intercourse
with an animal between 13 November 2011 and 25 November 2014. She also admitted possession of 37 extreme pornographic images on 21 March 2016. Daniel Galloway, 65, of the same address, admitted aiding and abetting Bowditch to have intercourse with an animal. He
also admitted charges of making indecent images of children, possession
of a prohibited image of a child, distributing 1,861 indecent images of
children and possession of extreme pornography. His sentence was adjourned to a later date. James Gray, in mitigation, said "She is 64 and has no previous convictions. "Both she and Mr Galloway have suffered considerable public humiliation. "They have been ostracised by their friends and family. "They have suffered that added element of punishment which in less salacious cases would not be present." Bowditch was given a community order with 12 months supervision and a 16 week night-time curfew.
8/4/17 RAF Wittering policeman and dad of twins to take on huge cycle challenge to say thanks to medical staff
Curtis, who is based at RAF Wittering, will ride between Peterborough
City Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary on April 15.
twin daughters were born in October 2016 and are healthy now but their
mum, Steffanie, needed an emergency caesarean if the smaller of the
twins was to survive. The lifesaving operation was performed at
Leicester Royal Infirmary. Nathan and Steffanie were unable to see the
girls, Millie and Charlotte, for the first few hours of their lives.
Born ten weeks prematurely, the tiny babies were just bigger than the
size of an adult hand. Two weeks afterwards, Millie was transferred to
Peterborough City Hospital. Nathan said: “The quality of care was
second to none and everybody was just amazing. The neonatal intensive
care staff are the real heroes. I knew the girls were in the best
capable hands.” It’s very busy in the Curtis household. Steffanie is a
full time mum to Mille and Charlotte and their brother, Noah, who is
three years old. Nathan is balancing a very busy job as an RAF
policeman with helping his wife at home and training for the bike ride.
In preparation for the 82 mile ride, Nathan trains every day; working
in the gym and on a turbo-trainer at home. The turbo-trainer is a small
device which is mounted under the rear wheel of a bicycle and allows
realistic (but static) training indoors. 7/3/17
RAF reservist ‘looked up colleague’s skirt’ at Oktoberfest
McIlraith was photographed sneaking a look up a fellow police
reservist's dress at an Oktoberfest party night at the No 603 Squadron
headquarters in Edinburgh.
Royal Navy submariner Keith McIlraith was photographed looking up a
fellow police reservist’s dress at an Oktoberfest party night at the No
603 Squadron headquarters in Edinburgh.
- who is also a TV extra - and the woman had been enjoying the “rowdy,
drunken affair” along with around 50 other military personnel following
a training day at the RAF HQ.
woman was dressed as a “German beer wench” and after spotting a friend
in the same outfit she asked for a picture of them to be taken.
was said at the time but the woman admitted she was left “shocked and
embarrassed” when she saw the picture of her and her friend with
McIlraith on the floor looking up her short dress a few days later.
ex-Navy submariner, 43, denied he had looked up the woman’s skirt
claiming instead he and a female friend had been larking about on the
floor of the function suite during the party on October 25, 2014.
McIlraith - who has appeared as a support actor in River City, Dear
Green Place and Bargain Hunt - was found guilty of a breach of the
peace by looking up the woman’s skirt at the RAF HQ, Learmonth Terrace,
Edinburgh, following a trial at the capital’s sheriff court today.
48-year-old victim told the court she attended the RAF training day in
the afternoon before changing into a “traditional Oktoberfest German
wench” fancy dress outfit consisting of white off the shoulder top,
short black skirt and black boots.
She said: “People were drinking quite a lot - it was a party type atmosphere.
“It was a good evening and the majority of it was spent in the bar before we went through to a bigger room for party games.
saw a friend wearing the same outfit and wanted a picture taken of us
as I thought it would be quite funny. I looked at the picture a couple
of days later and I was shocked.
“I didn’t know he was on the floor looking up my skirt - I was shocked and embarrassed.
If I’d known about it In would have dealt with it then and there.
If I’d [known what he was doing] I would have stamped on his face.”
woman then said she confronted McIlraith about the image a few weeks
later but that he had ‘just laughed it off’ and said ‘it was a bit of a
“There was no apology and he felt as if he didn’t do anything wrong.”
woman then reported the matter to the Provost Marshall, the head of the
RAF police, before going on to inform the civilian police around nine
months after the incident.
woman said she made a statement to the police as she felt the RAF
command “were not taking it [the complaint] seriously enough”.
evidence, McIlraith, from East Kilbride, told the court he had drunk
around a dozen bottles of beer and as a result had “no recollection” of
the picture being taken.
said he had been engaging in “tomfoolery” with a female colleague
whereby both of them were rolling around the floor on several occasions
He denied the allegation he had looked up the woman’s skirt claiming that would have been “obscene”.
He added: “I know at no point did I look up anyone’s skirt. I wasn’t paralytic but I was drunk.
“It [the picture] might look like that but I wasn’t looking up her skirt.”
the evidence, Sheriff Fiona Tait told McIlraith she was rejecting his
version of events as “unsatisfactory” but found the woman’s evidence to
be “credible and reliable”.
Tait found the former Royal Navy submariner guilty of the breach of the
Pearce charge but did not place McIlraith on the Sex Offenders Register
following yesterday’s trial.
The sheriff said she will consider that sanction as part of the fuller sentence which was deferred to next month.
Inspection of the RAF Police by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary:Written statement - HCWS440
Inspection of the RAF Police by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary
wish to inform the House that I am laying today, the first report from
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) Inspection of the
Royal Air Force Police (RAFP).
Armed Forces Act 2011 places a duty on HMIC to inspect and report to
the Ministry of Defence on the independence and effectiveness of
investigations carried out by each Service police force, and this is
HMIC’s first statutory inspection report on the RAF Police.
consider this report to be a positive endorsement of the RAFP providing
assurance from an independent civilian authority that the RAFP is well
led overall. Six recommendations have been made and five areas for
improvement have been identified. The Royal Air Force accepts the
report’s findings and work is already under way to address the
recommendations and areas for improvement.
RAF police give boost to Diss Rugby Club fundraising event
Chris Chaplin, Sergeant Leon Jokat, Gordon Johnson, Sergeant James
Thomas, Corporal Allan Gardner at Diss Rugby Club. Picture: RAF
policemen have travelled up the road from Suffolk to Norfolk to support
a fundraising event held at Diss Rugby Club that raised £350 to help
former personnel and their families.
from 1(Tactical) Police Squadron supported the Royal Air Forces
Association’s Diss branch Wings Appeal at the Diss v Norwich Rugby Game
is the first event supported by the squadron, which has been aligned to
the Diss branch as part of RAF Honington’s overall effort to support
Lt Anthony Xavier, from the squadron, said: “Squadron personnel were
keen to volunteer for the event and saw the benefit of supporting the
work of RAFA in Norfolk and Suffolk.
support is planned for 2017 with the aim of developing a strong
relationship with the branch and also allowing branch members to visit
the squadron in the future.”
Johnson, RAFA Diss branch membership secretary, praised the positive
impact of having uniformed and serving personnel available to support
the association’s work and added that previous events without squadron
personnel had raised around £100.
This RAF Police campaign aims to significantly reduce alcohol related offences: Target Zero
This RAF Police campaign aims to significantly reduce alcohol-related offences: Target Zero.
mixture of briefings, surge operations, messaging and, in some places,
free soft drinks for drivers, Target Zero is designed to help keep
personnel safe this festive season.
Officer, Flt Lt Mark Wareing, said: "This is so much more than a
Christmas drink drive campaign, this is about keeping everyone safe and
enjoying the festive period."
Bus firm on board with armed forces
left, Simon Webb, Manuel Church, Daniel Smith, George Vassallo, Mark
Hayward, Stephen Peters, Gareth Jones, and Steve Parry.
Transport has been made an official bronze award member of the UK
Government’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme for its work
supporting former and current members of the armed forces.
scheme encourages employers to help the armed forces by employing
ex-defence personnel and support those who are already enlisted for
To be recognised by the government for the award, an employer must show a commitment to employing current or former members.
Transport currently employs 16 people who have served or still are
serving in the armed forces, 12 of who are bus drivers.
include Gareth Jones, a former member of the RAF police squadron and
veteran of the Northern Ireland conflict, who is projects manager at
the bus company.
He said: “The company is hugely proactive in
providing opportunities and support for those who have served in the
army and those who still are.
“It’s great therefore that this
commitment has been recognised by the organisers of the ERS. It is not
always easy to find career pathways when leaving the armed forces, but
Newport Transport is providing these opportunities.”
Pearson, Managing Director of Newport Transport, said: “We are very
honoured to have been recognised by the Defence Employer Recognition
Scheme in this way.
“As a company which prides itself on the
diversity of its workforce, we appreciate hugely the dedication and
experience of the men and women who work for Newport Transport from an
armed forces background. Like the rest of our staff, their work is
exemplary and their commitment to our customers is second to none.
are also very proud of our support of the Royal British Legion. We have
dedicated buses in our fleet in memory of those who have served this
country. This includes former employees of Newport Transport who sadly
lost their lives in the Great War. In memory of these fallen heroes,
five of our buses have their names bestowed upon them.
poppies that accompany their names will remain there until the 100th
anniversary of the end of the war in 2018. We are grateful to all of
those who have put the lives of the many before their own and will
continue to support former and current armed forces members in the
years to come.”
13/11/16 Neatebox inventor wants to help make journeys easier
Gavin Neate of Neatebox. Picture: Greg Macvean/TSPL
a road is the kind of everyday activity few people stop and think
about. But to those with a disability, the need to navigate busy
streets can often be a stressful and frustrating experience.
was through working with visually impaired people that Gavin Neate came
to realise pedestrian crossings could be a hindrance to their progress.
The device allows users to activate crossings with their phones. Picture: TSPL
solution, the Neatebox, allows users to activate a crossing via an
application in their mobile phone, eliminating the need to locate and
then press a button.
First unveiled in 2014, the invention
has since been installed at several locations across Edinburgh,
including outside the Scottish Parliament and opposite the NHS building
in Lauriston Place.
Neate, who is based in the capital, is in
talks with one local authority to install Neateboxes at every
pedestrian crossing in a medium-sized town.
“We’re not just talking about internet of things - we’re actually in the process of doing it,” Neate told The Scotsman.
an entire village or town is much easier than tackling an entire city
and its 900 crossings. There might only be ten crossings in a small
Neate’s firm belief is that technology can be used to
allow more disabled people to travel independently. The entrepreneur
spent 18 years training guide dog users after serving as an RAF police
He learned first hand the barriers many people face when outdoors.
see problems and find work-arounds,” he said. “I had experience of
clients struggling to reach crossing buttons and struggling to cross.
Even in the best case scenario, they’re off to the side or awkward to
“If you see that on a daily basis, you either accept it as the way things are, or you think of ways the problem can be solved.
“Nicola Sturgeon has spoken of her desire to see more people with disabilities being able to find work,” Neate continued.
first, employers must understand the needs of persons with
disabilities. Unless that person can get to work, under their own
steam, it’s kind of pointless.
“We want to help people to get to
work independently - without having a support worker with them, or
having to ask members of the public help you, or changing their route
to avoid a certain crossing.
“Neatebox helps someone who cannot
reach the button on a pedestrian crossing, But then it will also help
those carrying shopping, for example.
“Ultimately, what we’re
talking about is something that is totally inclusive. It can be used by
lots of different people - but there are some whose lives could be
Neate came up with his initial idea in 2006 and then spent several years developing it “during lunch breaks and after work”.
Support from Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise allowed Neate to form a company and go full-time with the project in 2014.
has since hired two members of staff after winning further funding, as
well as undertaking several paid trials of the Neatebox technology.
The product is now currently going through its certification process before it is sold on the open market.
country has woken up to the need for people with disabilities to be not
just included in society, but to enter the workforce as well,” he said.
“There’s no reason, if they can reach an office, they can’t be as productive as anyone else.”
A RAF Policewoman was one of the winners at the 'Women in Defence UK' inaugural awards at a ceremony held at the Honourable Artillery Company’s Headquarters.
Lt Harriet Tadikonda was one of 200 nominees across five different
categories that were whittled down via a stringent judging process
carried out by a variety of leaders from business, professional bodies
in Defence UK exists to promote the value of women across defence and
three finalists from each category attended the ceremony, but it was
Flt Lt Tadikonda’s efforts that saw her win the ‘Most Collaborative’
award as founder and director of the ‘One Voice Initiative’.This
brought every faith society across Defence together to form a
multi-faith and humanist choir in the name of co-operation and
August 2015, tri-service singers, four civilian choirs and the
musicians of the Band of the RAF Regiment all came together at RAF
Northolt to record the final movement of the five part symphony
composed by Flt Lt Harriet Tadikonda.
Path to Peace’, the One Voice Initiative’s single was formally released
at an event held at The International Anoopam Mission Temple in
December 2015, with the hard copies of the single selling out within
minutes of the launch and all proceeds donated to SSAFA – The Armed
receiving her award, Flt Lt Tadikonda said: “I have been extremely
fortunate to work alongside some extraordinary and visionary people on
the One Voice project. This award is devoted them and the utterly
inspiring servicewomen who were also nominated or won awards. There are
now an increasing number of women in high profile roles within the MOD
- it is an exciting time to be a woman working in defence.”