RAF Police Cpl Heather Romy, 23 joined the RAF at the age of 22. Heather wanted
a job that she would find challenging, rewarding, offering opportunities to
learn, develop and progress. Heathers current role is within the Law
Enforcement at RAF Odiham. To progress her career Heather has been able to take
advantage of the many courses offered in the military, expanding her knowledge
and understanding of interview skills and techniques, ultimately applying for a
role in Serious Investigation Branch. Heather said “I love all the paperwork
side to Policing; organising a case file and completing an investigation for it
to be sent off feels like a great sense of achievement. Law Enforcement
duties can include conducting criminal investigations, assisting with welfare or
security concerns as well as patrolling.
RAF Benson launch 'big black
dog' mental health challenge
RAF Benson mental health
campaign, Tracy Barrow and big black dog
mental health awareness campaign has been
launched at RAF Benson which will see
individuals carrying around a big black dog.
Tracy Barrow has served with the RAF Police
for 20 years and she has seen how mental
health can impact individuals and families.
She refers to depression as a metaphorical
black dog, following the individual at all
times and casting a shadow over their life.
To help raise
awareness of mental health issues and
encourage open conversation, Ms Barrow will
be carrying a big black dog around with her
at all times. She will also be encouraging
others to do the same.
experienced her own mental health struggle
following an operational deployment in 2012,
Ms Barrow believes that she was fortunate to
have a support network to help her through
those difficult times.
She said: “I
didn’t ask for help because of the stigma.
Reducing the stigma of mental health is the
most important thing. It’s okay not to be
She has also
chosen to fundraise for the RAF Benevolent
Fund and PTSD Resolution, who both provide
support and help to service personnel and
veterans with mental health conditions. The
flight sergeant set herself a target of
£500, which she has already exceeded within
days of the challenge beginning.
It is hoped
that other RAF units will also take on the
The FP Fce provides Air FP advice and
training through its Defence Engagement Prog to over 20
nations worldwide. #RAFPolice from No 4 RAF Police &
Security Sqn regularly deploy to Nigeria delivering essential
police and security training to the @NigAirForce Police
No 1 (Tactical) Police Sqn based
Air Force Honington provide the Royal
Air Force with a highly trained combat
policeman able to provide policing and security in all
environments. They are able to deploy alongside
Regiment counterparts providing them
protection in dealing with captured personnel and handling
evidence. Alternatively they are equally as happy
deploying to provide security to RAF aircraft around the
globe and providing policing and security to RAF
WW2 RAF Police were engaged across the globe, notably on
Juno Beach on 6 Jun 1944 where 2 RAF Police Cpl's landed at
10.20 with a party of Army assault troops.
Cpl Fearnside supported Exercise Red Flag as a Cyber and
Information Security Specialist. This RAF Police
capability sees those with a knowledge and willingness to
work with complex computer systems sit alongside a keen
investigative mindset of a service police person.
Protection Centre Continues to Deliver Training
15 May 2020
impact of Coronavirus has not stopped the RAF Force
Protection Centre (FPC), RAF Honington, continuing to
deliver a training course which prepares RAF personnel
deploying to high threat locations around the globe.
have worked tirelessly to ensure the continued delivery
of the Global High Threat course together with other
essential outputs whilst conforming to Government and
Defence guidelines to protect staff and students. They
have ensured the safe delivery of training and
engagement, enabling the RAF to continue to deliver on
operations and represent the UK on the global stage.
delivery of Force Protection training for RAF personnel
is essential to the sustainment of operations. The team
of talented Non-Commissioned Officers at the FPC quickly
adjusted the Global High Threat course to manage the
risks to the training audience and the staff.
Integrating methods of social distancing to the teaching
of combat first aid, weapons handling, marksmanship and
tactics, to recognise and defeat threats required a
great deal of planning that relied on support from
across RAF Honington.
FPC depends on high-quality people, bringing their
experience from force elements, to be instructors within
the Tactical Training Flight. During these testing
times, they demonstrated flair and professionalism that
was reflected in the feedback from the broad range of
ranks and trades that attended the course. 156 RAF
personnel have been trained throughout 2020 to meet the
RAF’s essential commitments to four different Operations
and training helps RAF Honington team prepare for NHS support
The team took an intensive
clinical upskills course organised by the EEAST to bolster
their existing skills and pave the way for six of their team
to begin support work for the NHS.
WO Karl Phillips, co-response
team leader, said: “The training provided by professional
clinical trainers from EEAST was superb. These people worked
exceptionally hard to ensure we received the very best
theoretical and practical training available in order to
properly prepare us for the task. This was further enhanced
by Covid-19-specific training, including PPE, hospital
handover procedures and emergency transfer protocols.”
The team has personnel with
varied experience, including RAF police personnel that are
blue-light rapid response vehicle (RRV) driver qualified, to
physical trainers and military transport drivers.
Two of the team have also
completed advanced driver courses, qualifying them to drive
the ambulances from RAF Honington.
Group Captain Matt Radnall, RAF
Honington Station Commander, said: “I’m delighted that
personnel from RAF Honington are able to provide direct
support to the NHS ambulance service in our region. I know
they are well trained and very much looking forward to
playing their part in this incredibly important role.”
Man arrested in Chop Gate human
Police are continuing to
investigate the discovery of human remains at a remote
farming location near Chop Gate, near Helmsley, on 31
While it is still too
early to confirm the precise age of the bones, forensic
archaeologists have identified them as male and they are
likely to be more than half-a-century old.
With support from the
Ministry of Defence, the RAF Police Forensic Team and
various subject matter experts from the RAF and the
Army, work is ongoing at the vacated property to remove
military memorabilia found in outbuildings.
Material experts will be
present throughout the search and recovery process. It
is common practice for EOD and other experts to assist
the police with advice on such operations.
As part of a joint investigation between
North Yorkshire Police and the Ministry of Defence
Police, a 72-year-old man from the York area has been
arrested, interviewed and released on conditional
police bail while enquiries continue.
important to stress that the discovery of historic
remains and burial sites are relatively common on
North Yorkshire farmland.
are keeping an open mind until more information is
known, but this is not a homicide investigation.
people to refrain from speculating about this legally
active case on social media.
Man arrested over
bones found on North York Moors farm
6 hours ago
A 72-year-old man has been
arrested in connection with an investigation into human
bones found on farmland.
The remains were discovered in a remote location
near Chop Gate in North Yorkshire on 31 March.
Forensic archaeologists said the bones are male
and likely to have been there for more than half a century.
North Yorkshire Police said the arrested man,
from the York area, has been interviewed and released on
The force is working on the investigation with
the Ministry of Defence, the RAF Police Forensic Team and
experts from the RAF and the Army.
The death is not being treated as a homicide.
A police spokesman said work was ongoing at the
empty property, in the North York Moors National Park south
of Stokesley, to remove military memorabilia found in
He said: "It is important to stress that the
discovery of historic remains and burial sites are
relatively common on North Yorkshire farmland.
"Officers are keeping an open mind until more
information is known, but this is not a homicide
Anyone with information that could help the
investigation is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on
101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Andrew Harding from Number 3 (Tactical) Police Squadron
based at Royal
Air Force Honington has volunteered to
provide extra resilience to the Regular Force during this
who is currently providing Law Enforcement and Policing
Air Force Waddington Police Flight said:
“To serve in the military is a privilege, I often have to
pinch myself to realise that at a later stage of my life, I
am able to combine my civilian occupation with a military
a lifelong ambition to serve his country, Andrew joined
the RAuxAF in
2017 at the age of 50. Grasping every opportunity available
to him he has been detached to Iceland as part of the NATO
Air Policing Mission, spent a week in Norway learning Winter
survival skills with the Norwegian Reserve Forces and is now
playing his part in the UK Armed Forces response to the
Harding is the owner and managing director of three
companies specialising in high end property services and
Human Resources. He has fantastic support from work
colleagues, family and his partner who have supported his
who has been a volunteer Co-Responder for one year, said:
“I am proud to be supporting the NHS throughout the
The EEAS have condensed a six-week training
course into five days to allow RAF Police and RAF Regiment
from across the Force to be deployed as ECSW. They will crew
co-responder cars and man double-staffed ambulances working
primarily within Suffolk and West Norfolk, but they can be
utilised across the Trust.
RAF Police Personnel Provide Vital Support to NHS
22 Apr 2020
Force Protection personnel have been committed to the
East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) to work as
Emergency Medics, providing vital support to the NHS
during the Coronavirus pandemic.
EEAS have condensed a six-week training course into five
days to allow RAF Police and RAF Regiment from across
the Force to be deployed as Emergency Care Support
Workers (ECSW). They will crew co-responder cars
and man double-staffed ambulances.
Police Corporal James Saunders from No. 1 (Tactical)
Police Squadron based at RAF Honington became a
volunteer Co-Responder because he wanted to make a
difference. He said:
very proud to be involved in the frontline fight
against COVID-19 pandemic, not only for myself but
also as a representative for the Royal Air Force. I
endeavour to continue what I am doing to provide
support for the NHS during this significant time and
Police and RAF Regiment co-responders will be working
primarily within Suffolk and West Norfolk but they can
be utilised across the Trust. #InThisTogether
Freeman: Upper-class British pilot who
Railton Metcalf Freeman looked every bit the archetypal
English officer and gentleman: serious, smartly dressed,
complete with the moustache that was oh so fashionable among
RAF officers in the early days of World War Two.
Born in 1903, the son of a Royal Navy
officer, public school educated and a graduate of
Sandhurst, the elite Army officers training college, he
came from the ideal background. He had originally joined
The King's Own Regiment but transferred to the Royal Air
Force around 1926 and qualified as a pilot. In 1931,
still only 27, Freeman left the RAF and settled down as
a gentleman farmer in the Forest of Dean. But by
the time he was conscripted back into the RAF in January
1940 as a transport pilot during the so-called Phoney
War, he harboured a dark secret. He was a committed
fascist who would go on to betray his own country during
its darkest hour in the most deplorable way.
I uncovered the strange, disturbing
story of Pilot Officer Freeman - a British flying
officer, yet a traitor to his country - during research
at the National Archives in London. His background was
conventional enough for a wealthy young man in the early
But when I dug a little deeper, I was
astonished to learn that he had felt he was fighting on
the wrong side in the war.
In 1937, as Hitler prepared for war,
Freeman had joined Oswald Mosley's British Union of
Fascists which brought him to the attention of the
Gloucestershire Police. On May 26, 1940, a memo was sent
to the force's chief constable from one PC Edgar Day of
St Briavels station in the Forest of Dean.
According to Constable Day, "when in
conversation with other persons he [Freeman] has stated
that our country would be better if ruled the same as
GERMANY, and he has expressed his admiration for Sir
Although many among the upper echelons
of British society had admired Hitler's rise to power
and rebuilding of Germany, it was clearly cause for
concern now that war had broken out.
The upper-class landowner had come to
the attention of the local constabulary via his
subscription to the BUF's publications. Clearly, in the
explosive atmosphere of the late Thirties, the police
had begun monitoring recipients of the far-right party's
literature. PC Day went on to report, in the musty
document still held in the National Archives, that
despite his beliefs, Freeman had "re-joined the Royal
Air Force and is now believed to be stationed at
Except that by May 26, Pilot Officer Freeman wasn't at
Farnborough any more. He was in Germany, a
He had flown to Merville in northern
France with 24 Squadron on May 23, but his plane was
believed to have been destroyed by German forces. The
following day, he was captured.
On June 20, the Air Ministry wrote to
the Provost Marshal - the chief of the RAF's police.
The letter - marked "Secret and
Personal" - reveals that: "Amongst his kit we found the
attached membership card of the British Union (of
The RAF Police were asked to
investigate, but it was too late. Freeman ended up as a
POW in Dulag Luft near Frankfurt, one of the specialist
camps where the Germans held Allied aircrew. And he
wasted no time in making known his political views.
According to his files, fellow
officers reported violent arguments with him and,
eventually, the senior British officer in his camp told
the German commandant he could no longer guarantee
An MI5 file, dated October 1944,
reveals British officials had been aware of what Freeman
was up to.
In 1942, messages had been received
about Freeman's activities "through most secret
channels", likely to have been MI9, the section of
British Intelligence responsible for liaising with
It's revealing that senior British
officers in the POW camp were so concerned about Freeman
they used this sensitive line of communication to alert
the authorities in the UK to his activities.
But if the British commanders in the
camp weren't impressed with Freeman, the Germans
certainly were. He was moved to Berlin and given a
well-paid job as a producer at the English section of
the Foreign Broadcast Department of the German Foreign
Ministry where he worked alongside William Joyce - the
notorious traitor "Lord Haw-Haw" - helping to write
scripts for his programme, Germany Calling.
At the radio station Freeman, now
using the name "P. Royston", presented a weekly
programme called JAZZ Cracks, an odd mix of jazz and
"wisecracks", which his former boss in Berlin described
as being "anti-Jewish, and anti-Bolshevik, and
criticisms of the British Government."
By August 1944, it seems Freeman felt
he could do more to further Hitler's cause. His next
move was even more audacious than becoming a Nazi
propagandist: he now joined the Waffen SS, Hitler's
elite paramilitary force, responsible for some of the
most vile war crimes ever committed.
Not that this was an opinion Freeman
shared. "The SS," he told his MI5 interrogators after
the war, "has always been pro-English and
anti-communist." It is not known if or where he fought,
or against whom, but his belief in the SS postwar
Had he known earlier "what a sincere
body, entirely pro-English" they were, he told his
British interrogators, he'd have joined the Waffen SS
Prince Of Spies by Alex Gerlis(Image: NC)
He even offered to return to Germany
in an effort to contact "the leaders of this
organisation which has now gone underground" so that
they could assist in what he predicted would be an
inevitable war between Britain "and the Russians whose
aim is to control Europe". Just in case his
interrogators failed to get his message, Freeman
insisted "the war would have ended long ago if
Churchill, certain other leaders in this country and the
Jewish financiers had been willing to fight the
Bolshevik menace along with Germany".
Freeman, it should be said, wasn't the
only British prisoner-of-war to switch sides. There were
about 100 such "renegades" as they became known, some 50
of them joining the British Free Corps - a failed
attempt to form a British unit of the SS.
By 1945, as the tide of war turned
against the Nazis, MI5 had a "British Renegades Warning
List" in operation, alerting Allied forces in Europe to
the traitors to look out for. Freeman - still using the
name Royston - was eventually caught and returned to the
UK, where he was court-martialed at RAF Uxbridge in
He was found guilty on three out of
four charges, including serving in the Waffen SS,
working for the Germans and accepting money from them.
Freeman could, and arguably should,
have been sentenced to death for both of the first two
charges, but instead was sentenced to 10 years in
This was a remarkably lenient sentence
for a traitor. Freeman was a British officer who'd not
only broadcast Nazi propaganda (the crime which had cost
Lord Haw-Haw his life) but had also joined the SS. One
would have thought Freeman would have been relieved at
not receiving the death sentence, but his arrogance was
He told his lawyer his sentence showed
how "rotten" Britain was. "The Germans would have had
the honesty to shoot me."
This tone of defiance continued. In
April 1947, he wrote from Wormwood Scrubs jail
complaining he'd been "been imprisoned in the State's
criminal establishments and my wife has been left to her
own resources". Strangely, that is the last we hear of
Benson Railton Metcalf Freeman.
If he served his full sentence, he'd
have been in his early 50s when he was released in 1955.
But it is as if he - and his wife Muriel - disappeared
into thin air.
It is so intriguing. I
based a character on him in my novel, The Berlin
Spies. Going by the codename Captain Canterbury, my
fictional creation Bramley Arthur Sefton Bevan is a
British officer captured by the Nazis who ends up
working for German Intelligence.
His actions would be
almost unbelievable, were they not based on the
entirely true story of Freeman. My own Captain
Canterbury believed he had got away with his own
treachery for 30 years until justice of a type caught
up with him.
As for Freeman
himself, where he was by the 1970s remains a mystery.
Freedom of Information requests to both the RAF and
the Ministry of Justice have failed to provide any
clues as to when he was released or what happened to
him when he was. I have no doubt he was a traitor. Had
he secretly been working as a British double agent,
that truth would have emerged by now. Maybe he had
friends in high places prepared to protect him.
Perhaps the truth was more prosaic than that.
He may well have been
rich enough to be able to simply move to another part
of the country (or abroad) and assume a new identity.
Or could it be that by
this time, with the Cold War now underway, British
traitors seemed less important? If any Daily Express
reader has any information on what happened to Freeman
I'd be most interested to know.
Alex Gerlis is the
author of a number of Second World War espionage
thrillers including bestsellers The Berlin Spies, The
Best of Our Spies and the recently published Prince Of
Vehicles ready to be sent to the Gulf war - Picture
year working for the press, local photographer Eddie
Whitham changed his career path, becoming the official
photographer at the former US Army Burtonwood airbase.
Here Eddie recalls his time at the base including some
never seen before photographs at the base which last saw
active service during the Gulf War, having previously
been the largest US Army airbase and supply depot in
Europe. The base was originally built for the RAF
and opened in April 1940 and played a vital role
during the Second World War. At it’s height there were
18500 US personnel stationed at Burtonwood.
Royal Air Force Burtonwood (or
RAF Burtonwood) was a former Royal Air Force and United
States Army Air Forces base that was located in
Burtonwood, 2 miles (3.2 km) Northwest of Warrington in
Lancashire, England. In 1946 the base was
transferred back to the United Kingdom however United
States operations continued. The base officially closed
in 1991 and since then the runway and all of the
associated buildings have been demolished.RAF Burtonwood Heritage Centrewas
opened on part of the former base at Gulliver’s World
and focuses on the lives of the servicemen, the war and
the airplanes at the base. The facility was transferred
to the United States Army Air Forces in June 1942 to
become a servicing centre for the United States Eighth,
Ninth, Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces aircraft.
Burtonwood was also known as Base Air Depot 1 (BAD 1),
although an RAF presence continued in the form of the
RAF Police who maintained security on the site until the
Burtonwood was the largest
airfield in Europe during the war with the most USAAF
personnel and aircraft maintenance facilities. The roar
of the engines in the test beds could be heard for miles
around, especially at night. According to some sources
Burtonwood was placed strategically so that it was out
of range of Luftwaffe bombers, but this is not true, as
several Nazi air-raids were made on the facility.
During their leave periods, American servicemen from
Burtonwood virtually took over the centre of nearby
Facts about the Base: 16.85 miles of fencing — 18 miles
of roads – 4.65 rail track – 13 hangars – 1054 nissen
huts – 22 warehouses covering 3,535,990 square feet.
During the Second World war 4,243 iconic B17 Flying
Fortress planes were made ready for battle at Burtonwood
along with 43,381 P47 Thunderbolt aircraft passing
through the Base . In 1948/49 Burtonwood was again
instrumental in supplying the Berlin Air Lift. The next
big event in the history of the base came when during
the Gulf war in 1990 the base was a main supply
facility. The Base finally officially shut down in 1991
to be replaced by the Omega development and housing,
most recently the Chapelford area.
Pictured below are some of the 600 iconic “Willys
Jeeps” which were stored at Burtonwood in the later
years. One jeep built in 1947,when it was being serviced
in 1990 had ONLY 17 miles on the clock! It had never
been in service and the only time it moved was for
service or being moved around the warehouse. The Willys
jeep was and probably is still a very sort after vehicle
and when they were transported out of Burtonwood there
were many inquiries about them. To save space on the
transporters they ‘piggy backed’ so that more could be
moved at one time.
For more pictures CLICK HERE
Two years after a ban was lifted on women battling
in frontline roles: Just 19 and 5ft 4in, how Georgia fought
her way into the RAF boys’ club
Georgia Sandover, 19,
from Norfolk, is the first woman to join the RAF regiment
She revealed watching BBC
drama Our Girl, sparked her interest in the military
She completed a grueling
20-week selection course alongside 42 male recruits
Georgia's unit - 1
Squadron, is currently on standby to help tackle
sips her cup of tea and tries to explain how it feels being
the first — and only — woman in the RAF Regiment.
I joined up, I didn’t think I would be the first female [to
make it]. I thought someone else would be here before me.’
petite, shy redhead, who today wears black leggings, a
cotton T-shirt and just a hint of mascara, looks even
younger than her 19 years. Yet a few weeks ago, in January,
she passed a gruelling selection course to become the first
female member of the RAF’s frontline infantry regiment,
which defends British bases overseas from attack.
a role that could see her facing a daunting enemy much
sooner than she might have imagined; Georgia’s unit — 1
Squadron — is now on standby to help tacklecoronavirus,
guarding key sites such asDowning
Street, Parliament and the country’s nuclear power
Georgia Sandover, 19,
(pictured) from Norfolk, who is the first woman to
join the RAF regiment, completed a 20-week selection
sitting on sofas in a communal area at RAF Leeming, in North
Yorkshire, for yet another first — her first ever interview.
Like so much else, Leading Aircraftman Sandover takes it in
her stride ‘You’ve just got to go for it really,’ she says
of her training so far. ‘You always have that feeling in the
back of your mind, am I good enough? But if you dig in and
you’re determined to do it, you can do it.’;"That’s the
attitude that saw her sign up for a gruelling 20-week RAF
Regiment selection course alongside 42 male recruits, even
though only one other woman has ever tried it since a ban on
females in frontline roles was lifted two years ago.
the attitude that saw her succeed, time and again, while
more than half of the boys dropped out.
pass, the would-be recruits had to perform a series of
fitness tests including marching 4km carrying 40kg (over
6st) — then speeding up and doing 2km more in just 16
minutes. Georgia dragged a 110kg (17st) sandbag at speed and
carried 40kg the length of a rugby pitch and back, both
exercises designed to test her ability to get a wounded
colleague out of trouble.
there were the ‘live fire’ drills with an L85 automatic
rifle and bayonet practice to ‘channel aggression’.
18 recruits made it through. Georgia was one of them,
despite being just 5ft 4in; an astonishing achievement. She
says she did nothing differently to the other trainees but
admits: ‘Sometimes you’ve got to put in double the effort to
be able to do well.’
adds: ‘I’d worked so hard to get to the training, I always
thought: “Why give it up now?” The role was something I
wanted to do.’
Georgia began thinking
about the military, after spending Sunday nights watching
BBC drama Our Girl with her parents. Pictured:
Georgia at training
many of her new comrades, Georgia isn’t from a military
her parents, Sharon, a retail worker — who burst into tears
when her daughter called to say she’d made it into the
regiment — and Tim, a mechanic, could not be prouder of how
far she has come.
was quite a girly girl as a child,’ Georgia recalls, playing
dolls with her little sister, Izzy, now 15, and learning how
I was younger I was always testing make-up to see what
worked for me, wearing it at high school. Now I only wear it
for special occasions!’
started thinking about the military while spending Sunday
nights in with her parents watching BBC drama Our Girl. Back
on screens as of last week, it followed 18-year-old Molly
from her home in East London to working in the most
dangerous places on earth as an army medic.
animated, Georgia explains: ‘She (Molly) was in a council
estate with her mum and dad, struggling for money and work.
Then she sees an army recruitment poster and realises she
overcame a load of stuff. I feel like I can do the same.’
may not have had the same tough upbringing as her
binge-drinking heroine who left school with no
qualifications — as she grew up in the countryside on the
outskirts of the quiet market town of King’s Lynn and then
in her parents’ current three-bedroom home in Downham
Market, Norfolk. But she has certainly overcome great odds
to be where she is.
Georgia also spent time
watching SAS Who Dares Wins, in which Special Forces
soldiers put 30 people through gruelling challenges.
Pictured: Georgia in uniform as part of the RAF
sporty, at school she craved adventure. ‘Any adventurous
training or activity holidays I would always want to go on,’
she says, mentioning caving and canoeing for starters, while
she trained most nights of the week after school with a
Girl wasn’t her only inspiration; she spent hours glued to
any programme she could find about the military, including
SAS Who Dares Wins, in which Special Forces soldiers put 30
people through gruelling challenges.
wanted an active job. I didn’t want to be stuck inside,’ she
16, her decision was made, and she signed up for a
‘uniformed public services’ course at the College of West
Anglia, near her home. The only question now was which force
she would join.
of her teachers — Rob Cooke, a former Gunner — inspired her
to join the RAF Regiment in 2018, when she was fresh out of
didn’t know it at the time, but the stars were moving into
alignment for Georgia’s military career.
a ban on women serving on the front line was lifted in 2016
by then Prime Minister David Cameron.
critics labelled the move a ‘bad error of judgment’. Colonel
Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in
Afghanistan, said it would lead to a ‘reduction in
standards’. Others said women would simply never pass the
September 2017, the RAF became the first service to open all
combat roles to women, followed swiftly by the Army and
Carroll, 30, an RAF policewoman, is also facing being
called up to help fight coronavirus
years later, hardly any women have moved into these roles.
Some have attempted selection courses and failed. Others are
thought to be too intimidated to try.
December, it emerged that only one female recruit had even
signed up to the Royal Marines’ commando course, despite
1,000 women originally showing an interest.
exception to this rule is Captain Rosie Wild, 28, of the
Royal Artillery, who in February became the first woman to
pass the Parachute Regiment selection course, the toughest
one outside the Special Forces.
for the RAF Regiment, based at RAF Honington in Suffolk, one
woman other than Georgia has attempted the course — in 2018
— but failed on endurance marches and other fitness tests.
of which is to say that Georgia is an incredibly capable,
resilient and strong young woman.
also has a keen sense of fun. She takes me to a hangar full
of armoured vehicles to show me what she might end up doing
in the regiment.
changed into combat fatigues, military-issue boots and a
dark-blue beret, she looks at home as she points out a
Foxhound patrol vehicle that can protect against roadside
bombs and comes with a 7.62mm machine gun.
Cpl Carroll says: ‘If
women pass all the tests, gender shouldn’t come into it.
It definitely isn’t a man’s world, there is a place for
what I’d like to drive,’ she says, beaming. Then she adds:
‘A lot of the lads I trained with want to be snipers, but
that’s not for me.’
yes, the ‘lads’. How does any young woman cope with being
surrounded by teenage boys at their most masculine?
insists that rather than being a hindrance, they quickly
became her chief motivators on the training course.
lads, with their banter, always tried to cheer you up. They
were motivating, trying to make you laugh.
the start, they had to get used to me — but they wouldn’t
leave me out of anything. They would always say, “We are
going out to get food, do you want to come?” They would
always include me.’ She mentions, by the by, that she ate
the same as her male comrades during training.
just burn it off straight away. We were all in same boat,
and I made some close friends.
haven’t got bods (slang for lads) that aren’t really into
it. You know at that point people really want to pass out.’
There is, however, one male passion she finds hard to
never played computer games, that’s the thing. The lads go
on about these games — and I still don’t play them,’ she
were certain practical considerations during training; for
example, she shared an accommodation block with the men, but
was given her own room with a lock, away from the lads’
bunks, just in case she wanted to ‘keep them out’.
The RAF police don’t take
on frontline infantry roles, and 40 per cent of their
number are female.
seems to have worried more about feeling isolated than
needing space however, pointing out: ‘It also meant I could
go see the lads, and be with them and not be on my own.’
the field, the gender balance will shift slightly once
again, as often there will be female medics around.
and shower blocks are often shared, she says, and the sign
on the door is simply switched around depending on whether a
male or female is using it.
comrade, Corporal Louise Carroll, 30, an RAF policewoman,
whom I meet with Georgia, is also facing being called up to
help fight coronavirus. The RAF police don’t take on
frontline infantry roles, and 40 per cent of their number
says: ‘If women pass all the tests, gender shouldn’t come
into it. It definitely isn’t a man’s world, there is a place
bring something different to the table. It may not
necessarily be brute strength, but we do have a proven place
in the RAF.’
about the ultimate test, I ask Georgia: would her male
comrades trust her to get them out of danger on a
deployment? ‘I believe so yeah,’ she says confidently. And
course, lads or no lads, she hopes more women will follow in
friends from school always ask what it’s like. They say they
couldn’t do it,’ Georgia reveals. Luckily, she admits, she
has a boyfriend who’s also in the RAF.
clarifies that he didn’t do the selection course with her,
which surely would have been an endurance test in itself for
any young couple — but says doing similar jobs means they
‘understand each other’.
believes practising different scenarios has prepared her
for a real threat
understand if he has to go away for a little while, and it’s
not so hard. And he understands it from my perspective as
the moment, she says, her life is ‘training and exercises,
mainly’, although coronavirus is clearly on everyone’s mind
with canisters of hand sanitiser and warning signs
everywhere on the base.
she can, she wants to do a driving course — and get herself
behind the wheel of the Foxhound vehicle she showed me
are soldiers because we can end up on the front line,’ she
says. ‘You would go on patrols around the base and
surrounding areas to stop people attacking.’ She adds that
she would be armed with her L85 rifle, which can fire 650
rounds a minute, at all times.
she ready to confront a real threat? Looking briefly at her
superior, she doesn’t hesitate: ‘You practise it quite a
lot, and you go on exercises to practise different
scenarios. If it was real, we would all be confident enough
to face what lies ahead.’
clear Georgia takes her new role very seriously— and
believes she is up to its challenges. But she privately
admits that, when she’s feeling down, she still turns to her
childhood inspiration, Our Girl, for comfort.
still watch it. It is actually one of my favourite
programmes — I just go from the beginning.
motivates me,’ she says with a smile. ‘I feel I’m a part of
coming weeks the Western Telegraph will
regularly feature photographs from the Pembroke
Dock Heritage Centre’s archive, reflecting the
community’s unique and long-lasting connections
with all three armed services and its remarkable
first of the series the RAF’s arrival is
years ago today (April 1) the Royal Air Force
officially took over parts of the former
Pembroke Royal Dockyard – neglected and
forgotten since the Dockyard closure in 1926. It
was a ray of hope for a beleaguered community.
This opened a chapter which lasted nearly 30
years and the RAF made many changes inside the
imposing dockyard walls for its flying boat
photograph, taken in the very early 1930s, shows
the dockyard as inherited by the RAF – before so
many of the original structures were cleared and
replaced by two huge hangars and other
early days the RAF presence was small and the
first CO was a Flight Lieutenant engineering
officer, Bill Liniker.
pictured with the first airmen, Air Ministry
‘works and bricks’ officials and the RAF Police
of the police are known and include surnames
still familiar in Pembroke Dock today – Jim
Dooley, Dick Johns, Jack Baskerville, Jack
Perkins, Bert Greenaway and Charlie Morris. Bill
Liniker became a Group Captain during the war.
RAF has successfully completed the strategically
important NATO Capability Evaluation (CAPEVAL) at RAF
Leeming. Due to how heavily the RAF has been committed
to global operations (predominantly in Iraq, Afghanistan
and Syria), this is the first evaluation of this type
since 2004. As such, the personnel who have deployed on
CAPEVAL have been required to re-familiarise themselves
with NATO doctrine and how to deploy in a fully NATO
compliant manner. NATO operations require the deployed
force to deploy under three distinct pillars: Air
Operations, Logistics (including air engineers) and
Force Protection (FP) with an Headquarters (135
Expeditionary Air Wing) that seamlessly commands
and controls the deployed force. The Air Operations
Pillar was provided by number One (Fighter) Squadron and
II (Army Cooperation) Squadron of the Typhoon Force from
RAF Lossiemouth who deployed with 10 Typhoon jets.
The FP Force elements that deployed on the evaluation
were commanded by number 7 FP Wing from RAF Coningsby
who had Number 1 Squadron RAF Regiment, Number 1
(Tactical) Police Squadron from RAF Honington, a role
one deployed medical facility, two fully operationally
capable Fire crews (providing CAT 5 Response) and a
deployable combat administrative Team. Having all of
these capabilities under a single FP Wing Headquarters
is novel for the FP Force. The wider FP Force and FP
Training Flights from across the RAF also supported the
evaluation by providing instructors and sector
commanders which were critical to the success of the
deployed force was evaluated by 120 NATO evaluators who
came from across the 29 NATO member states. The
scenario tested the force against a near peer fictional
enemy with over 350 realistic scenarios over a three day
period. This was highly challenging for the deployed
force who were required to operate in a demanding,
realistic and complex environment. The outstanding
achievements of the men and women deployed as part of
135 EAW should not be underestimated – NATO CAPEVAL 2020
has been a strategically important success for the RAF.
Commander Paul Hamilton, OC 7 Force Protection (FP) Wing
and the FP Commander for CAPEVAL stated:
CAPEVAL journey has required 18 months of hard work
from across the FP Force, the RAF Medical and Fire
Services to ensure we achieved such a successful
outcome during this challenging evaluation. The level
of integration required from across RAF
specialisms should not be underestimated and I am
immensely proud of how all the personnel under my
command and the specialist wider FP instructors, who
trained the deployed force to such a high standard,
made this challenging evaluation so successful. I was
humbled when the senior NATO evaluators stated that it
was the best performance they have seen for some
years. I would like to personally thank all those
involved for their outstanding support.
Alex Bew from Number 1 (Tactical) Police Wing stated
myself, CAPEVAL provided a unique opportunity to work
alongside many other trades, offering me the
opportunity to develop an insight into what each
specialisation does to contribute towards Air
Operations in a war fighting environment. In the space
of four weeks it was clear that from what I saw that
the confidence and interoperability within 135 EAW
grew tenfold, culminating in a successful NATO
The RAFFP Force
HQ recently deployed a team to conduct a Train the Trainer
package to Pakistan Air Force officers at Nur Khan Airbase.
The training will provide the skills required to self-sustain
their own delivery of an Air FP Command & Control training
Join me is wishing
RAF Police Cpl Isabelle ‘Jazz’ Dixon RAFP from RAF
Akrotiri ‘GOOD LUCK’ at the semi finals of the Lord
Wakefield Boxing on Sun 15 Mar. Jazz is boxing in the 54-57kg
Attending the UK
Armed Forces Sports Award ceremony today RAF Police FS Claire
Bullen proudly accepted the Sports Team Award for UK Armed
Claire Said: ‘As a player and the Team Manager of the UKAF
Netball Squad I couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved
as a squad. I feel incredibly grateful to be a part of such an
incredible group of women and to also call those women my
friends is an honour. Sport is such a fantastic outlet which
offers amazing opportunities and I would recommend anyone to
give a sport a go. You never know where it might take you.
The dark secret this man was hiding for years
and how he's now helping men open up about depression
Nick has come a long way on
his mental health journey after nearly taking his own life
officer who has battled depression for nearly six years
has set up a group to help men talk about mental health
Nick Marshall knows how
desperate you can feel when battling the all-consuming
For years the 35-year-old
tried to mask the fact that he was struggling.
In June 2016 he first
thought about taking his own life. It was in June 2018
that Nick, from Hunts Grove in Hardwicke, really began
seriously to plan his own death.
It all came to a head
when his wife was pregnant, he was working away with his
job in the RAF in Lincolnshire and he had just been
diagnosed with diabetes.
He came to realise that
he had been ‘papering up the cracks’ and doing the bare
minimum to get help in a bid to just keep people happy.
Nick has now come to
terms with knowing that he will have depression for the
rest of his life.
However now he has tools
to help him get through some of the bad days and he
wants to be able to provide a group for other men to
come and talk to each other about what is troubling
Marshalling Men's Minds
meet at Hardwicke village hall at 7.30pm every
(Image: Mikal Ludlow
Nick said: “I was in the
RAF for 11 years as a police officer. The work-life
balance did not help with my mental health and I
“I did not accept that I
had depression and just masked it. I got a little bit of
treatment from a military counsellor but I left the RAF
“I had a really low mood,
lack of motivation and no energy.
“I was not engaging with
a support network and I deteriorated yet again.
“I nearly took my own
life and that is when I left the forces.”
Nick says that people
claim their own lives when they feel that there is no
However, there was one
thing that kept him from doing the unthinkable.
Nick said: “My son was
only a few months old when I reached that point. He was
the one thing that kept me from doing it.
“I did not want anyone
else bringing him up and that is what stopped me.”
In the summer of 2018 it
became too much for Nick and by October that year he had
left the RAF.
He said: “Depression
means for me that I can be very much up and down. I have
been able to identify my triggers.
“With stress and
depression everything is difficult.
“I identify when starting
to feel down. I try to do something before it reaches
“I know that I start
feeling bad but it is about getting ten minutes to be
able to feel good about yourself and building that up.
“It is about trying to
have good days as well as bad.
“The group is about
helping find the right tools for the right people.
(Image: Mikal Ludlow
“For some it is fitness.
That releases endorphins for some and others might find
that meditation is good for them.
“As part of the group
sessions we identify safe place our mind. It is a visual
representation of somewhere that you are able go in your
mind to feel totally safe and in control.
“Others in the group
physically remove themselves from a situation and walk
“Others write things down
and others record videos of how they are feeling.
“The biggest advocate of
the group is to share and talk and share the wealth of
information about how we are feeling and what we do to
“The group is safe and an
environment for any man to off load issues and stresses
in a controlled place.”
Men that attend are quite
Ages range from 19 years
old to 70 years old. All different backgrounds and
classes are welcomed and Nick says that all arrive to
the hall on an even footing.
Nick would like to
provide a place to help men get back on track with
Amy Cokayne interview: From her brief football
career with Aston Villa to learning rugby on All Black soil
hooker will win her 50th cap this weekend against Wales
Amy Cokayne is tackled
by Claire Molloy and Lauren Delany of Ireland during the
2019 Six NationsCREDIT: England Rugby
Amy Cokayne has no regrets about the brevity of her football career,
which consisted of a season-long spell in goal for the mighty Aston
Villa under-10s. The England hooker insists she was never destined
for a career between the sticks and when her family emigrated to the
rugby-mad nation of New Zealand, football was unsurprisingly
dropped. “I was only nine when we moved out there and I didn’t
really stick with football much after that,” said Cokayne. “It
probably wasn’t a bad thing considering I’m only five foot five. I
can’t imagine I’d have been very good in goal.”
Her father, Ian, even made sure his daughter’s initials spelt out
Aston Villa Football Club. “When my dad wanted to name me, he
couldn’t think of a name beginning with ‘F’ that he actually liked,”
the Harlequins player explained. “It was just going to be Amy
Victoria F. Cokayne, but in the end he found one - Fiona.”
Cokayne will run out for her 50th Test cap whenEngland
take on Wales at Twickenham Stoop this weekend, despite being
only 23. It is an impressive milestone for someone who up until last
year was balancing international rugby with a military career in the
RAF Police, thus forfeiting one of the groundbreaking contracts
offered by the Rugby Football Union. Having a plan B is a
well-trodden path in women’s rugby, with former England flanker
Maggie Alphonsi and Danielle Waterman carving successful careers in
the media spotlight since hanging up their international boots.
“I think I’ll stick to the RAF and let those lot carry on with
that,” joked Cokayne. “I’m sure there’s a few girls within the team
who would love to go into that side of things. You’ve Mo [Natasha
Hunt] and Scaz [Emily Scarratt] who are already dipping their toe in
the media stuff while being England players. I can’t imagine myself
doing anything like that.”
Talk of keeping a low profile is reflective of her time at Feilding
High School in New Zealand's Manawatu District, where she flew under
the English radar while honing her rugby skills in an environment
where her peers lived and breathed rugby. “My school coach got us
all a rugby ball and we had to carry it around with us at school,”
said Cokayne. “If there was any opportunity to practice handling
skills, you would. Rugby is just so integrated into their way of
life. Not that it isn’t over here, but it’s just on a whole other
level over there.”
with England head coach Simon MiddletonCREDIT: Getty
It was over a spontaneous Starbucks
coffee in 2013 where Cokayne, who had previously flirted with the
possibility of a Black Ferns career, met Gary Street, who would
steer England to World Cup glory the following year. Having been
impressed after watching a highlights reel of her, he persuaded
the teenager to make the trip back across the world. A year later,
a then 17-year-old Cokayne was invited to one of England’s World
Cup training camps.
“It was quite cool to watch the World Cup and see them win it,”
said Cokayne. “It was almost a realisation to how close I was to
making it to that level as well. It was quite cool to be involved
in a tiny part of their journey.”
She still counts many of the Black Ferns among her friends and it
is why next year’s World Cup in New Zealand will be tinged with
extra poignancy. “The World Cup is the pinnacle of any player’s
career,” said Cokayne. “I’ll definitely be working hard to put my
hand up for selection to go out there.”
It’s the ‘White Hat’ parade which means one
thing.... Graduation week!
16 motivated, well trained and enthusiastic Acting Corporals
raring to join their units next week - the end is in sight.....
International Women’s Day is 8th March and this week we are
introducing you to the amazing women who contribute every day to
the RAF, at RAF_Wittering and Defence. This is RAF Police Cpl
Ex INDRADHANUSH is part of an
ongoing bi-lateral UK/Indian Air Force exercise programme
which commenced in 2013 with previous iterations involving
fast jet, air transport and force
protection personnel both in India and the UK.
Wing Commander Lee Wales, Officer Commanding No. 8 RAF
Force Protection Wing said:
"The FP Force are looking forward to
training alongside the Garud Regiment and the IAF Police and
Security; the training will strengthen relationships between
both forces whilst exchanging Tactics, Techniques and
Procedures and demonstrate FP Armoured Vehicle capability."
The RAFP are deploying on
Exercise INDRADHANUSH to demonstrate the crucial role they
play in securing and enabling the delivery of Air Power
through cross-domain Protective Security and Counter
the Complex Air Ground Environment (CAGE) - the environment in
and around an operational airfield and how a specialistForce
Service's capabilities and personnel are PROTECTED whilst
enabling air operations.
SQUADRON RAF POLICE WIN THE 2019 DE PUTRON TROPHY
Congratulations to Number 5
RAF Police Squadron who are the winners of the 2019 De
The De Putron Trophy is
awarded annually to the regular or reserve RAF Police
formation that has shown the greatest achievement,
leadership, exceptional standards and endeavours, and is
awarded following the assessment of a submission by the RAF
Provost Marshal Group Captain
David Wilkinson said:
“The video demonstrates the
attributes of the Sqn in an innovative production designed
to engage and inform our community. My congratulations to
all involved with this production and to the teams
involved with the Sqn submissions, the standard of which
has truly surpassed expectation.”
The De Putron trophy was
commissioned in 1948 by the former Provost Marshal, Air
Commodore De Putron CB, CBE, RAF.
RAFP Cpl Natalie Fields came 1st in parallel
giant slalom, 1st in Snowboarder Cross and overall 1st place
female Snowboarder of the Championships at the Ski and Snowboard
Championship 2020 in Saalbach-Hinterglemm.
Bereaved mum to hold charity ball
in memory of military husband
Mandy Small, who is organising a charity ball, pictured with her
son Jamie Picture: SSAFA
A Suffolk mum is hosting a charity ball, after her military
husband, Chris, took his own life in 2016.
Mandy Small, who works at Ipswich Hospital as a rehabilitation
assistant, will host the event on Saturday, March 14, at Hungarian
Hall in Woodbridge. The event will raise money for SSAFA, the
Armed Forces charity, after they supported her and her son.
Chris, who served in the Royal
Logistics Corps, had served 21 years as a chef in the Royal
Logistics Corp, including gruelling tours of Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo,
Northern Ireland and two of Afghanistan. But after he took
voluntary redundancy in 2014, he found it difficult to adjust to
Mandy who served 12 years in the
RAF Police, and her son, Jamie, were supported by their SSAFA
caseworker, who provided vital practical assistance and emotional
support, as well as bereavement counselling for Jamie.
The mum said: "SSAFA quite
literally saved my life. The charity ball is a great way for me to
say thank you for what they did for both me and my son."
The charity ball will feature
entertainment including a live band, DJ and magician, as well as a
raffle and silent auction.
Tickets are £65 per head, with
tables for 10 available at £650. Ticket details are available here.
E-fit of man released
after reports of serious sex assault at RAF base boxing event The alleged offence occurred at
RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire following a boxing event
E-FIT released by The RAF Police
Special Investigations Branch (SIB) (Image: Evening Gazette)
An E-fit has been released of a
man police would like to speak to following a serious sexual
assault at a RAF base. The RAF Police Special
Investigations Branch (SIB) are currently investigating a sexual
offence which occurred at RAF Leeming.
It took place at the RAF station
in North Yorkshire following a boxing event on Friday, September
Officers said that the man in the
E-FIT may be able to assist them with their inquiries and have
encouraged him to get in touch. He was believed to be wearing a
denim shirt, dark skinny jeans and converse trainers.
RAF Police SIB have asked anyone
who saw anything unusual or suspicious in the early hours of the
27 September 2019 or has any information about the incident to
contact them on 01400 266402 or 01400 266408.
They can also contact the RAF
Police Confidential Crime line on 0800 432 0771.
Bizarre moment herd of cows captured by military police after going
missing near RAF base
This is the bizarre moment a herd of runaway cows were rounded up by
The cows were captured by military police after they went AWOL near
an RAF base.
Around 20 of the animals were spotted blocking roads.
The creatures were seen stomping over a play park outside RAF
The RAF base is situated near Birmingham, in nearby Shropshire.
The incident unfolded on Tuesday morning (January 7).
A spokesperson tweeted: “Residents near RAF Shawbury woke up to an
unusual alarm this morning – a herd of cows! Having been alerted,
the RAF Police and MPGS rounded up the suspects with @WMerciaPolice
stopping traffic to assist the farmer in safely getting them back to
“Happy Moo Year!”
Congratulations to all
the RAFP personnel who have been named in the New Years Honours
List CAS Commendation Sqn Ldr A P Kerslake, Flt
Lt G Bryant and Cpl K L Ractliffe AOC 1 Gp Commendation FS G D B Simpson , Cpl S
C Cluney and Cpl A J Poynton AOC 2 Gp Commendation FS A P Myers, Sgt P
Taylor, Sgt S J Hill, Cpl A P Purnell and Cpl C A Wilkinson Team Commendation RAF College Cranwell
Police and Security Flight
A Forces mural of epaulettes
and rank slides to honour PC Andrew Harper, who was killed
in the line of duty.
RAF Force Protection
complete Short Term Training Team in Nigeria
RAF Force Protection deployed a
short term training team in Nigeria for a few weeks. RAF Force
Protection consists of the Royal Air Force Police and the Royal
Air Force Regiment who provided expert training to the Nigerian
Air Force, teaching them various specialist skills and how to deal
with various situations.
Week One In the first week No. 5
Force Protection Wing completed week one of the Air Force
Protection in the Complex Air Ground Environment (CAGE) package to
the Nigerian Air Force Regiment and Police.
Teaching the students the
vulnerability and criticality of Air Power; the complexity of the
environment; the external and internal threats to an airbase; and
how to mitigate those threats through a range of Active Defence,
and Tactical Policing and Security measures. Week one has focused
on the principles of those activities and developing the range of
skills that can be employed, from conflict management and stop and
search for the Police, and counter threats for the Regiment.
Week Two Week two enabled the
Nigerian Air Force Police with learning about the protection of
their critical assets and the role of Air Transport Security, both
aspects being key to enabling successful and effective Air
For the Nigerian Air Force
Regiment this has started with learning about the Ground Defence
Area, and how they can dominate the area around their Air Bases to
protect their assets and deny their adversaries the freedom of
movement to conduct attacks
No. 51 Squadron RAF Regiment
Gunners, currently deployed in Nigeria delivering training to the
Nigerian Air Force Regiment, ran a ½ Marathon to raise money for
the RAF Benevolent Fund and Child Bereavement. Finishing on the
highest peak on Nigerian Air Force Base Kaduna, known to the team
as Lions Rock, it was a fitting end to good few weeks of training.
Complex Air Ground Environment
The Nigerian Air Force Regiment
have started understanding the Complex Air Ground Environment
(CAGE), the threats they may face and how to operate within this
critical environment to enable the delivery of airpower. All
training is being delivered by the Nigerian Regiment Training
Centre Instructors, with members of No. 51 Squadron RAF Regiment
providing oversight and mentorship
Graduation and Completion
No 4 RAF Police and Security
Squadron completed the foundation package with the Nigerian Air
Force Police, concentrating on General Police duties and Personal
Safety Training No. 5 RAF Force Protection Wing also completed the
Final Training Exercise with the Nigerian Air Force Regiment and
Police. Conducted at Nigerian Air Force Kaduna, the exercise
tested the Nigerian Regiment and Police across the fundamental
areas of Airfield Defence and Security; preparing the students for
the challenges they will face on current operations. The exercise
draws to a close of training, graduating another 700 personnel,
and arming them with the skills required to protect their
airfields and critical infrastructure to enable the delivery of
The graduation ceremony took
place, delivering Force Protection in the Complex Air Ground
Environment training to the Nigerian Air Force Regiment and
Police. The reviewing officer for the graduation was the Nigerian
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal S Abubakar. The graduation was
also attended by Head of the British Defence Staff (West Africa),
Air Commodore P Warwick CBE.
Last week the RAFP Special Investigations Branch attended a D-Day
veterans party at the Aylesbury Branch of the RBL. Everyone got into
the Christmas spirit when guests were presented with Christmas boxes
full of festive treats
Slaidburn twin brothers celebrate 90 years of fun and
laughter as they mark milestone birthday
It's a huge milestone to celebrate your 90th birthday, but to have
your twin brother by your side, is an incredible achievement.
Generations of family will gather this weekend as lifetime Ribble
Valley brothers Peter and Brian Walker turn 90 on Friday.
Peter and Brian Walker when babies
Born on November 29th, 1929, in the village of Slaidburn, Peter
was born first, but his shocked parents Murray and Margaret, plus
older siblings Gerald and Freda had no idea another baby was set
A family spokesman said: "Our great-grandmother (Peter's mum) had
no idea she was expecting twins. Once the doctor delivered Peter,
he dropped the bombshell that he thought another baby was yet to
come! Brian arrived an hour later."
The brothers attended Slaidburn School, leaving at the age of 14.
Brian went to work on a farm outside Slaidburn, while Peter worked
at the Co-Op shop in the village as a delivery boy. They both
completed their National Service together in the RAF Police after
training for six months. They were then involved in working to
build the main water pipe that passed through Slaidburn.
Brian went onto work at various other places as a garage
manager/stores person, including Dutton Transport and Keith
Brian married Marie Cliff on December 9th, 1950, in Slaidburn.
They moved to Clitheroe for a while and then moved back to
Slaidburn, where they still live today. They have five children,
13 grandchildren, 20 great grand-children and three great
great-grandchildren. Brian and Marie also fostered 39 children
over a period of time.
Peter married Hazel Turner on March 31st, 1956, in Clitheroe. They
have lived in Clitheroe all their lives. Hazel has since passed
way. After working on the water pipe in Slaidburn, Peter had his
own building construction business. The couple have two children,
two great-grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The two brothers have a history of sharing important moments
throughout their nine decades. They love to play snooker and spend
lots of time playing for fun or competitions.
The families are grateful for the brothers' long lives and there
will be double celebrations over the weekend as they mark their
The young men Peter and Brian Walker
training Nigerian Air Force Police in the protection of their
critical assets and the role of Air Transport Security, both
aspects being key to enabling successful and effective Air
No. 5 Force
Protection Wing have completed week 1 of the 3-week Air Force
Protection in the Complex Air Ground Environment (CAGE) package to
the Nigerian Air Force Regiment and Police
Police teaching Tactical Policing and Security measures. Week
1 has focused on the principles of those activities and developing
the range of skills that can be employed, from conflict management
and stop and search
RAF veteran's powerful film about how he went from hero to living in
A war hero left with PTSD after serving in Afghanistan has made a
moving and powerful film about his illness.
Luke Dallison, a 12-year RAF veteran, aims to highlight mental
illness in the military and tell how the MoD turned its back on him.
The film reveals how Luke went from being a fit RAF Police corporal
to a traumatised war veteran within four years.
The hour-long documentary, Aftershock: A Love Story, follows Luke,
his wife Nikita and four kids over two years.
It shows the family’s struggles in dealing with Luke’s PTSD as well
as injuries caused by a back condition.
A 15-minute trailer for the film, by director Julia Stovell, got
180,000 views when it was posted on Facebook .
Harrowing last letter of Iraq war hero before he took his life in
In the film Luke criticises the military for a lack of help, saying:
“They teach you to give everything – when you need something it’s
Luke’s hell began when he had to check phones taken off Afghan
civilians entering huge UK base Camp Bastion. To his horror, many
mobiles had been used to film child sexual abuse.
Luke, now 35, left the RAF in 2017 but still sees the images in his
mind. He said: “The videos were sickening.
“They made me very angry and I wanted to take it out on the
Luke, from Telford, Shrops, fell into a spiral of mental and
physical pain which began with him punching a wall and led to a
23/11/19 Congratulations to Cpl
Poynton who received The Worshipful Company of Security
Professionals Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his
drive & determination; leadership and command performance
& his direct contribution to the security of
This week the Royal
Legion launched it's #TributeInk
campaign. Provost Officer Flight Lieutenant Tash Kenny was
honoured to be part of this amazing tribute and shares why she
chose her tattoos. ‘My tattoo of a Spitfire symbolises the
reasons why I joined the RAF, learning about the importance of
air power during WWII sparked my passion for the military. I
also had the Latin phrase, “per ardva ad astra” inked on my arm, which
translates as “through adversity to the stars”. She added:
It’s the Royal Air Force’s official motto and relates to me on
so many personal levels. Like other forms of art, tattoos have
the ability to give you hope even when things aren’t turning
out like you planned – and having a Spitfire and Chinook
incorporated into a quarter sleeve represents the past and
present for me. They’re iconic images that make me feel proud
to serve my country.’
See their Tribute Ink exhibition at the
NationalMemorialArboretum and online to discover the
compelling stories of comradeship, bravery, sacrifice and
Remembrance behind tattoos in our Armed Forces today.
Couple reached a junction in life - and decided to turn an
old railway signal box in Devon into a luxury holiday let (which
can shunt their earnings up by £1,000 a week)
Richard and Nikki Curzons
bought Loddiswell Station in Devon and converted it
The two-bedroom Signal Box
can earn the couple up to £1,000 a week
Letting The Signal Box is now
a full-time job after 'disruptive' life of the RAF
couple who gave up their careers in the RAF to buy a former
railway station are now making a lucrative living after turning
its old signal box into a holiday let.
and Nikki Curzon moved into the converted station
at Loddiswell, Devon, five years ago with their two
children and set about transforming the small railway building
into a rental cottage.
now let the quirky two-bedroom cottage out for up to £1,000 a
Nikki Curzon bought the old Loddiswell railway station in
Devon in 2014 for £700,000 and refurbished it to a stunning
self-catering accommodation has an occupancy rate of 90 per
cent, which allows the couple to run it as their full time job.
The Curzons live in the main four-bedroom house, which used to be
the ticket office, waiting room and toilets at the old countryside
station was on the so-called Primrose Line, a picturesque route
from South Brent to Kingsbridge that spurred off the main Exeter
to Plymouth line.
many rural railways, it was closed in 1963 as part of the
infamous 'Beeching cuts' - a reduction in route network and
restructuring of the railways in Great Britain, as proposed by
Dr Richard Beeching, the former Chairman of British
couple, who both used to be in the RAF, said they spent
£20,000 on refurbishing the property and now rent out The
Signal House (pictured) while they live in the main building
that used to be the old ticket office and waiting rooms
quirky two-bedroom property can fetch up to £1,000 a week and
is popular because visitors are now seeking more
'experience-based lettings', according to Cottages.com
platform and track bed has long since been grassed over and now
forms part of the 4.5 acres of gardens to the property.
Curzons bought the converted house for £700,000 in 2014 and now
rent the Signal House out through cottages.com.
regional sales director at cottages.com, said: 'These days,
holidaymakers are more interested in booking experiences.
have found the annual income is around 45 per cent higher for
owners who let such interesting properties.'
Curzon, 45, served in the RAF police while his wife was an
The self-catering accommodation has an
occupancy rate of 90 per cent, which allows the couple to
run it as their full time job
The Curzons decided to leave the RAF as it was
quite disruptive for their young family and then saw
that Loddiswell Station was for sale online
said they became fed up with having to disrupt their family
life by moving around with the service.
said: 'My wife and I reached the stage a few years ago where
we didn't think service life and being away on tour was right
for our young family. There was a lot of disruption with
a while we discussed running a business from home and then saw
Loddiswell Station for sale online.
have no real connection to Devon but we were both taken with
the time there was no planning permission in place for the
Signal Box to be used as a self-catering business.
not sure what we would have done if it wasn't granted but
luckily it was.'
The station was on the Primrose Line, a pretty
route from South Brent to Kingsbridge that spurred off the
main Exeter to Plymouth line. Like many rural railways, it
was closed in 1963 as part of the infamous 'Beeching cuts'
cost the Curzons about £20,000 to refurbish and the Signal Box
now has two bedrooms, a shower room on the ground floor and an
open-plan living area and kitchen upstairs.
Curzon said: 'Being self-employed has some great perks. The
location is wonderful, the walks on our doorstep and woodland
and river are fantastic for the kids and our guests alike.'
Signal Box costs from £565 a week to rent and can be booked
A war veteran who battled severe
post-traumatic stress for years is hailing a £499 device being
used by the NHS as a miracle cure.
Luke Dallison’s life has been transformed by
a mobile phone-sized device.
The Alpha Stim attaches to his earlobe and
passes a small electrical current through his brain.
Before using it, dad-of-four Luke, 33, was a
broken man. Scarred by service in Afghanistan, he would duck for
cover if a balloon burst.
The device is for patients with anxiety
disorders in a handful of NHS hospitals.
But it may be rolled out further if it is
officially approved by National Institute for Health and Care
Excellence – Nice.
The Sunday People’s Save Our Soldier
campaign is fighting to get heroes with PTSD the care they
Luke, pictured here with wife
Nikita at Buckingham Palace, says no drug nor treatment
helped his PTSD(Image: Luke Dallison)
Luke, who sought help from 13 psychiatrists
in three years, said: “I was suicidal. I couldn’t leave the
"No drugs or other treatments worked but my
entire life changed after trying this little device. I truly
believe it could save lives.”
His wife, Nikita, 28, said: “PTSD broke him
into pieces. I lost my husband and our children lost their
“Medication and conventional treatment made
him aggressive and suicidal.
“After the first time he used the Alpha Stim
he was so calm and exhausted.
“He slept properly for the first time since
he finished his tour in Afghanistan in 2013. I’d been dubious
but it was a miracle.”
he says the Alpha-Stim has transformed his life
In February 2017 he met former Army Major
Cormac Doyle, who set up The Bridge Charity for veterans with
mental health issues, and began using the device.
Two months later he was discharged from the
RAF Police after 13 years’ service.
Luke attributes his PTSD to the atrocities
he saw while based at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan in 2012. He
also injured his back from years of carrying heavy kit.
His PTSD was instantly diagnosed but he said
he received minimal support and was “passed around like a broken
Luke, here with wife Nikita and
his children, believes the device that is being rolled out
on the NHS could save more lives(Image: Luke Dallison)
Luke, of Telford, Shropshire, said: “I’d
stopped taking the meds. They’d turned me into a zombie.”
Nikita, mum to Elijah, six, Austin, three,
Leyland two, and five-week-old Cohan said: “If he ever heard a
balloon pop he’d crouch down and grab our kids to protect them.
"He couldn’t go into shopping malls, and he
had constant night terrors.”
Luke’s back injury confined him to a
wheelchair but since using the Alpha Stim he has found work as a
risk consultant on major infrastructure projects.
His still uses it up to four times a day for
30-minute stints without side effects.
Alpha Stims could be rented to NHS patients
for £70 – compared with £600 for a course of cognitive
A POO-dunnit has gripped an air base where a pooper has caused
£3,500 of damage.
The hunt is on for the culprit who turned a common room into a
right officers’ mess.
A stealth pooper has caused £3,500 of damage at RAF Brize Norton.
He fouled sofas, tables and the floor when he was caught short at
RAF Brize Norton, Oxon. Carpets will need replacing and some
furniture has had to be dumped.
One insider said: “It doesn’t get much lower than this and nobody
can understand who would do such a thing. It is the talk of the
The mess was discovered by military personnel and RAF Police are
They are hunting a male seen near the common room before the grim
He was wearing a T-shirt and light-coloured trousers.
The insider added: “It was pretty disgusting. Whoever did this
should be ashamed of themselves. It was a terrible job for the
cleaners to tackle.
“Everyone wants to know who the mystery poo merchant is. They
would have to have been very ill — or very drunk.”
In a letter seen by The Sun, the RAF Police appealed for “anyone
who may be able to assist with our inquiries”.
A spokeswoman for RAF Brize Norton said last night: “As this is a
live investigation we cannot comment any further on the matter.”
RAF take crime prevention course
08TH APRIL 2019
The Royal Air Force (RAF) have become the first part of the
British military to have personnel take accredited crime
Some 18 RAF Police from bases within the UK and abroad attended
the classroom phase of the Level 4 Certificate in Crime Prevention
for Practitioners at RAF Honington in March. The qualifications
were delivered by the Police Crime Prevention Academy, who worked
with the RAF Police Training Delivery to deliver the first
accredited crime prevention qualification taken by a military
Academy Head of Learning and Development Guy Collyer said, “It is
always a pleasure to support the work of our armed forces. We
sometimes forget that they have their own communities to look
after as well as the nation. Preventing crime is viewed as a
priority and we are happy to be able to provide these
qualifications to those who find them useful.”
The Level 4 Certificate is for those working in a specialist crime
prevention role. The course covers the context of crime; the
application of a problem solving process; correct and effective
use of security products; site security surveys and environmental
visual audits; working in partnerships and related legislation;
and running a crime prevention initiative. The Level 4 Certificate
provides a stepping stone to the Level 5 Diploma in Crime
Prevention – Designing Out Crime.
The certificate is among accredited, regulated and portable
qualifications in crime prevention and designing out crime which
began in September 2018. They’re for police and others that have a
statutory duty to work on crime, in local government, fire and
rescue, health and probation. The qualifications are also
available to private sector businesses, such as security managers,
architects and planners.
As well as scheduled national delivery, the qualifications can be
delivered locally depending on numbers. To find out more contact:
Britain commemorates WWII "Great Escape" heroes
Members of Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) on Sunday marked
75 years since the so-called "Great Escape" at two remembrance
ceremonies in Poland, where the legendary event took place.
Details of the moving ceremony were released in London on Monday
by the British Ministry of Defense (MoD).
The Great Escape saw 76 prisoners of war from the RAF and its
allies break out of Stalag Luft III on the night of March 24, 1944
through a tunnel they dug underground.
More than 600 prisoners had taken part in the tunnel-building
operation which lasted over 15 months and was led by RAF officer
Squadron Leader Roger Bushell.
Incarcerated in the heavily guarded camp, the prisoners were
determined to prove to their German captors that they could
At the ceremony on Sunday, one of the participants was Corporal
Paddy Flint, an RAF police officer and a relative of Bushell.
Flint, who held a photo of Bushell as he marched in the guard of
honor, said, "I am related to one of the escapers, Squadron Leader
Roger Bushell. It means a lot to me to be here today as it's the
first time I've ever seen his grave. Seeing the names of all the
escapers on the gravestones, especially Roger's, was very
emotional and really hit home."
Standing alongside Polish armed forces personnel, RAF personnel
formed the guard of honor first at Poznan Cemetery, where 48 of
the Great Escapers are buried, and later at the site of Stalag
Luft III, the German-run prisoner of war camp where the escape
took place during World War II.
An RAF C-130 Hercules from RAF Brize Norton performed a flypast
with four Polish Air Force F-16s over the ceremony at the Stalag
Luft III camp.
"All but three of the escapers were re-captured and 50 of them
were executed under (Adolf) Hitler's orders, which subsequently
launched the largest British military police investigation in
history. This was conducted by the RAF Police which identified
that 72 Nazis participated in the executions. Of these, 38 were
tried and sentenced while the fate of the rest varied," the MoD
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier,
lay a wreath alongside the grave of Air Commodore (Retd) Charles
Clarke, a prisoner of war at the camp when the Great Escape took
"Today we honor the courage and sacrifice of those who were
imprisoned here and lost their lives trying to escape. But today
is also a celebration of the intrepid adventurers who sought to
regain their freedom from here: their ingenuity, their daring and
their spirit. We continue to celebrate that spirit in today's
Royal Air Force," Hillier said.
RAF personnel marked 75 years since the Great
Escape today at two remembrance ceremonies in Poland, where
RAF & allied personnel escaped from a prisoner of warcamp during the Second World War.
armed forces personnel, RAF personnel formed the Guard of
Honour first at Poznan Cemetery, where 48 of the Great
Escapers are buried, and later at Stalag Luft III, the
German-run camp where the escape took place.
mark the start of the remembrance service at Stalag Luft
III, an RAF C130 Hercules performed a flypast with four
Polish Air Force F-16s.
Military police quiz instructors and recruits over a
spate of rape and sexual assault claims at their own training
A spate of alleged sex
crimes is being investigated at a military training
They 'took place at the
Defence School of Policing and Guarding in Portsmouth'
Defence chiefs launched a
separate internal inquiry into the facility's culture
spate of alleged sex crimes, including two rapes and an
assault, is being investigated by military police – at their
own training school.
are questioning instructors and recruits at the Defence School
of Policing and Guarding (DSP G) near Portsmouth, where the
incidents are said to have taken place.
have also been drafted in and defence chiefs have launched a
separate internal inquiry into the ‘culture’ at the DSP G
The DSP G provides an introduction to police
training for up to 100 Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force
recruits each year. Pictured above is Southwick House in
Portsmouth [File photo]
number of recruits have been arrested and questioned over two
separate allegations of rape and one of sexual assault.
source said: ‘There is a lot of shock at the base. You get an
occasional isolated allegation of this nature at a training
establishment, but this is much more serious.’
Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, talks to nominees for The
Sun Military Awards, known as the Millies, at a reception in No
Judges' Special Recognition Award
Wing Commander Kevin Gatland organised many of the year-long RAF
festivities to mark the 100 year anniversary.
THESE breath-taking celebrations to mark 100 years since the
creation of the RAF captured the nation’s hearts and inspired a
new generation to take to the skies. As part of the year-long
festivities, more than 75,000 people crowded into The Mall in
London to enjoy a momentous day including a parade and stunning
fly-by of 103 RAF aircraft.
Wing Commander Kevin Gatland, 37, who planned the fly-past, said
afterwards: “It genuinely brought a lump to my throat, hearing the
reaction of the crowd”.
Another 165,000 people visited the RAF 100 Aircraft Tour which
travelled the country, and 1.6million children took part in
special school activities and challenges.
Exercise Global Eagle
RAF personnel joined their French allies to
hone their skills in protecting airfields from attack.
Exercise Global Eagle saw over 200 RAF
Police and RAF Regiment personnel from 2 FP Wg based at RAF
Leeming join a similar number from Commando Parachutistes de
l’Air 20 of the French Air Force at Caylus training area near
They trained together for two weeks to prove
the interoperability of the FP Force in a multinational
environment. Air FP scenarios included controlling air support,
dealing with chemical and biological threats, detection of
explosives and evacuation of captured persons.
Protection (FP) Force Commander, Group Captain Steve Horne
“Exercise Global Eagle has been extremely
valuable for ourselves and our French partners, both in terms of
interoperability and sharing best practice.
“We’ve proved that we can work together
across a range of scenarios and it shows the very close
co-operation we have with our French colleagues as we progress
along a force protection road-map that has been in place for a
number of years.
“In addition, Exercise Global Eagle has
given 2 FP Wing the opportunity to prove a new concept, that of
a Force Protection Contingency Flight where RAF Regiment and RAF
Police, including military working dogs, are trained to operate
together in a contested environment and are held at high
“We’re very proud that the RAF is the main
contributor to FP doctrine in NATO and our enduring relationship
with partners ensures that Air FP provision is fit for the next
generation of Air power.”
Commander Morgan Williams, the commander of No 2 RAF FP Wing
“Exercise Global Eagle has given us an
excellent opportunity to test our early-entry capabilities
alongside our French colleagues. Deployed in defence of the
Caylus Tactical Landing Zone, 2 FP Wg has exercised its RAF
Regiment Gunners, RAF Police men and women, Military Working
Dogs and Tactical Air Control Party alongside Paratroopers, CBRN
specialists and Heli-Snipers of Commando Parachutist de l’Air 20
under the tactical command of the 2 FP Wg HQ. In a contested
scenario against a hybrid force, the exercise has demonstrated
the value of interoperable Force Protection specialists in
securing and defending Air Force assets.
“Should we be called upon, I have full
confidence in our ability to work seamlessly alongside our
French allies in securing the global reach of our respective Air
The RAF has worked closely with the French
Air Force in many areas of the world recently, including Mali in
North Africa and in hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean in
Happy 100th birthday: Civic leaders join celebrations for Shifnal
war veteran Les Cherrington
Civic and community leaders turned out in force to wish the oldest
war veteran in Shifnal a very happy 100th birthday.
Les Cherrington celebrates his 100th birthday. With Les at the
front is friend Peggy Cross, Robert Harrop, the Mayor of Shifnal;
Graham Cherrington, his son; Sheena Cherrington, his daughter, and
family member Jan Rowe, with other friends and Shifnal Carnival
Committee members in the background.
Les Cherrington celebrated in style on Saturday surrounded by
councillors, the town's carnival committee and his family.
The day started with a presentation to Mr Cherrington, who was
injured in the Second World War, at his Orchard Road home.
This was followed by a family dinner at nearby Haughton Hall
As a longstanding member of Shifnal Carnival Committee, Mr
Cherrington has been its carnival king for many years.
He said: "I've had an absolutely wonderful day. The councillors
and the carnival committee came to see me at home and I've had
lots of photos taken in the garden.
"I've had a lovely meal with the family.
"I'm rounding off the day with tea at the Premier Inn with my
grandchildren and my great grandchildren."
His son Graham, 63, daughter-in-law Sheena, granddaughters Katie,
36 and Laura, 33, and their families travelled from Swindon,
Berkshire, to mark the grand milestone.
Mayor of Shifnal Councillor Robert Harrop said: "Shifnal is very
proud to celebrate the 100th birthday of a remarkable citizen of
the town. We are very proud of Les.
"He wasn't feeling very well the day before, but he seemed very
happy on his birthday and was able to celebrate with his family
"Les has been the carnival king for many years and in addition to
that he is still a member of Shifnal Male Voice Choir. He is
active in the community which is a remarkable achievement
considering his age and that is the point of the civic
"He has given the community great pleasure over the years and we
Mr Cherrington also received a birthday card from the Queen
alongside gifts from wellwishers.
Shifnal Town Council also installed two birthday banners in his
honour next to the town clock.
Originally from Albrighton, Mr Cherrington was a soldier in the
Staffordshire Yeomanry Queen’s Own Royal Regiment. He was injured
during a battle in North Africa in 1943 when his Sherman tank was
wrecked by a German field gun, but he managed to clamber free
despite being badly burned and shrapnel nearly severing his left
After he recovered he continued to serve his country for a further
40 years in the RAF police.
Other celebrations for the popular community volunteer included a
social night at Shifnal Royal British Legion last week.
RAF police officers foiled a burglary in Cosford, recovering a
'significant quantity' of stolen power tools.
A member of the public confronted two would-be burglars in the
village and he alerted the officers who confronted and detained
both men. They were then arrested by West Mercia Police officers.
With both men in custody, police searched the vehicle the pair had
travelled in and found a number of stolen goods. They then
searched houses they were linked with and found more garden and
household power tools.
PCSO Mal Goddard said: "There have been a number of burglaries in
the surrounding area and the police have been able to identify the
owners of some of the property recovered, this will be returned as
soon as possible.
The arrests happened late on Wednesday and police are now
attempting to trace the owners of the tools.
Arrests made in Cosford incident
At 11:30pm on Wednesday the 22nd of August 2018, Police were
called to Cosford to assist the RAF Police from RAF Cosford.
An alert member of the public had witnessed some suspicious
activity and challenged a pair of men. As a result of his actions
a burglary was prevented and two men were detained by the RAF
Police and then arrested by West Mercia Police Officers.
Following the arrests of the two men, searches were conducted of
the vehicle that they were with and a number of stolen items
Two further searches were carried out at addresses linked to the
two arrested men and further stolen items recovered. Much of the
equipment recovered was garden and household power tools from
various manufacturers, this was all seized by Officers and will be
checked into the Police property store.
There have been a number of burglaries in the surrounding areas
and the Police have been able to identify the owners of some of
the property recovered, this will be returned as soon as possible.
This will still leave a significant number of power tools and
While checks will be conducted to see if the rightful owners can
be identified, this is unlikely to be successful in all cases. If
you have recently been a victim of a burglary in the area and will
be able to positively identify your property, please ring 101 and
refer to incident 0847S 220818.
Flight Lieutenant Rosie Callery, of the Royal Air Force
Police, is currently deployed on Exercise Long Look, a four-month
exchange programme on which she will conduct various integrated
tasks, exercises and training packages with the Royal Australian
Air Force .
The RAF Officer from No. 3 Force Protection Wing, RAF Marham
arrived at the end of April 18 and embedded in No. 1 Security
Forces Squadron (1SECFOR) at RAAF Base Williamtown.
FLT LT Callery is the first of the UK Force Protection (FP)
contingent to deploy on Ex Long Look with a FP specific focus.
Exchange Programme Long Look has been a military exchange event,
conducted annually since 1976.
It epitomises the close working relationship that the UK Armed
Forces has with both the New Zealand and Australian Defence
The RAAF is a Tier 2 partner in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
programme and offers opportunities for the sharing of practices
and policies as both countries prepare to receive the platform.
FLT LT Callery is embedded into Security Flight at RAAF Base
Williamtown and will assist with the development of Security
Forces operating concepts in support of the arrival of Australia’s
first F-35As later of this year.
“It’s been an incredible development opportunity working with
security forces in preparation for the arrival of JSF at RAAF Base
Williamtown,” she said.
As a reciprocal exchange, Flying Officer Josh Hablethwaite, RAAF
Ground Defence Officer will deployed to RAF Marham in June, just
in time for the first arrival of the RAF’s F-35 to the UK.
Both exchange officers will have the opportunity to gain a
detailed understanding of how partner nations provide security for
FLG OFF Hablethwaite will also have the opportunity to view and
conduct training activities with the RAF Regiment at both RAF
Marham and RAF Honington.
As part of her exchange, FLT LT Callery also deployed with No. 2
Security Forces Squadron on Exercise Pitch Black, a multi-national
large force exercise, at RAAF Base Darwin.
It featured a range of realistic, simulated threats which can be
found in a modern battle-space environment and provided an
opportunity for the exchange officer to observe large scale force
integration and interoperability serials within Australia, and the
training and integration of security operations directly
supporting the ability to sustain air power.
Man retraces historic journey to Belgium exactly 90 years later
It was to commemorate those who died in World War One
A man has helped to commemorate those who died in World War One by
retracing the steps of a historic journey to Belgium.
In 1928 the Royal British Legion arranged for war veterans and
widows to visit the Somme and Ypres battlegrounds, followed by a
march to the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium.
And now exactly 90 years later, Legion members have recreated the
Lincolnshire Co-op Funeral Services trainer Richard Kent, who
volunteers as a standard bearer for the Legion's Washingborough
and District branch went along to represent local people and pay
He said: "I think that commemorating the huge sacrifice that was
made is as important today as it has been for the last 100 years.
"To have such a high-profile event is great as it puts to mind the
efforts and hardship they went through to leave us with the
freedom we enjoy today."
The group travelled to Belgium to take part in the GP90 parade on
August 8 and attended a ceremony at Menin Gate to commemorate the
war's final 100 days.
Mr Kent said: "When I was a little boy my grandfather, who had
been a gunner in the Royal Artillery in World War One, had been a
supporter of the Royal British Legion."
Before his career with Lincolnshire Co-op, Mr Kent worked for 22
years in the RAF police advising on security.
He also spent nine years as the Royal British Legion's
Lincolnshire County standard bearer, going on to compete for the
regional and even national title.
The Royal British Legion and the RAF Benevolent Fund are being
supported by Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Champions scheme
during summer, with more than £79,000 fundraised so far.
Over 151,000 Lincolnshire Co-op members have helped raise the
money by shopping with their dividend card, and proceeds from the
carrier bag levy are added to the pot.
“To support two charities that are dear to me is just wonderful,”
Fitz breaks young hero's silence after 100 years
On a pilgrimage to the battlefield where his great uncle died 100
years ago, John Fitzpatrick got into a long chat with the
17-year-old boy soldier who had unhesitatingly answered the
nation's call to arms.
Fitz during his forces days, with Jimmy.
A professional dog trainer, he runs Cosford Dog Training
Private Ben Leeman, who was only 17 when he was killed in action
100 years ago
A Century of Silence
During a career in the forces spanning 36 years Fitz served in
Northern Ireland, The Falkland Islands, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
It was a story Private Ben Leeman had not been able to tell for a
"Does anyone remember us?" he asked John. John - known as Fitz -
was able to reassure him on that point.
Fitz's pilgrimage earlier this year was real, and now that
imagined chat, used as a literary device, has been turned into a
historical novel telling the story of the young soldier's life and
experiences, called A Century of Silence, and available through
"It is written in an original way, which sets it apart from any
other book of its kind," he said.
Fitz has retraced Ben's footsteps, and as a former serviceman who
faced danger in the hotspots of Northern Ireland, Iraq, and
Afghanistan, he was able to draw on a special insight into the
feelings the teenager would have experienced in battle.
Ben, from Grimsby, lied about his age to join up at the age of 15,
serving in the 15th (Bantam) Battalion, Notts and Derby Regiment,
The Sherwood Foresters.
He was killed in action during the opening days of the great
German spring offensive of 1918.
But in 2013 Ben Leeman was just a name to Fitz, who runs Cosford
Dog Training and lives at County Lane, Codsall Wood.
"I knew my Mam had an Uncle Ben, who her dad - my granddad - spoke
about very rarely as he was invariably overcome with grief
whenever he talked about his younger brother and his bitterness
about how his own mother never fully recovered from Ben's death,"
Nor did he know much about the Great War, but everything was to
change in 2014 when he and his father went on a 70th anniversary
trip to Normandy
At the end of their visit his mother asked if he "fancied taking a
trip up to the north of France" to find her Uncle Ben's name on a
memorial wall of a cemetery.
A leisurely detour to Pozieres on the Somme took them around 10
hours, but was to have a profound effect on Fitz, and was to be
the first of many visits to the area.
Their "chat," as described in the book, was during a visit to the
memorial to mark the centenary of Ben's death, which was on March
24, 1918, at a place called Curlu Wood.
Ben was both a young veteran and a war hero, having fought on the
Somme and in Flanders, and being awarded the Military Medal during
the fighting at Houthulst Forest in October 1917.
Fitz is a former RAF Police Warrant Officer, who was head of the
RAF Special Investigations Branch major crime team and then the
senior instructor at the Joint Service Dog School before retiring
in 2013. Since retiring he has been a full time dog trainer and
"The book was compiled using family records, public and military
records, particularly the battalion diary of the 15th Battalion
and the war diary of the 35th Division, and information supplied
by amateur historians, who are real experts on just about
everything to do with the Great War. The Regimental Museum of the
Mercian Regiment was also very helpful," said Fitz.
"Being a former SIB investigator I never rely on documentary
evidence alone. I have visited all the locations where Ben served
and whenever possible walked exactly the same route taken as
described in the war diary.
"I have a fairly accurate idea of how long it takes to tab from
Maricourt to Curlu Wood, at 8.30am on March 24, because I did it
myself 100 years after the event. I don't do things by halves.
"Some of the feelings experienced in battle, attributed to Ben,
are personal. Service in Northern Ireland, a long time before any
thought was given to a peace process, a tour in Iraq, and three
tours in Afghanistan, gave me a bit of insight."
Congratulations to Cpl Mollie Shurmer who has been formally
announced as the winner of the 2017 Securing the Skies Trophy.
Mollie was selected by the Master of Worshipful Company of
Security Professionals and Provost Marshal (RAF) as the RAF Police
Protective Security NCO who made the most significant contribution
to the protection of RAF mission critical assets during 2017.
Mollie’s achievement was formally recognised by the Master at the
Annual Military Affiliates Luncheon at the RAF Club
Corporal Mollie Shurmer has been employed on a Protective Security
Section as the Air Transport Security specialist. Without formal
training, she planned and delivered a comprehensive review of all
security practices within the air terminal building. She
identified areas where new technology would enhance building
security and introduced modern scanning equipment, an Explosive
Trace Detector and a Responder Bottle Scanning Unit, while
ensuring full compliance with Air and CAA regulations. This
exceptional display of initiative was instrumental in ensuring a
vital, operational section was able to deal with risks to critical
assets, Royalty, VVIPs and MPs, and highlighted her skills in
identifying major risk management issues.
As a newcomer to Protective Security, Cpl Shurmer’s exceptional
ingenuity and dedication is all the more impressive and has made a
real difference to the security of RAF mission critical assets and
their deployment across the globe.
Norfolk veterans conquer Warrior Games
David Rose, from Downham Market, taking part in the Warrior
Games where he represented Team UK. Picture: Cyrus McCrimmon/DOD
David Rose, from Downham Market, taking part in the Warrior Games
where he represented Team UK. Picture: Cyrus McCrimmon/DOD Warrior
Two wounded Norfolk veterans amassed an impressive haul of medals
at a sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and
Simon Chapman, from Watton, took part in the Warrior Games where
he represented Team UK. Picture: DOD Warrior GamesSimon Chapman,
from Watton, took part in the Warrior Games where he represented
Team UK. Picture: DOD Warrior Games
David Rose, from Downham Market, and Simon Chapman, from Watton,
were two of 40 veteran and service personnel who were selected by
Help for Heroes to represent the UK at the Warrior Games.
Organised by the United States Department of Defence, the
multi-sport event - which includes personnel from the USA, UK,
Canada and Australia - was held earlier this month in Colorado.
Mr Rose, who has been an aircraft engineer with the RAF since
1986, brought home a silver medal in the 50m breaststroke, a
bronze medal in the 4x50m relay and bronze medals in both the
recumbent cycling time trial and road race events.
Due to nerve damage to his right arm, shoulder and hand caused by
a cycling accident in 2009, the 48-year-old is in constant pain.
His arm has a limited function with fingers often ‘clawed’ and the
injury causes frequent muscle spasms.
David Rose, from Downham Market, taking part in the Warrior Games
where he represented Team UK. Picture: John Leyba/DOD Warrior
“I was always into sport and outdoor activities but with injury I
thought, wrongly, this was over - this took me to a very bad
place,” said Mr Rose.
“Being shown and encouraged that I can still do sport has been a
He added: “I feel so much taller having returned from the Warrior
Captain of the swimming team, Mr Chapman took a silver medal in
both the 50m backstroke, 100m freestyle and bronze in the 200m
Simon Chapman, from Watton, took part in the Warrior Games where
he represented Team UK.
Picture: DOD Warrior Games Simon Chapman, from Watton, took
part in the Warrior Games where he represented Team UK.
The 49-year-old has served with the RAF for 32 years and is
currently a Warrant Officer for the RAF Police.
He has a deficient muscle in his right leg sustained from a
sporting injury and two prosthetic implants in both hips after a
car knocked him off his bicycle.
The injury has significantly impacted on his daily activities with
reduced movement and has left him unable to do any impact or
contact sport which had a serious effect on both his mental health
“Being selected was a huge confidence boost for me and is a
massive turning point in my life,” he said.
“I have gone through a period of uncertainty, becoming a little
despondent and de-motivated, but I have now found a sense of
On 16th May 2018, Air Commodore Peter Squires, the Commandant of
RAF College Cranwell, presented Flight Sergeant Bellingham with
the Meritorious Service Medal, in the 2017 New Years Honours. This
medal is only presented to Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and
Warrant Officers, who have had a long and distinguished Service
with exemplary conduct. Almost 28 years ago, she joined the
Service as an RAF Police NCO and has travelled the world providing
protective security to many military establishments.
Our congratulations go to Flight Sergeant Bellingham on her
North-east air force personnel
in Nigeria to help defend bases from terrorists
Corporal Thomas addresses the
Air force personnel from the
north-east are in Africa helping to prepare local troops in
their fight against one of the world’s most notorious terrorist
A team from RAF Lossiemouth is
running a six-week training schedule for the Nigerian Air Force
and Air Police to aid their efforts against extremist
organisation Boko Haram.
The militant Islamist group has
caused havoc in Africa’s most populous country for many years,
through bombings, assassinations and, most prominently,
Now personnel from the
Moray-based 5 Force Protection Wing (5 FP) have organised
intensive training in close quarter battles, force protection,
intelligence and special investigations.
They are also providing
training for military working dogs.
The Lossiemouth crews are
currently at the Kaduna Airbase, where temperatures are peaking
at 38 Celsius, before they join the fight in the north-east of
Aircraftman CJ Iwu, from the
Nigerian Air Force, said: “The training is exhausting but very
interesting. We have never worked such long days.
“My favourite part of the day
is the flight competition. They boost morale and revise the
Senior Aircraftman Sam Walton,
from 5 FP, said: “It’s good to compare their ability at the
start of the day with the end of the day. Seeing progress is
always really rewarding.”
The training programme is the
sixth time that 5 FP – which includes gunners, RAF police
officers, chefs, medics and technicians – has been deployed on
during the exercise.
Nigeria’s chief of air staff,
Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, requested the assistance of the
Scots due to intelligence that the country’s air bases will
continue to be attacked.
He said: “All these reinforce
the need to have a robust base defence concept that is capable
of providing guidance for responding to a wide range of
situations that may threaten our bases.”
RAF Leeming celebrate RAF 100
The sleepy village near Grimsby that stood
in the way of a Russian nuclear attack
With Britain facing the threat of
World War Three and Cold War armageddon, a Lincolnshire RAF
station was chosen as the country’s very first missile base
When Britain faced the threat of a Russian
nuclear attack, a quiet village near Grimsby stood in the way.
Today, little remains of what was once one
of the country’s most important RAF bases.
A hangar has been converted into a farmer's
grain store, while other former military buildings are home to a
peaceful Christian training college.
But as dawn broke over RAF North Coates on a
late October’s Saturday in 1962, the staff there could have been
forgiven for wondering if it was their last.
Here on the very edge of the Lincolnshire
coast, rows of sinister-looking missiles pointed up at the sky
and an unseen enemy. Their job: to seek and destroy enemy
bombers that might appear at any moment.
The Bloodhound missile which was the UK's front line defence
against Soviet attack from bases like RAF North Coates(Image: Chris
Less than an hour’s drive inland, the pilots
of the nuclear V-bomber force waited on full alert, ready to
leave the ground within just 15 minutes and make for targets
behind the Iron Curtain.
Britain was on the brink of war and the
village of North Cotes was on the front line.
Today, the threat of a Russian nuclear
attack has been in the news again after the Salisbury poisoning
case and the stand-off over Syria.
But during the Cold War, the menace of
Russian bombers was very real and anybody who thought rural
Lincolnshire would not be a prime target would have been sadly
RAF bomber bases around the county would
have come under attack, along with a naval communications centre
at New Waltham.
Targets across the Humber were targets for Russian nuclear
North of the Humber, the city of Hull would
have been nuked, as well as a radar station at Patrington.
To counter the threat, during the 1950s,
Britain developed a fleet of supersonic fighter planes
alongside, for the first time, surface-to-air guided missiles
designed to seek and destroy enemy aircraft.
In 1958, North Cotes was at the centre of a
media blitz when it was chosen as the country’s first missile
base, “home to the Royal Air Force of the future”, with the most
advanced weapons of their kind anywhere in the world.
The aptly named Bloodhound Missiles, with
their ram-jet engines and sleek snouts pointing towards the sky,
looked futuristic enough when they were installed at RAF North
Coates in 1958.
It was sold to the public as a complete
weapons system that would protect the country against the most
determined of enemies.
Vulcan bombers and RAF Scampton in 1961(Image: Ken
Had they been fired in anger, Britain would
have almost certainly been at war and on the brink of a nuclear
The first concern was to protect the V
Bomber force, based at Coningsby, Scampton and Waddington, which
carried Britain's nuclear deterrent, but boffins hoped
eventually to design a weapon accurate enough to shoot down
enemy ballistic missiles.
George Ward, the Air Minister of the day,
said: "Ultimately it is to the development of the surface-to-air
guided weapons system that we look for anti-ballistic missile
"With the introduction of new equipment and
better techniques we can expect Fighter Command to meet a bomber
attack at a greater distance from our shores, and with a greater
proportion of our fighter force, both by day and night".
RAF North Coates, on the very edge of the
Lincolnshire coast, had a long and proud history as a base
during two world wars. An attack squadron of fighter-bombers
flew from here during the Second World War to menace German
shipping in the North Sea.
In 1953, it was inundated by the great North
Sea flood. Nevertheless, five years later it was chosen as the
first base for Britain’s newest weapon.
RAF North Coates near Grimsby and how the base was laid out(Image: Google
In November 1958, the Duke of Edinburgh
visited the base to inspect No. 264 Air Defence Missile
Squadron. He was pictured examining one of the missiles,
described at the time as the most advanced in the world.
One correspondent, writing in the Birmingham
Mail, described watching a trial of the missiles, which flew at
twice the speed of sound.
“As I watched one of the missiles being
quickly placed in position on its metal launching frame. an
aircraft made a dummy attack on the airfield. Long before I
could see or hear it. a missile was turning swiftly towards the
direction from which It was corning. Evasive tactics were of no
use. Each time the aircraft made an alteration of course the
nose of the missile turned.
“Had this been a real operation. the -
aircraft would not have stood the slightest chance of coming
anywhere near the station. A complex but swiftacting system of
radar detection and guidance briefs the missile in a matter of
The Duke of Edinburgh inspecting a Bloodhound Missile
at RAF North Coates in 1958
Despite the claims, the advanced technology
was not without its problems. According to the website Bomber
County Aviation Resource, radar operators were flummoxed when
their screens began picking up moving objects in the Immingham
area. Fortunately, the culprits turned out not to be Russian
planes, but moving cranes on the docks.
The base was, of course, given top-level
security, with night patrols by RAF police dogs and their
handlers. It was expected to be ready to fire its missiles on
A layout of a typical Bloodhound missile base like RAF Great
Coates at the height of the Cold War(Image: London
Illustrated News / British Newspaper Archive)
Group Captain James Leathart, the ex-Battle
of Britain pilot commanding the station, told journalists: "If
the political temperature goes up we can go into operational
posture at any time."
That day almost came in October 1962, during
the Cuban Missile Crisis. The United States had discovered a
Russian plan to install nuclear missiles in Cuba and President
John F Kennedy was under intense pressure to bomb or invade the
island. With Britain ready to stand by its ally, Vulcan bombers
were placed on a 15-minute standby.
diplomacy won the day and Britain’s missile bases were never
called upon to defend the country during a nuclear war, despite
several other close calls over the next three decades. By the
late 1980s, with the Cold War winding down, the Bloodhounds were
a relic of another age.
The base finally closed in 1990 and its
staff quarters were transferred to other uses, including a
private housing estate.
Today, the missiles are long gone but a
grass airstrip, operated by the North Coates Flying Club, serves
as a reminder that this quiet village was, for much of the 20th
century, at the forefront of Britain’s air defences.
The RAFP Dog Demonstration Team in Swindon sharing their
capabilities and experiences with the public
Royal Air Force Veterans Return
To The Rock For RAF 100
Two Royal Air Force
veterans, Trevor Adams and Colin Jones, have returned to
the Rock more than 60 years after they were first
stationed in Gibraltar to celebrate 100 years
since the RAF's formation on April 1.
Forces Radio presenter
Hayley Hammond spoke to the former RAF policemen and
asked about their memories of Gibraltar and how things
Trevor & Colin
in Gibraltar 1957
The pair first met 61 years
ago as Corporals in the RAF Police. Their friendship
blossomed early as they shared room three, Devils
Tower Camp and played chess together. A tradition they
have kept to this day.
Trevor remembered how
exciting it was arriving to do his national service:
Both men reflected that
Gibraltar has changed “phenomenally” with lots of reclaimed land
and buildings they do not recognise at all.
The pair also noticed
differences in how the military operates and relationships
across ranks. According to Colin:
“The informality of
everything is just staggering and better… you can still have
respect but it doesn’t have to be so rigid.”
Cardboard swastika found in soldier’s home,
Two serving British
soldiers and a 23-year-old man are accused of being members of
a banned neo-Nazi group.
A cardboard swastika was found on a windowsill at
the barracks home of a serving British soldier accused of
being a member of a banned neo-Nazi group, a court has heard.
Private Mark Barrett also had a
photograph on his phone, taken at a different military base in
the UK, showing a burning cross in a garden.
The 25-year-old married father
and Royal Anglian Regiment colleague Lance Corporal Mikko
Vehvilainen, 33, are on trial accused of being members of
A 23-year-old man, who cannot be
named for legal reasons, is also charged with membership of
the group which was banned by the Government in December 2016.
Barrett’s barrister told
jurors, when the case opened, that they would have to decide
whether the soldier was “a casual racist or a committed
The jury at Birmingham
Crown Court on Thursday heard how military and civilian police
searched his accommodation at Dhekalia station, Alexander
Barracks, Cyprus, in 2017, and found the hand-sized makeshift
Officers also found a
spiral-bound notebook with another swastika on the front, and
written in German on an inside page was the phrase “Do not mix
the blood of a race horse with that of a cart horse”.
prosecuting, said: “The page has been signed by Mark Barrett.”
Inside a black diary,
also found in Barrett’s house, was the handwritten phrase: “God
almighty created man in the image of a blond-haired, blue-eyed
man, with the capability to show rose of cheek (n****rs can’t
Barrett’s barrister told jurors,
when the case opened, that they would have to decide whether
the soldier was “a casual racist or a committed fanatic”.
The jury at Birmingham Crown
Court on Thursday heard how military and civilian police
searched his accommodation at Dhekalia station, Alexander
Barracks, Cyprus, in 2017, and found the hand-sized makeshift
Officers also found a
spiral-bound notebook with another swastika on the front, and
written in German on an inside page was the phrase “Do not mix
the blood of a race horse with that of a cart horse”.
Karen Robinson, prosecuting,
said: “The page has been signed by Mark Barrett.”
Inside a black diary, also found
in Barrett’s house, was the handwritten phrase: “God almighty
created man in the image of a blond-haired, blue-eyed man,
with the capability to show rose of cheek (n****rs can’t
Ms Robinson described an image
which jurors heard was taken at Kendrew barracks, Rutland, on
April 22 2017, and found on a mobile phone seized at Barrett’s
She said: “It shows a male
pointing a bow and arrow towards a target at the end of the
garden, with a burning cross, slightly ahead of him.”
The court heard that despite
being searched on arrest in Cyprus on September 5 2017,
Barrett was given back his wallet after “nothing evidential”
was – at that time – found inside, according to officers at
Barrett then took a bank card
from his wallet asked for it and car keys to be be passed to
his wife, who was to remain on the base.
RAF police officer Sergeant
Christopher Moss, giving evidence on a video-link from the
island, said: “He handed me a Santander debit card and car
keys so they could be handed to his wife, via a welfare
When the wallet was
searched by police back in the UK, two National Action leaflets
were discovered inside, the court heard.
Colin Aylott, Barrett’s
barrister, asked Sgt Moss: “Since you made your statement have
you been made aware within the wallet there were, in fact,
folded up within it, two National Action leaflets subsequently
found in a search of his wallet that took place in the UK?”
The RAF officer replied:
“I was not aware at all, no.”
Another military police
officer, Corporal Thomas Dutton, said Barrett was escorted by
himself and a colleague to RAF Akrotiri, and they stayed with
him throughout the five-hour flight to RAF Brize Norton,
Oxfordshire, and on to a police station in Coventry.
Asked how many times
Barrett, formerly of Kendrew Barracks, Rutland, had been out of
his sight, Cpl Dutton replied: “Impossible to say exactly, but
Vehvilainen, an Army
trainer from Sennybridge Camp, Powys, is also accused of
possession of a terrorist manual – the manifesto of Norwegian
right-wing extremist Anders Breivik – and two counts of stirring
up racial hatred connected to forum posts.
His barrister Pavlos
Panayi QC told the jury on Wednesday it was “not in dispute that
he is a racist”, but that did not make him a criminal.
The other male is also
charged with three counts of possession of documents likely to
be useful to terrorists and distributing terrorism material.
All three deny
wrongdoing, and the trial continues.
veteran from Milton Keynes to march at Cenotaph this Remembrance
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 Sunday. Chief
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 www.blindveterans.org.uk
congratulations to Amy Cokayne HQ RAF Sport Sportswoman of
Official of year runner up is Michelle Crolla
19/10/17 Caistor black belt Amy wins
British judo title
Black 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.
BFit 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
An RAF military police officer serving in
Afghanistan has delighted his long-term girlfriend with a
surprise visit to herTunbridge Wellsoffice today
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."
This morning a phone call to his
girlfriend's desk from her office's reception informed her her
'brother' was waiting downstairs for her.
Miss 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.
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
meantime the pair are looking forward to relaxing and in Cpl
Duncan's case "eating some really good food".
He 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 - just about.
"We 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
Cpl 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
A 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
Cadogan, of Fernwood, joined the Nottinghamshire group, and his
friend, Ian Firth, the Lincolnshire group.
are former RAF police sergeants and both served as dog handlers.
said after they left the RAF they wanted to get involved with a
are both keen motorcyclists and so the Blood Bike project seemed
a perfect one to volunteer with,” he said.
volunteers to be on duty from a Friday evening to Sunday, which
he does every two months.
picks up one of the liveried motorbikes from the group’s fleet
that is ready to be used when he is called upon.
are very visible and because we are on a bike we can normally
get through the traffic,” said Martin.
gives you a real sense of purpose and you are potentially saving
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
The idea spread and groups have been set up across the country.
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 expensive.
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
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.
are ready and willing to do much more,” he said.
Nottinghamshire group has almost 100 volunteers but wants
another 20 riders to give them more flexibility.
be over the age of 25 and obtain a recognised advanced rider
to 15 volunteers are needed to act as controllers.
operate from home, answering calls from hospitals and passing
delivery details on to the riders.
service survives on donations and corporate sponsorship so is
also looking for volunteers to help with fundraising.
information is available at www.nottingham shirebloodbikes.org
Airport-style security checks for Scampton
Random vehicle checks will also
be carried out
Visitors to the inaugural Scampton Airshow
this coming weekend will have to pass through airport-style
security checks on the way in.
Following 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
But organisers say the precautions aim to
ensure that the thousands of visitors expected at the show "feel
An 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 times.
"A 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 all.
"We are delighted to be working in
partnership with Lincolnshire Police and RAF police to deliver
you a safe and enjoyable show.
"All visitors will enter an through an
airport style security system; so please arrive in plenty of
time to go through these processes.
"We 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.
"The Scampton site benefits from a dedicated
control area which has extensive CCTV which will be continuously
monitored and recorded for your safety.
"We wish you all a safe and extremely
RAF Police Rugby also doing a
sterling job collecting at Paddington this morning!
of the Moray lawmen sees victory for Police Scotland
AN 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
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 Elgin.”
7/8/17 Police forces pledge support for
Moray group’s artificial pitch dream
Officers from the RAF police and Police Scotland will go
head-to-head to raise funds for the Lesser Borough Briggs
Scores between rival police forces will be settled on the pitch
to boost a Moray group’s campaign to take control of a football
The group is preparing a bid to Moray Council to take control of
the land next to the River Lossie in Elgin to maintain the
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.
And 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 weather.
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.
Sergeant Dave Halil, from the RAF police, said: “We try to have
a football match against our Police Scotland colleagues every
“We work 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 2015.
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.
Prentice has stood down as a warrant officer at RAF
Lossiemouth following nearly 38 years of service.
military tradition dictates that personnel stepping down from
the post are escorted from their station on horseback to mark
the end of their duties.
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.
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.
straddling the horse on the saddle, the former warrant officer
stood on top of a chair before climbing aboard.
handlers held Red still, so the nervous rider could size up
the animal while settling his nerves.
and friends met Mr Prentice at the entrance gates to the base
on his last day in uniform.
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.
“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.
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.
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
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
“I have enjoyed every minute of my time serving in the RAF.
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
21/6/17 Bedford man
tells all about being a reservist ahead of Armed Forces Day
The 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
“A 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
“In 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.
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
of troops on standby to guard them.
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
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.
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
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 with.
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.”
of cops who saved ‘bomber’
Suspect who had coloured
wires protruding from his jacket ‘could have been shot’ during
incident near the Emirates Stadium
POLICE officers who tackled a suspected
suicide bomber near the Emirates Stadium have been commended
for some of “the most outstanding bravery ever seen”.
The 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, Highbury.
The 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.
PCs Jason Hodgson and Alex Field were
responding to reports of a man walking the streets armed with
a machete in January last year.
As 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.
Superintendent 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.”
They 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 said.
PC Wayne Pullen, a former RAF police
officer with experience of improvised explosive devices, then
“bravely undertook the task of searching the man”, SI Davies
He 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.”
PC 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.
“The 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 said.
There 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
He was eventually able to establish that
it was not a viable explosive device.
“There 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.
The 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 him.”
PC 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.
SI 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.”
Heartwarming moment Harrogate girl is re-united with military
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 already.
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
Jon enjoying quality time together. Picture: Hannah Caffrey
"Seeing 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 until August."
1 May 17
claims husband left to 'suffer PTSD in silence' after serving in
A mum-of-three says her husband has been 'continuously
let down' by the Ministry of Defence after developing
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
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
Nikita, 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.
This 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.
I'd 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.
These 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
The mental health of our people is of
the utmost importance, which is why we provide a variety
of support including education and access to health
We encourage those that need help to
come forward and get the assistance they deserve.
– MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
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.
But 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
He 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.
“I had to turn to the armed forces charities to get some
assistance.” Using funding he received from the British Legion,
Chris launched his firm.
The vodka is bottled at Broxburn Bottlers in West Lothian and is
now being stocked in 350 Asda stores across the UK.
Chris, 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 Benevolent Fund.”
In 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.
Their 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.
After 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 Line.
A female pensioner who was filmed having sex
with dogs has been spared jail by a judge.
Carol Bowditch, 64, had sex with a St
Bernard, a black labrador and an Alsatian claiming later she did
not realise that it was illegal.
Her 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.
The 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
"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
His sentence was adjourned to a later date.
James Gray, in mitigation, said "She is 64 and has no previous
"Both she and Mr Galloway have suffered considerable public
"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.
RAF Wittering policeman and dad of twins to take on huge cycle
challenge to say thanks to medical staff
Nathan Curtis, who is based at RAF Wittering, will ride between
Peterborough City Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary on April
His 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.
‘looked up colleague’s skirt’ at Oktoberfest
Keith 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
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
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
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.
said: “People were drinking quite a lot - it was a party type
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.
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.
didn’t know he was on the floor looking up my skirt - I was
shocked and embarrassed.
known about it In would have dealt with it then and there.
[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 laugh’.
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
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 that evening.
denied the allegation he had looked up the woman’s skirt
claiming that would have been “obscene”.
added: “I know at no point did I look up anyone’s skirt. I
wasn’t paralytic but I was drunk.
[the picture] might look like that but I wasn’t looking up her
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”.
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.
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
I 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
The 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
I 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
Corporal Chris Chaplin,
Sergeant Leon Jokat, Gordon Johnson, Sergeant James Thomas,
Corporal Allan Gardner at Diss Rugby Club. Picture: RAF
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.
Personnel from 1(Tactical)
Police Squadron supported the Royal Air Forces Association’s
Diss branch Wings Appeal at the Diss v Norwich Rugby Game last
This 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 the
Fl 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.
“Further 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
Gordon 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.
A 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.
Project 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
From left, Simon Webb, Manuel Church, Daniel Smith, George
Vassallo, Mark Hayward, Stephen Peters, Gareth Jones, and
NEWPORT 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.
The scheme encourages employers to help the armed forces by
employing ex-defence personnel and support those who are already
enlisted for reservist duties.
To be recognised by the government for the award, an employer must
show a commitment to employing current or former members.
Newport Transport currently employs 16 people who have served or
still are serving in the armed forces, 12 of who are bus drivers.
They 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.”
Scott 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.
“We 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.
“The 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.”
Neatebox inventor wants to help make journeys easier
Gavin Neate of Neatebox. Picture: Greg Macvean/TSPL
Crossing 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
It was through working with visually impaired people that Gavin
Neate came to realise pedestrian crossings could be a hindrance to
The device allows users to activate crossings with their phones.
His 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
“We’re not just talking about internet of things - we’re actually
in the process of doing it,” Neate told The Scotsman.
“Changing 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 town.”
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 dog
He learned first hand the barriers many people face when outdoors.
“Practitioners 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 reach.
“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.
“But 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
“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 improved dramatically.”
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.
He has since hired two members of staff after winning further
funding, as well as undertaking several paid trials of the
The product is now currently going through its certification
process before it is sold on the open market.
“The 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.
Flt 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 and government.
Women 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 tolerance.
In 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.
‘A 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 Forces charity.
On 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