During the second week of August some of our Cadets and staff attended the annual wing camp at RAF Benson near Oxford. It was a full and packed schedule all week with Cadets from several squadrons in the wing and although the accommodation was in tents the weather was mostly sunny and clear with the exception of brief heavy rain at the end of the week. The junior ranks mess was excellent, with a varied choice breakfasts and evening meals. A packed lunch was provided each day as we all needed to stay flexible.
RAF Benson is a very active station and come Monday morning it was a hive of activity. Service personnel from not just the RAF were busy in their roles, there were also members of the Navy, Army, Police and even forces from other allied countries using the facilities that Benson has to offer.
Among the many varied activities that Cadets participated in were; flying in the Westland Merlin HC Mk.3, AEF in the Grob Tutor, visits to see the Westland Puma of 33 Squadron. We also visited many of the active sections around the base such as; Air Traffic Control, the fire and engineering sections. There was also a mixture of sports, swimming, initiative exercises and drill to keep the cadets busy with very little free time in the evening left before roll-call and lights out.
Not all activities were on-base, trips were organised to RAF Hendon Museum, Thorpe Park, Windsor Castle and a hilarious evening ‘ghost walk’ in the city of Oxford.
Some of the cadets were also lucky enough to visit and fly in the flight simulators at RAF Benson. It is only one of four installations in the world with the capabilities to host multiple crews interacting together at the same time. With six fully functioning aircraft simulators at over 28 million GBP each, the installations are a serious piece of hardware.
An end-of-week party rounded of the fun and several awards were made, including ‘most improved cadet’ to our own Cadet Woods. Congratulations and well done!
Read more about the history of RAF Benson: Wikipedia – RAF_Benson