1989 – A Good Vintage

There are a number of reasons why 1989 was a good year for me but the one to talk about is my trouncing of my ATC squadron for awards. As listed in this communication I won four of the awards that year.

  • Shooting
  • Bandsman
  • Cadet Of The Year
  • NCO i/c Flight Of The Year

I am very proud of these. I still have the personal trophy for Cadet of the Year.

I recently attended a meal in celebration of thirty five years of 309 squadron and it was a good bash. It was lovely to see lots of faces from the old days. The trophies were on display and although my names are no longer on the prizes given out now – there’s not enough space for the new names and so new trophies were bought – I could see the old trophies around the room along with plenty of clippings in the scrap books.

There was also a presentation on the large screen with plenty of photographs from the old days. A fair few had me in them, mind you I was involved for over ten years.

A Classic Year
A Classic Year

The above photograph has John Trant, Lisa Slater, me, Flt Lt Andrew Passfield OC 309, Jamie Hubbard, Dean Willetts and Simon McGarry. We are the ones who won prizes in 1989.


That’s me playing the fife as the band marched down the town high street.

Old Memories

Being part of the cadets at work has given me some brilliant experiences and I absolutely love. I often feel like I’m just a big kid really, soaking in all the experiences and seeing some amazing things, some of which I’m not even allowed to talk about. When I went to Cyprus last year it was twenty nine years since I had last been and had those experiences. I went to Akrotiri in 1988. I went one better with a recent trip!

In 1986 October time just after I had been to my first annual camp at RAF Coltishall my squadron went to Crowborough Training Camp for a week of activities. I have a few distinct memories of being there. One evening we watched a scary movie, I think it was Alien, and we had to do this in the girls’ block as that was where the TV and VCR were. When we left it was foggy and we all ran down the hill to our billet as fast as we could.

Crowborough Training Camp
Crowborough Training Camp

I knew that one day we were meant to be going rock climbing and abseiling at High Rocks but it was raining and instead we went to watch Top Gun in the cinema at Brighton. We were full of that film for the rest of the week.


A memory that came back to me after looking around one of the billets this past weekend was that we had a music box near the door where the power was and we played the Top gun soundtrack a lot along with “In The Army Now” by Status Quo and also “The Final Countdown” by Europe. I loved these songs at the time and I loved the feeling of belonging and having a good time together. I can still remember my team from that Crowborough camp; Nick Filler was I/C, Charles Randall, Vanessa Payne, Gummy and me.

Gorgeous Colours
Gorgeous Colours

This recent visit and my first time back to Crowborough comes thirty two years later. I’m back at this place with a bunch of new recruits who are learning the skills to be good leaders and enjoying that feeling of being part of something larger than themselves. I hope they enjoy it and get as much from it as I did.

Sad Old Bird
Sad Old Bird

I’m not always sure that I appreciated every moment while I was a cadet but i do look back with such fondness. So much so that I’ll be heading back to my old squadron for a meal next year to celebrate thirty five years since 309 was given squadron status.


Lisa was a friend of mine. We spent about six years going to air cadets together. And then, when I was at university she died.

Eventually I hope that some of the communications in this site are about people who influenced me. People I am proud to have known. People I remember.

Lisa and I lived in the same village. I think she was a year older than me. We didn’t socialise in the village. We met when we ended up at the same air cadet squadron. In those days the Sqn put on a minibus to collect kids from the “villages” so we could get to parade nights. Eventually, once we were older, we ended up giving each other lifts into town so we could attend cadets. We would chat a lot and discuss the latest episode of “Happy Days”. Lisa was also a campanologist. I have no idea if she was religious or not, but on Sunday’s that was her thing. Once for my birthday she bought me “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” on tape. Quality.

One day when I was at university I met my dad for lunch and he told me that Lisa had died. She was playing football and collapsed. They didn’t find out what happened. I was slightly shocked at first but I accepted it. I was sad. Of course I was. The pain I felt was at the thought of losing the person I had spent quite a bit of time with. But I knew it would get better.

Lisa’s funeral was in the village. There was quite a large contingent from cadets there and the church was packed. People were sitting in the aisles. After the service her coffin was lowered into the ground outside the church. I didn’t go and look. For some reason I had a “Home And Away” quote in my head: remember them as they were, not as they are. I have no idea where it really came from but I did watch Aussie soaps at that time. That evening our group went out in Sawbridgeworth and celebrated the life of Lisa in the traditional fashion.

I have occasionally been to speak to Lisa. Once I went after the tenth anniversary meal of the cadet squadron. Rich and I left our dates at my parents house and ran down to the graveyard to speak to Lisa. I was quite drunk. I haven’t been to the grave for a long time. Life has been busy and got in the way really. I intend to visit over the Xmas period while I’m in the village. Hence this the other day:

I can’t encapsulate years of friendship in this communication. But I can at least write a little. I still think of her. All of my readers needn’t worry. I don’t go to speak to her or her “soul”. Once you are dead, that’s it. The end. Nothing more. It’s a nice idea that we live on but one that reduces our real life to a time of fear. Embrace life and accept the truth. I go to speak to Lisa (I do very little actual speaking), to remember and keep her alive in my heart.

Lisa sent me the coolest Christmas card I ever got. She used to work in the printers workshop in the village. On the front was a snowman I think with a red scarf. Inside the card read:

Wishing you a piss poor Christmas and a fucking horrible new year.


Part of the plan of this collection of communications is to be a memory bank. A written form of my consciousness and what makes me work. Some who know me will probably agree that the world isn’t ready for a completely exposed view of Ian Parish yet and so, obviously this is an edited version of me. Unlike many people on the interwebbything I am acutely aware that this is a public forum. Most of my contentious points will be backed up with arguments, whether valid or not, to give some sense of how I reached my conclusions. I try to back up statements of fact with evidence and, my opinion is just that.

I’m quite happy to say that praying to a zombie-god-son-ghost thing is crazy, but at the same time I understand why people do it. I also think that following the Chinese-whispered depraved musings of a seventh century paedophile-war-lord is nuts. But then, I’ve looked at the evidence. My rule in life is the same as the rule in my classroom:

Be nice to people

If you think I’ve not been nice to people in the previous paragraph then please be aware I have just mentioned their beliefs and not the individual. you are welcome to believe in unicorns but I will calmly explain that unicorns don’t exist. If you get angry when I question your beliefs then you should possibly examine those beliefs. Also, if little ol’ me questioning you makes your faith waver then your faith is misplaced.

These pages are clearly like buses. Wait long enough and Parish will rant about religion or stupidity or anti-science or crazy people within a communication about a quiz question [yep, that’s what this is about]. There should be a Godwin’s Law thing for me.

In the early 90s I was closely involved with two main Air Cadet squadrons. There was the good one, 309, and our neighbour, 1096 Sqn based in Bishop’s Stortford. I once attended a quiz evening at 1096 Squadron. I’ve a feeling I was probably 19 or so. I’m not sure if I had started university or was working for Cossor Electronics at that time. I am going to moan about the quiz master getting an answer wrong.

So, we nearly at the point I promise. Also, it’s not worth reading any further, but if you’ve made it this far I am impressed.

What is the speed of sound?

I answered quite quickly with the answer 330 m/s [at standard temperature and pressure]. When the answers for that round were passed around for marking the official answer was 700mph give or take 50 mph. When we got our answers back I noticed that question was marked wrong. I took our answer sheet to the quiz master and explained that 330 m/s was near-enough the same as 700mph, I even demonstrated a conversion using those odd things that are called numbers and that strange thing called mathematics.

Was the quiz master convinced? No. I wasn’t allowed to have 330 m/s the answer. Why is this still in my memory? Possibly because of mathematical ignorance but really I don’t know but it’s there with other “key” events or interactions that surface now and then.

Another question was

How many wheels does Concorde have?

Look it up.

Other Activities

And, finally, we come to the last section of my immortalisation of my 3822. The Air Training Corps Record of Service. This page does not list everything that should be listed in the “Other Activities” section of the blue book. All I have now is what is recorded on this page. The detail follow. Should you wish to see more of these communications then please search this site.

Other ActivitiesOther Activities

This list does not include the band engagements that I played. There were probably about an average of 10 a year of those. I have, also, not attempted to adjust the list at all. What you see is how it is recorded in the 3822. Because of this some of the dates are in the wrong order and there’s a vague reference to an airshow in June 89. I doubt this was a month long airshow but the details are now lost in time.

I doubt this is the last communication on my Air Cadet journey and there are probably going to be more of my CCF journey. Enjoy!

Glider Flying Log

It’s been a while, but you could catch up on all these in a single session by searching Fooyah.net for a list of 3822 communications! What follows is a list of the gliding experiences I had as an Air Cadet a long time ago. These were my formative years and this community influenced me a lot, enough to still get involved.

As a Squadron we would go to RAF Wethersfield in Essex and go gliding with 614 VGS a squadron of volunteer pilots.

Here follows my log:


As you can see the 21 July 1990 was a bumper day for gliding. Most flights tended to be a short hop as the glider is winched up to about 1000ft and then does a single circuit as it returns to land. On the 21st it was a sunny day and there were plenty of thermals. I can remember parts of my 35 minute flight, I almost got bored, which is a terrible thing to say about flying!! I could see the other gliders in the air at the time and had a great view of Wethersfield.

I also remember that Lisa was having a flight and coming around to land when her glider traded altitude for velocity and sped up greatly while heading towards the ground, from my view the glider even dropped below the tree line and I was slightly worried but a couple of seconds later the glider popped up from below the tree line and landed successfully.

I always felt that gliding was a poor cousin to powered flying but I think I would appreciate its beauty a little more now. Don’t get me wrong, any chance to go flying and experience these things was great, but given the choice, I’d go powered flying first.

Special Courses

Continuing the interestingness of my Air Cadet record of service I now give you the section on Special Courses.

Junior NCO Course – Carver Barracks
30/31 March 1989 L98A1 Training – Carver Barracks
21 May 1989 SNCO Drill Instructor – Carver Barracks
22 – 27 October 1989 Adventure Training – Blackshaw Moor
21 – 26 October 1990 Adventure Training – Anzio Camp

There will be more to follow. This was a short section of the 3822.

Annual Camp

This continues the dissection of my Form 3822, my record of service book for my time in the Air Cadets. To see others communications in this thread click here.

Attendance At Annual Camps

26 July to 2 August 1986 RAF Coltishall
22 August to 29 August 1987 RAF Brize Norton
7 April to 18 April 1988 RAF Akrotiri
23 July to 30 July 1988 RAF Coningsby
12 August to 19 August 1989 RAF Swanton Morely
4 August to 11 August 1991 RAF Waddington

I missed the 1990 camp at RAF Odium because I was on a pre-booked holiday. I missed a flight in a Chinook that year. Although I was in the cadets in 1985 I was not allowed on the camp that year as I hadn’t completed my basic training. I left as a cadet towards the end of 1991.

RAF Coltishall 1986
RAF Coltishall 1986

RAF Coltishall (above): I’m in the back row and on the right. This was my first annual camp and this is a photograph of just the 309 contingent of the camp.

For some reason I don’t have the photograph from RAF Brize Norton to hand. I will keep looking to see if I can find it.

RAF Akrotiri 1988
RAF Akrotiri 1988

RAF Akrotiri (above): I think this was just the East Essex Wing contingent of the Cyprus camp that year. I’m in the back row, five from the left.

RAF Coningsby 1988
RAF Coningsby 1988

RAF Coningsby (above): This was the 309 contingent at this camp although we also had one cadet from 414 (Epping) Squadron with us. I’m front and left.

RAF Swanton Morely 1989
RAF Swanton Morely 1989

RAF Swanton Morley (above): There are a few tales to tell about this camp. I shall dedicate a future communication to my memories from all these camps. I’m in the middle row of cadets just left of the flag pole.

RAF Waddington 1991
RAF Waddington 1991

RAF Waddington: My last annual camp and my first in proper billets. I’m on the steps, number six from the left.

These are all the official photographs that I have. I am going to put more photographs on this site over time. If you are unsure about the aims of this website then please read the homepage. It’s about me you see.



This is a communication giving details of my time in the Air Cadets. See other pages here. Here I deal with the Awards section of my service.

Shooting – ATC Marksmanship Badge

22 May 1987
29 July 1987
29 April 1988
22 July 1988
29 December 1989
23 October 1990
18 December 1990
17 March 1991

The criteria for an ATC Marksmanship Badge was five shots within a 2p grouping over 25 yards.

Shooting – RAF Markmanship Badge

15 August 1989
17 March 1990

I don’t recall the criteria for a RAF Marksmanship Badge. I know I was happy to get mine, especially as I found target shooting enjoyable and I was good at it.

Swimming – RAF Proficiency Certificate

28 July 1986

Other Awards

16 March 1987 Squadron Model Competition
January 1989 Cadet Of The Month
May 1989 Cadet Of The Month
June 1989 Cadet Of The Month
18 August 1989 Inter-Flight Competition RAF Swanton Morley Annual Camp
October 1989 Cadet Of The Month
November 1989 Cadet Of The Month
1989 Mark Sykes Shooting Trophy
1989 Cadet Of The Year
1989 Harry Filler Bandsman Trophy
1989 Mustang Flight Trophy
1990 Inter-Flight Trophy

Being awarded Cadet of the Year by the Commandant Air Cadets
Being awarded Cadet of the Year by the Commandant Air Cadets

Sports Awards

1990 Wing Blue for Swimming

Wing Blue
Wing Blue


This is the first communication about my Record Of Service document. Over a few communications I will detail here my accomplishments within the Air Training Corps in my formative years. Starting from the first entries I give you:


Entry to cadets: June 1985
Cadet Corporal: 12th January 1987
Cadet Sergeant: 4th January 1988
Cadet Flight Sergeant: 5th February 1991


1st Class Cadet: 10th February 1986
Leading Cadet: 2nd February 1987
Senior Cadet: 14th March 1988
Staff Cadet: 13th July 1990

Rank Slides
Rank Slides

I found that the best fun rank to be was a Sergeant. You were sandwiched in the middle of the rank structure and so had separation from the cadets and staff. While at RAF Swanton Morely summer camp one of the flights was given three Sergeants to be in charge while the other two had Flight Sergeants. I was one of the three and we had a whale of a time, being just serious enough to have a great grouping of cadets but also good fun.