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.

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.

Powered Flying Log

I know, I know. This is just another list of stuff!

So very true, but this is the biggie. This is why you join the cadets. If you want to see the other communications in this series then click here.

Just before I enter the list you may or may not be interested to know that aerobatics really messes me up. I positively enjoy the experience of aero but it will make me sick and turns me into a useless lump of cells for a few hours as my body recovers. I will go green and then white, I have headaches and everything spins for ages. After anything up to five hours later I will become very hungry, that signals the start of my recovery. I really enjoy flying and aerobatics but I just have to be aware of the consequences.


Powered FLying Log
Powered FLying Log

My total time is just over 21 hours. That’s not bad even if it includes two flights to Cyprus which I’ve counted because I was flying “on duty”.

I also recently had a flight in a Grob Tutor while on camp at Brize Norton. I got around a 40 minute flight, it was a much better experience than the chipmunk.

L98A1 Shooting Record

Last communication on shooting for a while. Here continues my internetification of my Form 3822 Record Of Service book.

The L98A1 Cadet rifle was introduced towards the end of the 1980s as a replacement for the SLR after the British military moved to using the SA80 rifle. I passed my training programme on 31 March 1989. My shooting record is as follows:

  • 31 March 1989 – 15 rounds
  • 16 August 1989 – 50 rounds [RAF Marksman achieved]
  • ? December 1989 – ? rounds
  • 17 March 1990 – ? rounds [RAF Marksman achieved]

Just reading the last entry I can vaguely remember being on a coach travelling to wherever the shooting was and celebrating my 18th birthday. I can remember cake and Alan buying me some suspenders. It was sunny. That is pretty much the sum of my memories of that day!

While at RAF Brize Norton camp I had 20 rounds on the L98A2 Cadet Rifle. I managed to get a pretty good grouping, considering I hadn’t shot a live gun in over 20 years.


7.62 SL Rifle Shooting

We are about half way through my record of service book! There’s some flying and a few band engagements to go! However, this communication concerns my relationship with the SLR.

The SLR felt like a proper gun. It was quite heavy, loud when fired and had a reasonable kick. Unlike the single shot No. 4 .303 rifle [which was bolt action] this one would load the next round automatically, hence: Self Loading Rifle. The cadet version of the weapon system was fixed to be semi-automatic only. Before I could fire this weapon I had to pass a safety test and learn how to strip the weapon down and clean it. I always enjoyed firing this weapon even if the kick still hurt quite a bit.

  • 25 August 1987 – 20 rounds
  • 27 August 1987 – 70 rounds
  • 10 October 1987 – 50 rounds
  • 12 April 1988 – 25 rounds
  • 28 July 1988 – 10 rounds

After this date the SLR was replaced with the L98A1 rifle.

.303 Rifle Shooting Courses

This communication deals with the times I shot a full bore rifle. I am pretty sure the rifle used was a Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifle with a .303 round size. Before cadets were allowed to fire this weapon they had to be signed off in the 3822 by the CO saying that they were large and strong enough to handle the weapon.

I can remember that I had a couple of goes at firing this beast and I hated it. It was just after my 14th birthday and the recoil hurt, a lot.

  • 22 March 1986 – 32 rounds

For more communications about my record of service, click here.

.22 Rifle Shooting Courses

What else am I going to do on a Sunday evening apart from write a couple of communications? Especially when Gold TV are broadcasting the Monty Python show from the O2. I’m not watching that because when they started to sing the Penis Song the television channel censored some of the words! I was so annoyed with this that I watched Veep, The 100 and am now writing this instead of watching the Pythons. To be honest I can listen to the Penis Song anytime.

I get a little confused over the next few entries in my Form 3822. The could be courses or they could be competitions. I know that I shot quite a bit with the Squadron and I enjoyed it thoroughly. If you want to see more about experiences of a teenager in the late 80s then click here.

There now follows a list of .22 rifle shooting events I attended and took part. All of these were on 25 yard ranges.

  • 31 July 1986
  • 5 December 1986
  • 20 February 1987 [Mark Sykes Trophy competition]
  • 20 March 1987 [Mark Sykes Trophy competition]
  • 22 May 1987 [ATC Marksman achieved]
  • 3 July 1987
  • 26 August 1987  [ATC Marksman achieved]
  • 27 August 1987
  • 28 August 1987
  • 14 November 1987
  • 28 November 1987
  • 28 February 1988 [Falklands Competition]
  • 29 April 1988 [ATC Marksman achieved]
  • 21 June 1988
  • 22 July 1988  [ATC Marksman achieved]
  • 26 July 1988
  • 28 July 1988
  • 1 December 1988
  • 15 December 1988 [Battle of Britain Competition] 79/100 scored
  • 3 July 1989 [Wing Field Day]
  • 13 August 1989
  • 29 December 1989  [ATC Marksman achieved]
  • 11 February 1990

I was selected for the East Essex Wing Shooting Team one year but I couldn’t make the competition because I was on camp in Cyprus [or I may have been at a concert, I can’t quite remember].

Station Visits

This communication is another in the long running series about my cadet experiences in the Air Training Corps. I have a sneaky feeling that I didn’t always fill my 3822 in all the time as I am sure there were more visits than this, but this is the only record I have. To see other communications on this topic just search for 3822 in the box on the right.

30 Jul 1986 RAF Neatishead – RADAR
22 Nov 1986 RAF Uxbridge – Range
26 Aug 1987 RAF Little Rissington
18 Feb 1988 USAFB Mildenhall – RADAR and refuelling
13 Apr 1988 Trodos Radar Station – RADAR
1 May 1988 RAF Alconbury – Propulsion
27 Jul 1988 RAF Waddington – Swimming pool
27 Jul 1988 RAF Cranwell – Leadership
16 Aug 1989 USAFB Lakenheath – Everything
17 Aug 1989 RAF Coltishall – AEF
18 Aug 1989 RAF West Raynham – Supply, RTU, Fire
6 Aug 1991 RAF Swinderby – Airfield
7 Aug 1991 RAF Newton – AEF
9 Aug 1991 RAF Donna Nook – Bombing Range

As a teaser the next set of communications considers my shooting career in the cadets and will, I assure you, be scintillating.

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.