Between the 11th and 18th April 2015, 30 other cadets from Kent as well as 6 or so staff and myself spent a week at RAF Lossiemouth which is between Inverness and Aberdeen along the coast in Scotland. RAF Lossiemouth is home to 3 squadrons of Typhoons (1, 2 and 6) and also a single Tornado GR4 Squadron (15 OCU) and is also is home to the Quick Reaction Alert group for the North. For the week we were based within RAF Lossiemouth in a billet specially designed for cadets and had 3 heated meals provided for us each day which was made to a high standard by the fabulous catering team there.

On the first day (Sunday) we went to a short church service held by the base’s padre and then spent the afternoon at Inverness swimming pool. In the evening we then got to know each other with a friendly match of football within our flights. The next morning we were formed up outside our billet by 0645 and marched down to the mess and then had a brief uniform inspection before we took the glamorous camp photo which you can see above in front of the base’s gate guardian; a Tornado GR4. We then marched back the other way and spent the rest of the morning visiting the survival section. In the survival section we were shown at first how the engineers pack and maintain the brake shoot for the Typhoon FGR4 jet which consisted of a small bag specially packed with a large spring in it about a meter long and 30cm wide being unravelled to about the length of 30 meters. We then moved on to the outdoor survival division which showed us how a pilot who had ejected or safely crashed could go about surviving calling for help in different scenarios. After lunch we then went onto a visit to No.6 Squadron who operated the Typhoon FGR4 fighter jet. A very kind female pilot showed us her aircraft and told us how the aircraft operated and what different parts of the aircraft did, this was thoroughly enjoyable and allowed us to get right up close and personal to such an amazing jet!

The next day we split of into 2 groups, one group did shooting while the rest of us did first aid, we spent the morning doing first aid of which I have done before but I always find a refresher a great opportunity to help others and learn more. In the afternoon we went on an orienteering exercise in the local forests and attempted to find approximately 21 numbered posts without getting lost however I can’t admit that we achieved the not getting lost part!

On the Wednesday we took a visit down to 15 OCU Squadron where we got to look around and in fact sit in a Tornado GR4 which was an amazing experience that I will never forget. In the late evening we also got the rare chance of getting to look round a USAF Pavehawk helicopter. Usually this kind of experience would never have happened however the week we were there a NATO operation called Joint Warrior was on so the Pavehawk was the USAF’s contribution to that. Yet again we got to look around and again sit in the helicopter. The American crew members let us try on some of their kit and we also got the lucky chance of playing with the two massive 50 calibre machine guns they had on board the helicopter; yet again another incredible experience.

On the Thursday we went to Kinloss Barracks where we got to look at the UK control centre for search and rescue where we met men and women who are working 24/7, 365 days a year ready to respond to any distress beacon out at sea or on land in the UK. We also got to see the fire section based there who when we arrived were in the middle of cutting a car in half during a practice exercise. We also got utterly soaked by the team there as shown in the picture to the left when they showed us the fire engine at full speed with its water cannon spraying. On our way out we also saw an old Nimrod MR2 that used to be in service at Kinloss. In the afternoon we went to Fort George which is an old fort that is still in use with the army, there we got to look around in our own time and have a relax and we also got the chance to get our hands on some free it that the soldiers were kindly giving out there.

On the Friday we were finally out of our uniform for the week and for the day we went speed boating in a RIB boat out into the North Sea where we saw several different types of seals and other wildlife. This really signified the end of the week for us and by that evening we were all pretty much drained of energy and so the train journey down the next day was probably one of the quietest moments of the week.

Looking back on it I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing weeks of my life and the friends I made and things I did will stay with me for the rest of my life. It definitely gave us all an idea of what it is like to be in the forces and got us right up close to the action. All the
different aircraft we got to look at gave us an idea of what the RAF was, is currently and what it will be in the future. Without a doubt the most memorable time I’ve had in my cadet career so far!

Cadet Myles Taylor 358 Welling Squadron