Within the 1500 individuals at RAF WARMA, two members of staff and five cadets were from 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron Air Training Corps: Flying Officer Lawrence Buckingham; Civilian Instructor, Miss Rebecca Parr; Cadet Sergeant’s James Bland, Craig Harrison and Nicole Walker; Cadet Corporal Catherine McHale and Cadet Bradley Scriven.
They were part of South and East Midlands Wing Road Marching Team at RAF WARMA.
RAF Cosford is one of two qualifiers for the Nijmegen 100-mile march, to complete the weekend you must march a total of 50 miles split between two days. Although only half the distance of the Nijmegen March, RAF WARMA is still a true test of an individual’s physical stamina and mental determination.
Friday night the Long Eaton Air Cadets were picked up from Donnington Park along with the rest of South and East Midlands Wing Road marching team. As soon as they arrived at RAF Cosford they were off the coach and to their accommodation the boys off to one of four gigantic tents, with over 300 other people and the girls off to one of the blocks where the 2195 girls shared with Essex Wing.
DAY 1 WARMA!
First day of the marches and the South and East Midlands Teams were up at 5 am and raring to go at the starting line for 6.30 am.
South and East Midlands wing comprised of two teams, one led by Flying Officer Buckingham, 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron ATC and the other Flying Officer Brewster, 2070 (Glenfield) Squadron ATC.
The teams formed up on parade, waiting to go, as all the teams were checked for their waterproofs. On the words of the Station Warrant Officer let the 35th RAF WARMA marches began! Both teams started off strong with high enthusiasm, with Team B racing ahead. As it began the freezing cool morning air was fresh enough to keep all cadets, staff and service personnel, as well as civilians marching on through the streets and following the pre-set route of RAF WARMA. Travelling through the Staffordshire countryside many hills were climbed and fields passed almost effortlessly as the teams kept chatting away and the moral was boosted by classical marching songs, as well as the odd ice cream along the way.
By the end of the 1st day the cadets were aching and had some blisters but the determination and training made the injuries march away! Both teams, nearer to the end of the 1st day heard some thrilling news that Air Commodore McCafferty would be coming to the marches to show her support.
After admin, the cadets had the opportunity to meet other international counterparts and cadets from the across the organisation at the Blister Disco – the team never figured out why RAF Cosford called it that.
Day 2 WARMA
Sunday morning saw the cadets aching from yesterday’s march, nevertheless the teams were ready by 5:30 am – most woken up by the moans of everyone as they heard the rain throwing down.
For the last time at RAF WARMA, both teams formed up on the parade square. It was a slow start for all teams, taking time to limber up again to get back into motion. Though both teams were soon over taking many of the other teams their vigorous training beginning to show.
Whilst marching South and East Midlands Wing Marching Team had a new member of the team as Air Commodore McCafferty, Commandant of the Air Cadets, hurried behind to catch the teams on their second leg of the day.
The commandant was very intrigued into the rigorous training the teams had be doing and also asked the cadets how they were doing. She also got to hear Team 17 (Team 2) sing a few tunes, especially ‘Oh Sir Redwood’ and ‘2k to go’.
The commandant especially spoke to Cadet Scriven and Sergeant Bland as she learnt that there were 5 cadets from 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron participating in RAF WARMA. The commandant also inspired Team 16 as she spoke to the other team, encouraging Sergeant Walker to keep going and that she’d see her at the end!
After the fourth leg, RAF Cosford was insight and the cadets powered through, with some competition between the two South and East Midlands teams: they finished together marching pass paying compliments again to the Air Commodore.
All 22 Cadets completed RAF WARMA and received the prestigious RAF WARMA march medal and 35th marches coin.
Written by Cadet Sergeant J Bland
2195 Media Team