BSW Staff Ride
On 28th February 2012, OC Base Support Wing led a group of Junior Officer’s on a staff ride into London for two days to cover Air Power topics and visit Parliament to learn more about defence and Government.
Base Support Wing had previously hosted a visit to Marham from the office of the Serjeant at Arms and this reciprocal arrangement would benefit both parties. Day one began with trips to the Imperial War Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms. The team had prepared individual stands to discuss topics in each location and would use the museums as visual aids. Highlights included seeing the War Story exhibit (and the involvement of colleagues from Marham) along with exclusive access to exhibits in the Cabinet War Rooms. As the picture shows, OC Base Support Wing “chaired” a meeting with Junior Officer’s in Churchill’s very own seat.
One observation was how in some instances little has changed as meetings are still held in this fashion and the planning for current operations is markedly similar. In the Map room, we were able to get hands on with a variety of real exhibits and get a feel for how it would have been to work in the conditions experienced during the Blitz.
Day two began with a tour of the rich and vibrant history of The House of Commons followed by the House of Lords. We had access to behind the scenes from our knowledgeable hosts and learned how Parliament evolved into its current format. There were allocated seats for the group in the public viewing area and we were able to witness the heavyweight contests of Prime Ministers Questions. This was an incredible opportunity to observe firsthand the leadership styles between the two leaders and how they inspired their respective troops. After this theatre, we made our way over to St Stephen’s Tower, home to the most famous clock in the world. The climb up the tower was rewarded with seeing Big Ben and some of the most impressive machinery in action.
This was a thoroughly worthwhile visit that offered a unique opportunity to witness Government in action and see the link between history and current operations. If anyone else has the chance in future to exercise their democratic rights to visit Parliament, it is strongly recommended.