IX(B) Staff Ride

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After returning from OP HERRICK, IX(B) Sqn had a roulements list to rival war and peace. A new face was almost a more common occurrence than a familiar one for the old and bold of the sqn. To welcome some of the new squadron members into the fold and to give them an incite into IX(B) sqn’s history a Staff Ride was suggested.

London was the destination, a huge amount of locations and activities were available that would meet the pillars of Force Development but it was decided to concentrate on IX(B) past, present and future.

So we set off for the capital. I would be lying if I said the trip went without any minor hiccups, admittedly having had our accommodation at Northolt pulled at the last minute we didn’t actually know exactly where in London to head to or where we would be staying that night. But, with the wonders of smart phones we had a post code for the hotel just as we hit the M25.

Our accommodation for the evening would be in Russell Square and after a minor issue with parking height restrictions and the trusty IX(B) Sqn minibus we parked up (a little later than scheduled) and headed for the underground.

Our first stop was The Imperial War Museum’s Churchill War Rooms. An interesting audio tour directed you around the bunker under Whitehall that was used during WWII. Rooms have been left as they were during that time and a newly added interactive room showing a more personal side of Winston Churchill gave us plenty to discuss.

We moved on to Green Park via Buckingham Palace to the Bomber Command Memorial. A breathtaking sight especially if you approach from within the park. A rather sombre discussion as to why it took so long for a memorial to be erected in memory of Bomber Command was lightened by the Prime Minister jogging past us and high fiving a fellow runner. We were also lucky enough to meet a stone mason who spent 18 months building the monument.

Due to the time constraints we were only able to see the external views of the RAF Church – St Clement Danes as we discussed ‘Bomber’ Harris.

The day concluded with some well deserved refreshments and discussions about the day.

The following morning we headed to the RAF Museum where the final presentations were given before returning to Marham.

A good time was had by all and a huge amount was gained from the experience. I would encourage anyone to organise an FD event or Staff Ride, its not the daunting experience you would expect and I had a huge amount of support and encouragement from OC FDS Flt Lt Sarah Ferguson.

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