The Regional Activities Day (RAD) held in early October each year is a competition with multiple disciplines between each of the 6 wings in the South West region of the Air Training Corps. Representatives from over 160 units compete in events after winning their local Wing Activities Day. This year cadets from Wantage Squadron represented Thames Valley Wing in the Banner Drill competition for the third year running on Sunday 5th October at RAF Odiham.
An article by Cadet Sergeant Casey.
Once again the day started with a very cold and fresh morning. When we arrived at Odiham we were dropped off and told to put our uniform (which had been carefully prepared and transported) in the changing rooms ready for later. After a briefing we went back and practiced what we were there to do, banner drill! We were on at half past eleven, second to last, a good place to go but it did mean an anxious wait. After we had a good hour of practice it was time to get changed and the nerves started to kick in even more for everyone now.
Once changed we had a final uniform check and a quick practice then the time had come.
As we arrived at the hanger where the competition would take place, the inspecting Warrant Officer came out and explained the layout of the parade ground area. Then it was for real, the moment we had all been waiting for. It started with a uniform inspection after that all the hard work and effort that everyone had put in, we were ready to show the region who we are. After the sequence finished there was a very big sigh of relief from the whole team and a great sense of achievement. Then it was the waiting game for the results. When the final parade started at 1400hrs the nerves got even stronger. The banner drill was the penultimate award to be handed out. When they started say all the other wings it got to third place and we still hadn't been said, then third place was called out and it wasn't us so it was between TVW and B&G [last year's Corps champions], then when they said "in second place… B&G" the whole of Thames Valley Wing cheered. We had done it!
The Banner Drill competition is a sequence of drill movements completed without orders which demonstrate the ceremonial handling of a squadron / wing banner (i.e. a flag). A full sequence takes about 10 minutes and includes casing and uncasing of the banner, an individual demonstration of pike movements by the Banner Bearer, a march-past and an inspection of the team. Perfecting the sequence requires many months of practice and hard work learning continuity drill movements as a team and immaculate personal foot-drill and uniform presentation.
A massive congratulations to the team from Wantage who will now go on to represent the South West region at the National Championships in November where they will compete against 5 other regional champions.:
- Sgt Casey – Banner Bearer
- Sgt Clark
- Cpl Eatwell – Banner Warrant Officer
- Cpl Beckett
- Cdt Webster
- Cdt Whittaker