Personnel Management Squadron staff ride
Members of RAF Halton Personnel Management Squadron undertook a Staff Ride to London on 6 November to observe the Sea of Poppies and take in the London Heritage Walk, visiting monuments such as St lement Danes the RAF Central Church, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial and the RAF Bomber Command Memorial.
The aim of the day was to visit various memorials and monuments with RAF history. Given the time of year, we started at the Tower of London to see the sea of poppies. The atmosphere was very special and surprisingly calm considering the crowds of spectators. Flt Lt Popple gave a brief on the history of the poppy which suggested the poppy’s association to remembrance events came from the United States on 9 Nov 1918.
From the Tower, the next stop was the RAF Central Church at St Clement Danes. For many of the team this was the first time they had been to the church. We were lucky enough to be given a detailed and lively brief on the history of the church from the Resident Padre, David Osborn, particularly given how busy his week was in preparation for Remembrance Sunday. The records show a church stood on the land from 878AD and had a number of reincarnations until rebuilt completely following the Great London Fire by the famous Architect Sir Christopher Wren in 1680-1682. This survived until the church was almost destroyed by German bombs during the London Blitz of 10 May 1941. Chosen by the Royal Air Force to become the Central Church after WW2 funds were raised to restore the building back to the original Wren design before the church was re-consecrated in 1958. Topics for the trip included different leadership styles, the Battle of Britain from both an RAF and Luftwaffe perspective and the moral debate surrounding Bomber Command.
SAC Jackson said “I thought it was really well tied into the time of year (remembrance) because it made all of the stands very poignant, and gave us an appreciation of the world wars/lives lost. I enjoyed visiting St Clement Danes Church because it made me feel proud to be part of the RAF and I thought the remembrance books of all who’ve lost their lives whilst serving were very moving.”
LAC Sutton said “The heritage walk was very insightful, especially to learn the extensive history about St Clement Danes church, delivered eloquently by the resident padre. Strange having a cuppa in the crypt doesn’t seem like your usual place to do so, certainly something different. I was mesmerised by the sea of poppies we viewed at the tower of London, and would love to visit at a quieter time to take time to remember those who gave so much. The day had invoked thought about sacrifice and how things have moved on. This was and proved to be a great opportunity to bond with the team.”
All in all a great day was had with some very good and thoughtful presentations. We were very lucky with the weather, enjoying a bright but chilly day and despite almost losing one member on the busy commuter tube, we all headed home safe and sound. Well done to SAC Bosworth for organising and leading the event.