RAF Halton wade in with assistance
The 33 strong contingent, led by Sqn Ldr Gary Coleman (RAFR) and second in command Sgt Eddie Stoddart (RAF), initially arrived at Chieveley Depot in Berkshire with the important task of packing and shipping sandbags to HM Forces and Civil Emergency Services at the flooded areas. Within one hour of arrival they were re-tasked closer to the flooding to Tinker’s Lane Depot, Windsor, to continue the sandbag task.
Sqn Ldr Coleman said “I am incredibly proud of our efforts here today from RAF Halton’s personnel. Our task is to pack as many sandbags as we can over the next 12 hours. I estimate we have approximately 100 tons of aggregate to pack and ship. When you consider that just six sandbags in a doorway can save a house – our supporting efforts could lead to many hundreds of homes being saved. “
The majority of the personnel were from RAF Halton’s Airman’s Development Flight comprising men and women in the very first few months of their RAF career. To be giving service to the country so early is an exceptionally proud moment for them all.
At the Tinkers Lane Depot in Windsor the teams worked 4 shifts over 40 hours and to date had filled 26,940 sandbags – or ~540 metric tons of sand which approximates to the equivalent maximum take off weight of two of the RAF’s massive C-17 Globemasters.
RAF Halton’s Station Commander, Group Captain Simon Harper, said: “The scale of disruption across the Thames Valley is significant and I am pleased that we have been able to respond in this way and provide some relief and support to those communities so badly affected by the flooding.’