Flight Sergeant John Lynch
Flight Sergeant John Lynch's story...
- Patrolling in N Ireland 1974 & 75, having grown up there and now seeing the other side of the fence.
- The experience of Gulf War One. Ceremonial duties for HMTQ in Berlin in 1987.
- Achievied the rank of Flight Sergeant - becoming 'Chiefy'.
- My early service was on the Bofor 40/70 Low Level Air Defence Gun.
- I have also served on Field squadrons in UK and in Cyprus.
- Spent twenty years operating the Rapier Short Range Air Defence (SHORAD) missile systems, serving on several squadrons.
- I have served on station Ground Defence Training sections and spent two years on Recruit Training duties at RAF Swinderby.
- Served in, or have been detached to, Cyprus, Germany, Belize, N Ireland, Bahrain, USA, Denmark, Portugal, Sardinia, Berlin, The Outer Hebrides and The Falkland Islands.
Day 1 - 1st July 2008
Day One, and what a day. It’s always a slow process getting people fell in for the first time, but when there are 220 people it takes a long time. There is a risk that they will get a bit bored or excitable while the Drill Instructors get organised so we had to move fast! By day’s end, we had achieved all our objectives and the troops worked hard to achieve high standards. Moral is high, but then, tomorrow is another day!
Day 2 - 2nd July 2008
It’s the end of day 2 and things don’t get much better than this! We were already a little ahead of the programme this morning but these young men and women taking part in the parade have worked their socks off today, and have achieved a standard of drill and deportment I would not have expected until the weekend. They have picked up everything and their morale is sky high. I would take these people on a public parade now! As for the Drill instructors, patience and understanding is as much a part of the job as discipline and they have done a first class job.
As a reward, the troops have a little down time tomorrow morning to relax and continue the prep of their kit, however, the instructors are required at the normal time to prepare for the arrival of the RAF Standard Parties; another 250 personnel who will be our next students on the parade square. No rest for the wicked as they say!!
Day 3 - 3rd July 2008
We moved things further forward today by introducing the Officers. It’s vitally important that they learn their part because if they make a mistake, up to one hundred people could end up in the wrong position. Up to now, the troops have been responding to a DIs voice, which is trained for the task in order to achieve the right results. This is not the case with the officers, they do need a lot of voice coaching. That said, everything continues to fall into place and the boys and girls continue to make strides and improve their drill. Now that the teaching is finished, we are adding some polish to the drill together with lots of sway and swagger. I want these people to march out on the day, be proud of what they have achieved here, and show off to the world, and I am confident that they are good enough.
Day 7 - 7th July 2008
The big day looms ever nearer and things are coming together very nicely. We filmed Sunday’s rehearsal because I want these young men and women to see the whole parade, and to see exactly how big it is.You never get to see that when you are a part of it. Even as I write they are watching it next door on the big screen and I am certain that they will be very pleased to see how well they are performing. The Instructors have done a very thorough job and this is reflected in the troops’ steadfastness and attention to detail.
I just wish it would stop raining for long enough to allow them to complete at least one rehearsal without getting soaked to the skin!
Day 9 - 9th July 2008
I’m a bit unhappy today. There are a lot of people working very hard here to put on a good parade for The Queen, and one of the tabloids has had a go at things, talking about various restrictions and conditions on the camp. Well, very little of that report reflects what is really going on. There was a time set by which all personnel had to be back on camp, but it was not some kind of draconian restriction, that is just the RAF exercising its duty of care to some very young people. Yes there are duties to be carried out, that is called cleaning up after yourself. Come on guys, tell the truth!
Now, back to the business which really matters. Going to get wet again today! But we have rehearsed this very thoroughly so it should make no difference to the performance. The lads and lassies are all very up for this and their enthusiasm shows through their high standards of dress, drill and deportment. Their morale is through the roof because they are earning the praises of everyone who watches them on parade. We have lost some people along the way through minor injuries from the rifle drill. No, nobody has been shot or stabbed, just muscle strains and other minor ailments. I feel very sorry for them because after all the effort of training and rehearsing, they will not parade on the day. But they will still be there, assisting the spectators in one way or another.
This is the final rehearsal (barring any disasters), so tomorrow is set aside as down time for the troops to relax, and prep their kit of course. If they have learned anything here, it’s how to bull shoes and press the uniform!!