RAF Air Cadets News

Skip to content

Shackleton Trophy awarded to 129 (Tunbridge Wells) Squadron

Kent Wing’s 129 (Tunbridge Wells) Squadron has been awarded the prestigious Shackleton Trophy for its ‘Pedal Overlord’ cycling expedition to the Normandy D-day beaches.

In May 2023, 129 Squadron’s Pedal Overlord expedition took 16 cadets aged 13-17, supported by 5 squadron staff members, on a fast-paced 200km bike ride over 3 days. Leaving vehicles behind at Portsmouth and riding bikes onto the ferry, the route took the cadets along the D-day beaches with full expedition kit. All participants gained an understanding and appreciation of the scale of Operation Overlord back in 1944.

Squadron commanding officer and expedition leader, Flt Lt JC Vousden, said “This was a strenuous expedition for cadets who showed great determination to complete the challenge. We’re delighted to have been awarded The Shackleton Trophy and intend to compete for it again in future years.”

Expedition member, Corporal Kian Hepden, said: “One of the best experiences that cadets has ever provided, this opportunity was once in a lifetime, and I would love to do it again.”

The coveted Shackleton Trophy is awarded annually to the Air Training Corps (ATC) expedition judged to be the most successful, imaginative, and adventurous. The award was created by Jim Crail, a previous Chairman of the Shackleton Association. He thought to link the quality of endurance implicit in the Shackleton aircraft’s name with that demanded from each ATC expedition and representing the Corps motto ‘Venture Adventure’.

The Pedal Overlord expedition diary is here: https://129sqn.org/pedal-overlord/

The squadron is grateful to The Ulysses Trust for their sponsorship of this expedition.