Senior Aircraftman Mathew Whiteside

Senior Aircraftman Mathew Whiteside SAC Mathew Whiteside's story...


  • Passed Recruitment training.
  • Passed Movements School.
  • Being involved in RIAT and the Presentation of the Queen’s Colours.

Day 1 - 1st July 2008

From day one, I am aching all over and am hanging out from being on my feet all day in hot weather. The day has been tiring and challenging, yet now we have completed the day, it was a good days training. The set up here is very good and there are plenty of activities to do when stood down.

Day 2 - 2nd July 2008

Relatively good day today. Learnt new moves and have polished off the other movements we had learnt yesterday. All seems to be coming on well. Late start tomorrow, which means a lay in so happy with that. Have sore arms, stiff legs, blisters and sore back, good times!

Day 3 - 3rd July 2008

Late start today. Spent morning finishing of all of the basic drill and arms drill required for the parade. Officers turned up in the afternoon and we have now been going through the actual parade going through all the movements in sequence for the day. Arms naturally ache from arms drill, otherwise no dramas. Looking forward to now doing the full parade run through to get a bigger picture of what we are going to be doing on the day of the parade.

Day 5 - 5th July 2008

Pretty good day today. It has been the first day where we have done a full run through of the parade with the RAF Band, RAF Regiment and ourselves (Support Squadrons). Not sure how it looked, but from the feedback we have received from the Drill Instructors, things seem to be progressing well. All there is now is to rehearse the parade over and over again until perfection. Glad that we are now doing the rehearsals, as you now can familiarise yourself with the command words from seniors and were everyone is positioned. Moral is still very high as everything is going to plan with 110% being put into the training for the parade, even though fatigue is ripe!

Day 6 - 6th July 2008

Sunday morning and at 0900 we were on the parade square. Went through another rehearsal with the Standard, Escort and Support Squadrons present. It seemed to go well and the feedback we received was that we were continuing to progress well. Lucky for us – after that rehearsal we stacked it and had some stand-down time. Throughout the whole parade it was throwing it down, so to keep the discipline that we did was good to see. Though, on a Sunday morning, I could think of many better places to be than getting soaked on a parade square!

Day 7 - 7th July 2008

First rehearsal at Fairford today. Was an important day as we were going to be rehearsing where the parade will be held instead of at Innsworth. This meant that everyone could get a better idea of the surroundings and our positioning. In the afternoon we went into a full timed rehearsal, which is important so we could get a better idea of how the parade will run. The parade seemed to go well and things from my view seemed to look and sound good. Arms were aching a little, but since the beginning of the build up, everyone’s arms are becoming more use to the weight of the rifle. Towards the end of the rehearsal, the skies opened up and it hammered it down! Though, ‘it’s only training when it’s raining!’

Day 8 - 8th July 2008

Spent a total of four hours rehearsing the parade today, which as you can imagine is very trying. I went through the parade with the precise timings as for the day. Watching the parade was the AOC of 22 Group who afterwards commented on how well the preparations had gone. As you can’t see the big picture when you are in the parade, it’s good to know that things look good and professional. Have a full dress rehearsal in the evening tomorrow with the Chief of Air Staff. So that allows us the morning off for some down time and final kit preparations.

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