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In what will be a very different Christmas for us all, with the recent changes to restrictions and the introduction of Tier 4. Can I ask that you all stay in touch with your friends and colleagues within the Wing. There may be some who won’t tell you, but they may well be forced this year to spend Christmas Day on their own. Check in with your friends and colleagues to see what their plans are.
Send a message, give them a call or offer to catch up with them virtually on the day. No one should be alone on Christmas Day.
CFAV’s of the Wing, you have my details, don’t be lonely and get in touch if needed. Cadets, speak with your friends and stay in touch throughout the break.
Thank you to everyone across the Wing for your hard work this year. You have shown real grit and determination, overcoming every challenge that came our way. I will see you all in 2021, for what we hope will be a very different year.
Stay safe, stay strong and see you all in 2021.
Wing Commander Joe O’Riley
Officer Commanding Merseyside Wing RAFAC

Merseyside Wing Video message

Wales and West Christmas message

“What a year 2020 has been,” says Wales & West Regional Commandant, Group Captain Roger Simon. “Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year. Nadolig Llawen a Blwydden Newydd Dda.”  

Christmas message from Commandant RAF Air Cadets

Air Commodore Tony Keeling, Commandant RAFAC’s Christmas message for Cadets and Staff of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets.        

National RAFAC Music Services

Performed, recorded and filmed on mobile phones during Lockdown #2 in November 2020 by cadets across the UK.
Audio recording of “Fairytale of New York” was performed by cadets and supporting music tutors of the RAFAC National Concert Band. With just 2 weeks to learn the music and without rehearsal, cadets recorded their individual instrumental part on their mobile phone. These separate clarinet, trombone, drum parts etc were all then mixed together to create the full band sound that you can hear on the track. It has to be remembered, that this band has not met in person since their concert at St Clement Danes Church, London, in August 2019 and that some of these cadets who were selected for the 2020 Band have not met up in person at all! To create this soundtrack individually and without rehearsal is a real testament to the talented young musicians within the Corps. This is genuinely not a backing track and I would really like to stress that the accompanying music has been recorded from scratch using mobile phones across the UK! It is an amazing feat of technology!
The video clips of cadets in uniform / xmas attire / dancing are all members of the National Concert Band and as you can see, they are not short of humour or personality! The National Concert Band caters for some of the most advanced musicians in the Corps many of whom go on to have careers in music. The audio recording is a sequel to the virtual Africa performance in April 2020.
Also included in the video is footage from the virtual performances that took place earlier this year. There is a clip from “Africa” performed by the National Concert Band which went viral and ended up on Sky News. The National String Ensemble’s virtual performance as well as a clip of the National Choir’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent – all of which did take place in 2020. We have also included a clip from the National Pipes & Drums and the National Marching Band to represent all 5 National Ensembles.
Cadets from across the National Ensembles representing all of RAFAC Music Services, also had the opportunity to submit photos of themselves taking part in cadet activities that are indicative of 2020. E.g. VE Day celebrations, clapping for the NHS on the doorstep, creating their own virtual performances, screenshots of virtual parade nights etc.
And of course, it features a special guest in Santa – who we believe will be recognisable by most of the Corps so do not want to give the game away here!

RAF on high alert

Whilst Santa’s elves are working hard and most working people are taking a break over the festive season, staff at Royal Air Force Fylingdales will be working 24/7, especially after an incident that occurred last year.

RAF QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) Typhoons were scrambled to and escorted a Lapland registered aircraft (flying from the Arctic region) over the UK’s major cities, the pilot of the craft was said to be under the influence of alcohol and very “festive”, this is especially dangerous due to the sheer volume of cargo the aircraft was carrying.

This is expected to happen again towards the end of this month on the 24th through to the 25th.

MoD spokesman Christopher Cringle had this to say:

“Interception is part of what the QRA force do. We have to identify and confirm who or what is flying through our airspace or approaching our airspace and since the craft appears at the same time each year, we have a fairly good idea who will be flying but we don’t take any chances.”

The Ministry of Defence used satellites with infrared sensors to track the aircraft last time this happened, it is understood that the heat from an animals red nose was clearly visible and it was at this point RAF aircraft began escorting the jet over every British city, town and village.

Reported by George Allison, UK Defence Journal 

NORAD Santa Tracker

If you want to track Santa on Christmas Eve you can using NORAD’s Santa Tracker found here. 

On a Christmas Eve shift back in 1955, Colonel Harry Shoup answered a call made to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) in Colorado Springs, USA.

To his surprise, a young child had phoned the top secret line after finding a newspaper advert about ‘Santa’s Toyland’ from department store Sears, with the number of CONAD, NORAD’s predecessor, printed by mistake.

NORAD has carried out its Christmas role for 65 years and since 1997, children across the globe have been able to monitor Santa’s journey online.