Cadets from 868 (Mirfield) Squadron have been among the first to enjoy an exciting new initiative in adventurous activities for cadets launched by South & West Yorkshire Wing ATC: SCUBA Diving.
In October three thirteen-year-old cadets, Aiden Booth, Matthew Devine and Eli Wade, travelled to the John Charles Centre for Sport Aquatics Centre in Leeds with Flight Lieutenant Doubell for an ‘Introductory Try Dive’ session. Following the success of that underwater escapade, in November another four cadets got the opportunity to experience SCUBA: Corporal Rebecca Jagger (15) and cadets Daniel Green (15), Elliot Lunn (14) and Freya Pugh (15).
On both occasions the training was delivered by Squadron Leader Lewis Wright, who is also the Centre Lead Instructor for Lambda Scuba.
The party collected their kit and made their way to the poolside for instruction on how to use it and how to wear it, and what to check before diving: buoyancy, air and releases. With their kit on they entered the pool for more practical instruction and enjoyed a really good underwater swimming practice for about three quarters of an hour!
This is what Freya Pugh wrote about the experience: “We arrived at the John Charles Centre at 8 o’clock, received our kit and changed into swimwear. We were then taken to set up our air cylinders and other equipment, being instructed on how to do so every step of the way. Next, we were taught how to get everything on and how to change the air pressure so that, when in the water, we could change our depth. Once in the water, we spent a few minutes getting used to using fins and the correct methods of swimming with all of the kit on, as well as how to change our depth slowly, and in a controlled manner. We then dove to the bottom of the six-metre pool.
“After landing on the bottom, we had a game of follow-the-leader around the pool, whilst maintaining a constant height to get used to swimming underwater. After a while of doing this, we returned to the surface for a second to talk about what we were going to do next – challenges. After explaining and demonstrating how to do each of the challenges, including filling the mask with water and then clearing it, and throwing the breathing tube and regaining it, we once again dove, and all proceeded to successfully complete the challenges. We finally returned to the surface once more, exited the water, gave back the equipment, and our fun day ended with smiles all around.”
Flight Lieutenant Peter Doubell, the cadets’ Squadron Commander, said: “This is a quite new challenge for our cadets. Obviously they need to be able to swim, but this tests them in terms of their courage, fitness and ability in an entirely new environment. Not everyone would be comfortable being underwater, let alone six metres down! But this is done in a very controlled and safe way that makes the experience really good fun.”
Report by Flight Lieutenant P Doubell, 868 (Mirfield) Squadron, South & West Yorkshire Wing ATC
Mirfield Air Cadets meet at the Air Cadet Centre in Mirfield on Huddersfield Road near the Stocks Bank Road junction, on Tuesday and Friday evenings. For more information please contact Flt Lt Peter Doubell on 01924 498 896 (parade evenings only). To learn more about the air cadets click here or to find your local unit click here