November 21st 2019

New Warrant Officer flying high at Heanor Gate CCF

Presentation to WO Hathaway

Sqn Ldr Coupland presents WO Hathaway with new rank slides

A brand new Warrant Officer position was announced at the Biennial Review at Heanor Gate Science College Combined Cadet Force.


Flight Sergeant Tom Hathaway was delighted by the surprise announcement and was presented with his new rank slides by Squadron Leader Jim Coupland from Headquarters Air Cadets.

Heanor CCF Cheshire Flight cropped

Heanor CCF Cheshire Flight presenting

The Biennial Review was undertaken by Sqn Ldr Coupland, who had the opportunity to take part in the many skills stands run by the Cadets.  These included First Aid, camouflage and concealment, code-breaking, leadership tasks and making annular aircraft, amongst others.  The cadets from Cheshire, Johnson and Malan flights also introduced Powerpoint presentations on the RAF pilots their flights are named for.

Squadron Leader Coupland spoke to the Cadets:  “You will be given authority and responsibility, and the two go hand in hand.  You will get given a job and you are the person responsible for the success or failure of that.  These are the things that will help develop you.

Heanor CCF First Aid stand cropped

Heanor CCF First Aid stand

“Leadership is one thing but ‘followership’ is another.  We need leaders to inspire and motivate people to do things they either don’t want to do, or they don’t think they can do, that is Jim Coupland’s definition of a leader.  Management, well that’s just the allocation of resources.

“Nothing happens without ‘followership’.  When that leader says, ‘I need these people to go and do this’, that’s when everyone else has to get stuck in, we’ve always got to work as a team.  These are the opportunities that RAF Cadets are giving you as individuals to develop but also, it’s going to give you great opportunities to do exciting things like camps and flying.

“As this CCF section has grown, this is the first time we have had sufficient numbers to warrant this post, the first time we will promote someone from Flight Sergeant to Warrant Officer.  It’s a very big step, an important rank, the bridge between the NCOs and the Officers.  It’s a pivotal appointment that brings with it authority and responsibility.”

Heanor CCF Camouflage Stand cropped

Heanor CCF Camouflage Stand

Flight Lieutenant Miriam Watson announced further:  “Another surprise for Warrant Officer (WO) Hathaway is that we will be adding a brand new trophy this year, called the Hathaway Trophy.  This will be awarded to the junior Cadet who has made the most progress in the first year.  It’s named after WO Hathaway because, in his time in Cadets, he has done his utmost to develop the junior Cadets.  He has won ‘Best Cadet’ at every camp he has attended, and he has won the Blatchly Howard trophy for best cadet in Heanor Gate CCF two years in a row, so we wanted to recognise the efforts he has made to contribute to the CCF.”

Heanor Gate Combined Cadet Force was formed in September 2013 as part of the Government-led Cadet Expansion Programme to form new cadet units in English state-funded schools and now has 55 Cadets.  The programme offers many life-enriching activities, including gaining skills in leadership and teamwork, and growing self-confidence, whilst giving them the opportunity to obtain vocational qualifications and take part in new opportunities.

Heanor CCF hoop gliders cropped

Heanor CCF Annular Aircraft stand

In the last few years, Cadets have flown various aircraft, including Tutors, Vikings and Junos, visited RAF Henlow, Shawbury, Cranwell and Scampton, and taken part in the East Area Air Squadron Trophy Competition.  They have also attended summer camps, including other air cadet camps such as a Drill and Ceremonial camp at the Beckingham training area.  Many of these activities have been new life experiences for most and allowed them to forge new friendships.

To find out more about Cadets and the opportunities for adult volunteers to get involved, visit

"We need leaders to inspire and motivate people to do things they either don’t want to do, or they don’t think they can do. Leadership is one thing, but nothing is going to happen without ‘followership’."