Force development day

On Tuesday 13th March 2012, 8 personnel from the Business Management Team took part in a Force Development trip to London to undertake the Battle of Britain Heritage Walk, followed by a visit to the Churchill War Rooms.

The Battle of Britain Heritage Walk takes approximately 45 minutes, starts at St Clement Danes Church and continues along the Thames Embankment, taking in the Royal Air Force Memorial, the Battle of Britain London Monument, Parliament Square and Westminster Abbey.

The day started well with, surprisingly, only one member of the team switching into Main Building mode and attempting to leave the underground via the exit escalator at Embankment Tube Station. As we watched her ascent, it was surely only a matter of time before she realised that the rest of the team were no longer behind her…

Moments later with the team regrouped it was off to the Temple Station to find the first location. Rather bizarrely, St Clement Danes Church (not to be confused with Australia House which was just across the road), was hosting a group of ballroom dancing school children singing ‘Get me to the Church on time’.  Although they were more than happy for us to wander amongst them, it all became a slightly surreal experience.

With the first site ticked off the list, it was back down towards the river to find the Royal Air Force Memorial. Once we got to this point, the rest of the walk was pretty much a straight line along the Thames (map reading skills not required). Under the chimes of Big Ben the walk concluded and it was time to collect our thoughts, ponder over the questionable and to take stock of the morning’s events (OK so we went to the pub!)

After a brief lunch it was time to head over to what was the secret underground headquarters for the core of the British Government throughout the Second World War – The Churchill War Rooms. They were expecting us, which was a good sign and the lovely Tobias was assigned to be our guide. Whilst the rest of the London Tourist scene had to be content to view from behind the glass panes, we were given the VIP treatment and allowed to enter some of the rooms, most notably the Cabinet War Room, from where Churchill declared it to be the room from which he would direct the war, and the Map Room which remains the same as when the lights were switched off on that last day in 1945.

Once Tobias left us we were free to wander around on our own. There is an amazing amount of stuff to see and do down in the War Rooms and, for anyone considering a visit, just remember the Dambusters date of 16th May 1943 and try entering it onto the big interactive table – Thrilling Stuff!

For full information on the Battle of Britain Heritage Walk visit the website: www.raf.mod.uk/events/bobheritagewalk.cfm