On Tuesday 3rd April AWES personnel embarked on a work liaison visit to RAF Marham. The objective of the trip was to see how the Role Bay at Marham was set-up and to pick up any ideas to improve the Coningsby Role Bay.

The visit also included a Marham Armourers versus Coningsby Armourers football match as a social event to build relationships between both parties.

Arriving at 1400 hours, the day started with the football game. After a two hour coach journey Coningsby Armourers started off slowly as expected, and within the first 8 minutes were 2-0 down. Eventually finding their feet they got back into the game, outplaying Marham for the remaining 30 minutes of the half. The break through never came and the first half ended with the score remaining 2-0, with the feeling that this did not reflect the way Coningsby had played. Coningsby started the second half very much like the first and dominated Marham for large parts of the game. Finally a superb effort form SAC Bennett went in and everyone could only see a Coningsby win from then on in. However, Marham shut up shop and defended well. After a hard ninety minutes the game ended 2-1 to Marham. A great performance from our boys had earned plaudits from Marhams Warrant Officer saying “Coningsby Role Bay had deserved the win” and the Flt Lt saying “he wouldn’t bet against Coningsby Role Bay in the return leg.” The highlight of the game by far was Chf Tech Cartwright, collapsing in the middle of the pitch and controlling the ball on the way down with his chin, before standing up and coolly passing it like nothing had happened! The game got a little heated at certain stages but a little competition is always a good thing!

After the game the visitors were split into two groups. The groups were all taken aback at the excellent facilities of Marham Role Bay and the systems and processes they had in place to carry out their servicing, along with the amount of space that every individual Bay had, compared to Coningsby Role Bay. The Bays were logically laid out with all tools and equipment correctly positioned. This allowed for a much safer and controlled working environment. This is currently difficult to achieve at Coningsby due to lack of space. It was identified that the Gun and ERU Bays were also using the same systems which was proving to be a great success. The SNCO’s at Marham talked about allowing the SAC’s to set up the Bay and create a process which was well thought out and logical. The groups acknowledged that the junior ranks were given the opportunity to input new ideas which maintained the impetus to ensure the Marham Role Bay was kept up to date. This mutual respect and common goal made it an understanding and friendly environment to work in. The Marham Role Bays were tidy and there was no extra role equipment in sight apart from the equipment that was currently being worked upon. The observations made were; Coningsby Role Bays did not have the same available storage space to allow for these obvious improvements to be made, Marham had modernised their facilities over time and developed an excellent servicing facility. This was identified as an area of improvement required at Coningsby, to sustain the increase of role equipment maintenance using the available space. Overall it was a very good experience to see how another unit works, ensuring that Coningsby can profit from Marham Role Bays’ good ideas.

After an eye opening tour where best practise ideas were swapped, Marham Armourers were presented with the Football Trophy in the Tea-bar which gave everyone the chance to chat about the day and develop interpersonal relationships and to catch up with old friends. Overall, the whole day was a great success and everybody is now looking forward to hosting Marham in six months time for the return visit, which we will definitely not be losing!