Squadron Leader Stuart Iles BEd Hons RAFVR(T)
Wing Adventure Training Technical Officer (WATTO)
I joined 489 squadron at the age of 12 with Nick Upton (now Flt Lt & OC 2030) during my years as a cadet; I experienced flying in a chipmunk at RAF Shawbury, Gliding at RAF Little Rissington, and ATC Camps at Cosford and Honnington. My interest level was further maintained with participation in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme where I achieved my Bronze and Silver Awards and along the way came promotions to Corporal and Sergeant.
Then I reached the grand age of twenty and opted to become a Civilian Instructor, a position I held for three years with responsibility for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Having gained experience as a member of staff I went into uniform as a AWO in May 1990 supporting the squadron as Adjutant as well as my continued involvement with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Having gained uniformed experience I was then commissioned in January 1993 and moved to 492 Solihull squadron, with the opportunity to take command at a later stage. Promotion to Flight Lieutenant and Command of 492 came in 1994. During my years as OC I was part of a very successful team of staff, cadets and Civilian Committee. This team achieved a tremendous amount and one of the notable awards was the Lees Trophy which we competed in during 1999/2000, where we were top of the Wing, Region and were actually placed 3 rd in the Corps. In this same year the cadets went on to win a major sporting Trophy at every event. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award featured very heavily in the training and development of all cadets. From 1994 to 2003 the squadron achieved 68 Bronze, 47 Silver and 34 Gold, with our best year being 2003 when the cadets gained 13 Bronze, 10 Silver and 19 Gold, a total of 42 awards. Finally the MV award has proved very popular, with 492 being the top squadron in the Wing, Region and Country for the highest number of hours.
2003 was a great year to finish at 492 when I was moved onto the Wing Staff to take up a new role as the Wing Adventure Training Technical Officer (WATTO). This role is to support Sqn Ldr Coats in the development of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Scheme, the MV award plus my own role which is to monitor all Staff Qualifications for Adventure Training. I am also Course Director for the Basic Expedition Leader Award, and a Wild Country Assessor qualified to assess cadets at Gold level for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the Yorkshire Dales and Llanbedr area of Wales. Another part of my job is to advise and monitor all safety aspects of Expedition work, check First aid Certificates are current and carry out checks on all log books held by staff. In between all this I am WSO for five squadrons in the Wing.
For a full time job I am a Primary School Teacher which I have been doing for eleven years, I don’t have any spare time as I have two young children called Dominic and Mary and a very supportive wife.
Contact: Sqn Ldr Stuart Iles
To support all of our units in aspects of Adventure Training, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Millennium Volunteers Award Schemes with the objective of ensuring our cadets achieve the best possible results in these areas, and lessoning where possible the administrative burden on our overworked staff.
- To have a member of staff from every Squadron qualified with a Basic Expedition Leaders Ticket
- Keep squadrons informed of Health and Safety issues and up dates about Expeditions and Explorations for the Duke of Edinburgh’s award