Local Veterans joined the School community at our Armistice Day Remembrance Service.
Newcastle-under-Lyme School CCF is one of over 250 School based Contingents. The CCF is a youth organisation that is sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. Its aim is to enable young people to develop new skills, including leadership, and to give them an insight into the armed forces.
Whilst cadets wear military uniform, they are not members of the armed forces. Officers, who are mostly members of the staff of the schools, hold reserve commissions and appointments.
The Contingent at the school was formed in 1910 as an Officers Training Corps (OTC) for Army cadets. After the Second World War the CCF replaced the OTC. At Newcastle there was initially only an Army section. However by 1967 Royal Navy and Royal Air Force sections had been formed. Today the Contingent is one of the few in the West Midlands to be composed of all three sections.
Pupils can join the CCF at the start of Year 9. After a probationary half term they then opt to join one section for the rest of the year. Many cadets then choose to remain in Year 10 and beyond. In Year 11 a leadership course is run which is the first step to promotion. In the Sixth Form many cadets undertake a BTEC CVQ course in Public Services which is based on the activities they undertake in their section. Sixth form cadets provide the NCOs who undertake much of the training of the cadets.
CCF training has a common core in all three sections. This includes drill and turnout, map and compass and shooting. Each service has its own proficiency syllabus which cadets follow in years 9 to 11. This is supplemented by activities such as adventure training, command tasks, obstacle course training, sailing, flying and gliding. Training takes place after school on Friday afternoons, on termly Field Days and at weekends. In addition all sections attend an Annual Camp each summer. This is the highlight of the year. Usually a week in length the Camps give the cadets the opportunity to put into practice the skills they have acquired during the year. Much of the training here is carried out by regular personnel from cadet training and liaison teams.
The CCF is not a recruiting organisation. However their membership has encouraged some cadets to join the regular forces. At present there are ex cadets in all three services. Their appointments range from high level MOD policy, active service in Afghanistan and the Gulf to undertaking their basic training at the start of their career. At the annual CCF dinner in February a number of ex cadets are always in attendance including some serving in the regular and reserve forces.
On Friday 30th January Captain Kevin Fleming BSc(Hons) MA ARCS Royal Navy came to school for the Contingents Annual Dinner. Upper Sixth cadets and invited guests enjoyed a formal meal in the Memorial Hall. After the usual toasts the Contingent Commander shared his views on the CCF as a family. Captain Fleming then addressed the Dinner. It was a fantastic evening of music, dinner and company enjoyed by all.
The Spring Term will be no less busy. The Royal Navy will be attending the Royal Navy Warfare Weekend at HMS Raleigh in March. This annual event which has been held since 1985 will give the RN recruits a taste of Naval Life. The Royal Air Force will be commencing Flying again after an enforced break due to technical problems and the section will also be taking to the air in Gliders. On Field Day the Recruits will have an opportunity to spend a night in the field and undertake a night patrol exercise.
Since the last update UO Eshu Ganapathy has left the Contingent to commence his medical studies in India. He has been replaced by UO Laura Dulson who was the Senior Cadet in the Army Section last Year.
The Senior Cadets for the three sections are as follows:
Royal Navy: Coxn Emily Tunnicliffe
Army: CSM Jordan Broadhead
Royal Air Force: WO Eton Chung.
Group Captain Dominic Toriati was the Reviewing Officer for the 2012 Biennial Review Day at Swynnerton Training area. The Group Captain who is an Old Boy of the school was accompanied by Staff officers from all three services. The Headmaster, Bursar and Chair of Governors also spent the day with the Contingent. Group Captain Toriati was hosted around the training by Upper sixth pupil and RAF Cpl Sharmaine Rizvi.
Activities inspected varied from Royal Naval leadership tasks to Firing on the DCCT range. RAF Shawbury provided a helicopter so that all RAF cadets could have a flight around the local area. A particular highlight was the first aid stand with realistic casualties of a bomb left by the side of a road. The new recruits were given an insight into life in the forces by the local armed forces recruiting team. There was plenty of time for Group Captain Toriati to chat with the cadets and share their experiences of the past year in the CCF.
The day ended with the traditional endurance race where the RAF just beat the Army by one second. Group Captain Toriati then addressed a parade of the cadets before returning to his post of OC RAF Odiham and Commanding Officer of the Chinook helicopter fleet.
After a hectic Spring term of training the CCF enters the final term of the year in good shape. All three sections including the recruits undertook weekend training last term. This included the RAF overnight leadership exercise at Swynnerton with Ellesmere College and Hartshill ATC. The RAF also attended Easter Camp at RAF Shawbury. Here Year 9 cadet Tom Knowles was awarded the title of Cadet of the Camp. The Royal Navy travelled to Plymouth for the Annual Warfare weekend at HMS Raleigh and enjoyed several hours on the water. Meanwhile the Army continued to practice their fieldcraft skills at Swynnerton.
Cadet Warrant Officer Edward Cooper has been made a Lord Lieutenants Cadet for Staffordshire for 2012. This is a great honour for both Edward and the Contingent.
The term ahead includes the final round of the Inter-Section Victor Ludorum competition with the endurance race on 4th May. With examinations the pace slackens as the term progresses. However all three sections will be preparing for Summer Camps and Courses in Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Devon. Cadets from the Royal Naval Section will also be taking part in the RN CCF Channel expedition.