CCF Summer Camp Report 2019

Three minibuses, full of excited cadets, departed from St Edmund’s on Sunday 7th June. After some delays with the minibuses, all cadets safely made it to Jersey Camp, Isle of Wight in time for Colin, our chef, to provide his first delicious meal of the week.

Once settled in our dorms, after the Love Island crowd came to bed, the cadets got ready for the exciting week ahead.

Monday provided the first day for our adventure training packet, fuelled by a full English breakfast. After being split into groups, half our cadets began the day in the sea, working together to navigate a giant paddle board and coasteering round the beautiful cliffs of the Isle of Wight.

The afternoon contained a tough mountain biking trail, and soon after the cadets retired back to camp. In the evening the Lower Fifth cadets revised weapon handling skills, that were to be needed later in the week.

On Tuesday, half the cadets enjoyed an archery session and later in the day, the traditional walk around the Needles Park commenced with a visit to the High Down Rocket Test Site where a pod of dolphins were spotted off the cliffs. At the end of the walk, the Sixth Formers were treated to one of Major Hawkins’ favourite things in the world, a cream tea.

Our range day was conducted on Wednesday, where the cadets traded in their wet-suits for our MTP wear and were split into details with each detail either firing, revising weapon handling, practicing section attacks, or organising the targets in the butts. The cadets operated from the 100m point, allowing them to put into practice the skills they had been learning with our L98A2 rifles, which fire 5.56 rounds. The cadets fired a grouping size of 5 rounds and then 10 more rounds, as central as they could after zeroing the rifles. Congratulations to Catherine Wanstall for achieving the best score of the day (even though it was technically Lily Gibbons – it’s not her fault an extra 5 rounds were put in the magazine, but whatever!). That evening the senior NCOs and teachers resurrected the army tradition of the dining out of leavers. Stories were shared and laughter was aplenty, a wonderful evening.

On Thursday morning, the cadets rehearsed military tactics that were to be needed later in the day, led by our section commanders Gemma Humphries, Matilda Trueblood, and Eloise Newman-Brown. After hiding from the blazing midday sun, the cadets were ready to launch their attack against the enemy, who were led by Lt. Stubbings and some treacherous senior NCOs.

The attack commenced with a forest sweep. Once our left and right stops were put in place, our sweep slowly advanced through the trees. Enemy contact was made and our sweep effectively dealt with it, making use of fire team pairs movement.

When the position was cleared we once again continued the sweep until we came under contact from a larger enemy position. To take this position, our reserve section flanked the enemy and swiftly cleared the area. As the enemy tried to escape our left stop laid down a heavy amount of fire ensuring there was no escape.

However, other enemy retreated across the bridge and further away from the forest. After dealing with a small position on the base of the bridge our sections proceeded across and were faced with a difficult task – patrolling down narrow paths.

In order to complete this task, our sections effectively used the funnelling technique they had been taught earlier, with Charlie swiftly advancing down the path until they came under contact when Delta was used either in a defensive or offensive way. Our sections were cycled and quickly cleared all narrow paths very impressively.

Unfortunately, the enemy had escaped into the open fields beyond these paths. The sections then had to proceed with the familiar tactics of the section attack, flanking the positions in order to destroy the enemy. With one section acting as point, advancing in arrowhead, one section in reserve, and one section ready to be the assaulting section, we proceeded with the attack. After the point section came under fire they moved into an extended line and provided suppressing fire whilst the assaulting section moved into position to flank the enemy. The point section ran out of rounds, while providing suppressing fire, but were quickly relieved by the reserve section who swiftly replaced them. As the attacking section moved to the position they were greeted with the horrifying audio ‘When the night has come, and the land is dark’ which acted as a reminder to some cadets of a particular teacher’s awful singing! Nevertheless, our cadets conquered their fears and took the position. After this position, our cadets realised there was another enemy position further down in the fields and so we cycled our sections and repeated the exercise of flanking and taking the position. A third position was also very quickly taken with an impressive amount of fire being laid down. This contained the last of the enemy and so victory was ours. The cadets then made their way back to camp, daydreaming of what meal Colin was to prepare.

The next day our cadets had a small but well earned lie in to begin the final full day of camp. The minibuses carried the cadets to the beach for a relaxing day. The senior NCOs challenged the teachers to a round of mini golf, which they won, and earnt themselves a milkshake each.

The pupils were left to enjoy the sun, the sea, and games provided on the pier which included an arcade and other funfair games such as bumper cars, a popular choice among the Upper Fifth and Upper Sixth cadets.

Once we returned to camp a final debrief was given. We sadly said goodbye to our Upper Sixth cadets Patrick Mridha, Ben Shepherd, Isabelle Mousley, and Lily and Ella Gibbons and Upper Fifth leaver Lily Pickles. Congratulations go to Maurice Caldon for winning best cadet and Honor Hamilton-West for being awarded most improved cadet. Congratulations also go to section three, led by Eloise Newman-Brown and Jonny Golding for winning best section, and, to our new CSM Matilda Trueblood.

On Saturday morning we tidied the camp and safely headed back to school.

A massive thank you goes to the CCF staff, especially CSgt French for the masses of paperwork and admin he does which makes all of CCF possible, Major Hawkins for his unwavering help and advice, and to Captain Jones who has had an impressive, successful first year as head of the CCF and who is sure to only keep improving the CCF. I’d also like to add a personal thank you from all the leavers as CCF made them who they are as people and has been the biggest highlight of life at St Edmund’s.

Also cheers to Lily Gibbons for being the best CSM ever in history, who no one can replace!

CSM Lily Gibbons (Upper Sixth Pupil)