A Very Busy Summer for CCF Cadets
13th September 2019
HMS BRISTOL Camp
Almost as soon as term had broken up, 5 RN cadets were preparing to depart for the CCF Summer Camp held each year on HMS BRISTOL, an old warship moored at Whale Island, Portsmouth. They were Jermaine Garba, Livvy Lawrence, Lily Marder, Ollie O’Nions and Niall Perryman. As Ollie reports: “During the week we had numerous activities to occupy us. Mountain biking was torture because of the huge hills; then came yachting which was cool and chilled and paddlesports which was great fun. I would definitely recommend this Camp to anyone who wants a challenging but hilarious CCF opportunity.” This sentiment is echoed by all the attendees.
Jude Heathcote opted to increase his yachting mileage on CORNISH AIR, a 38’CCF yacht based also at Whale Island, Portsmouth. As Jude reports: “We sailed from Portsmouth over to the Isle of Wight. The following morning we sailed for 12 hours to reach Cherbourg. From there we sailed to the Channel Islands visiting Alderney, Guernsey, Sark then back to Alderney. To avoid bad weather we went straight back to Portsmouth. This was my second Channel Sail with CCF. I feel that my navigation skills have improved especially as we had been doing the RYA Essential Navigation Theory Course in school CCF time last year. I was confident enough to help plan the passages and I have gained enough night hours and mileage to go towards the RYA Day Skipper practical assessment in future.”
Livvy Lawrence and Lily Marder were joined by Amber Tucker when they returned to HMS BRISTOL in the last week of July for a Paddlesports Course. All three were successful and gained Level 2 Certificates. As Amber says: “I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to have fun on the water.” For Lily: “The best part was making new friends from CCFs all over the UK. I learned the importance of great team work through working with people I didn’t know.”
Meanwhile Jermaine Garba and Will Marke also set off from Whale Island on a CCF motor cruiser, a former police launch so a powerful, twin engine powerboat. They motored along the south coast from Portsmouth to Bournemouth and Poole taking turn to helm and learning navigation theory. Will says: “I most enjoyed the helming and found the navigation theory challenging but I was able to put it into practice. I gained RYA Essential Navigation and helmanship qualifications. I would recommend this course to other cadets who are keen on driving big power boats.”
Finally, ten cadets including two from the Army Section joined the CCF Dartmouth Summer Camp held at the Britannia Royal Naval College for over a week in late August. Trinity had the greatest number of cadets from a single school and they tell great stories about the various courses which they followed.
Edward Smith had witnessed the CCF national band perform the Sunset Ceremony last year at the Camp when he was invited with his family. So impressed was he that he decided to take up the clarinet in September 2018 in order to apply to attend the following year. To everyone’s amazement and delight Ed’s year of learning, practice and sheer determination paid off and he joined the band. “As the week went on I became more confident around new people and in my musical ability. It was a challenge learning how to march while playing but by the end of the week we were doing complex marching routines including slow and counter marches. We also learned the music for a concert performed in the Chapel in front of all the other cadets and the adult staff – this was the best experience for me as I enjoyed playing and the audience loved our repertoire. We played and marched for the Saturday Passing Out Parade and the VIP Guest of Honour, Major General Simon Brooks-Ward inspected the band and was very impressed by our achievements over one week of practice together.” Ed’s proud family were watching him from the balcony when the band performed the very moving Sunset Ceremony on the penultimate evening.
Amber Tucker joined the RYA Powerboat Level 2 Course at Dartmouth. On the River Dart she learned how to drive displacement boats such as the College whalers and planing RIBs, the ‘Rules of the Road’ on the water, different knots and their nautical uses and the importance of understanding the tidal stream. “At the start I was quite worried and shy but by the end of the course I was much more confident in myself and realised that if I keep trying new things then I am likely to enjoy them and gain great experiences to look back on. The Camp is a super way to meet lovely new people and gain qualifications – I now hold the international qualification RYA Powerboat level 2 which is a cool achievement. I would 100% recommend this course to other cadets.”
Jude Heathcote decided on the Junior Leadership option at BRNC where he learned how to do and command parade drill well. This culminated in an impressive whole Camp Passing Out Parade in front of the VIP and many parents and family members. “Throughout the week I was taught the elements of leadership and how to become more confident working with younger cadets in CCF. One of the best things was the friendships I developed and the fun and banter amongst the cadets. I achieved an RN Leadership Qualification.”
Not content with having achieved Levels 1 and 2 in paddlesports, Livvy Lawrence and Lily Marder joined the Level 3 Course at BRNC. For Livvy: “I learned that I can deal with different conditions on a variety of craft. The best experience was having to plan and execute our own route down the River Dart with its fast tidal stream to Dartmouth. The key was teamwork and how to communicate with people I did not know well. I enjoyed making new friends and even the waking at 0600 and doing an hour of drill practice each morning paid off when we marched onto the parade ground on Saturday in front of our families with the band for the Passing Out Parade.”
Jermaine Garba was joined by Army cadet Henry Gates on the Fieldcraft course run by Royal Marines. In 4 days and 3 nights out on Dartmoor they were taught navigating with a compass by day and night, camouflage and concealment, basic tracking skills, hygiene in the field to remain healthy, preparing food from ration packs and building our own shelters. On the third night for the overnight exercise they were not allowed to take sleeping bags or roll mats and had to improvise to build emergency shelters and keep a fire going all night. For Henry: “The best part was the game of ‘Capture the flag’ as it became dark with a lot of tactics and fun “
Esme Drewett, Will Marke and Ollie O’Nions opted for First Aid Training at BRNC. As Esme reports: “We learned all the techniques for injuries needing bandages, the recovery position, CPR and I am very proud of the certificate I achieved. The camp gave me confidence in myself and my abilities. The most fun was using wax and fake blood to make wounds.” For Ollie :”The course was tough and tiring but worth it for the qualification. The Passing Out Parade made me feel incredibly proud and honoured to be at BRNC.”
On Friday, the final day of training at Dartmouth, all the cadets came together in competing Divisions for a simulated disaster exercise. The scenario was that a tsunami had just hit Dartmouth and in the aftermath there were injured local people, looters and areas of devastation to be assessed and dealt with. First Aid cadets looked after incidences such as a friendly Frenchman with an open lower leg fracture (can you guess the adult actor? None other than our own Lt Poulet hamming it up!). Leadership cadets took charge of vital radio communications. Esme was in the winning Queen Elizabeth Division.
BRNC Dartmouth opens its doors every year for CCF cadets to enjoy the experience of living and completing courses within its impressive buildings and grounds. As Contingent Commander I am very proud of the achievements of every cadet who gave up time in the summer to enrich their life experience on CCF Camps and Courses. They were a credit to Trinity School, to our CCF, their families and most importantly to themselves.
Commander Geraldine Poulet-Bowden CCF RNR