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The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a Ministry of Defence sponsored youth organisation in the United Kingdom. Its aim is to "provide a disciplined organisation in a school so that pupils may develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, self reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance". It is not a pre-service organisation, although it acknowledges that one of its objectives is "to encourage those who have an interest in the services to become Officers of the Regular or Reserve Forces", and a significant number of officers have indeed had experience in the CCF. Prior to 1948 cadet forces in schools existed as part of the Officers' Training Corps framework, but in 1948 the Labour government founded the Combined Cadet Force as a separate entity on the grounds that the previous name was deemed elitist[citation needed].

History[edit | edit source]

The CCF was created on 1 April 1948 by the amalgamation of the Junior Training Corps (formerly the Junior Division of the Officers Training Corps) and the school contingents of the Sea Cadet Corps and Air Training Corps. CCFs are still often referred to as "The Corps".

Cadet 150[edit | edit source]

The year of 2010 is considered by members of the Cadet Forces as a historic year, as it marks the 150th anniversary of cadet activities in the United Kingdom.[1] The celebrations were begun by a gala dinner held at the Honourable Artillery Company on 8 January attended by George Cross winner Lance Corporal Matt Croucher of the Royal Marines,[citation needed] and senior ranking officers from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.[citation needed] The dinner raised funds for the Military Charity Help for Heroes.[citation needed] The pinnacle of the celebrations will be a Parade and Royal Review at Horse Guards Parade, before marching down The Mall to Buckingham Palace where all cadets involved will attend a Garden Party.[2] The parade will consist of cadets from the Combined Cadet Force, the Sea Cadet Corps, the Army Cadet Force, and the Air Training Corps. A marching band from each of the cadet movements will also be taking part in the parade, most notably, the National CCF Band.[3] The National CCF Band trains at HMS Raleigh across the year, under guidance from members of the Royal Marines Band Service who volunteer their time for the training weeks. Training takes place at Naval Bases in the South of England, including HMS Raleigh, Britannia Royal Naval College, and HMS Excellent.

Contingents[edit | edit source]

On 12 May 1859, the Secretary of State for War sent out a circular letter to the public schools and Universities inviting them to form units of the Volunteer Corps.[4] Arguably, the first school cadet corps was established at Rossall School in February 1860,[5] initially as an army contingent only. Felsted already had an armed drill contingent at the time of the War Office letter under the command of Sgt. Major Rogers RM; its claim on these grounds to be the oldest school corps was upheld by Field Marshal Earl Roberts in a letter to the Headmaster of 1904.[6] Other corps were very quickly formed in 1860 at four further schools: Eton, Harrow, Hurstpierpoint and Rugby; in the absence of further evidence it seems fair to say that all six schools should be equally credited with seniority, with a given date of 1860.[7] In 1908, the units were re-titled the Officer Training Corps (OTC)[8] Today, unit contingents exist in UK independent schools, many grammar schools and a handful of comprehensive schools.

The CCF is distinct from the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, and Air Training Corps.

  • The Royal Navy Section wear a distinct CCF Cap Badge.
  • Royal Marines sections wear the Royal Marines badge and blue beret.
  • The Army Sections wear the cap badge of their associated regiment or corps, or their school cap badge.
  • The RAF Sections of the CCF wear the RAF cap badge.

Pupils normally join around the age of 13 or 14, with both sexes able to take part. A school contingent may have any combination of Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force sections, and sometimes Royal Marines. The Army Section is almost invariably the largest.

The CCF movement is dominated by the independent sector with the majority of contingents still being based in public schools. It was reported in 2008 that some Public School CCF detachments would be opened to pupils of local state schools.[9]

Cadets[edit | edit source]

In 2001, the then Minister of State for Defence replied to a question posed in Parliament about how many CCFs were currently affiliated to the MOD.[10]

Section Number of cadets Number of schools
Army 25,724 238
Royal Air Force 9,439 185
Royal Navy 5,347 124
Royal Marines inc. in Navy 18
Total 40,509 259

In October 2007 the under-secretary of state for defence gave details of the total number of CCF sections, and the number in state schools.[11]

Section Total Number in
state schools
Army 259 60
Royal Air Force 199 41
Royal Navy 110 12
Royal Marines 18 0

Cadet ranks[edit | edit source]

Army and Royal Marines RAF RN
Cadet Under Officer[citation needed] Cadet Under Officer Cadet Under Officer
Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major [12] Cadet Warrant Officer Cadet Coxswain
Cadet Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant[citation needed]/Company Sergeant Major
Cadet Staff/Colour Sergeant Cadet Flight Sergeant Cadet Petty Officer
Cadet Sergeant Cadet Sergeant
Cadet Corporal Cadet Corporal Cadet Leading Rate/Leading Hand
Cadet Lance Corporal Cadet Junior Corporal
Cadet/Marine Cadet/Ordinary Cadet/Able Cadet Cadet Cadet

Most Cadet ranks are standard non-commissioned ranks, prefixed by "Cadet", for day-to-day administration the "Cadet" prefix is often omitted. The highest rank depends on the size of the contingent, but are usually Cadet Coxswain (Royal Navy Section), Cadet Regimental or Company Sergeant Major (Army and RM Sections) and Cadet Warrant Officer (RAF Section).

Senior cadets may also hold other appointments; for example the senior cadet in a CCF band[citation needed] or Corps of Drums may be appointed as a Cadet Drum Major.

Some contingents may have Junior (and sometimes Senior) Under Officers. Cadet Under Officers' rank badges are white bands 12 mm wide across each shoulder slide, the same ranks insignia as Officer Cadets with the addition of the letters CCF underneath.

To give commonality of ranks among the different sections, the RAF section has the rank of Cadet Junior Corporal, (this does not exist in the RAF or in the Air Training Corps) equivalent to Cadet Lance Corporal in the Army section.

Uniform[edit | edit source]

Royal Navy Section[edit | edit source]

The two regulation uniforms for RN cadets are No. 4 working dress and No. 3 parade dress. These are differentiated from regular RN uniform by the wearing of brassards, which show rate, qualification and skills, and the 'CCF RN' rank slide. They may be issued with combat uniform if required and some schools have No 1 uniform for senior cadets.

Royal Marines Section[edit | edit source]

Cadets in the CCF(RM) wear DPM (camouflage) trousers, combat jackets, and shirts along with boots much the same as the army section. Headdress is the Royal Marines non-commando blue beret with the Royal Marines capbadge on a red 'tombstone' patch.

Army Section[edit | edit source]

Army cadets usually wear the Combat Soldier 95 Pattern (CS95) uniform as worn by regular soldiers although some contingents still have 'lightweight' OG (olive green) uniform or older pattern combat uniform . Ranks are shown with qualifications on a brassard, or with combats on a rank slide marked 'CCF'.

RAF Section[edit | edit source]

RAF cadets wear No.2 dress, either with dark blue shirt (2c) or 'Wedgwood' (2, 2a, 2b). They are distinguished from regular personel by their brassards. They may be issued with combat uniform if required.

Officers[edit | edit source]

CCF officers are often teachers from the school, and are not normally eligible to be called up. They hold acting officer ranks up to and including lieutenant colonel (the highest substantive rank is that of lieutenant) or its equivalent in the other services. Unlike in the external cadet organisations (ATC/SCC/ACF), all instructors permanently based at a contingent are commissioned, by tradition as instructors are generally teachers and so 'professionally qualified'. Other instructors often visit a contingent as a result of support from the local Cadet Training Team (CTT). These instructors are regular serving Non-Commissioned Officers.

CCF(Army) and CCF(RAF) Officers hold commissions in special categories of the reserves of their service. CCF(RN) Officers are 'appointed' and do not hold commissions, albeit their ranks are the same as for RN (and RNR) officers with the suffix RNR(CCF), their rank braid is 'wavy', the same form as used in the past by the RNVR. CCF(Army) officers hold commissions in TA Group 'B' (the same group as UOTC Officer Cadets), and wear a CCF marking on their rank slides. Unlike officers in the Army Cadet Force CCF(Army) officers do not attend the Army Officer Selection Board and are selected based on recommendation from the Headmaster of the employing school. CCF(RAF) officers' commissions are Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) (RAF VR(T)), and they wear a VRT pin on their rank braid to signify this.

In the main supporting role to the officers is the 'SSI' (school staff instructor), who is usually an ex-forces SNCO or Warrant Officer. They retain their rank as a courtesy and are employed by the school to instruct and assist in the running of the Contingent.[13] Whilst the majority of the SSIs are SNCOs it is also possible for them to be a commissioned officer. There is usually one SSI per Contingent.

In addition to the SSI some contingents may have one or more Civilian Instructors.[14] These are Adult Volunteers who normally instruct in a specialised role (first aid, signals etc.) when the establishment level of officers does not include persons with sufficient knowledge to teach these subjects. They receive no pay for time spent with cadets but may claim reimbursement for expenses at the Contingent Commander's discretion. Many are members of the academic or support staff at the school.[15][16][17]

Officer ranks[edit | edit source]

Army (TA Group B) RAF (VR (T)) RN (RNR CCF/SCC)
Acting Lieutenant Colonel Wing Commander Commander
Acting Major Squadron Leader Lieutenant Commander
Acting Captain Flight Lieutenant Lieutenant
Lieutenant Flying Officer Sub Lieutenant
Second Lieutenant Pilot Officer

Training[edit | edit source]

A Cadet Fires the L98 GP Rifle.

The different sections naturally have different syllabi, but have a certain amount in common. All cadets are trained initially to fire the .22 Number 8 Rifle or the L98A2 5.56 mm Cadet General Purpose rifle, similar to the regular SA80 but modified by removing the change lever so the weapon can only fire semi automatically. Later there are also opportunities to fire the L86 LSW, the L85A2 rifle, and the L81 Cadet Target Rifle. All the sections instruct field-craft, navigation, drill, leadership and first aid.

Cadets in the Royal Navy section receive instruction in boat-work and other naval subjects (including flying with the Fleet Air Arm). The Royal Navy also offers many CCF courses during the school holidays which are open to any members of any CCF, regardless of section, though priority is given to those in the naval section[citation needed].

The Royal Marines section, although a part of the Navy, tend to act as a land infantry section when it comes to training, centering on Section battle drills, Weapons handling, Fieldcraft, Camouflage and Concealment, Corps Knowledge (history of the Royal Marines) and Parade drill, along with physical training[citation needed]. In most detachments, a "beret test" comprising elements from most training areas must be passed before a recruit can become a fully fledged Marine Cadet and wear a beret. The test varies from school to school but at its most basic it will include a timed cross-country run in kit (the Marine run) and a weapons handling test. However it may, and often does, encompass a wider variety of subjects such as a corps knowledge and parade drill test as well as a Battle swim test (BST) and battle fitness test (BFT)[citation needed].

Army section cadets are able to specialise in various subjects such as signalling and infantry tactics, and are trained accordingly. The Army section also has "special to arm" courses, such as advanced weapons theory, Royal Signals training, and REME courses. Royal Artillery Adventurous Training courses are often offered to cadets, usually through an Army Liaison Officer. These include parachuting and watersports training. However, 2006 Health and Safety/Child Protection legislation (and fallout from the Deepcut affair) mandated that cadets must be housed separately by both gender and age (under 18s and over 18s), and as most MOD accommodation cannot cope with this and many of these courses have thus been forced to limit applicants to over 18s only.

RAF section cadets are given the opportunity to fly in both power aircraft, most notably the Grob Tutor and Vigilant T.1 and in unpowered gliders such as the Viking TX.1 and their training and flying courses are identical to those available to members of the Air Training Corps.

All sections can undertake leadership courses at Frimley Park, Nesscliff or RAF Cranwell (previously at Stafford), as well as adventurous training. There are also other courses available for cadets to enhance their skills, such as Junior and Senior Cadet Instructor Courses (JCIC, SCIC).

June 2009 air collision incident[edit | edit source]

At approximately 2.30pm[18] on Sunday, 14 June 2009, an RAF Grob Tutor and a civilian Standard Cirrus glider collided above Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire.[19][20]

The two-seater Grob Tutor, took off from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire and was part of No 6 AEF's fleet of planes.[21] Flight Lieutenant Michael Blee was a retired Wing Commander with 38 years' service in the RAF before becoming a Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Officer at 6 Air Experience Flight in 2005, where he assumed the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He was killed in the crash along with CCF cadet Nicholas Rice. Nicholas Rice, who was 15 years old, was a student of the Elvian School in Reading, and was from Calcot, Reading, Berkshire.[20][22]

Alternative organisations[edit | edit source]

Some schools recognise that pupils may not wish to participate in CCF activities and so alternative organisations exist, such as the Community Service Organisation, which allows pupils to volunteer to help in hospitals, schools, and charity work.[23][24]

Other activities often on offer are:

A few other schools make CCF attendance voluntary - this tends to reduce numbers compared to compulsory contingents, but potentially results in a more uniformly dedicated membership that responds well to training.

Some of the voluntary CCF schools also run the other options such as community service.

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/ReserveForcesandCadets/Cadets/IntroductionToCadet150.htm
  2. [1]
  3. [2] details of parade
  4. 'History of Felsted School (1564-1947)' by Michael Craze
  5. "Combined Cadet Force (CCF)". Rossall School. http://www.rossall.co.uk/sporting_and_activities/163. Retrieved 12 Apr 09. "It has, however, been established that Rossall was the first public school to enrol Volunteers and have them sworn in under the provisions of the Volunteer Act, and we have the original muster book in which the first names were entered on 1st February, 1860. Other Corps at Eton, Felsted, etc., were raised within a month or two." 
  6. 'History of Felsted School 1564-1947', Michael Craze
  7. 'History of Felsted School, 1564-1947' Michael Craze
  8. http://www.aircadets.org/ccf_history.html
  9. Garner, Richard (20 September 2008). "Private schools will let state pupils join cadet forces". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/private-schools-will-let-state-pupils-join-cadet-forces-936171.html. Retrieved 2010-04-30. "A ground-breaking agreement to allow state school pupils to join cadet forces in some of Britain's most elite private schools is to be announced this month. Six of the country's top fee-paying schools – including City of London boys' school and Highgate – have agreed to open up their Combined Cadet Forces to neighbouring state schools." 
  10. "Parliamentary questions". Hansard. 2001-02-06. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200001/ldhansrd/vo010206/text/10206w01.htm#10206w01_wqn7. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  11. "Parliamentary written questions". Hansard. 2007-10-29. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm071029/text/71029w0075.htm#0710313000004. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  12. "Cadet Ranks in the CCF". http://www.armycadetforce.net/military-knowledge/cadet-forces/168-cadet-ranks.html. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  13. "Uniform regulations for officers and instructors" (DOC). MOD. http://www.ams.mod.uk/content/docs/jsp336/3rd_ed/vol12/pt3/pam13/s3.doc. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  14. http://www.ratcliffeccf.org/news/
  15. http://www.ratcliffeccf.org/news
  16. http://www.bradfieldcollege.org.uk/Pastoral_Care/Pages/Faulkner's.aspx
  17. http://www.london-oratory.org/tlos/htdocs/documents/special%20ccf%20michaelmas%202009.pdf
  18. "Two killed in RAF plane crash". Independent Television News Limited 2009. June 14, 2009. http://itn.co.uk/20fce587ad246bf21a262597b93db70a.html. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  19. "RAF crew dead after mid-air crash". BBC. 14 June 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/8099551.stm. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Teenage plane crash victim named". BBC. 16 June 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/8102687.stm. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  21. "Mid-air crash victim pilot is named". Metro. June 14, 2009. http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Mid-air_crash_victims_will_be_named&in_article_id=684403&in_page_id=34&in_a_source=. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  22. "Flight Lieutenant Mike Blee and Cadet Nicholas Langley-Rice killed in RAF aircraft crash". MOD.uk. 16 June 2009. http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/PeopleInDefence/FlightLieutenantMikeBleeAndCadetNicholasLangleyriceKilledInRafAircraftCrash.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  23. An example of a CSO school: City of London School
  24. "Brighton College Community Service page". http://www.brightoncollege.org.uk/senior-community-service.asp. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  25. "Brighton College DofE page". http://www.brightoncollege.org.uk/senior-duke-of-edinburgh-award.asp. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 

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