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Queen's University Officers' Training Corps
Active 1908 – Present
Country Northern Ireland, UK
Branch Territorial Army
Type Officer Training Corps
Role TA Group B (Non deployable)
Size Three Companies
Part of 38 (Irish) Brigade
Garrison/HQ Belfast
Commanders
Honorary Colonel Brigadier B W McCall ADC

The Queen's University Officers' Training Corps is one of nineteen University Officer Training Corps (UOTC) in the UK, and the only one in Northern Ireland. It is the only surviving Irish UOTC.

As part of the Territorial Army, the OTC's mission is to develop the leadership potential of selected university students through enjoyable and challenging training to communicate the values, ethos and career opportunities of the wider British Army.

Insignia[edit | edit source]

The Corps badge is an ornamental escutcheon bearing the arms of Belfast surmounted by a flattened crown and with a scroll below inscribed Queen's. This pattern was sealed on 24 August 1950. An amended design, with St Edward's Crown, was sealed on 11 February 1957. This latter design is used for the current capbadge.

Dark green caubeens are worn with a St Patrick's blue hackle. Pipers wear saffron kilts.

History[edit | edit source]

The origin of the contingent goes back to 1906 when the Secretary of State for War, Lord Haldane appointed a committee to consider the problem of the shortage of officers in the Militia, the Volunteer Force, the Yeomanry and the Reserve of Officers. The committee recommended that an Officers' Training Corps be formed. The Corps was to be in two divisions, a junior division in schools and a senior division in the universities. Prior to this some universities had companies attached to the local battalions of the Volunteer Force, but no such contingent existed at Queen's University. In October 1908 therefore, authorised by Army Order 160 of July 1908, as part the Haldane Reforms of the Volunteer forces, the contingent was formally established as the Belfast University Contingent of the Officers' Training Corps and incorporated in the new Territorial Force, which was created by the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907. Parades were held in the old gymnasium which occupied the site of the former Drill Hall on the ground south of the previous Queen's University of Belfast Students' Union. A Drill Hall was subsequently built at the cost of £4000 and officially opened on 20 November 1912 by Brigadier General Count Gleichen, who deputised for the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Ireland.

During the First World War, training was increased for OTC members being commissioned into newly formed battalions. By the end of the war almost 1,200 commissions had been obtained by cadets who had passed through the ranks of the contingent. In 1930 the Corps' title was changed from Belfast University to Queen's University Belfast Contingent of the Officers' Training Corps. On the outbreak of the Second World War a Reception Unit and a Joint Recruiting Board were set up in the Drill Hall to deal with the mass of applications for commissions. After the initial rush the contingent settled down to its task of wartime training.

On 1 April 1948 a general re-organisation took place under which the Corps became part of the Territorial Army. Its name was changed at this time to University Training Corps (TA)[citation needed]. The Corps reverted to its old title of Officers' Training Corps in 1955. Today, as part of 38 (Irish) Brigade, Queen's UOTC currently recruits its members from student volunteers attending the Queen's University of Belfast, the University of Ulster and Stranmillis College.

Current organisation[edit | edit source]

  • Headquarters Company
  • Basic Company
  • Advanced Company

Training[edit | edit source]

OTC members are classed as Officer Cadets (OCdt) and are "Group B" members of the Territorial Army, paid when on duty. As part of "Group B" however they are neither trained for nor liable for mobilised (active) service and do not receive the same annual bounty payment as members of mainstream "Group A" TA units. Attendance is totally voluntary and OCdts are free to leave at anytime. There is no requirement for any further contact with the Armed Forces on completion of their studies.

Training is structured around the academic year. It consists mainly of training weekends held at military training areas at Ballykinler and Magilligan. A 2-week annual camp is also held in the summer. This gives the Officer Cadets a chance to put into practice all the military skills they have learnt in the last year.

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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