Corps was delighted to run a joint JNCO camp with Trinity School CCF over half-term for the second time. Forty cadets from the Fifth Year of both schools underwent a rigorous five-day cadre to practise and assess their skills as potential junior non-commissioned officers. Working in four squads with leadership duties shared amongst them, the cadets revised core military skills such as skill-at-arms, drill, fieldcraft and military knowledge. On Saturday, the pupils were put through their leadership paces on assessed command tasks and had a chance to compete with their squad in the exhausting march and shoot competition. In the evening, each of them delivered a theory lesson on topics from badges of rank to the history of the Royal Air Force, with officers assessing their instructorship and discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each. 

Sunday saw the RN and RAF cadets on camp conducting section-specific training, while the Army cadets headed out for a day in the field. Pupils had a chance to lead their sections into enemy contacts, testing their skills as section commanders; to manage a casualty evacuation under fire (with terrifyingly life-like wounds); to lead a patrol; and to mount an OP on unsuspecting recruits. Cdt Pullen, LCpl Gill and Cdt Fogelman showed particular talents in the field, while many others from the cream of the Army’s crop also impressed. 

Monday brought the dreaded practical TPs, when the cadets delivered a skills-based lesson to their peers. This year the pressure was ratched up by the presence of Maj Gen Swift, the head of the UK Cadet Forces, and Col Dennison, Colonel Cadets for London District. Inspired by the presence of the toppest of top brass, the cadets prepared kit, resources and lesson plans and instructed one another in movement with the weapon, camouflage and concealment, target indication and many other lessons from the fieldcraft syllabus, all again assessed in detail by officers for feedback and grading. LCpl Amsel, Cdt Perdoni and Cdt Wolstenholme shone in particular with some excellent and innovative training periods. 

Tuesday concluded an exciting and demanding camp with an inter-squad competition of tug of war and the obstacle course. Muddy, sweaty and smiling broadly, the cadets threw themselves into the fray with the gusto they had shown throughout, until Blue Squad emerged as narrow victors. 

A smart final parade beneath Caterham and Trinity’s banners brought camp to a conclusion. All the cadets were deservedly congratulated on their fine performances, and particular prizes were awarded: 

– Best Potential JNCO LCpl Amsel 

– Most Improved Cdt Louca 

– Best Skills Lesson Cdt Wolstenholme 

– Best Theory Lesson LCpl Gill 

– Best in the Field Cdt Pullen 

All the staff were agreed that it was a really special performance from the entire cadre, and that there are some outstanding JNCOs-in-waiting in both units to lead their juniors in the years to come. 

Capt M M Owen 

OC Joint JNCO Cadre 

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