CCF Army Section Welsh Summer Camp

CCF Army Section Welsh Summer Camp

A contingent of 54 members of Corps’ Army Section headed for Sennybridge, Wales for the highlight of the training year: annual Summer Camp. After travel and an evening of revision and briefings, Days 2-3 took the cadets straight into a two-day battle exercise in a purpose-built training village. Under Capt Jones’s expert instruction, the sections learned and practised building clearances, fighting withdrawals and urban defensive operations in the amazing facility which tested the younger cadets in a new environment and stretched the NCOs as they navigated the different challenges of commanding sections and platoons in built-up areas. An evening of bowling, dominated as usual by the prowess of the staff (especially Flt Lt Hillier, whose 1-point victory over the reigning champion, Capt Owen, will linger long and bitter in the memory), seemed enough to reenergize the indefatigable cadets, who spent the next two days on expedition in the Brecon Beacons. Through a combination of dry and liquid sunshine, they explored Fforest Fawr, reached their wilderness campsite, and enjoyed the glow of a campfire as the sun set over the Neath Valley.

Up with the lark and the rain, off the cadets went again, straight from their tents to training. Some were into wetsuits for a gorge walking session in a torrenting River Mellte which featured jumps from waterfalls, surrender to the current and swimming to safety; others abseiling underground into the caverns of Porth yr Ogof. Following an evening of platoon sports and a night back in Sennybridge’s palatial accommodation, it was back into uniform for Day 6. The day was spent on the ranges, engaging targets from four positions at 100m and winning, in some cases, new badges for marksmanship. Sgt Noad’s grouping of 45mm at 100m with iron sights was a particularly remarkable effort in unfavourable conditions. And so to our last full day, spent on the rock faces of Morlais: with the enthusiasm and sense of competition that characterised this hardy cohort, the cadets scrambled up demanding pitches and abseiled from colon-slackening height, before the inter-section competition reached its conclusion in the evening with stands of first aid, sports and drill.

And in a jiffy, eight days were up and the curtain came down on final parade, where prizes were awarded to several cadets, including Best Cadet on Camp, Cdt Beukes, and Best NCO, Cpl Keyworth. But in truth many deserved prizes for their sterling performances over the eight days, in which all the cadets exhibited in buckets the spirit and values of cadetship.

As wonderful a week as it was, its end was veiled in no little sadness. Last time Corps was in Sennybridge in 2019, our Upper VI SNCOs were little Third Years and they were being inspired by our then SSI, WO2 Billy Weir. A few months ago, WO2 Weir died at home, surrounded by the family he cherished. He was a truly wonderful man, at once a valorous soldier and a caring youth leader, and we miss him enormously. More than one cheek was wet as the Last Post sounded for him over final parade on the square where we had last camped with Billy. We will not forget a fine servant of Corps and dear friend. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.



OC Army Section

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