Monday morning saw 52 trepidatious Upper Fourth and their 10 Lower Sixth NCOs appear at CCF HQ carrying a plastic bag of their vital possessions, ready to face the unknown quantity of ‘CCF Camp’. The first part of the morning’s training in school encompassed weapon handling and final tests, and revision of how to put up sleeping shelters, how to cook in the field and how best to pack their bergans effectively. They then revised the training from earlier this term on how to navigate, patrol, signal and move as a fire team in the field. That was all before lunchtime! After lunch they had a full lesson on setting up a harbour area, a process which they would be using as soon as they reached Bramley training area. Onto the coaches and then off, away from the relative security of school and into the unknown.
Arriving at Bramley shifted the Lower Sixth NCOs into a more active leadership role as they took on responsibility for moving their groups around the area from stand to stand, navigating and responding to challenges along the way. The Bradford and Scott platoons, led ably by Gemma Williams and Leo Skingley and broken into three sections each, used Monday evening to set up their harbours and bashas in a wooded area before settling down for the night.
Torrential rain in the early hours of Tuesday tested their shelter-building skills and proved the best educator as to what designs and features worked and what did not! The beautiful day that followed allowed any damp kit to dry and adjustments to be made to bashas, and this group are now well-trained in future basha setups to avoid any damp spots. The day had them eating 24-hour ration packs and cooking for themselves, and they moved into a day of activities covering various field craft and adventurous training stands, including archery, air rifle and climbing.
Resourcefulness and being ‘super-sneaky’ was the requirement for the night-time recce patrol on Tuesday evening, which involved NCOs planning a route to observe enemy behaviour at a specific location and then report back on what they heard and saw. The winning group that evening, led by Raquel Williams, were able to watch, sneak up and leave the enemy a note and then withdraw, all without being spotted.
With an early hours attack on both the harbours on Wednesday successfully repelled, the groups moved on to ‘the grand finale’ where both platoons were tasked with patrolling and engaging what they came across. A superb rolling section attack ensued, and all six sections did themselves proud. A welcome school bbq for lunch wrapped up an intensive, tiring but enormously successful exercise.
Final prize-giving allowed the celebration of most improved cadets, best cadets, top shooting cadet, section and platoon, as well as best section in each platoon and then best platoon overall, with the final results highlights as follows:
Best Cadets by Section
- Bradford Section 1: Annalise Dixon
- Bradford Section 2: Victor Muangman
- Bradford Section 3: Maria Pontes
- Bradford most improved: Harry Swan & Sophia Pirrie
- Scott Section 1: Nick Bukhantsov
- Scott Section 2: Bryce Whitley
- Scott Section 3: Hugo Handley
- Scott most improved: John Gartside & Luca Rushton
- Best performing NCO: Bea Digance
- Top shot: Zoe Moir
- Bradford Section 2
- Scott Section 3
Overall Platoon Competition
Significant thanks go to all the staff involved in making it such a successful experience for all the cadets involved.
The CCF Royal Navy (RN) Summer Camp provided an immersive and action-packed experience for the Upper Fourth cadets and Lower Sixth NCOs. Over the course of three separate day trips, the cadets had the opportunity to engage in a range of nautical activities, explore historical naval vessels and develop essential skills. With the support of Lieutenant Commander Greenbury, Miss Kelly and Mr Lowin, the cadets represented Epsom College admirably and made the most of their summer camp experience.
The CCF-RN section kicked off the Summer Camp with a trip to Island Barn Reservoir, where the cadets embarked on an exciting day of dinghy sailing. For many cadets, this was their first encounter with sailing, and they rose to the challenge with enthusiasm. Despite the initial learning curve, the cadets quickly adapted and honed their sailing skills, demonstrating remarkable progress throughout the day. Tacking manoeuvres became second nature as they navigated the waters with confidence, fostering a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie.
The cadets embarked on a memorable excursion to HMS Belfast, a Town-class light cruiser commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1939. They were treated to a guided tour that provided insight into life at sea on a warship. Exploring various sections of the vessel, the cadets gained a deeper appreciation for the naval history and the sacrifices made by those who served. Following the visit to HMS Belfast, the cadets enjoyed a leisurely cruise down the river on a Thames Clipper, culminating in a tour of the iconic Cutty Sark. Comparing the structures and living conditions of different eras, the cadets witnessed the stark contrast between historical naval vessels.
Cadets ventured to Buckland Park Lagoon for an adventurous day of activities organized by the Surrey Hills Adventure Company. In the morning, they honed their survival skills, learning essential techniques such as fire-making, wood whittling, baking damper bread, and identifying useful native plants. These skills not only fostered self-reliance but also instilled a deep respect for nature and its resources. In the afternoon, the cadets took part in paddleboarding and raft building, further developing their sea legs, knot-tying abilities, and teamwork. The activities emphasised the importance of cooperation, communication, and problem-solving in a dynamic and challenging environment.
The CCF-RN Summer Camp proved to be an unforgettable experience for the Upper Fourth cadets and Lower Sixth Leading Hands. Engaging in a range of nautical activities, exploring historical naval vessels, and honing essential skills, the cadets demonstrated their adaptability, resilience, and teamwork. With the support and guidance of Lieutenant Commander Greenbury, Miss Kelly and Mr Lowin, the cadets showcased their exemplary behaviour and represented Epsom College with pride. The Summer Camp undoubtedly left a lasting impression, fostering personal growth, and instilling a deeper appreciation for the maritime world.
The CCF RAF summer camp, held at Bramley Training Area, was a successful and memorable experience for all cadets involved.
Despite encountering heavy rainfall and the need for a temporary shelter due to the risk of lightning on Tuesday morning, the weather was generally favourable.
There is no doubt that the cadets showcased their dedication, discipline and enthusiasm throughout the camp. Training activities included:
Weapon Handling: Cadets participated in comprehensive weapon handling sessions. They learned the importance of safe handling procedures, NSPs – Normal Safety Procedures, and ensuring the wellbeing of themselves and others during weapon handling.
Patrolling and Formations: The cadets were instructed in the art of patrolling with weapons in various formations. They learned how to effectively navigate through different terrains and maintain communication and cohesion within their teams.
Outdoor Skills: The camp provided opportunities for cadets to develop essential outdoor skills. They successfully set up tents and learned the art of outdoor cooking using portable stoves and MOD ration packs.
In addition to military-focused activities, the cadets enjoyed climbing, archery and air rifle shooting, providing an additional element of fun. Camp highlights were:
Challenging Weather: Despite encountering heavy rainfall on Tuesday morning, the cadets displayed resilience and adaptability. They swiftly evacuated their tents to seek shelter and ensure their safety during the inclement weather conditions.
NCO Support: The cadets received exceptional guidance and support from their Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs). Corporal Crockett, Lance Corporal Winmill, and Lance Corporal Moir demonstrated exemplary leadership, assisting in the smooth execution of activities and contributing to the overall success of the camp.
Mobile Phone Detox: This intentional separation from technology encouraged increased social interaction among the participants and building lasting friendships.