CCF Weekend at Claires Court
An eyewitness account written by Captain O'Clee - Contingent Commander
On the weekend of 11 September, we welcomed our first cohort of CCF cadets to their inaugural field weekend.
After a very quick and efficient kit issue and safety brief, the cadets were ready to go, and exercise ‘Ridgeway Dawn’ was underway. The cadets began by rotating around three stands, learning all about camouflage and concealment.
Next, the rations packs were issued and a lesson followed on cooking before the cadets enjoyed their first military boil in a bag meal which they all found delicious (they said!)..
As darkness fell, we rehearsed for the recce patrols that would take place later that evening, and RSM Larkin demonstrated some night noises so the cadets could hear how much further noise travelled at night.
It was then into the Thicket for their patrol to try and obtain as much information about the enemy as possible. Thanks to a cloudy night, it was pitch black under the trees but the cadets did amazingly well considering 12 hours previously they had never even worn a uniform! Each section patrolled in silence to the enemy location, crawled into cover and observed the oscar-worthy performance by 2Lt Richards and CFAV Jon Neil. There were some impressive observations before they patrolled back to their harbour area for a quick debrief and took to their sleeping bags for a well-earned rest.
At 0630 on Sunday morning, the cadets had a somewhat unique Reveille thanks to 2Lt Gravett who had brought his trumpet along.
Day two started with an excellent first aid lesson thanks to Alastair Cole, an experienced trauma medic from Adventure Lifesigns. Both cadets and staff were amazed to hear of the advances in treatment in the field.
After a quick lunch, it was time for the cadets to put what they had learned into practice with a casualty simulation exercise. While out for a routine patrol, each section was faced with an explosion and three casualties to treat and evacuate, whilst also providing all-round defence in case more enemy were in the area. 2Lt Richards once again proved that drama should be his subject, acting as a casualty with a sucking chest wound; and 2Lt Gravett was the designated ‘noisy’ casualty with a bullet wound in his hand - and boy was he noisy!
The cadets blew us away with their enthusiasm and effort during the weekend, and we are very excited to start the new school year and the new CCF with such an amazing contingent!