East Anglia’s Army Cadets experience Annual Camp 2017
As is the annual tradition, the five Army Cadet forces from across our region – Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk set off for action and adventure during July and August.
For most cadets it is one of the highlights of the year and for all staff and adult volunteers the biggest logistical challenge, but all returned safely with animated tales, new skills and friends for life.
Many of EA RFCA’s HQ staff, including our Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive, County Chairman along with Lord-Lieutenants, VIPs and representatives from 7x Brigade visited all of the camps to observe the activities and take the opportunity to talk with cadets and adults about their experiences.
Making the trip to Crowborough Army Training Camp, 420 cadets and 150 adults enjoyed two weeks (29th July – 11th August) of action packed adventure in the East Sussex countryside. Activities were varied, including but not limited to, fieldcraft and attacks, motor biking, cycling, sports, tug of war, kayaking, drill, shooting and rafting. Feedback from parents/guardians was phenomenal with one commenting, “Thanks so much for an amazing camp! My son had a wonderful time!”
Camp began on a very wet Saturday (6th August) afternoon but the spirits of nearly 300 cadets and the adult volunteers were not dampened. Junior and Intermediate Cadres activities included skill at arms, adventure training, navigation and first aid, whilst the Senior Ca
dre refined their fieldcraft and undertook a two -day exercise on the trainin
g area. A Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Silver was completed and 17 new adult instructors attended a training programme.
On day three, two senior visitors from 7x Brigade Deputy Commander Stuart Williams and Col Cadets Chris Sharwood Smith MBE DL visited camp and towards the end of the week they dined in their new Honorary Colonel, Brigadier Tim Seal TD DL.
The week culminated in a tremendous Open Day with over 30 Cambridgeshire dignitaries in attendance. After receiving a briefing from Commandant Colonel Mark Knight MBE and senior cadets, visitors had the opportunity to watch and participate in clay shooting and watch signals training. After lunch cadets’ parents and families were welcomed to a County Parade, Drumhead Service and Sunset Ceremony. Mr Richard Barnwell Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire took the salute. The parade, in which their Corps of Drums performed, was wholly commanded by the cadet RSM and the cadet CSMs.
Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire welcomed 350 Essex ACF cadets in August. 43 cadets completed a Silver DofE Expedition with Lt Dean Griffiths commenting, “Undertaking expeditions shows grit and determination and the ability to overcome challenging situations in unfamiliar environments. Standing out from the crowd is what Universities and Employers look for.” Seven Essex Army cadets also had the opportunity to complete their Gold DofE Gold Expedition conquering Pan-y-Fan and the Black Mountains.
Senior Army cadets were lucky enough to go Coasteering in West Wales. For those of you not in the know, it is a highly physical activity along rocky coastline on foot or by swimming, without the aid of boats, surfboards or other craft. Other activities during camp included kayaking, mountain biking, surfing, clay target shooting, paintball, fieldcraft and weapons handling.
Visitors included Brig Lowe Dep Comd Cadets, Col Williams Dep Comd 7 Infantry Brigade, Col Cadets EA, Col Urquhart President ACFA, and Essex’s Hon Col –Colonel Christian. All were very impressed by what they saw, the quality of the training, the enthusiasm of both cadets and CFAV and the county’s success during the year.
Having arrived and settled in at Napier Barracks, Folkestone, the cadets spent a lot of quality time shooting (which was top of the list, as they do not have the opportunity back home), fieldcraft and laser quest. For the seniors, a trip to London included visiting Wellington Barracks to see the Mounting of Guard, the Guards museum and a tour of the Houses of Parliament.
They held a fun sports day that included softball, basketball, football, march and shoot, volleyball, orienteering and tug of war with a sensational bbq thrown in making it a very enjoyable day’s entertainment.
Overall a successful camp, due, in no short measure, to the hard work of the County Training Officer, QM, TSA and all the Sub Unit adults who kept things flowing seamlessly.
For 10 days in August, 270 cadets and Adult Instructors from Suffolk descended on Longmoor camp Hampshire, for their annual camp. Cadets were split into different training companies according to their current level and work towards an adventurous and challenging programme of events.
The junior cadets saw activities such as air rifle ranges, assault course, map and compass work with a cultural visit to the Royal Navy Museum, Portsmouth and a day adventure training, whilst the senior cadets did the same but also spent three days in the field training with regular soldiers from 1 Royal Anglian Regiment perfecting their field craft skills. Burma Company had the opportunity to visit Middle Wallop and see the Apaches. The Royal Military Police gave a talk to senior cadets and Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Cameron Maxwell Lamb KBE, CMG, DSO delivered a leadership talk.
Whilst on Annual Camp they were lucky enough to take eight cadets and four adults to assist in the Sovereigns Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. A parade that saw over 150 British Army Officers pass out and complete their training. This parade was overseen by the King of Jordan with many other dignitaries along with friends and family. Taking part in the parade were two, ex Suffolk Cadets, Sam Smith and James Shenfield who now start their careers in the British Army.
Plans and preparations are in motion for next year’s Annual camp where it will see Suffolk ACF cross the channel to Sennelager barracks, Germany.