CCF Field Trips

3 January 2017


Military Skills Competition

On Thursday 8 December, 15 cadets, led by Cpl Dily Adilkhanova (Lower Sixth, Stanhope) and L/Cpls Tavish Struthers (Fifth Form, Bruce) and Estelle Akeroyd Hunt (Fifth Form, Nugent), took part in an inter-section military skills competition organised by 4 Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, based in Abingdon.

Our cadets took part in five of the stands. During an observation stand they attempted to identify an unknown number of objects, cunningly hidden, as they patrolled along winding woodland. A camouflage and concealment stand assessed their varying degrees of camouflage skills. The Regiment’s Signals Detachment ran an Army ‘voice procedure’ exercise using military radios and headsets, and cadets were tasked with sending a series of operational messages as accurately as they could. They were also introduced to an operational command room and its workings. A cerebral Command Task challenged our Section Commanders. Particular mention must go to Cpl Dily Adilkhanova, who calmly and mathematically worked out a solution in an impressive time, to the high praise of Regimental staff.

All cadets shot in the Dismounted Combat Trainer, (indoor electronic laser range using cadet GP rifles). There was some commendable and accurate shooting with Sgt Alex Harris (Lower Sixth, Grafton) and L/Cpl Tavish Struthers matching some of the regular soldiers’ scores in a couple of very competitive, adrenalin fuelled ‘scenario’ shoots.

Finally the sections competed for times in an imaginative and physically demanding indoor obstacle course. At the end of the formal competition, the Regiment’s physical training instructors challenged our fittest cadets to a fiercely competitive race of the indoor obstacle course in mixed teams; L/Cpls Tavish Struthers, Max Mash (Fifth Form, Bruce), and Cdts Thor Mager (Fourth Form, Bruce) and Thomas Riley (Fourth Form, Bruce) rose to the challenge and flew around the course, giving very good accounts of themselves.

The Regiment, (which I have close links with, having served with them in Abingdon and on operations in Bosnia), were very generous with their time and staff, and were impressed with the standards and behaviour of our cadets. All were excellent ambassadors for Stowe. Congratulations go to Cpl Dily Adilkhanova and her section who were the overall winning section.

Major J S de Gale, Adjt/SSI Stowe School CCF

Sea Survival Skills 

Eleven RN cadets, led by Oscar Hill (Fifth Form, Temple), visited the Royal Navy’s Sea Survival School on Tuesday 13 December to develop their self-reliance and initiative. They started with a talk on “yellow crinkly stuff” (fire, to the rest of us), how it happens and how to kill it.

First practical task: use extinguishers to put out chip pan fires. Second practical task: form into teams of two – one equipped with a thermal imaging camera and one with a hose – and enter an engine room compartment in which one of the engines has caught fire, identify the seat of the fire and put it out.

Then on to the Damage Repair Instructional Unit – imagine the set of ‘Titanic’ or ‘The Crimson Ocean’, but in this case your task is not to act out a drowning passenger, but to stop the water coming in and to save the ship! Meanwhile the deck is rocking and the free water is hurtling from one side of the compartment to the other. “Brace, brace, brace” for attack, and then came the damage report: “Flooding in the Junior Rates’ Mess”. Stowe’s team descended into the flooded space, hammered wedges into holes in the bulkhead, and held their breath while hammering wedges into holes in the deck several feet below the water. The most difficult one was the hole that could only be reached by squeezing into a locker, but even that was blocked in the end. The cadets emerged bedraggled but enthused, with the highlights recorded by photographer Zara Vickers (Fourth Form, Stanhope).

David Critchley Lt Cdr RNR CCF