The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a national, unformed youth organisation which is sponsored by the MOD. The aim of the CCF is to "provide a disciplined organisation in a school so that pupils may develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, self reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance".
The CCF at King's consists of an Army and an RAF section. The CCF meets after school every Friday from 1600-1800 and is open to students in Shells and above. Students who join the CCF all complete a common training syllabus which covers fieldcraft, navigation, drill, skill at arms and shooting. After two terms they are able to choose a section to focus on. If they choose the Army they will develop their fieldcraft, navigation and shooting skills to a higher level often on challenging outdoor weekends. If they choose the latter they will learn about principles of flight, aeronautical navigation and will ultimately work towards learning to glide and fly. Both are heavily susbsidised by the MOD and so offer exceptional value for money.
Student's training is progressive and they enjoy many chances to apply their training on various activities such as the week long Summer Camp, four day Easter Camp, gliding trips, range days, Remembrance Parade in Chester, national competitions or taking part in adventure training. As students progress through the years, those who show leadership and commitment will be given opportunities to take real responsibility within the unit and are rewarded through a rank structure which mirrors that of their parent force.
The CCF is staffed by a combination of teachers, ex-forces personnel and volunteers; support and safety assurance are provided by the Army and RAF who also provide instructors for more specialised training. The Contingent is commanded by a teacher and former Territorial Army Officer, Major Lee (CCF). Squadron Leader Karen Shapland commands the RAF section and Lieutenant James Barnes commands the Army section. Sergeant Major Tony Brown (Welsh Guards) is the School Staff Instructor (SSI) and is responsible for much of the day to day running of the unit.
Any enquiries should be directed to our unit mailbox
Important Documents relating to the CCF can be found here
Exercise First Steps Jan 2012
On the 27th of January 30 CF recruits from Shells took part in Exercise First Steps. Recruit Rose Lindley writes about her experience that night.
To start off with, Isobel, brand new recruit Amelia and I got changed into our combats. We all looked a bit silly in these because, although we are told that we are big for our age, we are clearly much too small for our combats!
Once looking as presentable as possible in our uniform, we headed over to the parade square; late, as usual! Rushing through the door expecting to have missed the beginning of the evening, we were, instead, confronted with a very different layout to the usual rows of neat uniformed participants, mumbling away as the Officers and RSM inspected the squad. Instead, we were faced with four lines of cadets and recruits, clearly in teams. We rushed over to start our babbling apology of why we were late, but were instantly put into the lines of teams by Finlay who was clearly enjoying having temporary command!
Shortly after the sections had been sorted out, the weather turned against us and it started to spit, then the heavens opened. So we headed off to the shelter of the Walsh Wing to wait; we didn't wait for long however as each team soon went off to a classroom for a lesson. No, not the kind in which arithmetic, poetry or atoms are discussed, instead, these lessons are about handling a rifle, key aspects to the methods of movement or map reading! We had two lessons: one on the cadet rifle - where we learnt how to do normal safety precautions, and name the parts of the weapon. The other lesson was on map reading in which we learnt about map co-ordinates and symbols on a map!
After our lessons, the recruits regrouped and we walked to the CCF building to collect our meals. We were all put into pairs, I was with Will. I wasn't so sure as to why we were being given cardboard boxes and being told they were our meals until the line we were in started walking towards the woods; we were going to cook our own meals, army style! It was dark by now, and everyone was getting excited about cooking our own meals out in a wood and in the dark the boys were probably excited about the mud too! Will and I were grouped up with another pair and two older NCOs. The two NCOs helped pick a nice spot to eat and we were told to open our boxes and take out the foil packets - these were our meals! The way they were cooked I thought was rather simple, but clever; you put your meals, in the foil packets, in a pan-like thing called a mess tin, which you fill with water. Then you cover your mess tin with another, bigger, mess tin. Then you put that over the fire. The heat from the fire warms the water, and the water heats up your meal in the packet! I had Mexican Bean Stew. To my surprise, it wasn't bad! After our meals were eaten, we raided the rest of the box for sweets, and filled our combat jackets with them!
Then it was time for the night lessons! We regrouped and were led further into the woods until we came to a path. Then we were split into even smaller groups to go and practise some tactical movement activities. The first game we played was like grandmother's footsteps. But when the grandmother turned around, you had to try and blend into the ground. So, being in the middle of the path wasn't going to hide your human shape! The best thing to do was to go off the path and crawl towards her using leopard crawl close to the ground. I really enjoyed this activity, especially as I won it! After this we went to a different stand. The objective of this next one was to reach the tree with the glow-sticks without being caught. I must say that my weak spot is to take too many risks and needless to say I didn't win this one!
We then went off to a different part of the woods to a patrolling stand game where you walk in single file, and you need to look out for anything suspicious. A few examples that we found on the way were: a plant pot in a tree, a deodorant and a combat jacket hung on a branch! Once we'd finished, we were faced with a challenge; to try and turn a poncho over, whilst all of us were standing on it! Any more than one person to fall off and you've failed; of course three of our members fell off, so we failed rather miserably! Then we went to a small tent and ate sweets before taking back all of the bin bags full of leftover cardboard boxes to the CCF building. We then formed up for final parade and were dismissed.
When I met my dad in the car park, I felt sad that the evening was over, but at the same time, glad to know that I could get out of my oversize uniform!
Orienteering at Warcop, 20th November 2011
On the 20th of November, 17 cadets took part in the national cadet orienteering championships at Warcop Training Area in Cumbria. The course involving running over 5.3km with 95m of ascent through the rough and, in places, marshy grounds of the training area. Everyone did well to navigate successfully and to then find the points which were often hidden in ditches, and behind walls all against the clock.
Three teams (senior boys, senior girls and junior girls) successfully finished as well as most of the individual runners. The senior girls' team competed well to gain second place in their category and one candet chieved the fastest individual time over the senior girls' course by a margin of around 5 minutes, gaining the title of National Champion. Even those who didn't win enjoyed the event which was for many their first attempt at competitive orienteering.
Field Day, 14th October 2011
The day started with weapons testing to check everyone was safe for the blank firing planned for the evening. After this, the cadets were given lessons from senior NCOs on the skills they would be using later that night. These were conducting reconnaissance patrols, ambushes and setting up patrol harbours. A cooked lunch was served in the school canteen, something many remembered wistfully when tucking into ration packs during the exercise phase of the day.
We camouflaged ourselves, filled our webbing and patrolled into the woods. We set up a harbour as RSM Rennie had taught us that morning and began cooking our ration packs - it was at this point that many realised they'd forgotten cutlery! We were briefed on our mission; rescuing an injured ally from an unknown location in the forest and transporting him for Medevac. We were able to find Colonel Rennie (Must have hit his head!), and successfully carried him to safety on an improvised stretcher.
We were then able to conduct our ambush. We were issued blanks and patrolled to the FRV (Final Rendez-Vous) before sending a small reconnaissance patrol to check the area was still safe. It was so the rest of the section moved into position in a ditch overlooking the field the enemy was expected to walk along. They enemy approached and on C/Sgt Stables' command, we opened fire, defeating them.
We then moved quickly back to the security of the CCF house, away from any potential enemy reinforcements. Here we returned our equipment and cleaned weapons before going home for a well deserved rest.
Skill at Arms meeting, September 2011 - Cadet Corporal Mark Brownson
Saturday was a very early morning with the 6:00am fire drill, but after breakfast the day calmed down and we started some shooting! The first shoot was the deliberate shoot which is where you are given unlimited time and 12 rounds and the aim is to get the highest score possible by hitting as close to the centre of the target as possible. During this shoot it rained nonstop while the other team captains and I shot, but then as soon as King's finished and it was the next group's turn, it stopped raining and the sun started to shine, which we thought was extremely unfair! Due to my poor shooting in the torrential rain I knew that we had no hope in the deliberate shoot, which King's have traditionally been best at.
Through the rest of the day we did various shoots including my favourite the Marling shoot which involves a 100m sprint before firing off 10 rounds in one minute, it's a real adrenaline rush.
Saturday night we went out to Southport for the evening and we had, as always, a huge amount of fun before returning at 11:00pm for lights out.
Sunday was the day of the falling plate tournament, which consists of sprinting 100m as a team of four and then hitting 10 plates that are a total of 200m away, all in a time limit of 1 minute, a lot harder than it sounds. Sadly due to the draw we lost to the winners in the quarter finals.
At 14:30 the prize giving commenced. Sadly we did not win any individual prizes despite Benhur Johnson's exceptional performances throughout. Although much to my surprise King's came second in the deliberate shoot out of a total of 36 teams. Seems my shoot in the rain didn't go that badly after all.
RAF Summer Camp, 9th July 2011
9 RAF cadets arrived at RAF Kinloss after a 9 hour minibus journey. After dinner in the mess, we were split into our two flights for the week before being given a series of icebreaker exercises to complete.
On Sunday morning, we were up early for an orienteering challenge. After two hours in the woods, we had lunch before driving to Fort George, an historic army base, where we explored to battlements and sampled the local ice cream. We also spent some time getting to know the other cadets on the camp.
On Monday, we visited the survival centre, where we were shown round the life rafts aboard RAF aircraft which we would have to operate in the pool on Wednesday. After lunch, we spent the afternoon at the range, were we learnt the drills for the No. 8 rifle. Everyone passed their test, which meant they could shoot on Thursday.
On Tuesday morning, we visited the Tornado GR4 training squadron. Most cadets were able to sit inside the cockpit of a Tornado and to ask questions about the aircraft. We also learnt about the training regime for Tornado aircrew, and how a typical sortie is planned and executed.
After dinner we visited the fire service, where we held races against each other to see who was fastest to unroll a fire hose and plug it in (the winners got to soak the losing team, whose hose hadn't yet been plugged in). After that, the firemen decided to soak us all for good measure, so we all returned to the billets very wet. We were then taken to the beach, were we relaxed and played some games.
On Wednesday morning, we all went to the swimming pool, were we took the cadet basic swim test. All the cadets passed, which meant we could take part in the life raft drills. These involved wearing an airman's 'Life Saving Jacket'; inflating and climbing into a life raft; and rescuing an unconscious crewmember. We then visited the RAF Mountain Rescue team based at Kinloss, who showed us all the vehicles and equipment they use in mountain rescues.
We spent Wednesday afternoon on the low ropes course, developing our leadership, teamwork, and balance! There were several challenges, which allowed different cadets to take the lead and try different roles.
On Thursday, we spent all morning at the 25m range firing the .22 rifle. For most cadets this was the first time they had fired this weapon, so it was a very good experience. After lunch, we spent the afternoon with the RAF Regiment in the forest, learning how to build shelters, signal fires and water-collecting devices, in the unlikely event we ever crash-landed in an uninhabited forest.
On Friday, we again spent the morning shooting, this time with L98s on the DCCT range. We were able to shoot at a variety of different targets ranges and sizes. We then visited the UK search and rescue control centre, which is currently based at Kinloss, and directs all the RAF, RN and Coastguard SAR helicopters. We also visited the RAF police dog squad, who showed us how they train the police dogs before giving us a demonstration of how the use the dogs to apprehend trespassers.On Friday afternoon, we held our inter-flight drill competition, which was judged by the Station Warrant Officer, with the result very close. On our last night, we had a small party, where we were given our camp photos, and where also the camp awards were given out.
Exercise First Steps, 18-19 March 2011 - a report by Cadet Marion Vickers
On 18th March a group of 40 new cadets went on Exercise First Steps. For many of us it was the first time we had done something like this, involving cooking with boil-in-the-bag rations, building and then sleeping in our own shelters. After sorting out all our kit and getting separated into sections we set off for the exercise. We walked to the woods behind our school with our 65 litre backpacks on, it was tiring after a full day of school, but after we had eaten a few sweets we all felt happy again!
On arrival at the harbour area we set to work on building our shelters. We were working to a tight schedule as the sun was setting quickly. After we had made our shelters we went into the field for a lesson on patrol formations. It was really interesting and was to prove extremely useful for the evenings activities! After this we started cooking our meals. They weren't very tasty but everyone was really hungry and so it was eaten without too much grumbling! After this, In our individual sections, we went for lessons in patrolling, moving around at night without detection, duties of a sentry and, for a bit of fun and leadership skills, a night line. It was thoroughly enjoyable and all the people in charge were very helpful and engaging. After a night of running around, we were all offered hot dogs and hot chocolate. It was about 0030 before the whole camp was asleep!
In the morning we made our own breakfast and took down our shelters. After the walk back to school we organised our kit and then prepared for our passing out parade. Lots of family turned out of the parade and everyone, although they were exhausted, had a smile on their face. Then we were issued our half stars and we were all very proud of ourselves. I'd like to thank the section commanders, platoon commander and sergeant as well as the teachers and NCOs that made it a really great night.
Sealand Ranges Day, 30th January 2011
Cadets from both the Army and RAF sections took part in a range day at Sealand Ranges to start training for the Cadet Skill at Arms Meet. The morning consisted of the cadets being divided into four sections - two of which firing the rifles at one end of the range, and the other two sections working in the butts underneath the targets, scoring their friends after each shoot, before swapping round.
During the morning, cadets shot 20 rounds each at targets 100m away with L98 Cadet GP Rifles, many achieving very high scores.
After lunch, the cadets once again formed four sections, and took turns shooting a further 20 rounds at targets 300m away - this was much more challenging, and combined with a strong wind, cadets were lucky to get even a couple of shots on target!
By the end of the day, all the cadets had a successful day's training to start off the year putting into practise the weapon handling skills they have been learning and fully enjoying the event.
Cadet Matt Cook writes about the Exercise Winter Warmup - January 2011
In the morning, cadets completed the assault course at Dale barracks which involved climbing over walls, walking over planks suspended high above the ground, climbing ropes and jumping over trenches. Everyone performed well, conquering their fears of heights and finding unknown strength to traverse the obstacles.
After the obstacle course, cadets honed their shooting skills at the range, shooting the L98 (a semi-automatic) assault rifle. The targets were set at a range of 30m and cadets were given a few rounds to get the feel of the rifles. The targets were inspected (They were found to be full of holes) and advice was given by the range staff. Then came some "snapshooting" in which targets were turned sideways and cadets were told to only fire on them in the few seconds when when they turned to face them, allowing the cadets to practice making accurate shots quickly. Again the targets were inspected, revealing even more bullet holes and showing that there are many good shots in the section.
We returned to the pavilion to eat lunch and found a welcome meal of chips had been bought from the nearby shop. We then had some time to clean the weapons we had fired earlier and prepare our kit for the exercise in the afternoon.
Full of chips, four groups set out at intervals, tasked with meeting several informants positioned around Dale's woodland. Unfortunately, each group was captured and questioned by a fifth "Hunter" group a few minutes after setting out. Fortunately for them, the enemy was good natured enough not to interrogate them too brutally and deliver a brief lesson on what to do if captured before sending them on their way.
Only slightly shaken by their 10 minute capture, they were soon out moving through the wood and grassland, meeting the agents they were supposed to. Here, their skills at moving without detection were tested to the extremes as the armed hunter group which caught them earlier were now following them, trying to find the location of each of the agents spilling secrets. This led to several groups resorting to lying low in muddy ditches for long periods of time until danger had passed.
With all sections successfully completing their objectives, the cadets returned to the pavilion to celebrate their victory with a warming mug of hot chocolate.