Cambs ACF holds the first of its Pre-Camp Training Weekends

Cambs ACF holds the first of its Pre-Camp Training Weekends

14 June 2021

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

With Annual Camp 2021 fast approaching, Cambs ACF has begun its series of pre-camp weekends designed to equip cadets with the essential training they need. On 12-13th June it was the turn of 1 Company, with 2 and 3 Company following on successive weekends.

The intention of pre-camp is to provide basic training and acclimatise new cadets to being out on exercise in order to prepare them for Annual Camp. It also allows more experienced cadets to revise their skills, and learn new ones, after a long absence due to the pandemic. The training weekend largely took place outside, with masks being worn for some activities, such as shooting, that necessitated the cadets and instructors being close together. Due to current restrictions, this was not a residential event, and cadets returned home in the evening.

Cadets apply camouflage cream (picture: Doug Stuart)

Lt Collinge and 1 Coy Training Officer SMI Moody taught One Star cadets fieldcraft, which included the construction of bashas (tents) and camouflage and concealment. As well as applying camo cream, the cadets had a lot of fun attaching foliage to themselves. They were asked to consider principals of camouflage including ‘shape, shine and silhouette’, and to consider how their positioning affected their visibility. The cadets then engaged in a ‘hide and seek’ exercise designed to teach them the skills of concealment, supported by senior cadets from the company.

Cadet Vaughan carries out a Weapons Handling Test with the air rifle. (Picture: Doug Stuart)

Basic cadets were instructed in use of the Scorpion Air Rifle by SSI Ray, culminating in them taking a Weapons Handling Test to demonstrate that they could handle the weapon safely. They were then able to progress onto the range and shoot the rifle supervised by SI Clifford, with SMI Mackenzie and Lt Nicholson. They were joined by WO2 Stevens from the cadet training team at Frimley Park, who was acting as a safety supervisor and supporting adults who were undertaking new responsibilities.

Cadet Bramwell shoots the Scorpion air rifle. (picture: Doug Stuart)

2Lt Percival and SI Worsley taught the Company’s more senior cadets fieldcraft, harbour drills, camouflage & concealment, contact drills and ambush.

Cadet Crosby eating her army rations. (picture: Doug Stuart)

SI Venmore said: ‘with the basic cadets, the emphasis was on fun with the focus on passing them on their fieldcraft, Nav, and shooting. We started the day with how to build two-man shelters, then moved into sleeping, personal admin and personal hygiene in the field. we took them through the ration pack and how to cook in the field, I was pleasantly surprised with their enthusiasm for the ration pack and nobody complained about the menus!'

Cdt LCpl Mazur applies camouflage cream. (Picture: Doug Stuart)

Cooking in the woods had been prohibited because of the fire risk due to the dry conditions, so cadets set up their portable field cookers on a hard standing. For the basic cadets, this was the first time they had cooked in the field. They boiled water in mess tins and cooked army meals provided in foil bags.

2 Star cadets pose near the shooting range. (Picture: 2Lt Dave Percival)

After lunch, basic cadets had a lesson in fieldcraft and an introduction to ‘why things are seen’, in which the cadets had to find twelve objects (or people) which were hidden with varying degrees of camouflage.

Cadet search for hidden objects. (Picture: Doug Stuart)

The cadets were enthusiastic and clearly enjoying themselves. They also took an optimistic view of the experiences that would be available to them in the near future. Basic Cadet Jack Levet said: ‘Im really enjoying myself, and I’m looking forward to almost everything, especially weapons handling and shooting.’

Senior cadets Foreman and Rice demonstrate construction of a basha. (Picture: Doug Stuart)

Lt Nicholson said ; ‘I felt the day went very well. Was great to get out, I think adults and cadets enjoyed themselves. It was a great for lots of our new recruits to see what we do best as an organisation.’

Newly promoted Corporal Baker, who received his promotion at London Road Army Reserve Centre at the weekend, and Corporal King who was promoted in the field. (Pictures: 2LT Dave Percival)

On Saturday, Deputy Commandant Major Deacon and Regimental Sergeant Major Hockey visited to see the training for themselves. The entire weekend’s events were overseen by Captain Stewart, Officer Commanding 1 Company. He said: ‘No 1 (Hereward) Company deployed to their first field exercise for nearly 2 years. Having pre-booked the weather, all had a great time. We were able to complete different levels of training while keeping it fun and operating within the current COVID-19 guidelines.’

Text by PI Doug Stuart