The Army Cadet Force teaches skills and values such as discipline, teamwork and integrity that can help young people in whatever career they choose. Our training is clearly also of great value to those who choose to join the armed forces, can help guide them in their choices, and give them a head start in an army career. One such person to benefit from this is 17 year old Private Pierce Windass.
On 16th June, Private Windass visited his former detachment at Chatteris to see his old friends and speak to cadets about life in the army, which proved to be a great opportunity for cadets to meet a serving soldier, find out more about the army, and consider their own careers and potential achievements.
Junior Soldier Windass at the Army Foundation College, and as a Private, visiting Chatteris Detachment. (Pictures: Army Foundation College and Doug Stuart)
Pierce started his military experience by joining Chatteris Detachment 4 years ago at the age of 13, having been introduced to the ACF by a friend. He was a successful cadet, completing his DofE Bronze and reaching the rank of Corporal, 3 Star complete, and taking part in the World War One commemorations in France.
He said: ‘The cadets helped me a lot, it gave me an edge when I started my training. I made friends and gained confidence. The highlight of the cadet experience is definitely Annual Camp- being away from your parents, getting independence, having fun.’
Pierce was supported and guided all the way by our adult instructors, and is particularly grateful to 2Lt Keira-narice Liddington, SSI Jordan Bullman, and SI David Seal for their help and encouragement.
Cadet Corporal Windass (back middle) at Annual Camp, West Tofts, 2019. Picture: Doug Stuart
In 2019, he visited a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) camp with the ACF. This camp brought him into contact with soldiers from different Regiments, who were able to help advise him on career paths, and it soon became clear that Pierce had an aptitude for technical subjects.
His next step was a brave one for a 16 year old- to enrol at The Army Foundation College, Harrogate, in 2020. It proved to be a great decision- Pierce met the challenges of the College’s tough training, and performed exceptionally well, gaining high grades and coming to love being there. Having already completed his GCSEs, he was able to study an optional course, a BTEC in Anti-Terrorism.
Pierce considered several different technical careers before deciding to become an Ammunition Technician with the Royal Logistics Corps (RLC). This involved an intensive interviewing and testing process, requiring him to demonstrate mathematical and mechanical reasoning, problem solving and planning, challenges that proved well within his abilities.
He successfully passed out from Harrogate in February this year, and moved on to his specialist Phase Two training at The Defence School of Transport, Leconfield. Some aspects of his training there are delayed due to the pandemic, meaning he will move on to Phase Three in September. During Phase 3, he will study the technical aspects of ammunition science at Shrivenham, and then move on to MOD Kineton, home of the Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search Training Regiment, where he will study the safe disposal of ordnance. From here, he will proceed to training for rapid promotion to Lance Corporal in the early part of next year.
Private Windass speaks to cadets at Chatteris. Picture: Doug Stuart
At Chatteris Detachment, old friends were pleased to see Pierce again, and new cadets were glad of the opportunity to meet him. Chatteris Detachment Commander 2Lt Percival understands first- hand the advantage given to young soldiers by ACF training. He said: ‘Having served as a Sergeant instructor for two years at AFC Harrogate, I know that Pierce’s previous cadet experience would have definitely given him the edge during his time in training. Whilst there, you notice the ex cadets as they are always of a higher calibre'
Pierce loved his time with the ACF, now loves the Army, and is looking forward to an exciting career ahead. His experiences so far have fuelled his determination to go on succeeding. He said: ‘I want to get promoted as soon as possible, and always do the very best I can.’
Text by PI Doug Stuart