Our New Padres

Our New Padres

2 August 2022

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

Cambs ACF has two new Padres, Padre Jason Devaux and Padre Mike Wilcockson, completing the team that will be led by Padre Mark Amey.

Padres are professionally qualified officers who hold Commissions issued through the Royal Army Chaplain’s Department (RAChD) and are assigned to the ACF. Although they work under the direction of the Commandant, this gives them an independent chain of command.


Left to right, Padres Devaux, Wilcockson & Amey

The primary role of the Padre is to provide pastoral, spiritual, moral and ethical advice and support to cadets and adults alike, this can often involve welfare issues both within and outside of cadets, and it is an essential part of the Padre’s role that they treat everyone equally regardless of rank or personal belief. ​​Within the ACF they perform vitally important work, especially at Annual Camp, by providing a friendly, independent presence that anyone can talk to and seek advice from. Anything you say is treated as confidential, if you wish, provided it does not involve a safeguarding issue. If the Padre feels it is best to share information, your permission will always be sought first. However, they are often able to deal with problems discreetly in a behind-the-scenes manner.

Padres can normally be identified by their black and purple Tactical Recognition Flash (badge) on the left arm, and matching stable belt. They also wear a name tape which reads ‘Padre’, and they wear a navy blue beret with the RAChD badge.

Padres should always be addressed as ‘Padre’ and not ‘Sir’. Both new Padres hold the equivalent rank of Captain, and as with all Padres, this is a non-executive rank meaning although they do not give orders, they should treated the same way as any officer who hold the Queen’s Commission.


Padre Wilcockson

Padre Mike Wilcockson is an exceptionally experienced Cadet Officer. Starting as an Army cadet himself, he reached the senior rank of Cadet Under Officer at his school in Cambridge. As a professional teacher, Padre Wilcockson became involved with the Army Section of the Combined Cadet Force, where he became a signals specialist. Receiving a commission in 1983, he was Contingent Commander at Aldenham School and then went on to teach at The Leys School, Cambridge, where he took command of the school’s Army Section and Signals Squadron. In 1996 he became a teacher at Eton College, again becoming Contingent Commander and reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

In 2018, a change of direction saw him become ordained as a priest and padre in Essex ACF. The following year he became Minister at St Mary’s Church, Linton, and after meeting Cambs ACF OC 3 Coy, Major John Kell, at a Remembrance parade, Major Kell suggested he should join us as a Padre.

Padre Wilcockson said, ‘I hope it will be helpful to have a Padre who has been through it all himself. I understand how challenging being a cadet can be, and I will be using my experience to support and encourage all our cadets and adults alike.’


Padre Devaux

Padre Jason Devaux is a highly experienced Church Minister whose experience extends to missionary work in multiple countries, hospital Chaplaincy and Ministerial roles at a variety of different churches. He began life with a troubled background involving drug-dealing and criminal connections, but a chance encounter set him on a path to faith and ultimately becoming ordained. He studied at Moorlands Bible College, Dorset, and then attended a multi-denominational College and worked as a Church of England Youth Minister, helping to support the families of Royal Marines in Poole, Dorset, amongst other duties.

He became a Missionary and travelled to Albania, Romania and Bosnia, and later became a Church Minister in South Korea. After this, he became Chaplain to the City of Cambridge, supported by local churches and based at the Grafton Centre, conducting public services there. He became Minister of Finedon Independent Wesleyan chapel, Northamptonshire, and then Pastor at Fordham Church until it closed down in October. Ever looking for fresh challenges, he took up a position as a Hospital Chaplain at Addenbrookes where he said he met ‘incredible, fantastic people’ and is full of admiration for the staff and the extraordinary work they do. Having just left Addenbrookes, he is now Minister of Zion Baptist Church, Cambridge.

During the pandemic he began to think that he wanted to shift his focus onto helping young people, remembering the problems that he himself had experienced and the significance of those who had helped him work towards a better life. Realising that the Army Cadet Force offered this potential, he applied to the Royal Army Chaplains Department and was accepted to serve with us. He said; ‘Im really happy to join Cambs ACF, and looking forward to assisting and enabling young people. Most importantly I always remember I am here to serve, not to be served.’

Text and pictures by SI Doug Stuart