Continuing our look at different roles within the Army Cadet Force we take a look this time at that of the Padre.
Rev Toby Jones, who hails from Victoria in Australia, was appointed a Padre in 2021. Toby has family military connections his father served in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and his grandfather in the Royal Navy. His sister is currently serving in the Royal Australian Navy.
Toby along with Padre Elfryn Jones are the Padre’s within Clwyd and Gwynedd ACF
Padre Toby was asked to outline his role within the ACF.
I’m Rev’d. Toby Jones and I am one of the Chaplains serving with Clwyd and Gwynedd Army Cadet Force.
Chaplains, aka Padres, are professionally qualified officers that are commissioned by the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department to serve the Army, or in our case, the ACF. This means that while we work as part of the county and are accountable to the commandant and the senior staff, we are also independent of the chain of command which opens up a wide range of opportunities to support cadets and adult staff alike. Our primary role is to provide Spiritual, Moral and Pastoral care, support and guidance to everyone associated with the ACF. Further to this, we often called upon to teach, and advise on, various topics including the Values and Standards of the ACF.
While chaplains primarily come from a background of Christian religious ministry, it is important to remember that we minister to people of any, all, and no faith. Interactions and discussions with Chaplains are always kept confidential, except where something is disclosed that must be reported - e.g. a safeguarding concern. Generally, if something is said to us and we believe it’s best to share the information with someone else, we will always get informed permission form the person concerned first.
Our primary commitment to the ACF is to attend the two-week annual camp, but we can often be found floating around the various activities and camps that the cadets and adults attend through the year. My first experience with the ACF was attending the week long camp at Nesscliffe back in October 2021 and I honestly don’t know who enjoyed the week more, me or the cadets. Alongside my county-wide role, I also attend the weekly parade nights at my local detachment in Deeside.
While being different from other adult staff, and holding the rank of commissioned officers, we are not scary people to come and talk to, so please do when you see us out and about on cadet activities. Chaplains are easy to recognise as we have slightly different uniforms from other adult staff. These include wearing a black and purple RAChD Tactical Recognition Flash and Stable Belt, as well as the smaller aspects of wearing the RAChD beret badge, collar crosses and “Padre” name badges.