The Army Cadet Force offers opportunities that can have fantastic life-changing potential for our cadets and adults alike. We build confidence and maturity, teach teamwork and management skills, and encourage everyone to work towards fulfilling their potential. One person to benefit greatly from our training is Staff Sergeant (SSI) Nathan Drummond.
Nathan (middle) as a cadet in 2012.
Nathan joined Haddenham Detachment in 2010, at the age of twelve. He said: 'I didn’t want to spend all my time playing my Playstation and missing out, I wanted to do something more.’ It was a brave decision, as he was nervous and underconfident, but he enjoyed it straight away. One of his instructors, SI Ian Pavitt, described him as ‘very shy, really quiet, but he really progressed, and I’ve seen him go up and up.’
Left, dressed for a fieldcraft exercise, and right, receiving his Master Cadet certificate, 2016.
SSI Drummond said: ‘I learned life skills that you might not expect a teenager to have, such as communication and teamwork, and as I became a senior cadet, leadership and management. When I started, I was the kind of person who would sit at the back of the class and not say much, but the ACF taught me to have the confidence to speak out, to give an opinion, and to contribute.’
Nathan (middle, with pace stick) as 3 Coy CSM on his last night as a cadet, Haddenham, 2017.
Nathan’s progress was impressive. He moved quickly through the star levels and ranks, ultimately becoming a Master Cadet with the rank of Cadet Company Sergeant Major (3 Coy) in 2016.
He took part in the First World War battlefield tour to France in 2014, and learning about the privations endured by soldiers in trench warfare helped him to ‘not take what we have for granted- it made me appreciated what I have got’. The same year, at Annual Camp, he and fellow cadets got to fly in a Chinook helicopter. ‘It was a great experience, I was close to the edge and could see out during the flight. I was nervous, but I thought, I want to do this again!’
His cadet experience inspired his choice in further education: at the age of 16 he began to study Uniformed Public Services at Cambridge Regional College. He spent five years there, going on to complete a Level 5 qualification and then go to Anglia Ruskin University for a further year, to ‘top up’ his qualification to an Honours Degree.
Parachute jump, 2016.
In 2016, through his course, he was offered the chance to complete a parachute jump, an experience he described as; ‘terrifying, I’m scared of heights! But I have learned to be confident and do things outside my comfort zone. I remember looking over the edge of the aircraft and thinking “what am I doing!” In the end, it was one of the best experiences of his life.
Two of many achievements, left, Skill at Arms qualified, and right, university graduate.
Having aged-out as a cadet in 2017, Nathan re-joined as an adult almost straight away. He became an instructor at Burwell, and two years later became Detachment Commander (DC) of Soham. This was followed by a spell running Cambridge Detachment and he has recently returned to Burwell as its DC. In 2019, he was promoted to the rank of SSI, a remarkable achievement for a then 20 year old, and testament to his hard work, enthusiasm and maturity. His multiple achievements as an adult instructor include completing the challenging Skill at Arms Course at Frimley Park, and becoming an RCO (Range Conducting Officer). He plans to apply for a Commission, and is ambitious to continue achieving within the ACF.
Newspaper cutting showing Nathan (as Detachment Commander, Soham) preparing for Remembrance Day in 2019.
In his career, Nathan hopes to become a Police Officer. ‘The ACF has inspired me to want to join a uniformed public service. It has encouraged me to plan for a career that is worthwhile and will benefit others.’ In the meantime, he has found success working as an Electrical Testing Assistant in a lab at Earthco Ltd in Witchford.
At work at Earthco Ltd.
He said; ‘One of the best things about cadets is that we all learn from each other. We have different backgrounds, different skills. With my job, it has helped me approach difficult situations with a better attitude, problem solve and use resources better. It’s given me the confidence and maturity I need to make good decisions, to be patient, to see where I want to go and plan how to get there.’
Nathan in his office at Burwell Detachment.
Text by SI Doug Stuart with thanks to SSI Nathan Drummond and SI Ian Pavitt.