The King George VI Memorial Course

Cambs instructors tell us about this important leadership course

The King George VI Memorial Course

15 January 2022

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

The KGVI course is a week-long leadership course held at National ACF Headquarters, Frimley Park, Surrey, for Staff (or Colour) Sergeant Instructors and Lieutenants who wish to be promoted to Sergeant Major Instructor and Captain respectively. The course does not guarantee promotion, but it is a requirement for it. It is funded from a bursary left by King George VI and the course was founded in his honour. The course aims to teach its students important middle-management skills needed for certain roles within the ACF.

CSI Bayliss, second from left, dressed for the mess dinner.

Linton Detachment Commander Colour Serjeant Richard Bayliss attended the course in January this year. He said ‘We did exercises in coaching and had talks from senior staff in Regional Command and talks on diversity. We also had a talk from Colonel Murdo-Urquhart, Chief executive of the Army Cadet Charitable Trust, who introduced us to the charity and the support it can provide. Networking and sharing ideas with colleagues from other counties is also a really important aspect of the course. There was also quite a challenging exercise to train us how to brief a Company Commander on plans for a forthcoming event.’

CSI Bayliss (fourth row down, first on right) and fellow instructors on the course.

2 Coy Staff Officer Captain Chris Annis attended the course in December 2021. Whilst he has many years of experience at higher level management, he was upbeat about the course itself, saying; ‘it was a really well thought out and put together course, and the people were a lot of fun!’

2 Coy Company Sergeant Major (CSM) John Bland had already been appointed a Sergeant Major when he attended the course in 2019, but required its completion for his promotion to be confirmed. ‘As I am not a manager professionally, I learnt a particularly large amount. As well as being a requirement for my promotion, it was also beneficial in giving you an insight and letting you know what to expect in your new role. We were set a planning exercise, a visit by VIPs to Frimley, in order for us to learn more about the roles of a Sergeant Major and a Captain. The Sergeant Major was tasked with managing the parade, organising the band, and the order of the presentations. The Captain had to consider which dignitaries to invite, organise them, decide who would read the citations, as well as having wider responsibilities, such as briefing their OC, and completing a risk assessment for the event.’

(left) CSM Bland and Lt Bradbury on the course, and (right) Lt Bradbury, at front, with colleagues.

CSM Bland really enjoyed the experience of being at Frimley Park, and the formal mess dinner. ‘The facilities at Frimley are really good, such as the grounds, the training facilities and the new mess hall.’

Lt Bradbury (front middle) and CSM Bland back row second from right, with fellow students on the course.

1 Coy Training Officer Lt Heather Bradbury attended the course with CSM Bland. She said: ‘The course is based on higher leadership and management levels, looking at equality and diversity and how this is changing within the ACF. It included how to use stores and equipment properly, and we had a talk from the diversity team, and had the opportunity to have conversations with higher ranking instructors about what is expected of a CSM and a Captain. You also get taught intermediate Westminster training, learnt how to use your team appropriately, how to check for qualifications on Westminster, how to organise events at higher levels and how to be a Staff Officer or a CSM. I loved the course. Its was a nice group, which helped, but was also so informative and the Frimley team made it really good fun too, so teamwork played a big part in it.’

Lt Bradbury and colleagues dressed for dinner.

2 Coy Training Officer Lt Kate Blundell completed the course in its virtual form in April 2021. She said: ‘It was really informative, all the sessions were really interesting. We were set specific tasks in the exercise which really helped you to understand what your job roles were, and helped develop mutual respect for each other’s responsibilities.’

Text by SI Doug Stuart with thanks to CSI Richard Bayliss, Lt Heather Bradbury, CSMI John Bland, Lt Kate Blundell and Capt Chris Annis.