After a long and difficult period of lockdown and confinement, Cambridgeshire Cadets are beginning to return to their detachments, full of enthusiasm for an exciting year ahead.
Most detachments are already back, with the remainder to follow in the coming days. This is result of much preparation and risk assessment work by senior staff and Detachment Commanders begun last year, and now updated and reviewed. Cadets can now train in ‘bubbles’ without restrictions on numbers, but with social distancing indoors and out, the wearing of masks indoors, the use of hand sanitiser and wiping down of surfaces. None of this spoiled the great atmosphere at Detachments, with cadets and adults delighted to be able to see each other again and welcome their new members.
Parade at Cambridge Detachment. Picture; Lt Vicky Houghton
At Talavera detachment, SSI Rylan Ray said; ‘It feels great to be back and seeing everyone in 3D and in uniform again! Our parade night began with brief introductions, followed by some basic lessons with the focus on making them fun, and putting a bit of imagination into how we do it.’
1 Company cadets had the opportunity to attend Skill At Arms (SAA) Training on Monday 3rd May, where 18 of them worked towards their Basic SAA pass by training with The Skorpion Air Rifle. Many progressed to the point that they could pass a Weapons Handling Test and fire the weapon. All four Companies are all in the process of returning, with excellent adult attendence at return-to-training events, and are pleased to be welcoming many new cadets. Cambridge Regional College (CRC) Detachment was the first to re-open, and RSMI Hockey (Head of Uniformed Services at CRC) commented: 'The cadets love being back face to face, and are concentrating on weapons training to start with.'
Parade at Fletton Detachment. Picture; SSI Rylan Ray
At Whittlesey Detachment on 4th May, 6 new cadets were making an enthusiastic start after having applied to join the ACF during the lockdown. New cadet Dylan Rowberry (13) said ‘I want to join the Army as an Infantryman, so I’m really looking forward to fieldcraft, weapons training, and Annual Camp.’ Fellow new-starter Cdt Kait Crosby, also 13, is hoping for a career in the NHS and said she was looking forward to first aid training, and making new friends.
SI Worsley gives instruction in 'Why Things Are Seen', Whittlesey Detachment. Picture; Doug Stuart
Cdt Kait Crosby’s brother, Cdt LCpl Mitchell Crosby, led a lesson in expedition training, a subject that many of them were looking forward to actively participating in at a later date. Later, SI Worsley instructed more experienced cadets in ‘Why Things are Seen’; encouraging cadets to think about how they could best conceal themselves from an enemy.
Cdt LCpl Crosby gives a lesson on expedition training, Whittlesey. Picture: Doug Stuart
At Cambridge Detachment on 5th May, the junior cadre, "Templer" enjoyed some team building tasks and a revision of badges of rank with Sgt Wallace, LCpl Djan and Cpl Hodson, while the senior "West" cadre had revision sessions on field signals and drill under the supervision of CSgt Bullman and Cpl Knight.
Cadet at Ely Detachment. Picture; Doug Stuart
It is clear that most cadets are greatly looking forward to annual camp at the end of July, which promises an extremely exciting line up of events, action and adventure. Next month, they will have the opportunity to attend pre-camp training weekends where they will get to camp out with their friends, the perfect antidote to so many months stuck at home.
Text by PI Doug Stuart
Thanks to SSI Rylan Ray, Lt Richard Nicholson, Lt Vicky Houghton.