Dorset Army Cadet Force (ACF) is part of a national youth organisation aimed at inspiring young people to achieve both physically and mentally whilst developing self-confidence, teamwork and leadership.
Cadets can be aged between 12 and 18 and have the opportunity to take part in numerous activities, including First Aid training (which leads to nationally-recognised awards), DofE (The Duke of Edinburgh's Award), BTEC Certificate in Public Services (equivalent to 4 GCSE A* grades), not to mention the military skills and adventurous training.
The County Headquarters and Weekend Training Centre are based in the County Town of Dorchester. Weekend training also takes place at both Blandford (Royal Signals) camp and Bovington (Armour Centre) training areas, amongst others.
Dorset ACF has 22 detachments, including 3 in The Channel Islands, over 550 cadets, 125 Adult Volunteers and 8 members of permanent staff.
The detachments on the mainland are split between four Companies, namely A, B, C, D. These are sponsored by Regular Army units: the Royal Tank Regiment, The Royal Corps of Signals, The Rifles, and The Royal Logistic Corps.
Companies within Dorset ACF:
A (Marabout) Company
A Company has 5 Detachments in the west side of Dorset, their Battle Honour is Marabout:
The Battle of Marabout 1801
The Marabout Battle Honour was borne by the Dorsetshire Regt and commemorates the service of the 54th Regiment in the operations outside of Alexandria in the summer of 1801. The 54th of Foot had been entrusted with the task of keeping watch over the French Garrison in Fort Marabout, and it was their successful capture of the redoubt at the tomb of a Moslem Saint which brought home to the French commander General Menou the futility of further resistance. He hoisted the white flag, and he and his army were permitted a safe conduct to France, on giving an undertaking that they would not serve against England during the continuance of the war. The Dorsetshire Regiment incorporated the battle honour into their capbadge, and it was also used by the successor regiment, the Devon and Dorsets.
B (Plassey) Company
B Company has 4 Detachments in the north of Dorset, their Battle Honour is Plassey:
The Battle of Plassey 1757
The Battle of Plassey was a decisive victory of the British East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies on 23rd June 1757. General Robert Clive was in command of the British Force including about 300 members of the 39th Foot and he immediately took the offensive against the Surajah Dowlah and Nawab of Bengal, successfully capturing Calcutta, Chandernagore and Cutwa. Clive had only 3,000 men and 15 light guns against the Nawab's army of over 60,000 infantry, cavalry, 50 heavy guns and some lighter ones. The formidable enemy force was completely defeated by the small British force, who captured the whole of the enemy's camp, baggage, guns and stores. This victory ranks as one of the most complete and overwhelming achievements in military history.
C (Somme) Company
C Company has 5 Detachments in south east Dorset, their Battle Honour is Somme:
The Battle of the Somme 1916
The Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles that occurred during World War 1. It took place aroundthe Somme River in north eastern France and lasted from July 1st to November 18th 1916. The battle was fought between the Allies (British and French) on one side and the German Empire on the other. The British were led by Commander-in-chief Sir Douglas Haig. On the 1st of July 1916 the attack was ordered in order to relieve pressure on the French who were under heavy attack in Verdun, and thousands of British soldiers advanced from their trenches towards the German lines. Despite heavy casualties the British continue to attack and by November 18th they had gained around seven miles of territory. The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest battles in human history.
D (Kohima) Company
D Company has 5 Detachments in the Poole and Bournemouth area, their Battle Honour is Kohima:
The Battle of Kohima 1944
The 2nd Dorsets were sent to India where they trained in jungle warfare. The Japanese invasion of Assam in March 1944 threatened Dimapur and Kohima, where a tiny garrison faced overwhelming Japanese forces. The 2nd Division were despatched from India to relieve the garrison at Kohima. Here the Dorsets fought a protracted and bitter battle against a ruthless and implacable enemy in the incongruous surroundings of the grounds of a bungalow in what had been a peacetime hill station. The centre of the Japanese defence was around a tennis court where, for eighteen days from 26th April, the Dorsets fought a deadly, bloody battle of attrition. In the steeply terraced gardens their positions were within 25 yards of the Japanese and surrounded by a cacophony of machine guns and the stench of rotting corpses. On 13th May a tank was finally manhandled up the steep slopes and, with its support, the Dorsets finally broke the Japanese hold and captured the position. Their role in this was central to victory in Burma because the tennis court was the key to Kohima, and the victories at Kohima and on the Imphal Plain were the turning point in the war in Burma. Slim’s Fourteenth Army now pursued the retreating Japanese southwards towards Rangoon. Despite their heavy casualties at Kohima the 2nd Dorsets took part in this long advance, beyond the jungle and out onto the Burmese plains. Their part in two campaigns in Burma won six new battle honours for the Regiment.
The Channel Islands have 3 Detachments
Jersey Royal Militia - Le Quesne and Grainville Detachments