DETACHMENTS AND PARADE NIGHTS

A group of cadets that parade in one place are known as a ‘detachment’ or sometimes a troop, platoon or unit. The detachment is a specific location and is usually named after the town where it is located – such as Hastings, Crawley or Bognor. Each detachment in Sussex has a 'number' which forms part of its name.

Each group has a number adult staff and one adult in particular who runs and is responsible for their detachment and the cadets who belong to it. This person is known as the detachment commander (or DC) and he or she is responsible for the training and administration of the detachment, and they manage their own staff to ensure that training programmes and events are properly organised and delivered.

The Detachment Commander maintains links with the local community to ensure that the cadets are involved in the important events which take place, such as the Poppy Appeal and Remembrance.

Our detachments vary in size and numbers, depending on the location, the number of available adult staff to support it and also the facilities available in the location. Some of our detachments are based in large TA centres, or portacabins within the grounds of a centre. Others are based in youth centres or community centres. Regardless of the location, the training offered is exactly the same – although some of our detachment commanders have to be a little creative when it comes to their use of outside space and other facilities.

Cadets usually meet at their detachment location twice a week for a ‘parade night’. Once a month, the detachment will close to cadets, to allow our staff to catch up with important administration and planning, and some of our detachments may close during half term or bank holidays.

The parade night usually starts at around 1930 with a formal parade and uniform inspection before the first lesson begins. Lessons could be anything from the Army Cadet syllabus, and will vary depending upon the needs of the cadets at the time and of course the facilities and qualified staff available. Our cadets will practice marching, navigation, shelter building, cooking, tactical field craft and first aid amongst other subjects. Some of it is classroom based and the training is progressive, so we build our cadets us over a period of time, ensuring that they are ready before they move onto the next stage.

Some of our detachments are fortunate to have an indoor range and qualified staff to run it (a range is an authorised place where live firing can take place) and so our cadets can spend their evening practicing their target shooting. Shooting is an important part of the ACF syllabus, but no cadet is allowed to use any of the rifles until they have been properly trained and have passed the relevant skills tests.

Mid way through a parade night there is usually a short break, where cadets can relax and chat in the NAAFI (tuck shop) before the second lesson starts. Final parade at the end of the night is usually at around 9:30pm, and a chance for any messages to be passed on before the cadets depart.

If you want to find out more about joining the Army Cadet Force (ACF) as either a cadet or a member of adult staff then please contact us for more information. Details of your nearest detachment can be found using the interactive map on this page.