Army Cadet Expedition July 2016, Exercise Kwa-Zulu-Natal


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During the long post GCSE holiday I embarked on the trip of a life time to South Africa with the Army Cadet Force. It had been a long time coming as the initial selection had taken place in early 2015 with the writing of a personal statement detailing our interest and motivation to want to be part of this expedition. From there the entrants were narrowed to down to group of around eighty Army cadets from all walks of life to take part in a weekend selection event, consisting of command tasks and fitness tests. After having taken part in this, the group was further scrutinised and some cadets were turned away. From here we had two separate weeks of training in the Lake District, further honing our self-reliance skills, hiking ability and capacity to work as a group. All this contributed towards the completion of our Summer Mountain Foundation course with daily excursions onto the hills and lessons in nutrition, first aid and emergency casevac procedures. These weeks of training allowed us to form close friendships with our fellow cadets and get to know our instructors which played a vital role when getting through some tough times. At the end of this process we were down to sixty cadets and were divided into two expedition groups of thirty cadets. I ended up in expedition group one with some good mates.

Finally the day for pre-deployment came but it wasn’t without some last minute completion of paperwork and dashes to the shops to complete the lengthy kit list. We were all finally assembled in London going through final checks before leaving for the airport the following afternoon. After almost 24 hours of travel we were on our way to our first destination, Zingela game reserve.

The expedition itself can be broken down into three weeks, the first week being an acclimatisation stage, the second being your choice of one of three excursions; Trekking the Zulu Trail, Trekking through the Drakensberg Mountains and a Kayak trip down the Tugela River all for roughly five days. The third week was rest and recuperation.

The first week was at Zingela Game reserve a four hour bus ride from King Shaka airport in Durban. We spent just under a week working on our bush craft skills ranging from cooking in the bush to tracking wild game. We stayed in a tented camp and with temperatures reaching minus five at night it was a sprint from sleeping bag to outdoor but pleasantly warm showers in the mornings. Despite it being African winter, day time temperatures reached the thirties.

Quite suddenly after a relatively comfortable introduction to the expedition we all began our three separate excursions. I chose the Zulu Trail expedition, a brand new 85 kilometre trail through the Bushveld and Zulu territories following some of the British Army’s tracks from the Anglo-Zulu war. We were to complete it in five days. After an initial trek to visit and stay the night in a Zulu homestead we embarked on the first day. It was a 27 kilometre trek, the first and longest day of the trail. I and a friend were tasked with leading the group that day and managed to complete it in under nine hours. The rest of the trek went very well and I ended up the only one of the group not succumb to blisters.

Before we knew it we had got through the trek and found ourselves in a German Christian retreat in the region of Elandskraal, it was an eerie place as storms rolled in and we said goodbye to the good weather thankful to have escaped trekking in the rain. It was from here that we took part in some Zulu pottery classes, dancing and went on battlefield visits. We visited Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, these were both deeply moving places and held much significance within the Army cadets’ minds. Mid-way through our R&R week we moved location to the Twin streams eco reserve. Here we learnt about the biodiversity and importance of the St Lucia Wetlands. We visited a crocodile sanctuary, the Kruger national park and went on a river cruise.

Finally the day to leave came around all too quickly. After having such an amazing time it was hard for everyone to say goodbye to South Africa and each other.

Cadet Sergeant Alex Harris, Stowe School CCF (Army Section)

https://combinedcadetforce.org.uk/

 

Berkshire Cadets come together to compete for the Frost Trophy and Nowell Cup Part.2


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Arborfield ACF Company Sergeant Major Holly Chamberlain took on the role of volunteer casualty as teams taking part in the Frost Trophy and Nowell Cup were tested on their first aid skills. Holly has recently completed a Public Services Course at Reading College and is starting training with Thames Valley Police.

Last year Holly was chosen to be one of four Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet for 2016.  Cadets support the Lord-Lieutenant for Berkshire in his work during their year of office, accompanying him to royal visits, awards ceremonies, and similar official events. Holly said “Being the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet has been really interesting. I have met the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Edward and have attended a lot of different events.”

PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTON
www.stphotos.co.uk
07778 334771

Royal Marines Cadet 2 Katie Kremer from Reading, took a ducking while taking part in the water challenge but once back on dry land she helped her team to complete the task in the fastest time of the day.

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Royal Marines Cadet Sergeant MC1 Caitlin Lobley started her cadet life as a sea cadet but transferred as she felt the Royal Marines were more “outdoorsy.” A year 11 pupil at Hugh Faringdon School, Southcote, Reading, Caitlin hopes to study medicine and to join the Navy as a medic. Caitlin said “I would recommend cadets as a way of making friend for life and experiencing things a bit different from normal life.”

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Cadet Jordan Graham gives the climbing wall the thumbs up. Jordan has been with the Arborfield Detachment for two years. He is following in the footsteps of his brother who is the Regimental Sergeant Major. Jordan’s favourite activity is first aid.

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On behalf of the winning team, Army Cadet Sergeant Monja Danischewsky received the Frost Trophy from Wing Commander Chris Fisher. Monja, who is based with the Cippenham Detachment, has been a cadet for five years and hopes to join the Household Cavalry once he has completed his A Levels.

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The winners of the Frost Trophy celebrate their success! The team included Berkshire Army Cadets from the Witley, Woodley, Cippenham and Arborfield Detachments.

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On behalf of his fellow team members, Ordinary Sea Cadet Peter Talbot accepted the Nowell Cup from Colonel Chris Booth. Peter said “Today has been great fun, although we didn’t know each other at the beginning of the day we have really come together as a team. It is really interesting to meet-up with cadets from the other Services as we all do things differently and can learn from each other.”

Berkshire Cadets come together to compete for the Frost Trophy and Nowell Cup


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Army Cadet Wiktor Konecki, Cippenham Detachment, has been a cadet for three years and plans to join the Army as a member of the Infantry. Wiktor said “Being a cadet is a great confidence builder and a great way of making  friends. I found out about the ACF by watching videos on YouTube, I decided to give it a go and have enjoyed every minute.”

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Sea Cadet William De Guzman hopes that his experiences as a cadet will help him in his ambition to become a Marine. William is based with the Slough Unit and has been a cadet for almost a year.  William said “Being a cadet has given me new experiences and is helping me to prepare for a military career. We have to think outside the box and interact with new people. Annual camp gave us a chance to take part in lots of activities including field craft, camping, and clay pigeon shooting.”

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Hayley Milward, Whitley Detachment, joined the ACF at the beginning of 2016 and said “Being a cadet has really helped with my confidence and we get to do lots of different things. I really enjoy sports and have had the chance to take part in regional and national athletics events. I went on annual camp to Thetford and really enjoyed the clay pigeon shooting.”

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Reading based Royal Marines Cadet Class 2 Finlay Allen was one of several senior cadets providing support to the teams taking part in the Frost Trophy and Nowell Cup. Finlay originally joined the ACF but moved to the Royal Marines because he felt there were more opportunities to experience field craft,  something he really enjoys.

Finlay is currently studying for qualifications in Travel and Tourism, and Resistant Materials. He plans to spend time in the USA working for Camp America and travelling before returning to the UK to train as an officer with the Marines.

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Sea Cadet Kelsy Merritt joined the Slough Unit almost a year ago. Kelsy who lives in Langley and attends Churchmead School, Datchet said “Being a Sea Cadet is great fun. There are lots of opportunities to try new things. We regularly go to Datchet Reservoir for boating activities including sailing and rowing.”

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Army Cadet Jade Bartlett, from the Aborfield Detachment, was taking part in the Frost Trophy for the second time. Jade, who is starting a Health and Social Course at Basingstoke College, has been a cadet for two years said “Taking part in events like this is great fun. It is great to meet different cadets and to take on the challenges.”

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Lance Corporal Kayci Benham and Cadet Andrew Boldoro are not only both members of Witley Detachment, but they are both Year 10 pupils at the local John Madejski Academy. They were teamed up with other Army Cadets as one of the Single Service teams competing for the Frost Trophy, working together on a series of activities including putting their first aid skills to the test.

 

SOUTHERN AREA SEA CADETS FIRST AID COMPETITION – MIDDLEHILL


Written by Lt Cdr (SCC) Ray Mitchell RNR – ARO Southern

The SA First Aid Competition was held at Middlehill Sea Cadet Activity Centre, Colgate, West Sussex on Sat 20 Aug 16. The annual event is held to select the best Sea Cadet Team to go forward to the SCC National Competition held at Strensall Camp in Yorkshire with the ACF, ATC and CCF in September.

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Seven teams from Aylesbury, Milton Keynes x 2, Maidstone, Eastbourne, Sittingbourne and Worthing took part completing individual and team scenarios based on their First Aid Training in the SCC. The event was run by the Area Team with CPO Heather Cole standing in for the Area Staff Officer who was on another SCC duty in Dieppe. CPO Cole organised the judges and scenarios and ensured that everything either ran to time or even earlier.

Being an outdoor activity we were reliant on the weather, which never let us down, providing some reality with sunshine interspersed with torrential downpours. Despite some soggy Casualties, First Aiders and Paperwork the event went very well and a team to go forward was selected.

The Middlehill OIC PO Danny Murphy and Admin Officer PO Charley Jacobs looked after us all well by providing the venue with a tuck shop and additional activities including Archery.

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The medal winners were:

1st Milton Keynes A Team
2nd Milton Keynes B Team
3rd Worthing Unit.

Overall Winning District – Oxon Bucks. The Medals were presented by Lt Cdr (SCC) Tim Collins RNR District Officer for Central District.

Lots of positive points made about all of the seven teams taking part and all of the casualties would have survived with the treatment they were given. Even the casualties got a medal but theirs was Gold and Silver and you can spend it in a shop.

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Good luck to Milton Keynes A Team who go forward to the SCC National Competition at Strensall Camp in September.

As ever these events wouldn’t run without CFAVs and thanks go to all of the adults who trained, supported and transported their teams to the event and to the Judges who worked tirelessly to mark the competition. Particular shout out to PPO Molly Fisher for her help at the event as she only became staff 8 days prior on her 18th birthday.

Photos at link: https://www.facebook.com/Southern-Area-Sea-Cadets-130450513717674/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1078239565605426

SOUTHERN AREA SEA CADETS WINDSURFING REGATTA – POOLE HARBOUR 2016


Written by Lt Cdr (SCC) Ray Mitchell RNR – ARO Southern

The SA Windsurfing Regatta was held at Poole Harbour, Dorset on a rather blustery Sun 21 Aug.  The event was organised by Lt Colin Webb Commanding Officer of Poole Unit using MSSC Windsurfing Kit from the SA Pod which is housed at Poole.

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All eyes were on the weather in the days leading up to the event as the wind forecast for the weekend was on the high side. The day before the event the wind was so strong that flying operations at the nearby Bournemouth Air Show were cancelled apart from the Red Arrows later in the day.  The forecast for the Sunday was much improved and after a few phone calls it was tentatively confirmed that the event would go on however a final look at the actual wind strength would be carried out at 0600 on Sunday morning.  Fortunately the wind had subsided to an acceptable strength and the Regatta was able to take place.

Everyone turned up to check in at 0915 and the competitors with the assistance of our RYA Windsurfing Instructor PO Joshua Hill from Poole Unit set up their boards and rigs ready for the off. As the rules allow you to use a smaller rig if required some were used as it was going to be gusty.

A triangular course was set up and a set of five two lap races was undertaken. A triangular course was used to prove that the competitors were able to sail on all points of the wind as well as tack and gybe the board effectively. In gusty conditions the upwind legs can be challenging and the downwind exhilarating. If you get your tack or gybe wrong you can end up having a dip (fortunately the water was warm).

A/C Tom M from Salisbury led the field on all five races and managed to stay fairly dry.  Cdt Jack L from Reigate who had never windsurfed on the sea before, and had the smallest rig due to his size, did exceptionally well to negotiate his way around the course and gain a lot of confidence in the process. By the second race he had mastered the conditions and completed the last four races in good time. A/Cs Sam, Fletcher and Mitch from Poole who regularly sail in Poole Harbour had a great time negotiating the course, getting good placings and taking a few dips in between.

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Congratulations to all of the cadets that took part and a huge thank you to all of the adults who facilitated the event on a rather blustery morning in Poole Harbour.

Although the entry was fairly small we will have a good team going forward to the National Regatta at Southport at the end of September.
Winners were:
Up to 4.5 Metre Class
A/C Tom – Salisbury.  Gold.
Cdt Jack – Reigate. Silver.
Up to 5.5 Metre Class
A/C Sam – Poole. Gold.
A/C Fletch – Poole. Silver.
Up to 6.8 Metre Class
A/C Mitch – Poole. Gold

Overall Winning District – Wessex.

The Medals were presented by our Senior Staff Officer Commander (SCC)  Karen Kristiansen RNR

Photos at link: https://www.facebook.com/Southern-Area-Sea-Cadets-130450513717674/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1078100088952707

High adrenaline summer adventure for Southern Area Sea Cadets Part.4


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Petty Officer Esther Selhi, 42, has volunteered as a Cadet Forces Adult instructor for the past three years.  A stay at home Mum of three, she joined the Maidstone unit when her son Saul became a cadet and she heard that they needed help and more staff.  She said “It’s very rewarding having cadets who’ve not done something before and seeing their confidence grow and their excitement in their achievements.”  Esther is taking advantage of the personal development opportunities.  She said “In terms of my own development I’ve trained to become a First Aid instructor, I’ve got an Adventure Leader qualification, as well as being a Duke of Edinburgh supervisor and assessor.  I’m also currently half way through my Basic Expedition Leader course”

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Cadet Molly Salmon, 12, enjoys all the boating experiences and courses that come with being a sea cadet.  A member of the Gosport Unit, Molly has a passion for climbing.  She said “I love all the climbing that we get to do and being able to climb real rocks outside is an amazing opportunity.”  She added “If it wasn’t for Sea Cadets I wouldn’t really know who I was or what I like to do.  I totally recommend it – it’s so enjoyable”.

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Civilian Instructor Joshua Smets, 20, is an outdoor instructor during the week and joined the High Wycombe Unit Sea Cadets ten months ago.  He said “I was a Royal Marine cadet from the age of 13 to 18 and I realised that I was doing all the outdoor pursuits that I’d done in cadets as my job and I found myself missing the cadet environment.  I got in touch and asked if I could bring my skills to my old unit and got onto all the courses so I can now instruct the cadets in these activities.”  He added “I enjoy seeing a smile on a kid’s face when the achieve something knowing that you’ve contributed to that achievement.  With Cadets you see them develop and grow in confidence.  It’s very rewarding and sometimes it’s hard work but the rewards definitely outweigh the hardship.”

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Ordinary Cadet Saul Selhi, 14, is a Sea Cadet at the Maidstone Unit which he joined because he wanted to learn to kayak.  He said “I like kayaking and once I found out about the adventure training activities that sea cadets can do, I wanted to do that too”.   As well as kayaking, Saul enjoys climbing, shooting and camping. He added “Taking part in this adventure training week has shown me that I can do more than I thought I could do when I’m pushed a bit outside of my comfort zone”.

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Cadet First Class Gabrielle Sellstrom, 13, is a Sea Cadet with Camberley Unit.  She said “I joined three years ago because my Dad is one of the instructors and so I’ve been brought up with Sea Cadets.  I really love all the different activities though and it’s fun meeting new people and being able to go on different courses.  This adventure training week is the by far the best course I’ve been on.  I’m very proud of myself as I’ve conquered my fear of heights.  Doing that climb just now was amazing.  Tomorrow we’re doing the zip wires and I’m looking forward to that.”  Gabby continued “Sea cadets has given me more confidence to go in the direction I want to go in life”.

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Leading Cadet Sophie Rusling, 17, is a student at the UK Sailing Academy in Cowes on the Isle of Wight and is a sea cadet at the Cowes unit.  She said “I joined six and half years ago because it seemed a fun thing to do and offered a lot of opportunities.”  She added “This week has been awesome.  I came along on this course two years ago and I was petrified of heights and the staff have really helped me to overcome this.  I’m definitely into rock climbing now, and I’m not afraid to push myself.  I’m looking forward to the 100ft freefall which we are doing tomorrow.”

http://www.sea-cadets.org/

 

High adrenaline summer adventure for Southern Area Sea Cadets Part.3


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Ordinary Cadet Dan Walker, 14, has been a Sea Cadet with Herne Bay Unit for the past four years and is a pupil at Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School.  He joined the Sea Cadets after an introduction from the Unit Vice Chairman who is a family friend.  He said “She thought I’d enjoy it.  I really do.  I like boating and all the away courses and the adventure training.  The Zip World activities have been the highlight of the week for me so far – they’ve been the most fun.”

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Cadet First Class Tyler Selway, 14, is a Sea Cadet with Camberley Unit.  A pupil at Tomlinscote School and Sixth Form College, Tyler joined the Corps three years ago with his friend who he saw was doing lots of fun things including shooting.  He said “I’m really enjoying this week.  I’ve never done outside climbing before and enjoyed the scrambling up Tryfan.  The views were amazing and being in the fresh air was great.”  He added “I’ve learnt that I can commit to something – I come along to Sea Cadets every week – and it’s really helped to develop my character.  I’ve got a better sense of humour and I’m more polite and understanding of people”.

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Sergeant Jayson Holland, 28, is a self-employed carpet cleaner and became an adult instructor 16 years ago.  A father of three, Jayson decided to become a cadet forces adult volunteer as he loved his own time as a sea cadet and wanted to carry on the learning and to take advantage of the opportunity to earn more qualifications.  He said “We also have a great laugh – it’s fun and very rewarding. There is strong camaraderie amongst the staff and the social aspect is good.” Jayson is a qualified climbing instructor and also climbs outside of the unit.  “I enjoy seeing the cadets growing in confidence and teaching them how to climb is a good way to build that”.

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Petty Officer Sarah Phillips, 29, is a Cadet Forces Adult Volunteer with Herne Bay Unit Sea Cadets. A police officer with Kent Police, Sarah is an ex-Cadet herself and joined as a volunteer because she wanted to give something back.  She said “In my career I deal with kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and I’m a strong believer that if adults hadn’t volunteered at Sea cadets for me then I wouldn’t be where I am today.  I feel it’s my community and duty of service to give my time like this.  The Sea cadets have given me so many transferable skills and help me to understand children better.”  Sarah is a climbing instructor and said “Adventure Training in particular pushes children beyond their limits and when they achieve beyond their personal best or overcome a fear they thought was impossible, then I feel utterly proud.”  She continued “The team of instructors is fantastic and we’re very sociable.  We work together to help drive each other to overcome our fears and challenges too”.

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Marine Cadet First Class Charlie Bolton, 14, joined the Tunbridge Wells unit 18 months ago.  A pupil at Beacon Academy, Charlie’s Step Dad who was a diver in the Royal Navy, inspired Charlie to become a cadet with tales of his experience.  Charlie is hoping to join the Royal Marines as an officer when he leaves school.  I’m really enjoying this adventure training week.  The highlight for me has been spending the day with one of the instructors who is an ex Royal Marine and climbing one of the mountains, really challenging myself.  Charlie said that since he became a cadet he is tidier and his shoes are always clean!  He continued “I’ve got more confidence in myself, the team and the equipment”.

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Ordinary Cadet Jonty Peck, 14, is a pupil at Abbey School and has been a cadet with Faversham Unit Sea Cadets for three years.  He said “I joined cadets because I wanted to do something with my time after school on a Tuesday and Thursday.  I enjoy all the activities that we do and it’s fun going on courses and doing lots of different things.  My favourite activities are adventure training and mechanical engineering.”  Sitting on the side of a mountain after having done some rock climbing and abseiled down a 60m rock face, Jonty said “I love having the opportunity to be outside with magnificent views doing this”.

http://www.sea-cadets.org/