This summer over 50 Cadets from the Army Section travelled to Longmoor Camp in Hampshire for their annual summer camp. After an early start at BGS and a very long day spent travelling we arrived at Longmoor after tea and got settled in to the accommodation.
Over the course of the week the Cadets took part in what seemed like endless different activities. A day was spent on the ranges where everyone had the chance to do live firing with the cadet rifle and also clay pigeon shooting. We had some great scores on the range and one of our Cadets even came first out of all the schools on camp on the clay pigeon shoot.
A day was spent taking part in varied adventure training – including archery, a mountain bike course in the forest (where only a few Cadets fell off, most spectacularly Under Officer Rachel Baxter) and an orienteering course.
Some new survival skills were learned on the fieldcraft day, including building traps and snares and working out what is edible in a survival situation. However, most memorably, they were shown how to skin and gut a rabbit which was not a sight for the squeamish! They also saw how to collect water, light fires and build their own shelters using only materials found in the forest (and then try and fit their entire group inside for judging purposes!). In preparation for our overnight exercise Cadets also brushed up on their ‘Military Skills’ on stands including close quarter battle, harbour drills, house clearances, ambushes and personal admin in the field.
The most anticipated part of any Army Camp is always the 24 hour exercise which we had been leading up to all week. Under the leadership of RSM K Polly, the contingent got ‘cammed up’, divided up into their sections and moved out to the area where they conducted ambushes, set up harbour, received orders and ‘enjoyed’ their Ration Packs while sentries stood watch. Later that evening all the Cadets took part in recce patrols to gather information on the enemy. After a comfy (and only slightly damp!) night under the stars the cadets moved out and conducted a rolling assault on the enemy position before retreating back to the harbour for a de-brief. After packing up all their kit, an exhausted group of cadets marched back into camp to hand in all their kit and clean their weapons before heading for a well earned shower an evening socialising. The next morning, straight after breakfast, we got onto the coach for what seemed like a never ending journey back to Stranraer, finally getting back to Bangor around 2300.
It was a fantastic camp and we are grateful to 145(S) Bde for providing such a busy and varied programme. The leadership and example shown by our most senior female Cadets (RSM Polly and CSM Ireland) was exceptional and they are a credit both to the CCF and GCS. As Officers we spent the week receiving compliments from the Longmoor Camp staff and CCF staff from other schools on the behaviour and turnout of our Cadets – they made us proud as always!
Lt R Switzer