The Annual Inspection is a highlight of any CCF Contingent’s calendar of events. This year, St John’s School Combined Cadet Force (CCF) had the pleasure of welcoming Captain Adam Clarke (Royal Navy) as Inspecting Officer for 2023. A change from the usual Inspection window in October to May meant that the Upper Sixth were able to ‘hand-over’ the reins on their penultimate day at school before their study leave commenced.

Upon arrival, Captain Clarke was warmly welcomed to St John’s by senior officers within the Contingent and inspected a tri-service guard of honour consisting of Lower and Upper Sixth Cadets. Captain Clarke and key stakeholders from each of the three affiliated services received a presentation about the St John’s CCF, and the achievements and challenges endured since the previous inspection.

Following a tour of the school led by Sgt Saville and Cpl Chadwick, the Inspecting Officer was able to visit the House Drill Competition which was taking place simultaneously. A hotly contested competition resulted in East taking the trophy, much to the delight of the Head of Army Section, CSM Campbell. Upon returning from the competition, lunch was held with the CCF staff, members of the Senior Leadership Team and senior cadets from each section.

In the afternoon, after a change into working dress and an exceptional lunch thanks to the brilliant school catering team, the Inspecting Officer and his escort party were able to visit the various activities of the three sections who were focusing on progressing pupils in the Lower Fifth, ready for their final tests and field days this term. The Army section, in preparation for their overnight field exercise in June, focused on section attacks, kit packing and the duties and role of a sentry. The RAF Section looked to develop their Drill and Turnout and leadership, whilst also engaging in a radio communications lesson and use of the flight simulator. Finally, the Navy Section worked on navigation and buoyage as well as undertaking some physical leadership tasks led by the NCO’s.

The Gun Run this year saw teams from the Army and Navy sections train all afternoon, only to be curtailed in their efforts by the downpour that came at the end of the day. A strong, committed display during the afternoons saw the Navy awarded the Gun Run trophy for 2023, back in the hands of where it belongs, they would say! A resurrected House Shooting competition also took place under the watchful eye of WO2 Vine; best shot of the day went to JJ but it was yet again East House who took home the trophy after impressive shooting from Max and Joe.

At the end of the day, it was fantastic to see over thirty cadets promoted for their hard work and who will now move up ranks and take on leadership roles for the CCF next academic year.

In his closing address, Captain Clarke spoke highly of the activities he had seen across the day and praised the support of The Head and CCF staff for giving up their time to give cadets this experience. His words about the value of the organisation that provides so many opportunities to young people certainly rung true and he left with a thoroughly positive impression of St John’s School CCF.

A lot of things change in the world but the need for good people does not.

Captain Clarke

The sheer calibre and quality of our young people shone through today, I am immensely proud of how well they have represented the CCF, and the cadets promoted today are testament to the continuing strength and health of the contingent.

Major James Hewitt, Contingent Commander.

CCF Inspection 2023