The Eton College Tattoo of 2018 was both a celebration of the CCF Corps’ achievements over the past year and a commemoration of events in the First World War 100 years before; parents and military guests were all in attendance to watch the annual spectacle unfold after 5 intensive weeks of preparation by boys and staff. The Tattoo itself required the collaboration of cadets from B and C Company, along with available Holyport College and D Company Cadets. Music was provided by the Eton College Concert Band and the Eton College Pipe Band.

The event began with a marching display from the Guard of Honour, with cadets dressed in their World War 1 uniforms. After a variety of military manoeuvres and an inspection of cadets by Inspecting Officer General John Lorimer, spectators viewed a video summary of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, with accompanying music from the Concert Band and Pipe Band. What followed this was the annual CCF Gun Race, a competition in which two opposing teams must race to move their 25 pounder guns from one location to the other and fire off their live shells; The yellow and red teams were led ably by Sgt Liu and Sgt Nadeem respectively.

The battle enactment scene took place after the Gun Race, which included a German machine gun, functioning World War 1 tank, and 16 pounder gun. The spectators watched as the guns sounded and soldiers fell from both German and British sides until the battlefield was still. As the Last Post began to play, the soldiers rose solemnly from their positions and faced the audience for one minute of silence. It was a fitting moment to commemorate British soldiers of all eras who gave their lives in the service of their country, and in particular, the one thousand and thirty-one brave Etonians who perished in World War 1 and whose names now line the war memorial outside College Chapel.

At the finale of the war commemoration, the entire Eton College CCF gathered behind College Field to march on as one united Corps. The Inspecting Officer gave his address, citing in particular the quality of training the CCF has consistently provided throughout the years. After the Awards ceremony, cadets and audience members alike sat to watch a lively fireworks display above the College Field tree line.

Several cadets were singled out for their exceptional contributions and leadership to the CCF this year: Cdt Higgs of Holyport College was awarded the Mullens Cup as the best D Company Cadet, Cpl Comaish won the Acland Trophy for best C Company Cadet, and SCO Brudenell received the Sword of Honour for best Senior Cadet. In his final year with the Corps,Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Wilcockson was also acknowledged for his significant contributions to the CCF over many years of service. It was a memorable night for what marked the end to a remarkable year for the Eton College Combined Cadet Force.

Vernon Li

Photos: Jasper Sodha