Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) training scheme at Eton continued last term under tight restrictions. The Press Office sent reporter Phelps Tin to find out more about Eton’s CCF:
If you had been on campus any Monday afternoon last term, you would have seen Eton’s CCF on parade at 1400 hours every week, standing to attention and demonstrating their commitment to upholding the ethos of the CCF.
To understand the role the CCF plays in Eton’s history we must go back to 1860 when it was first established. Originally named the Eton Volunteer Corps, the group was founded in response to a national call to arms, requesting the creation of volunteer companies to defend the country against a perceived French threat. Eton was one of the first schools to form a Rifle Volunteer Battalion and the group mainly focused on activities that would equip pupils with the skills needed to defend the nation in the event of an invasion.
Over time, the Corps evolved to focus on officer training and developing leadership qualities in young men. During both world wars, the unit played a significant role in providing a recruitment pathway for Etonians looking to serve their country in the Armed Forces. By 1960, the unit was renamed the Combined Cadet Force and redefined its purpose, looking to develop essential qualities in cadets through challenging and exciting military-based training.
The challenge of military-style training encourages pupils to think outside the box and to keep going until they have achieved the task in hand, reflecting the great tradition in the British Army of improvisation and adaptation to overcome a challengeCCF Commanding Officer, Major Jeremy Osborne
Given the importance of the CCF to the lives of many pupils, Commanding Officer Major Osborne decided “there was no way we were going to let COVID get in the way of CCF training”. Over the first lockdown last year, Year 11 cadets began learning how to teach military-based content effectively and engagingly to the younger years, and Years 12 and 13 and prepared and taught lessons over live Zoom calls and recorded films each week.
When pupils returned to school in September, the CCF returned to action in a COVID-safe fashion. The group made the most out of the freedom of being outside each week, and were thrilled to still be able to experience training and exercise weekends. In scouting locations closer to home for training grounds, Dorney Lake and the College Golf Course simulated open fields and woodland areas, hosting camp-outs and drills.
You can read more about the CCF here – https://www.etoncollege.com/outside-the-classroom/ccf/
The CCF has long formed an important part of Eton Life and this year has been no differentCCF Commanding Officer, Major Jeremy Osborne