The Eton Volunteer Corps was originally founded in 1860 as a response to a national call to arms to form volunteer companies to defend the country against a perceived threat from the French. It has enjoyed a proud tradition of volunteering and service ever since.
Renamed the Eton College Combined Cadet Force (CCF) in the 1960s, the CCF continues to this day with both an Army and a Royal Air Force Section.
The CCF Today
Today the CCF is entirely voluntary and is offered to boys in D, C and B Blocks (Years 11-13). Training is run as far as possible by the boys themselves, with most instruction delivered by boys from C and B Blocks (Years 12-13).
Activities and Training
For a cadet, D Block (Year 11) is all about learning and mastering new skills, and forming team bonds. In C Block (Year 12) the cadets are trained in how to teach what they have learned and begin developing their leadership skills, while the B Block (Year 13) cadets draw on all their experience to lead, plan and deliver training.
Our cadets follow a syllabus called the Army Proficiency Certificate (APC), which gets increasingly challenging each year. APC training is designed to be practical rather than classroom-based and we aim to make training interesting, imaginative, purposeful and competitive.
I thoroughly enjoy the CCF and look forward to it every week and I particularly love the Schemes. You gain really valuable skills and have a lot of fun both on your own and with others in three years in the CCF.Henry
CCF takes place once a week and we also take the cadets away from school on three training / exercise weekends each year, known as Scheme Weekends. Longer camps, which are scheduled for the start of the summer holidays, include a UK-based camp and an overseas camp for more senior cadets. Activities on camp include a military exercise phase, shooting, paintballing, assault courses, mountain biking, coasteering and SCUBA diving.
Adventurous Training is the military’s term for outdoor education. The CCF and the outdoor education department work closely together to develop parallel and complementary programmes for D, C and B Blocks where skills common to the CCF and outdoor education can be developed in tandem. Here, boys work together towards common goals and qualifications.
All CCF cadets have the opportunity to take part in Adventurous Training throughout their time in the CCF. These activities take place on camps and at Eton on a weekly basis in the Lent half (term) of C Block, with cadets participating in a range of activities including sailing, horse riding, rock climbing, mountain biking and kayaking.
Eton’s CCF is the first continuous school corps of its kind.
The Training Team
The CCF Contingent is run by Major Jeremy Osborne, a former officer in The Rifles and WO1 (RSM) Blue Cole, a former Parachute Regiment Warrant Officer. It is staffed by a dedicated team of teaching staff, support staff and volunteers from outside the school who have been commissioned into the Cadet Force.
The Eton College CCF Tattoo
Every year, on the eve of the Fourth of June, we hold a parade to celebrate the cadets who have volunteered to be a part of the CCF and to say farewell to the B Block cadets. The Honourable Artillery Company Sword of Honour is awarded to the best cadet and the parade is accompanied by the School Band and the Pipe Band.
I enjoy the CCF for the opportunities it offers, the comradeship and other experiences I wouldn’t otherwise experience along with developing my leadership skills.Sam
Careers in the Armed Forces
The CCF is not about recruiting for the Armed Forces. Eton does, however, have a proud history of producing officers for all three of our Armed Forces and continues to do so. The CCF and its staff are well-placed to advise on careers in the military and we see numerous boys win scholarships and bursaries each year.
Holyport College Partnership
The CCF is also available to pupils from Holyport College, one of our partnership schools. This collaboration began in 2018 and we currently have ten Holyport cadets in our ranks. We also benefit hugely from the efforts and commitment of Second Lieutenant Katherine Loudoun, Head of Art at Holyport College.