Sunday, 5 May 2019

The Events that were Missing

Formal Parade
The final Parade of the Spring Term saw the whole Contingent Parade formally.  Our Inspecting Officer was an Old Marian, who attended the School from 1989-96. He was Captain of School, Captain of Rugby and a CSM in the Army Section of the CCF.  Commander Matthew J Punch MBE RN has enjoyed a very successful career in the Royal Navy as a Naval Aviator - flying helicopters.  His resumé is shown below:

It was a great pleasure to welcome back Cmdr Matthew to the School and to have him Inspect the cadets and Take the Salute during a March Past.  We wish him well in his current posting to Joint Forces Headquarters.
Commander Punch takes the initial salute from Cadet RSM Tom Burns and is invited to Inspect the Contingent.  Also invited to the Parade were Major Tom Williams, who is currently an Army Reservist, Major Andrew & Captain Catherine Maund of Kings School Worcester CCF.  Major Maund was formally an officer with QMGS CCF from 1998 to 2002.  Lt. Will Wyllie from Holly Lodge CCF was invited as his Contingent is closely aligned to QMGS CCF and we try to assist his very recently formed contingent in its training, whenever we can 

Major Tom Williams

Major Andrew Maund and 
Captain Catherine Maund

Cmdr Punch takes the Salute during the The March Past.

We thank Commander Punch for giving so much of his time from his very busy work life with the Joint Service Headquarters to come to our Formal Parade.

RAF Inskip

We were not assigned to an RAF Station for the Annual RAF Camp at Easter this year.  This is most unusual and hopefully not a sign for the future.  The RAF Section were able to spend a week at the RAF's northwestern Outdoor Adventure Centre at Inskip in Lancashire.
During the week the cadets and CFAVs were put through their confidence and leadership paces at "Go Ape" at Rivington, Lancs.

A series of zip wires, walking platforms and bridges, took the cadets at height around a tree top course.

Day 2 saw a day of confidence, leadership and teamwork exercises in the morning and skills sessions in archery, flight simulators and paint balling (when possible).  In the evening some interesting skill and mental tests were put on a Colonel's Competion for the interflight Competition

Day 3 took the cadets to two museums in Salford Quays.  The Science & Industrial Museum in the morning and the Imperial War Museum in the afternoon.  On the final day an R&R day was spent in Blackpool.

Adventurous Training

On the first day of the holiday cadets travelled to Farchynys and spent the first evening preparing for what turned out to be a pretty gruelling three days expedition to ascend as many of the Welsh 3000 mountain tops as the weather allowed.  

Day 1 was spent attaining and traversing the Carneddau ridge plateau.  All but one of the six 300s were claimed.  Overnight was spent at a campsite in the shadow of Tryfan.  A hot evening container meal and next day breakfasts and lunches were brought up from Farchynys by the Support Team to the campsite.
Weather conditions on the tops were rather brutal.  Cold easterly winds did not allow for comfortable walking.  However the group quickly adapted to the conditions and completed the tough first day admirably.

The summit of Carnedd Llewelyn
The traverse from Carnedd Llewelyn to Carnedd DafyddDinner at the camp site

Day 2 was the hardest day for ascending.  Not only the, mainly scrambled, ascent of Tryfan, but also the rough descent off and ascent up to the Glyderau plateau.  A short descent then ascent up to 
Y Garn saw, again, all but one of the 3000s conquered.  Descent and trek back to the campsite for the leg-weary group was eased by a pick up from Ogwen Cottage CP.

Group on summit of Tryfan 

Group shot on the Cantilever on Glyder Fach

Airless under jumper

Day 3 hopefully took in 2/3 of the Snowdon Horseshoe.  Sadly the windy weather had deteriorated so that the ascent of Crib Goch had to be left for another day.  Ascent via the PyG Track to Yr Wyddfa and a retrace to bag Carnedd Ugain completed the traverse of the 3000s.  Descent for safety reasons was by the Snowdon Ranger Path.  Here a very tired but ecstatic group met the Support Team to be taken back to Farchynys for welcome showers and comfy bunk beds.

The windswept summit of Carnedd Ugain 

The group safely back down at the Snowdon Ranger CP

Another busy term's training began on Friday 3rd May with the weekly Parade.  Skill at Arms training, two Outward Bound WEs, a Desert Warfare WE, Field Day and Annual Army Camp.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Two Term Summary

As we near the end of the two busiest terms of the Cadet Year, I feel that is it important to summarise the activities during those two terms.
The term began with the kitting out of the two recruit years - Year 9 & Year 12.  This was completed by the time Field Day 1 took place at Nesscliffe.

Rest on Tryfan
Following on very quickly were two Outward Bound WEs at Farchynys.  The first was to be the CO's last outing with cadets with Tryfan in mind.  Sadly injury to the CO prevented him from the attempt.

Descent on Tryfan

 OB2 WE saw the party complete the precipitous sloped edge tour of the valley of Afon Cerist from the car park at the top of Ochr y Bwlch, over Maesglase and descent of the valley edge of Craig Maesglase - this is the area to the left of the main road as the minibus travels steeply up the gradient known as Dinas Mawddwy. Photographs below

The steep sides of Cwm Cerist

Summit party on Maesglase

Several AEF days were successfully carried out at Cosford until flying was curtailed by November darkness.

Remembrance Sunday: the Contingent was invited as usual, and this year made up its largest presence in Walsall's Cenotaph Parade ever.  Photographs below.
Banner Party salutes the Mayor
Army Section salute the Mayor

RAF Section march past
QMGS remember 103 OMs who died in WW1

CO and his Fellow CFAVs at his final Rem Sunday Parade

In November a new venture was tried out - a shooting training weekend named Crackshot Cosford was held over two days at RAF Cosford when a DCCT trainer and Range were used to improve cadets' marksmanship.  A Tactics WE was held at Swynnerton ATA, when senior cadets were put through several exercises to sharpen their Fieldcraft and leadership skills.
Tactics WE cadets

Just before the end of term the traditional "Arctic Warfare" WE took place at Farchynys, when the cadets took part in the usual Navigation and Command task WE.

The CO was invited to be the CCFA Dinner President in London where he delivered a speech on his personal experience of the CCF and how it had changed over the 30 years that he had been an officer with QMGS CCF.

In the New Year, two WEs were spent at Farchynys training cadets in First Aid, leading to the basic qualification of 1st Aid at Work.
.22 shooting on O'Mara's Drift Range
 There was also a Signals Ex, .22 rifle range and Command Task exercises for recruits.

CPR in 1st lessons
Once more AEF at Cosford started up again in February
 Finally the cult weekend of CCCT - a Tactical Exercise without Troups or TEWT  Ex was carried out over the WE with leadership roles, and tasks being given out to participating cadets; a field recce of the "Battlefield" was undertaken.
Battle directors in "HQ"
The Battlefield area
Cmdrs "out" on the Battlefield
Finally on Sunday morning a theoretical battle took place with cadets trying to make sense of and counter the "invasion" of Redland Forces over the battlefield.  The TEWT took place in the Coach House using field telephones and handicoms used to communicate between "HQ" and the "battlefield".

Another inaugural activity took place over the weekend of 15-17 March - that of a mini Air Squadron Trophy Competition, hosted by QMGS CCF, the competition was between Kings School Worcester, Monmouth School CCFs,  Q3 Academy, Barr Beacon CCF and two teams from QMGS.  KSW were the eventual winners with QMGS B a close second.  The aim of the Competition was to help CEP School CCFs with little experience of this Regional and National Competition for RAF Sections.  KSW & Monmouth were invited as RAF Sections who illustrate good practice.

Prize awards at the mRAST
A second Tactics WE took place over the same WE for the Army Section at Nesscliffe.  Where skills learned on Tactics 1 were built upon.

Recruits on the Combat Trail
Team work over the log barrier
On Friday 22 March the Spring Contingent Field day took place at Swynnerton.  Where some excellent training for all years took place.
Helping the team
Command task
Giving instructions...
Year 10 cadets learning, rehearsing and practicing Fieldcraft - Deliberate Ambush Drills
Ptn Cmdr gives his orders
Rehearsals at safe base

Patrolling to FRV
At the FRV

DS take position as the ambush is set

Springing the Ambush
DS take safety declaration at Endex
The Formal Parade has still to be staged on the final parade of term -  5 April from 16.00hrs.  The invited officer to inspect the Contingent and take the Salute during the March Past will be QM Old Boy, Commander Matthew J. Punch MBE RN.

The Formal Parade will be quickly followed by the departure to Inskip for the RAF Section's Annual Camp. This is closely followed by Adventurous Training in North Wales, when the party will attempt to complete the ascent of the Welsh 3000s over three days.

We have been fortunate to welcome two additions to the CFAV ranks in the Contingent since September.  Mr K Beveridge-Smith (former Cadet RSM and Captain of School) and Mr DC Jahn.  Both will start as Adult Instructors with a view to becoming Commissioned in the future.  2Lt RS Magee successfully passed his two year probation to become a full Lieutenant from 1 September 2018.  Several of the CFAVs took on courses to secure qualifications to extend and promote the Cadet Experience for our cadets.

I would like thank everyone for giving so much of their time to make this, so far, an exceptionally good year for the Contingent.

SJ Law
Lt Col