Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

Cadet Force officer retires

Cadet Force officer retires

Recently, one of our Combined Cadet Force (CCF) officers, John Camm, decided to hang up his boots after some 26 years assisting the CCF, with 23 of those years being here at RGS Newcastle.

It was the Headmaster at Judd School (Mr Starling) that first asked John if he'd like to be involved with the CCF. John had no idea what the CCF was, having no been a cadet at school and HAVING no military experience, yet he still decided to get involve. 

John's first involvement was to go through some basic training as well as having a chat with the Brigadier at Chatham Barracks, just to ensure he was a suitable candidate. More training ensued and the first few years were a steep learning curve for John, as anyone with no previous military experience would find.

Three years later John would find himself at the RGS and straight away he volunteered to help with the CCF, learning a great many things from Commanding Officer Lt Col Tony Griffiths MBE, Captain Mike Barlow and School Staff Instructor (SSI) WO2 Jim Lane.

John quickly got to grips with the self-reliance weekends held at the Otterburn Training Area in the Cheviot Hills were snow seemed to be a common occurrence;

'I have many memories of cadets in snowball fights and descending the hillsides using their rucksacks as sledges.'

The CCF has continued at RGS as a result of THE willingness of others, with John thanking in particular Captain E Malcolm, Major P Barlow, WO2 R O'Hagan and Lt M Bell all of whom have great enthusiasm and gusto for the CCF. Of course, credit must also go to the cadets who help organise and implement training on Friday evenings, parades and weekends. 

One particular special mention must go to Captain Mike Barlow who has made an invaluable and essential contribution over many decades and has recently been squirreling away in the background with administration to let the CCF officers carry on with their organisation including the new field-craft weekends (military training exercises) which have become increasingly realistic and professional, offering the cadets an even greater challenge, of which they have risen to.

So after 26 years, 27 army camps (including two in Germany), 24 Easter adventurous training camps, hundreds of training days and weekends and 26 Company Sergeant Majors, John steps down safe in the knowledge that there is a fantastic team of highly able and experienced officers who'll continue to run the unit. 

The CCF at RGS was founded in 1911. What started out as a response to national emergencies in the early 20th century has evolved into the Cadet Force we see today, which offers fun, adventure and friendship. 

The CCF provides a unique experience for students at RGS; as well as developing new skills, it encourages teamwork, leadership and helps to build self-discipline, self-reliance and confidence, skills and attributes that will remain of value throughout a lifetime. 

For more information about the CCF, please contact our Commanding Officer, Major P Barlow.