Dorset Army Cadet (ACF) annual camp was attended by more than 360 cadets and 140 adult instructors.
During the 13-day camp at Longmoor Camp, Hampshire, the cadets took part in various military training activities and also an Adventurous Training package which included dinghy sailing, raft building, kayaking, mountain biking, archery and orienteering. All of the cadets visited the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and a group of 15 senior cadets also attended the Sovereign’s Parade at RMA Sandhurst. This group was led by 2Lt Jeremy Stockford who said, “It was a great honour for the cadets to be asked to assist with the parade, it has given one or two an insight to a future they may well follow as British Army officers. Every cadet that attended was awestruck by the parade.”
There were various visitors who attended the camp, the first of which was The Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne, who was accompanied by the Revd Mark Perry, Padre for Dorset ACF and chaplain of Port Regis School. The Bishop spent time viewing activities and meeting instructors and cadets and took a squad of cadets for some drill practise around the parade square and said, “That took me back to my Army days in 1973.”
The second visit was from Major-General RM Bowstead – Nitsch CBE, GOC Support Command, Major-General JS Kerr CBE, Honorary Colonel Dorset, Major-General MD Wood CBE, Chairman Army Cadet Force Association (ACFA), Brigadier PDP Hankinson MBE MA, Commander HQ 43 Brigade, Brigadier T Dalby-Welsh, Chief Executive Wessex Reserve Forces and Cadet Association (RFCA) and Colonel D Carson, HQ 43 Brigade Colonel Cadets, all of whom have an influence on the structure and running of the Army Cadet Force both locally and nationally, and therefore it was a great honour that they paid a visit to visit Dorset ACF.
The annual camp is the culmination of the training that the cadets receive at the local detachments each Monday and Thursday evenings throughout the year, which are staffed by volunteer adult instructors. There are two detachments from The Channel Islands incorporated within Dorset ACF, namely Jersey and Guernsey, and Alex Doherty from Guernsey detachment was promoted to Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) at the beginning of the camp. The County Commandant, Colonel Darren Jeffries, was also promoted during camp, vacating his previous position of Deputy Commandant which is yet to be filled. Adult Instructor, Sergeant Major Chris Morris from Bournemouth was presented with his long-service medal by Major-General Bowstead – Nitsch having completed 12 years’ service with the ACF.
The cadets have taken a few weeks’ break before starting back at their detachments at beginning of September. If anyone is interested in joining the ACF, either as a cadet or an adult instructor, there is information at www.armycadets.com showing the location of our detachments and contact details. No former cadet or military experience is needed for adults wishing to join. Just so long as you are reasonably fit you will receive all the training you need.