Over Easter, having won the Regional finals back in November, the Oundle School RAF section's Ground Training Squadron competed and came in 4th place in the National Finals of the Air Squadron Trophy Competition competing against the winners and runners up - nineteen teams in total - from every region across the UK.
L/Cpl Maddy Farley (16) commented, “After winning the Regional round, we had qualified in good stead and were ready for a day full of fierce competition. Our first event was the drill section of the competition and involved the whole team of thirteen members, led by drill instructor FS Peter Anson (18). The inspection went smoothly; particular notice was taken of our ‘change step’ which was noted as being extremely impressive considering that most cadets are unable to do it correctly. Congratulations must go to FS Anson for his amazing commands and patient teaching. All the hard work paid off as we were awarded 3rd place in the drill section.”
The Oundle First Aid team comprised of FS Jemima Burgess (18), Cpl Ian Ostojic (17), Cpl Hayley Harris (18) and L/Cpl Maddy Farley (16). The team scenario was well led by FS Burgess and was followed by individual assessments including a CPR related collapse with a bystander and a car crash victim with spinal injury. The team secured 9th place in this section.
The team of five shooters who took part in the DCCT shooting – FS Burgess, Cpl Harris, Cpl Lane (18), LCpl King (17) and Cdt Dixon-Smith (15) – all shot with incredible flare and were said to be some of the best shooters of the day. There were stella performances from all the team despite some technical setbacks, with particular mention to FS Burgess for her astounding score of 20/20 and a grouping size of 81mm. This sharp shooting won Jemima the shield for best shot at the awards parade. Overall the shooters gained 4th place just behind local rivals Kimbolton.
The Aircraft Recognition test was led by FS Anson, Oundle’s resident Air Rec champion and winner of last year’s best Air Rec shield at the Nationals and the team attained 3rd place. In the Fitness Bleep Test, the team of four valiant runners, FS Burgess, LCpl King, LCpl Stringer (17) and Cdt Dixon-Smith gave their all and were placed 9th which was very impressive despite the strong competition they faced.
Maddy added, “The sixth event of the day was Command Task and involved a team of eight led by FS Anson and FS Burgess as second-in-command along with Cpl Ostojic as Safety and Standards. As a team we managed to competently work through the task and managed to almost complete it before the time limit. As a group we all managed to listen to and follow instructions which proved to be the winning ingredient because we managed secure 5th place.”
The RAF Knowledge test was the final test of the day and the test comprised of twenty multiple choice questions including questions about the founders of the CCF, how to read a map and ranks within the RAF. The teams combined score secured 5th place.
Maddy concluded, “With all these scores from each section in, we anxiously awaited the results. The top three teams for each event were announced. Many of the sections being won by Dulwich College (1st), Wilson’s College (2nd) or Kimbolton School (3rd). Huge congratulations have to go to all the teams who participated in the competition. Their efforts and success have inspired all of us to be the best that we can be. They are not only our fellow competitors but they also are part of the CCF and this is something that we all have in common and our friendly rivalry will continue to spur us on in years to come. The competition has made us work harder than ever and it makes it really worth the while when fantastic results are seen.
Fourth place is higher than Oundle has ever placed in this competition and this success is attributed to the hard work of cadets On the behalf of all of the team I would like to thank Flt Lt Kirk for all the help and support she has given us and the work she has made us do to be the best we can be.”
Commander of the School’s Combined Cadet Force, Major Andrew Mansergh, added, “The performance of the RAF Cadets in the Air Squadron Trophy has been tremendous. Two things stand out: First, the preparation is all completed in the Cadets’ own time, marking impressive personal commitment and a fine example to all their peers. Second, the Cadets pushed themselves to this achievement, it has not been handed to them on a plate. They arranged the training, they led the training and they provided the desire and the leadership. It is an excellent example of what the CCF sets out to achieve – developing leadership amongst young people.”
Flight Segeant Peter Anson
Flight Sergeant Jemima Burgess
Cpl Hayley Harris
Cpl Ian Ostojic
Cpl Ben Joseph
L/Cpl Chris Lane
L/Cpl Jasper Poon
L/Cpl Maddy Farley
L/Cpl Poppy King
L/Cpl James Stringer
L/Cpl Roisin Emmerson
Cdt Henry Stringer
Cdt Toby Dixon Smith
Oundle’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF)
Contingent Commander: Major A.C. Mansergh Royal Marines
The Cadet Force is the largest single organisation in the School; numbering 460 cadets out of an eligible pool of 820 pupils. Eighteen members of staff provide a varied and exciting training programme every Wednesday afternoon during the term. Additional staff assist during the field weekends and holiday periods. Success and recognition is achieved at national levels; in both 2010 and 2011 a senior cadet was the runner up in The Duke of Westminster Award. Drawn from the country’s best 200 cadets this annual competition is run to find the top cadets. Oundle has produced three finalists in the last four years.
The CCF comprises of three sections: the Army Section, the Royal Navy Section and the RAF section, and is compulsory for all pupils for one year only (in the Fourth Form or Year 10). All three sections have a common core of Drill, Turnout and Skill at Arms. The RN Section then specialises in rowing, sailing and power boating, the Army Section in infantry skills and tactics, and the RAF Section in flight training. At the end of their Fourth Form year cadets may leave or decide to stay in the CCF. For those who wish to continue their cadet careers the options include remaining in the Single Service Sections, undertaking NCO Cadre training, or joining one of the specialist training sections: Fire and Rescue (the unit trains on its own fire engine), Adventure Training, and Diving.
Training takes place every Wednesday afternoon with two field weekends, one in September and one in April. In addition, every cadet will undertake at least one camp during School holidays. These camps include skiing in the Alps, diving in the Red Sea, climbing in the Alps and Scottish Highlands, as well as military camps organised by the RAF and Army.
The Oundle School Corps dates back to 1902, as the 'Rifle Corps' 1st (Volunteer) Battalion the Northamptonshire Regiment. Since 1958, the Cadet Corps at Oundle has continuously maintained all three Service sections (Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force). Cadets are able to attend the many national camps and courses available to them, some of which are aimed towards gaining qualifications (e.g. power-boating and first aid) whilst others are aimed at developing leadership and teamwork skills.