Cranbrook School CCF Biennial Inspection


With what has already been a busy year so far for Cranbrook School CCF, an important date in any CCF calendar is the Biennial Inspection. For Cranbrook School, this took place on Wednesday 9th May. This inspection is a formal occasion where a senior officer from either the Army or RAF comes to inspect the Contingent, and will look at everything from current training being undertaken, attendance on parade nights, camps and training weekends, and the overall well-being and progress on the Contingent. The report that is then written from this inspection also will dictate if the unit is to continue to exist, and how much funding/support they receive from our parent Brigade.

This year, it was the turn of the Army to inspect and our inspecting officer was Lieutenant Colonel David Pack (Royal Gurkha Rifles), an ex-student and cadet of Cranbrook School.

Lt Col Pack arrived at reception and was greeted by Major David Swinburne (Contingent Commander) and the Headmaster. After a short meet and greet, the inspection party headed to the Astroturf where the Contingent and staff were formed up ready to greet the inspecting officer. Upon his arrival, Colour Sergeant Ben West (cadet in charge of the parade) brought everyone to attention. The Drum Corps, headed by Corporal Adam Harrod, sprung into life and played the school fanfare to trigger the proceedings.

© Blush Photography

After paying his compliments, C/Sgt West then took the inspecting officer around each of the Army, RAF and Drum Corps sections and introduced each cadet in turn. After a quick chat with each of the cadets, Lt Col Pack then took his place at the front of the parade to watch a demonstration from a Drill squad (made up of Army and RAF cadets), which was then followed by a demonstration from the Drum Corps (also made up from both Army and RAF sections).

With the parade then complete, on what turned out to be an incredibly hot day, the Senior cadets then had the opportunity to talk to the inspecting officer over lunch in the coach house. Shortly after lunch, a verbal presentation was given by Colour Sergeant Francis Elliot on what being in the CCF has meant for her, as she approaches the end of her final year at Cranbrook School. Another interesting talk was then given by Corporal Freddie Deane on the history of Cranbrook School CCF, which was well received.

After lunch had concluded, the cadets all returned and took part in one of 8 stands that ran all afternoon. The stands were campcraft and basher building, camouflage and concealment, .22 shooting on the range, a 6 section battle drills demonstration, an archery range, an adventure training interest stand, a history of the RAF lesson and a practical first aid stand. While the stands were taking place, the inspecting officer had the opportunity to walk around and talk to the cadets and staff about training, and was even kind enough to give some pointers where he could to help the cadets delivering the lessons.

© Blush Photography

Once the afternoons activities concluded, the cadets then assembled in the lecture theatre and were given a final address from Lt Col Pack. He ended his address asking the cadets to do the same as he teaches the soldier he commands. He asks them to always strive to do 2 things: be courageous, and be kind. If everyone followed these to rules, the world would be a much better place. A few well chosen words to end a very successful day.

I would like to thank all of the cadets that took part in the Biennial Inspection. Without your input and enthusiasm, the CCF at Cranbrook would not exist. I would also like to thank the cadet NCO’s that ran the stands and rehearsal sessions, which had an instrumental part in making the day so successful. Lastly, I would like to thank all of the staff that spent a lot of time behind the scenes helping to get everything organised before, during and after the event. My special thanks to Captain Mark Aggrey (Benenden CCF), Sgt David Kelly (Tonbridge ACF) for coming in to help us, and to Major Swinburne for his continued support and determination in helping the CCF to flourish.

Fg Off Ross Hart – SSI Cranbrook CCF