VCC The Challenge! Autumn 2019 Edition

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July – November 2019 Edition


CHIEF CADET The first VCC Chief Cadet, Hon Captain Ant Middleton RMVCC was invested during November, read about this exciting position

SMILES ALL-ROUND Read about how our Units combined together for their annual Summer Camp in both Isle of Wight and France.

Meet The Challenge!


CHALLENGE! Autumn2019

Welcome to the Autumn Edition of The Challenge magazine! This issue, you can have a round up of our Summer Camps in both France with Exercise Meucon Meerkat and in the Isle of Wight with Exercise Wight Waves. Learn about the recent investiture of our new Chief Cadet within the VCC and also how the VCC ’Primoris Officers’ received their Queens’s Cadet Forces Commissioning Scrolls.

Look to Your Front! 116 cadets ranging from 9 - 17 years old, have had a fantastic week on the Isle of Wight. Their annual summer camp gives them the opportunity to put their training into practice and also try a range of adventurous training activities within Jersey Camp. Photo credit: Stewart Turkington and SERFCA.

Commander’s View Lt Col Terry Wing RMVCC, Commander VCC, shares with us his latest thoughts… As we have ended and started a new term, it’s a good time to reflect on the last 12 months and recall a few of our successes during the 2018/19 training year. I think the highlight for me has to be a recent one, notably Exercise Wight Waves at Jersey Camp on the Isle of Wight. Whilst disappointed I wasn’t able to travel out to see our Royal Marines Cadets in Vannes with the French Marines, I was able to spend a really enjoyable week watching our Royal Naval Cadets come together for the second time for their joint annual camp. We even had some Royal Marines Cadets join us to add some ‘green’ to the ‘blue’. The cadets I spoke to all seemed to have enjoyed the range of activities provided, and (above all I think) made some new friends. This year has also seen our cadets on parade at Remembrance Services and at Armed Forces Day events, including the brilliant Drill Display Team from Portsmouth Division RMVCC who continue to thrill audiences with their precision timing. Our enthusiastic Field Gun teams put in some fantastic runs this year and I was delighted to watch the first trial run of the new HMS Excellent RNVCC team; I look forward to seeing them in competitions next year. This leads me on to our newest units, in Arbroath and at Gosport Division RMVCC. We are a growing organisation and its great to see not only more units standing up but more adult volunteers joining us. To those who have worked hard to make our new units sustainable and successful over the past year I extend to you my sincere thanks. Volunteer Cadet Corps 158 Bldg, HMS Excellent Portsmouth PO2 8ER 02392 574495 Managing Editor: Lt Louis Colpitts RMVCC Every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication but neither the VCC nor the MOD can be held responsible for the accuracy of the information contained herein or any consequence arising from it. Views expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the VCC or the MOD.

The ongoing development of our Band meant a move of its Portsmouth Company to Gosport this year and in a short time we have seen many more keen young drummers and musicians join as well as help from members of the Royal Marines Band Service giving up their spare time to help train them. I’m grateful to everyone in the Band for promoting this move and making it a success so far, and as ever I’m proud when we see our Corps of Drums on public display looking and sounding fabulous. I would also like to thank our cadets’ parents and guardians for their support, particularly when we have to change something at the last minute, ask them to complete yet another form or take their child to an activity at the crack of dawn.

© Volunteer Cadet Corps 2019

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Primoris Officers of the VCC During two recent events, our ‘Primoris Officers’ or ’The First Officers’ for those that do not speak Latin, were presented with their Queen’s Cadet Force Commissioning scrolls. Her Majesty approved the Royal Warrant with effect of January 2017, in principle the adoption of a single bespoke commission for officers of the cadet forces of the United Kingdom – the first of its kind created for 155 years – to recognise the immense contribution made by volunteer staff as leaders of national uniformed youth organisations sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. The framed scrolls were presented by RAdm Philip Hally, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, People Transformation (Royal Navy) and by Lt Col Terry Wing RMVCC, Commander VCC respectively. Congratulations to our senior CFAVs for this historic moment. Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Lt Shirley Wing RNVCC, SLt Alfie Richardson RNVCC, Captain Ossie Glover RMVCC, Lt Tim Healy RMVCC and Maj Chris Spratt RMVCC receiving their Queen’s Cadet Force Commissioning Scrolls.

Drumming up Support We learned recently that the Band of the Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps has been successful in securing funding to procure new side drums for our cadets. These new drums are specifically designed to be lighter than traditional side drums and therefore more appropriate for some of our younger and smaller cadets to use. This is a great step forward for our Bands in Plymouth and Gosport and means more cadets will be able to learn new skills and enjoy being at the forefront of our ongoing development.

Therefore, the VCC would like to extend their gratitude to the Major J Walker TD and the entire Board of Trustees at the Connaught Trust for their recent donation to the Volunteer Cadet Corps towards these new lightweight drums.

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From Strength to Strength The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is now solidly embedded into the fabric of the VCC ‘Cadet Experience’! This internationally recognised award was first introduced to the VCC in 2017 and has grown and flourished as it has been rolled out across the organisation. From next year all Units are eligible to take part in the prestigious and extremely worthwhile activity. A look back at 2019 Having successfully undertaken our largest Bronze Award expedition to date in June, we have seen 9 Cadets complete the remaining Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections over the following months and successfully achieve their Bronze Award, with more tantalisingly close to finishing!!

We have another Full House for 2020 with 18 Cadets taking part from across the VCC, bringing the total number of Cadets currently undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to almost 50! For those Cadets who have achieved their Bronze Award with the VCC, their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award journey now moves on to the Silver. Next year will see the first whole VCC Silver Expedition conducted during the Summer and we are well on track to see the first Silver Awards presented soon afterwards. Exciting times!!

The 2019 Bronze Award Roll of Honour

RMVCC Portsmouth Luke Benfield Joel Bushby Jasmine Curtis Andrew McGeehan Will Weaver

Looking ahead to 2020

Above: Cdt Sgt Will Weaver and Cdt Andrew McGeehan with their Bronze Awards.

If you want to learn more about doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award with the VCC take a look at or ask your Unit DofE Leader:


HMS EXCELLENT RNVCC Mylenna Pacheco Latisha Pellatt



RMVCC Plymouth Gav Thorpe


RMVCC Portsmouth Martin Bailey

Left: Cdt PO Joseph Twyman receiving his Bronze Award from WO1 Mark Branson.

HMS Sultan RNVCC, RMVCC Arbroath and RMVCC Lympstone do not yet have a permanent DofE Representative so see your Unit CO for more information.

Above: WO1 Trevor Coleman RNC presents LCdt Letitia Pellatt with her Bronze award. Right: LCpl Martin Bailey presented with his VCC DofE Expedition Supervisor Certificate from WO2 Chris Edwards RMC.

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VCC Alumni The VCC offers young people a worthy spare time activity and helps them to develop skills and friendships that will benefit them for years to come. Whether our cadets have careers in the military or in ‘civvy street’, what they learn in the VCC could prove useful for the rest of their lives, We take a quick look at just some of our Alumni who have progressed with their chosen careers since the last edition.

Sam Chadwick, former Cdt RSM and Cadet Force Adult Volunteer at Portsmouth RMVCC who passed out for duty with Kent Police back in August 2019. James Clements, former Bugler in the Band of RMVCC passed out as a Bugler in the Royal Marines Band Service after 2 years training at the Royal Marines School of Music. At his Pass Out Parade, James was awarded the Bugle Major’s Award, Best All Round and Best B3. James is now serving in Royal Marines Band Plymouth and currently deployed on board HMS CLYDE.

All Aboard… …across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, where 116 cadets from HMS Excellent RNVCC, HMS Sultan RNVCC, HMS Collingwood RNVCC, Lympstone RMVCC and Portsmouth RMVCC attended their annual Summer Camp at Jersey Camp. PICTURE THIS:

05 Aug 19: A large weather depression is forming in the Atlantic and is currently on course to hit the Isle of Jersey later this week. VCC Command continues to monitor the storm and will keep units posted of any potential relief operations. 06 Aug 19: The weather front building in the Atlantic has now been upgraded to a CAT 5 storm. It is still on a path to landfall and the Isle of Jersey Friday PM/ Saturday AM. Hurricane Alice has the potential to cause widespread devastation. With this in mind and after careful consideration VCC Command has ordered all units to be at 48HRS notice to mobilise from 0900 6 Aug 19. VCC Command have ordered the mobilisation of its forces to provide humanitarian relief to the Isle of Jersey. Logistic teams have been working tirelessly throughout the day to ensure equipment will arrive in the nearby Isle of Wight in the morning. Hurricane Alice is still on course to hit around Friday PM/ Saturday AM and has not weakened in force. 08 Aug 19: VCC Cadets embark on the Disaster Exercise mission via their own private crossing from the safe zone to the damaged area in the Isle of Wight.

We touched base with Maj Chris Spratt RMVCC and WO1 A Hearn RN as they give a day-to-day diary of the VCC’s attempt to provide relief operations after Hurricane Alice. Starting with the morning after their arrival.

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DAY TWO: DistEx has started with a navigational phase, and the weather is perfect! The cadets are in good spirits. DAY THREE: The ‘DistEx’ is proceeding well with the cadets now dealing with treating some casualties. Don’t worry, it’s just the scenario!

DAY FOUR: ‘Enemy troops’ have ‘attacked’ VCC forces this morning who are now attempting to regroup.

DAY FIVE: It’s quiet in camp today as the cadets are out and about doing all sorts of stuff. Half of them are enjoying the fun of adventure training at Little Canada where we hope they will #MeetTheChallenge including vertical challenge and a giant swing. The other half are involved in laser tag and sports.

DAY SIX: It’s a second day at Little Canada today for more adventure training whilst yesterday’s group get stuck into laser tag and sports competitions.

DAY SEVEN: It’s a day of variety today including air rifle shooting and a visit to Blackgang Chine. The weather is not too good, it’s wet and windy, but the cadets’ spirits remain high and everyone seems to be having lots of fun.

DAY EIGHT: The sun is out, it’s stopped raining and the wind has died down a bit, it’s almost the end. Today the cadets participate in the Commander’s Cup, a skills and drills competition.

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DAY EIGHT CONT…CAMP CONCERT The last full day at camp has been rounded off by the Camp Concert including awards and ‘skits’ performed by the cadets. This is the chance when the cadets get to poke fun at the staff, and we learn just how observant they are. Well done to all the staff who had to sit through the mickey taking, and of course BZ to the cadets who won awards:

Royal Arthur Bowl: POCdt Jessica Sansom Jack Cornwell VC Award: Cdt Jake Barker Amethyst Trophy: POCdt Kiera Buckland Victory Barracks 1904 Trophy: AB Frankie Davey Commander’s Cup: Chatham Troop We also sang a hearty ‘happy birthday’ to all those celebrating this week (who also received a goody bag) and awarded a promotion to CPO Andy Sansom (CO CWDRNVCC) who is now a WO2 RNC.

DAY NINE: It’s the last day! The cadets have paraded for the final time, their packing luggage and loading stores, cleaning the camp and looking forward to heading home. They will be on the boats soon,

For now, from all of us at Jersey Camp, goodbye!

DIVE! DIVE! DIVE! into the Archives! As much as we look forward to our future and enjoy the present we in the VCC are also very proud of our history. So, as we dive into our archives, the picture we thought we would share this wonderful image sent to us recently of our former Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps unit in Deal.

It shows the cadets and staff, mostly serving Royal Marines, after being inspected by the then Adjutant General RM, General Sir Lewis Stratford Tollemache Halliday VC KCB. He was famous for being awarded the VC after the Boxer Rebellion in 1901 in China. The Adjutant General was the former title for what is now known as the Commandant General (CGRM). The Deal Division RMVCC closed a year or two later when HM Government withdrew support from cadet forces but was stood up again a few years later after a change in government policy. The cadets flourished throughout the next few decades as the Depot RM became the Royal Marines School of Music. Sadly Deal Division RMVCC closed in the 1990s when the RMSM and RM Band Service moved to Portsmouth although their alumni regularly unearth some fantastic photos from their 90 year history.

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Ant Middleton joins the VCC During a cold winter evening in November, Cadet Force Adult Volunteer’s from across the VCC gathered on Whale Island, HMS EXCELLENT to witness the investiture of our new Chief Cadet. Ant Middleton is not a new face to our Cadets and Staff at the Volunteer Cadet Corps, also being a local Pompey lad, it was an easy decision to make for the VCC Executive Council when deciding who our first Chief Cadet could be. The Chief Cadet is an honorary role to provide a senior ambassador and inspirational leadership to the Volunteer Cadet Corps. The Chief Cadet is public facing to ensure that the VCC maximises public awareness and helps to enhance cadet development through the promotion of the ethos, values and standards of the Cadet Forces.

wealth of experience and dits would not only engage our cadets but inspire them and new cadets to give it all they can and #MeetTheChallenge!. We all look forward to working close with Hon Capt Middleton RMVCC during his time as our Chief Cadet” Should you or your Unit wish for Hon Captain Middleton to attend your Unit Event, please get in contact with Headquarters VCC, Logistics Office who will be more than happy to assist in your request.


During the investment ceremony, Hon Captain Ant said “What a privilege and honour to be appointed Chief Cadet in the VCC. I absolutely thrive on mentoring our future generation” With this role, Hon Capt Ant Middleton RMVCC will visit each VCC Unit and support the VCC at Major Events, such as Cautley Cup, Field Gun Events, VCC Birthday Parade and you could even see Hon Captain Middleton RMVCC out in the field! Lieutenant Louis Colpitts RMVCC, Staff Officer VCC, said “it is absolutely fantastic to have Ant Middleton on board with our incredible organisation. His

absolutely thrive on “Imentoring our future generation…

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Per Mare, Per Terram! By Captain Paul Cook RM This year, 84 cadets combined from across the RMVCC to attend a 7-day camp in Brittany, centred on the town of Vannes. On the outskirts of Vannes is a small military training area called Meucon, owned by 3e Regiment d’Infanterie Marine (3 RIMa), who allowed us to use the dormitory accommodation and facilities for the week.

This exercise was otherwise known as, Exercise Meucon Meerkat!

Cadets from Arbroath, Sultan, Collingwood, Lympstone and Plymouth assembled at RMB Stonehouse for a 0500 breakfast on Sunday 4th August, before boarding the coaches, driving around the corner and debussing, making their way through border control and then enjoying the smooth crossing over to France. The channel proved exceptionally calm, so sea legs did not get tested. A short 3-hour drive on the other side saw us arrive at Meucon, where we met the chefs who had travelled the day before and began the admin of moving in, settling down and getting ready for the week ahead. Monday. The first part of the week was a visit to 3 RIMa where they kindly laid on a round robin stance of the various Unit assets, vehicles, weapons, body armour, then opened their “salle d’honour” (museum) and gave us a tour of the Units rich history. There were many exhibits which caught the interest of the cadets, so

this introduction, ably translated by our French liaison officer, went down well. On completion, it was time to go and explore the local area, so a short walk into town, followed by breaking up into small groups and being set the challenge to go and purchase postcards, crepes and take photos occupied much of the afternoon. Tuesday. The maxim “if it ain’t raining it ain’t training” applied today. After a torrential (monsoon like) downpour during breakfast, the wet weather plan was enacted and we conducted a field training serial for the day, comprising of marksmanship training, break contact drills and for many of the cadets, the highlight was learning the basics of modern urban combat in the small indoor training facility at Meucon. For many of the cadets, this was their first introduction to this type of activity, and one which was immensely enjoyed by all. Each stance provided imaginative and valuable training to the cadets, which reflects

on the efforts put in by the adult instructors. Wednesday. Another trip into Vannes on Wednesday to spend pocket money. Having already recced the city on Monday, it was thought a good idea (no names mentioned) to take 84 cadets (mainly minors!) back to visit the market. Full credit to all the adult instructors for not losing a single cadet, but this was a worthwhile activity, as the market is a hive of activity, especially selling a wide range of local food stuffs, from local seafood to snails (more on snails later) although the crepes and doughnuts again seemed overwhelmingly popular. In the afternoon the group was split in half, one group visiting a local trampoline park to burn off some energy, the others visited the local aquarium, then swopping over after a few hours.

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Thursday. Branfere Animal Park. Quite simply a brilliant day out for all. Branfere is a large animal park which also has lots of shows and activities, which can easily absorb a large group of cadets for the day. It was a good opportunity for the cadets to break down into their own peer groups, have some space for themselves and enjoy the park. Highlights included the bird show and feeding the local wallaby population popcorn. There is also a large cargo net trampoline park which was perfect for burning off the excess energy.

immensely gratifying to see some cadets confronting some fears about heights, often with the support of other cadets around them. This turned out to be a great bonding session and it wasn’t long before they were all ziplining, climbing and scrambling across the various high obstacle courses. At the end of this activity, after a packed lunch, they then had a couple of hours on the “trampopark”, again, in the trees, a series of cargo net tunnels and rooms with challenges and obstacles in. Another tiring day for the cadets.

Friday and Saturday saw the groups split and undertake challenging activities. The first, a canoeing expedition on the river Villaine, an approximately 10-mile paddle from the coast inland through some very scenic countryside, with games and stops along the way. Without doubt, a testing day and it was great to see the cadets complete this activity, even better to see how tired they were at the end of it, it was probably the quietest they had been all week! Whilst paddling, splashing and swimming was taking place along the river, the other group visited Fort Adrenaline, a “go-ape” style activity centre, where after a being equipped with harnesses and helmets, a safety brief and introduction to the routes, cadets were free for a few hours to explore the various tree top challenges that awaited 30 feet in the air. This was another excellent challenging activity, and it was

All good things come to an end, and an unexpected bonus as the ferry was delayed a few hours, so rather than the 0430 drive we were expecting, we were able to leave at a much more reasonable time of 0900. Another smooth transit back to the UK occurred, prior to each unit then dispersing back to their homes.

Throughout the exercise we were brilliantly supported by 3 fantastic chefs, CPO Gaz Renner, Cpl Baz Bastin RM and Cpl Stephanie Walker, who ensured that we were always well fed and provided for at every stage. Genuinely, there were no complaints from the cadets about the quantity and quality of food, for those of you that have children, you know just how amazing that is. They sourced local produce, including the use of a local bakery who provided fresh croissants, baguettes, pain au

chocolate and evening desserts. When jokingly challenged “where’s the snails” by the older cadets earlier in the week, they obliged on the last night and every cadet tried one! Exercise Meucon Meerkat 19 provided this part of our Corps family with a fantastic opportunity to explore a brilliant area of France, while getting to meet other cadets from the various Units in a noncompetitive environment, something they don’t often get to do. Activities like this can never take place without the support of a wide number of people, my thanks go out to them. The Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, the civilians who give up their time to deliver the activities week in, week out, deserve a special mention, as many of them give up their own leave to attend. The RM Band at Collingwood for releasing a bus driver despite the extra work it caused them, 30 Cdo IX Gp (too many individuals to name), who shouldered much of the administrative burden by providing vehicles (and a driver), stores, and paperwork which assisted this unforgettable experience for our cadets. The VCC would also like to thank Captain Paul Cook RM, for his dedication in providing an unforgettable experience for our Cadets in France.

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What You ’Snaring’ At? Cadets from the Band of the Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps, both Plymouth and Gosport Companies, attended a Band Training Weekend at the VCC Training Centre in HMS Sultan, Gosport. With music is a huge part of the lives of young persons today, more than ever before, our cadets were lucky enough to spend the weekend with musicians and buglers from the Royal Marines Band Service who very kindly gave up their family time at weekend to invest in the future of our cadets. “It was just brilliant to be taught by a real musician from the Royal Marines Band” said one of our cadets are enjoying a focused but beneficial weekend enhancing her skills.

“ It was just brilliant to be taught by a real musician from the Royal Marines Band ” VCC Director of Music, Lieutenant Tim Healy RMVCC said “The skills that cadets develop in the band do not only enhance their time at the Volunteer Cadet Corps, but also improve their personal lives and prospects”.

The cadets also saw in action the first of our new side drums, a lighter drum developed in association with Marching Drums UK Ltd. We aim to purchase more of these very soon having recently secured a much appreciated grant from The Connaught Trust as mentioned earlier in this edition.

Music Training has been part of the Royal Marines Cadet syllabus since the early 1900s, and indeed we have previously had Royal Marines Cadets based alongside the Royal Marines School of Music. Our Band has previously appeared at the Royal Tournament and was on film during The Cockleshell Heroes movie. Without the cadets putting in the extra personal practice, and also attending the training workshops, the VCC Cadets would not be able to master the hard task of performing and also marching in a straight line.

Joiners & Leavers Joiners: Lt Col Jon Coomber RM (Retd) is appointed Regional Commander (South West). Lt Justin Strain RN is appointed as Commanding Officer HMS Excellent RNVCC.

Leavers: Warrant Officer First Class Trevor Coleman RNVCC (HMS Excellent RNVCC). Warrant Officer First Class Oliver Seebohm RMVCC (Portsmouth RMVCC). Chief Petty Officer Julie Coleman RNVCC (HMS Excellent RNVCC).

Position Change:

BZ to WO2 Paul Ousley RMVCC of Lympstone RMVCC who undertook a team challenge for a very worthy cause back in September.

Major Chris Spratt RMVCC is appointed as Deputy Commander VCC. Lieutenant Louis Colpitts RMVCC is appointed as Staff Officer VCC. Warrant Officer First Class Loz Richer RMVCC is appointed RMVCC Corps Regimental Sergeant Major. Warrant Officer Second Class Chris Edwards RMVCC is appointed Commanding Officer Portsmouth RMVCC.

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From Around the Units

Band of Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps (Plymouth) and Drill Squad of Portsmouth RMVCC performing at the HMS Eagle Reunion in Portsmouth.

Cadets from Lympstone RMVCC being inspected during the Corps Family Weekend held at CTCRM Lympstone. Cdt PO Alfie Stoddard of HMSSultan RNVCC and also one of the VCC’s 1SL Cadet representing the VCC at a recent event with FOST RN at HMS RALEIGH. Did someone say ’selfie’? Taken by Mrs K Littlefield of HMS Excellent RNVCC during Exercise Wight Waves Summer Camp.

Leading Cdt Gareth Hollis-Fox from HMS Sultan RNVCC being presented with his Gold Aviation Wings from a recent combined Aviation Course ran by Sea Cadet Corps Aviation. The first VCC cadet to achieve this.

Cadets and Staff from Arbroath RMVCC acting as escorts for the Officer’s Summer Party at RM Condor.

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The aim of the VCC is to provide opportunities for young people to develop in to responsible, dependable and useful members of society, employing the traditions and practises of the Naval Service as the basis for their activities Š Volunteer Cadet Corps 2019

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