The Challenge! (Edition 20 Autumn 2015)

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Autumn 2015

ROYAL MARINES CADETS Part of the Volunteer Cadet Corps

Meet The Challenge!

The Challenge!

The summer and autumn period has seen the Royal Marines Cadets of the VCC keep up their relentless pace of training and activities. Cadets restarted their training in September fresh from their Summer Camps and were soon in to ceremonial mode as Trafalgar Day, Corps Birthday and November Ceremonies approached. And we have a new boss, more about him inside. Roll on Christmas!

Edition 20 Autumn 2015

Front Cover Cpl Sam Whitford does his best to try to secure promotion as WO1(RSM) Sam Chadwick, RSM Portsmouth Division Royal Marines Cadets, prepares to take command of his detachment at the annual Remembrance Sunday parade at the Corps Museum in Eastney.

Well Say Something Then! Contributions from cadets, staff and families are always welcome here at the editor’s office. Just send your pictures and words to us by email via

Let’s Get Physical The cadets at Lympstone proved their excellent physical prowess at the Cautley Cup this year and show no signs of slowing down when it comes to the being in the gym… The CTC gym is the ideal place to encourage the younger generation to not only keep fit but to enjoy fitness, and of course it helps to have a couple of PTIs on hand to provide the occasional motivation.

As these pictures prove, the cadets at CTC thrive on their wide range of the physical abilities and no doubt will be putting them in to practice as they train for next year’s Cautley Cup. We wonder what Plymouth and Portsmouth are doing to keep up!

Determination: showing commando spirit

He wants us to do what?

Emerging talent at CTC

Taking the strain

Chatham Bus Disaster As we head towards Christmas we pause to remember the 24 of our fellow cadets from the former RMVCC Chatham whose march on a dark foggy night on 4 December 1951 never finished.

Royal Marines Cadets

A Chilly Reception for Cold Warriors Summer was but a distant memory when over 35 cadets and staff from the Portsmouth Division RMC set off to Longmoor for their final tactical exercise of the year...

Pre ex weapon acquaint

Ex Cold Warrior was designed to be an action packed culmination of the year’s training with cadets of all abilities and ages pitted against each other in a mock combat scenario. As it turned out we decided to create a small mobile and, some would say, dastardly enemy force made up of the RSM and some of his senior cadets to take on a larger and much friendlier troop of enthusiastic and confident younger cadets. The RSM and his section, EnFor, were tasked to harass the friendly force whose job it was to defend Oxney Farm (or rather what was left of it!). The banter begun before we even left Portsmouth, it was going to be full on.

The weather forecast was somewhat foreboding, with sub-zero temperatures predicted for both nights, relieved by some barmy single figures for during the day. However, it was nothing that a hot wet and six layers of ‘warmers’ couldn’t sort out. The cadets bivvied up for their first night amongst much chattering of teeth and once ‘stand to’ was out of the way the contact scenarios begun. EnFor started the batting by laying in a decoy assault on a corner of the farm compound but an eagle-eyed Cdt Callum Williams soon spotted the real threat and organised his defences accordingly. EnFor was driven back after an extended contact with the RSM and his cronies licking their wounds. But they were not put off for long as they kept probing the compound defences all afternoon and kept the defending sections very much on their tactical toes. The early evening soon began to draw in and the temperature once again plummeted. The defending cadets decided to set up their new harbour position just outside the compound and once scran was cooked in the dark (a new experience for some of the younger cadets as they learned about the heart-warming effect of hexi-TV) defensive positions were established. It wasn’t long before yet another sustained assault with noise and light peppering the stillness of a cold and dark wintry night took our friendly forces by surprise, masterly choreographed by the DS in radio contact with each other. An enthusiastic Cpl Sam Whitford led the initial charge repulsed by equally if not more enthused Cdts Yiannis Razzell and Mark Walker. A lull in the action allowed a few hours of sleep before “stand to!” came around again all too quickly. And as soon as the eager sun attempted to peer through the grey clouds the by now all too familiar sound of crack bang heralded the final attack. But it wasn’t to be the RSM’s weekend as EnFor were all but wiped out, miraculously springing back into life as they joined the younger cadets for a thoroughly well deserved cold warriors breakfast cooked by BdSgt Claire Walsh RM. Meet The Challenge!

Who said the seniors were a bunch of posers? Cadets happily tune into hexi-TV

Portsmouth Hosts COMCORE’s First VCC Visit With the standing down of FOSNNI the Volunteer Cadet Corps now comes under the command of Commander Core Training and Recruiting, and it was to Portsmouth he headed for his first parade and inspection… The cadets of the Portsmouth Division Royal Marines cadets commemorated and celebrated the Battle of Trafalgar and the Corps Birthday by parading on Tuesday 20 October at HMS Excellent. Cadets, staff and recruits were on parade to welcome and be inspected by Cdre R Fancy OBE ADC, COMCORE and the VCC’s new ‘boss’. We were also delighted to welcome Maj Brian Hayes RM, 2IC Corps Colonel RM.

From the Archives We have recently discovered this photograph for sale on eBay. We believe it shows the Band and Drums of the Portsmouth Royal Marines Cadets in the 1950s or 1960s. We think it was taken from the balcony in the gymnasium at the old RM barracks at Eastney.

As usual the Band put on a superb musical display and kept the families and friends watching entertained as Cdre Fancy and Maj Hayes inspected and indeed spoke to every cadet.

Upon completion of the inspection the Trafalgar and Birthday citations were read out and Cdre Fancy addressed the cadets. Finally, awards were presented to cadets including Long Service and Good Conduct medals to those cadets with four years “undetected crime!” Cdre Bob Fancy OBE ADC, Commander Core Training and Recruiting for the Royal Navy

If you have any old photos from our 115 year history let us know as we would be delighted to show them.

YouTube Don’t forget to visit the VCC’s own YouTube channel. Just visit the usual YouTube home page and search for Volunteer Cadet Corps.

Marines Don’t Have the Monopoly on Fun Did you know you can now get the famous Monopoly game in Royal Marines Colours? As part of the RM350 celebrations last year, a new Monopoly set has been produced dedicated to the Royal Marines and featuring a number of Corps related aspects. The board can be bought from the Royal Marines Shop or by clicking here.

Royal Marines Cadets

Summer Camp Round-Up

White Ensign of the Royal Navy

All three RMC Divisions of the VCC enjoyed their Summer Camps in August. Let’s now look back at some of their fun.

Meet The Challenge!

Victoria Cross We look at another winner of the Victoria Cross, the UK’s highest decoration for valour in the face of the enemy… John Prettyjohns VC (sometimes misspelled Prettyjohn) lived from 11 June 1823 to 20 January 1887 and was the first Royal Marine to win the Victoria Cross. He won his VC on 5 November 1854 during the Battle of Inkerman in the Crimea War. The following details are drawn from a contemporary report by Sgt Turner. The 2 November was an active day as 312 ranks marched off from the heights of Balaklava, under the command of Captain Hopkins RMLI. On the morning of the 5 November, the relief, which had just returned, were preparing their breakfast; the firing from Sebastopol was gradually increasing, and then commenced in their rear; nothing could be distinguished but fog and smoke. The bugle sounded the ‘Fall-in’ at the double, and officers were flying about giving orders, warning of vast columns of enemy troops were moving up to their rear. The roll of musketry was terrific. The marines advanced cautiously until bullets began to fall amongst them, the Sergeant-Major being the first man killed. At the same time sailors opened fire from some heavy guns into their left flank, and this drove the enemy back into the smoke. The Inkerman Caves were occupied by the enemy’s sharpshooters, who were picking off the officers and gunners. The caves needed to be cleared, and the Marines were ordered to do it. As soon as they were in the open, a broadside from a frigate thinned their ranks; Captain March fell wounded. Cpl John Prettyjohns showing his VC with the then blue ribbon for Naval winners

Captain Hopkins ordered his men to lie down under a bit of rising ground, and ordered two marines, Pat Sullivan and another man, to take the Captain back; he stood amidst a shower of shot and shell ensuring his safe removal. A party of men under Sergeant Richards and Corporal Prettyjohns, was then thrown out to clear the caves. Under Richards and Prettyjohns, the marines soon cleared the caves but found their ammunition nearly all expended, with a new batch of the foe creeping up the hillside in single file. Prettyjohns, a muscular West Countryman, said, ‘Well lads, we are just in for a warming, and it will be every man for himself in a few minutes. Look alive, my hearties, and collect all the stones handy, and pile them on the ridge in front of you. When I grip the front man you let go the biggest stones upon those fellows behind’. As soon as the first man stood on the level, Prettyjohns gripped him and gave him a Westcountry buttock, threw him over upon the men following, and a shower of stones from the others knocked the leaders over. Away they went, tumbling one over the other, down the incline.

On 16 January 1856, Cpl Prettyjohns was promoted to sergeant and embarked on HMS Sans Pareil for Hong Kong. He was then promoted to Colour Sergeant on 29 April, and on 26 June a VC was sent to China for presentation. On 16 July he sailed for Singapore on HMS Shannon, arriving in Fort William, Calcutta later that year. On 28 December he took part in the capture of Canton before embarking on HMS Tribune for Vancouver and San Juan Island. On 17 December 1863 his final tour of duty came to an end and he was discharged on 16 June 1865 after 21 years and 6 days service. He retired to the Greater Manchester area, and became a Golf Club. Cpl Prettyjohns died on 20 January 1887 at Chorlton upon Medlock, Lancashire and is buried in the Southern Cemetery, Manchester.

Remembrance Collection Well done to Sgt Debbie Stroud RMC, Recruiting Sgt for Portsmouth Division RMC, for collecting nearly £600 in November for the RBL Poppy Appeal.

Royal Marines Cadets

Meet the Marines The Commando Recruiting Troop were in Gosport in November and took no time in inviting their nearest RM cadets to attend an exciting evening of activities and talks... Our cadets are well used to travelling to Browndown and on this occasion they were in for a bespoke evening courtesy of Capt Si Dack RM with physical training and weapon acquaints included. The marines laid on an impressive range of activities and judging by the smiles of the cadets who attended, there may be a queue at the local careers office soon. Also, three of our cadets were lucky to escape school and spend the whole of the next day at Browndown, although the harsh weather meant that the ‘Per Mare’ activities were disappointingly called off for safety reasons.

At the Going Down of the Sun


Remembrance Sunday gave our cadets another opportunity to remember the sacrifices made by many members of our Corps Family over the past 351 years… On a wet and windy Autumnal day, Plymouth Division RMC paraded at The Hoe whilst Lympstone Division RMC joined the Civic Ceremony in Exmouth. Portsmouth Division RMC sent a detachment to the Corps Museum at Eastney and another detachment to the Guildhall Square in Portsmouth.

Eastney Meet The Challenge!


Royal Marines Cadets Ethos The RMC Ethos mirrors the Commando Ethos that drives all members of our Corps Family: Cadet Values:

Cadet Spirit:


Strive to do better Tell the truth Resist the easy option Respect the rights, diversity and value of others


Get out front and do what is right Never give up Oppo first, team second, self last Make humour the heart of morale

Standing Orders Inform your Troop or Company Commander, or activity lead instructor if you are not able to attend a training night or other activity. This can be done by letter or email from your parent or guardian. Keep the Administration Office updated with your personal, emergency contact and medical information. Use our forms to send in updated details. Ensure that parental consent is obtained before attending any activity where such consent is required (for example weekend exercises or field gun displays). Make sure your uniform fits properly, is clean and ready to wear. Pay particular attention to your ‘blues’ uniform and check it fits well before any ceremonial parade. Report to the stores if you need items of uniform exchanged.

Regularly check our websites and notice boards for the latest events and news. Pay your subs each month and keep your pass with you at all times. Report any pass losses to the Administration Office. How to make contact with us:

Portsmouth Division E: T: 023 9253 7495 A: Portsmouth Division RMC, 158 Building, HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth, PO2 8ER

Plymouth Division

Lympstone Division

E: T: 01752 836367 A: Plymouth Division RMC, RMB Stonehouse, Durnford Street, Plymouth, PL1 3QS

E: T: 01392 414302 A: Lympstone Division RMC, Commando Training Centre RM, Exmouth Road, Exmouth, EX8 5AR

The views expressed in ‘The Challenge!’ do not necessarily reflect those of the RMVCC or MOD. © Volunteer Cadet Corps

All Rights Reserved

November 2015

Royal Marines Cadets