Supporting Reserve Forces and Cadets in the South East
  1. Combined Cadet Force Case Studies

    Signaller Keane Smirthwaite (ex Brompton Academy CCF)

    I signed up to the Brompton Academy CCF in ...

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    Combined Cadet Force Case Studies

    Combined Cadet Force Case Studies

    Signaller Keane Smirthwaite (ex Brompton Academy CCF)

    I signed up to the Brompton Academy CCF in mid-2014; I was only 13 at the time. I joined seeking new experiences, challenges, discipline and also to have some fun with my friends. Starting cadets was obviously a bit intimidating at the start, being surrounded by senior cadets and soldiers (Full time, Reserve & ex-forces).

    However, over the five years as a cadet, being surrounded by these people and fantastic instructors, I have been able to grow into the person I am today. They allowed me to build my confidence through promotion; allowing me to teach other new cadets and stand up in front of a class, and give a lesson or presentation; whereas when I first started I was a stuttering mess. I also took part on many field exercises and annual camps, providing me with brilliant leadership skills, field craft/survival skills, weapon handling; and many others that I am still grateful for learning to this day.

    So what am I doing now? Well currently, I am a Phase 2 Trainee soldier at the 11th (Royal School of Signals) Signals Regiment in Blandford; working my way to becoming a Communications Systems Engineer as a Lance Corporal in the Field Army. Every skill I have learned throughout cadets has helped me reach this point in my career and certainly helped me have an advantage over other recruits in basic training who hadn’t learnt these skills before.

  2. New CCF (Army) Contingent at Claires Court School

    Claires Court is delighted to have been selected by the MOD to start a new CCF Army Contingent with effect from 2...

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    New CCF (Army) Contingent at Claires Court School

    New CCF (Army) Contingent at Claires Court School

    Claires Court is delighted to have been selected by the MOD to start a new CCF Army Contingent with effect from 28th February 2021.

    The CCF is a fantastic organisation which will offer our students a broad range of challenging, exciting, adventurous and educational activities, and develop personal responsibility, leadership and self-discipline. 

    In the coming months, we will be very busy training up our staff so that they can add yet another string to their already talented bows. Cadet recruitment will begin in the summer term so that we are ready to start parading from September 2021. We cannot wait to see our new unit getting stuck in to military skills, camps, adventurous training and much much more. This new educational partnership between the school and the Ministry of Defence compliments our programme of outdoor engagement really well, and will stretch even the best of our students to go that extra mile!

    We are very grateful to the School's Cadet Expansion Officer for the South East, Lt Col (Retired) Rod Gray, for all of his help in establishing our new unit.

  3. 4 PWRR SOLDIERS MAKE DAWN ASSAULT BEFORE ENJOYING CHRISTMAS IN THE FIELD

    4 PWRR SOLDIERS MAKE DAWN ASSAULT BEFORE ENJOYING CHRISTMAS IN THE FIELD

     

    Army Reserve Soldiers from 4th Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, nicknamed ‘The Tigers’ have been on Salisbury Plain Training Area and Browndown over the weekend 4 – 6th

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    4 PWRR SOLDIERS MAKE DAWN ASSAULT BEFORE ENJOYING CHRISTMAS IN THE FIELD

    4 PWRR SOLDIERS MAKE DAWN ASSAULT BEFORE ENJOYING CHRISTMAS IN THE FIELD

    4 PWRR SOLDIERS MAKE DAWN ASSAULT BEFORE ENJOYING CHRISTMAS IN THE FIELD

     

    Army Reserve Soldiers from 4th Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, nicknamed ‘The Tigers’ have been on Salisbury Plain Training Area and Browndown over the weekend 4 – 6th December, conducting their final weekend exercise of the year. They were putting their skills to the test in assaulting and securing buildings and sharpening reconnaissance skills in the rural and urban environment. COVID-secure protocols were followed during the training and a Christmas brunch was laid on by their own chefs in the field after the mission had been completed.

     

    100 soldiers from across the south east took part from the Battalion’s 4 Companies for their final training weekend of the year, Exercise Punniar Tiger. On receiving orders, the night before the soldiers moved into positions, conducting close target reconnaissance for a final dawn attack, which commenced at first light on the Sunday morning. The assault took place against a fortified enemy position, on a farm complex in sub-zero temperatures. It involved them working through a series of compounds, climbing over walls and storming the buildings within, using various weapon systems to achieve their objectives, firing hundreds of blank rounds and using special training smoke grenades.

     

    On completion of the training, the soldiers enjoyed a COVID-secure Christmas brunch, served by the Officers and Senior Ranks in the field where the exercise took place. On the menu was soup followed by roast turkey and all the traditional trimmings in a Christmas roll and was finished off with mince pies and pulling crackers.

     

    Among those tucking into their Christmas treat was, Lance Corporal Daniel Wimberley (30) from Portsmouth. When not operating as an Army Reservist, he is a landscape architect. Speaking of the weekend training he said, “It’s been a fantastic opportunity as commander to be challenged in the urban environment, leading an assault and making split second decisions.  Temperatures have been sub-zero, and everyone also has the COVID protocols to adhere to, I think everyone has worked really hard performed well. The Christmas lunch was something to look forward to whist we were out on the freezing reconnaissance mission last night. To be served our lunch has enabled a bit of banter and kept spirits high, it maintains a good level of morale as we head into 2021.”

     

    After a busy and intense weekend everybody took the opportunity to enjoy, unwind and start the festive season. The Battalion of 367 personnel is made up of primarily of Reservists with an element of Regular soldiers who supervise the training and manage the daily requirements needed to run the Battalion.

     

    The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) Jim Bird said: “Exercise Punniar Tiger marked the end of a challenging year.  We started the year on Salisbury Plain in freezing temperatures as part of the largest deployment that the Plain has seen in recent years and ended it there also.  In between, we mobilised a 139 strong COVID Support Force and have operated in seven countries.  Normally at this time of year we would thank the troops for their incredible commitment by the Officers and Warrant Officers serving them a Christmas lunch.  This year, because of COVID we have had to do things differently, so after the tactical exercise finished, we gave the troops a socially distanced Christmas meal in the field. At this time of year, we take the opportunity to think about our soldiers currently deployed overseas and their families”.

     

    Commenting on a busy year for the Battalion, he went on to say: “In many respects we have achieved much more than we expected this year.  It has not been straightforward, but we still managed Platoon level tactical live firing, grown the Battalion trained strength by 10% and, most importantly, contributed to 5 operations both in the UK and overseas.  Next year, we hope to be able to match, if not better these successes.”

  4. Wg Cdr Eklund wins top Communications award

    At the Company Of Communicators annual Military Communicator of the Year awards last night, the Lord Mayor of London presented Wg Cdr Dylan Ek...

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    Wg Cdr Eklund wins top Communications award

    Wg Cdr Eklund wins top Communications award

    At the Company Of Communicators annual Military Communicator of the Year awards last night, the Lord Mayor of London presented Wg Cdr Dylan Eklund with the RAF Communicator of the Year award in recognition of the work he has done this year whilst mobilised into Air Media & Communications to head-up the Covid Content Generation Team as part of the RAF’s overall Covid response effort. 

     

    His services enabled Air M&C to assess, review, plan and deliver a flow of content outputs and communications effects within this rapidly evolving situation. He commanded a team made up from a mix of existing Air M&C and Regular RAF personnel, Media Reserves & Civil Servants and quickly established what was required, where the gaps were, what the needs were and what the content gathering and publishing process would look like.  Within 24 hours of standing up, his team was generating a steady flow of high quality, highly informative and highly valued content to a worried, confused and increasingly remote audience and projected a clear and positive picture of the RAF’s national response.

     

    Collecting the award Wg Cdr Eklund said ”I am very honoured to have received the award and please that, as a Reservist, I was able to make a useful contribution to the operation”.   

  5. Royal Naval Reserve training recognised by the Royal Yachting Association

    In a superb achievement for the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), Cardiff-based HMS CAMBRIA has passed a rigorous assessment to earn accreditation as a Recognised Training Centre for Powerboat Operations by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

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    Royal Naval Reserve training recognised by the Royal Yachting Association

    Royal Naval Reserve training recognised by the Royal Yachting Association

    In a superb achievement for the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), Cardiff-based HMS CAMBRIA has passed a rigorous assessment to earn accreditation as a Recognised Training Centre for Powerboat Operations by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

     

    Accreditation by the RYA is an important step in the journey to return waterborne training to the RNR and builds on the successful arrival of Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to RNR Training Units in Cardiff, Newcastle and Liverpool, with more planned in the coming year.

     

    HMS CAMBRIA, which recently relocated from Barry Island to a waterfront location in the Welsh capital city, can now train Reservists in a range of core maritime skills, including navigation, seamanship and boat handling, and radio communication, culminating in the award of the internationally-recognised RYA Powerboat Level 2 qualification.

     

    Commodore Mel Robinson, who is originally from Pembrokeshire, is the Commander of the Maritime Reserves and said:

     

    “This is an exciting and hugely important milestone in the transformation of the Maritime Reserves, enabling us to better support the Royal Navy on operations, at home and around the world.  HMS CAMBRIA has become the first Royal Naval Reserve Training Unit to meet the Royal Yachting Association’s high standards, in turn enabling reservists to gain internally-recognised qualifications while learning the professional skills that will allow them to deploy on Royal Navy warships, operating seamlessly alongside their Regular counterparts.  This achievement, for which I commend HMS CAMBRIA’s Ship’s Company,  enable them to better support the Royal Navy on 21st Century operations, at home and around the globe.

     

    Commander Carolyn Jones, who assumed command of HMS CAMBRIA on 14 October, said:

     

    “I am hugely proud of the CAMBRIA team for all their hard work, which has clearly paid off with this RYA accreditation.  These boats will now regularly be seen in Cardiff Bay, conducting maritime training which will enable our Reservists to deploy in Offshore Patrol Vessels based here in the UK and forward-deployed around the world.”

  6. Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School (TWGGS) CCF Sergeant Wins National First Aid Award

    Sergeant Anna Smith has recently tested her First Aid skills in a traumatic real-life experience; in which her confidence, maturity and courage allowed her to put into practice what she has learned from a range of first aid courses in the Com...

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    Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School (TWGGS) CCF Sergeant Wins National First Aid Award

    Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School (TWGGS) CCF Sergeant Wins National First Aid Award

    Sergeant Anna Smith has recently tested her First Aid skills in a traumatic real-life experience; in which her confidence, maturity and courage allowed her to put into practice what she has learned from a range of first aid courses in the Combined Cadet Force (CCF). Such quick-thinking and calm approach have led to her receiving national recognition in the form of the prestigious CCFA National Meritorious First Aid Award. Together with her family, Sergeant Smith was returning from seeing friends in the summer when they arrived behind a motorcycle accident on a major A-road. As Sergeant Smith’s mother explained, “It emerged that there had been a couple out on their motorbike. Unfortunately the rear wheel had given way and they had both been thrown off the bike and over the barrier on the side of the road.” 

    Drawing on her training and maintaining her composure, Sergeant Smith spoke to both casualties and carried out an initial assessment. Shortly afterwards, a doctor who had been driving past arrived, and directed her to hold one casualty’s head still, in case of spinal injuries. Sergeant Smith remained on the scene for the next two hours, while paramedics and police arrived and provided emergency first aid at the roadside. She helped to move the casualty onto the stretcher, using the techniques she had learnt in CCF, and then carried the patient to the trolley for transfer to hospital by air ambulance. Sergeant Smith’s presence of mind also enabled her to tell the paramedics the medical history of one of the casualties and the medication they were on, as well as what they had eaten and drank during the day. The comprehensive First Aid courses offered by the CCF unit at TWGGS  range from a six-week basic course, to a six-week intermediate qualification. Skills learned through these two courses are built upon in an advanced ‘MASH’ (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) weekend every two years at the school. Cadets learn a whole raft of skills, from how to triage patients, to advanced bleeding control, dealing with burns and stitching wounds. The training is practically centred and, as well as achieving success in brigade and national competitions, many TWGGS cadets have gone on to study medicine. 

    While Sergeant Smith was rather shaken by what she saw, she is also rightly proud of having been able to make a difference. Her ability to stay focused throughout such a harrowing event was remarkable and her willingness to be such an able first-responder no doubt made a difference to the casualties involved. As a result of her actions, Sergeant Smith was nominated for her award by Major Reynolds and Captain Naismith. Both the school and unit are extremely proud of her. In recognition of her many other attributes and her adherence to the Standards and Values we support as a contingent (Respect for Others, Selfless Commitment, Loyalty, Integrity, Discipline and Courage), Sergeant Anna Smith was recently promoted to Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major for 2020-21.

  7. Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey - Visits Surrey ACF

    On the 24th October 2020 the Lord [+] Read More

    Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey - Visits Surrey ACF

    Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey - Visits Surrey ACF

    On the 24th October 2020 the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Mr Michael More-Molyneux attended Surrey Army Cadets Force’s (ACF) first Cadet Force Adult Volunteer (CFAV) Basic/Intermediate Induction Carder with the recent announcement of Face-to-Face training. Following a briefing and meeting with the Commandant of Surrey ACF Lieutenant Colonel Mike Potter, the Lord-Lieutenant spent some time talking to the new CFAVs, including two who had only passed their Familiarisation package the weekend before, and enjoyed listening to their experiences so far. He was impressed by their motivation and enthusiasm and is looking forward to visiting Cadet training in a few weeks time. He is pictured talking to one of the course Directing Staff Sergeant Instructor Sophie Verrinder.

  8. IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE: THE 7 RIFLES BATTLEGROUP RECEIVES THE UNFICYP MEDAL

    IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE: THE 7 RIFLES BATTLEGROUP RECEIVES THE UNFICYP MEDAL

     

    The 7 RIFLES Battlegroup, which has been keeping the peace on Cyprus since March, has be...

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    IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE: THE 7 RIFLES BATTLEGROUP RECEIVES THE UNFICYP MEDAL

    IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE: THE 7 RIFLES BATTLEGROUP RECEIVES THE UNFICYP MEDAL

    IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE: THE 7 RIFLES BATTLEGROUP RECEIVES THE UNFICYP MEDAL

     

    The 7 RIFLES Battlegroup, which has been keeping the peace on Cyprus since March, has been awarded the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) medal for serving the cause of peace as they come to the end of their sixth-month tour of duty.

    The battlegroup, whose approximately 240 personnel represent the largest deployment of the Army Reserve as a single formed unit under its own command, arrived on the island in March to take over responsibility for Sector 2 of the United Nations Buffer Zone.  The Buffer Zone is the 180km tract of land that stretches across Cyprus, dividing the Turkish North from the land still directly administered by the Republic of Cyprus to the South.  Sector 2 is located in the centre of the Buffer Zone, in and around Nicosia, Europe’s last divided capital.  7 RIFLES have spent the past six months patrolling the sector, monitoring the activities of the two opposing forces on the island, maintaining the integrity of the Buffer Zone, and ensuring the safety of civilians from both sides.

    ‘Today represents the culmination of months of hard work,’ said the battlegroup’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) James Gayner, ‘I have been immensely proud of the work we have been doing and the battlegroup has chalked-up a number of notable successes that will make a lasting difference to the UN mission.  A huge 93% of my command are Army Reservists – largely from my battalion, 7 RIFLES, and 5 FUSILIERS – and they can be proud that they have proved the concept of the Army Reserve, not just to the British Army, but also to our international partners in the United Nations.’

    The British contribution to UNFICYP is the largest single UK blue beret deployment.  British soldiers have been serving the cause of peace on the island of Cyprus since 1964 and took over responsibility for Sector 2 in 1993.  Peacekeeping on Cyprus demands an intuitive understanding of what remains a delicate situation, intense grasp of detail, and a diplomatic approach to both of the opposing forces. 

    Speaking after receiving his medal, Rifleman Nick Eatwell, of 7 RIFLES, from Oxfordshire, said, ‘being awarded the UNFICYP medal means a lot.  Like most of us on parade, this is my first operational tour and my first medal.  We have had a fascinating but also demanding six months on the island.  I speak for us all when I say that I will always be proud to have done my bit to keep the peace on what is a beautiful, but also in recent history quite tragic, island.’

    The battlegroup mobilized for what the British Army calls Op TOSCA 32 in February and will handover responsibility for Sector 2 at the beginning of October to another Army Reserve-heavy battlegroup led by 6 RIFLES.

  9. 501 Squadron CAREER MILESTONE FOR BRIZE NORTON RESERVISTS

    On Saturday 12 Sep 2020, during a visit to Brize Norton, Group Captain Jo Lincoln, the A4 Force Element Commander award the 3rd Clasp to the Volunteer Reserve Service Medal...

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    501 Squadron CAREER MILESTONE FOR BRIZE NORTON RESERVISTS

    501 Squadron CAREER MILESTONE FOR BRIZE NORTON RESERVISTS

    On Saturday 12 Sep 2020, during a visit to Brize Norton, Group Captain Jo Lincoln, the A4 Force Element Commander award the 3rd Clasp to the Volunteer Reserve Service Medal, to Senior Aircraftsmen ‘PJ’ Smith and Roly Mills who are members of No 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

    The award of the clasp marked over 35 years’ service that these airmen have given to the Royal Air Force. They originally joined No 4624 (County of Oxford) Movements Squadron in 1984 and served with them until coming across to 501 Squadron in 2014 and 2015 respectively. During the last 35 years they have seen the developing involvement of Reserves in current operations and were first mobilised to participate in OP GRANBY (First Gulf War) in 1991, and more recently Afghanistan.  

    PJ Smith who is a Movement & Transport Driver in 501 Squadron, is currently employed by Air Tanker in the ground handling role, but prior to that, he worked for SERCO Group in the Air Cargo Section at Brize Norton during the period of increased support to Operations in Middle East and Afghanistan.  Roly Mills is also an Movement & Transport Driver, both in 501 Squadron and in his civilian career where he works for a defence related transport company. Both have mobilised during their careers, Roly has mobilised eight times the most recent ones being in Kandahar, Akrotiri and for the Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Squadron.

    Officer Commanding 501 Squadron, Squadron Leader Andy Marshall RAuxAF commented “I have known both airmen for over twenty years and have previously commanded them in the Air Movements world. It is a significant achievement to reach 35 years’ service in any career, and it is good to see these lifelong friends reach this significant milestone and receive their clasps together”.   

  10. 53 soldiers from 124 Transport Squadron RLC completed Nijmegen Challenge

    53 soldiers from 124 Transport Squadron RLC

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    53 soldiers from 124 Transport Squadron RLC completed Nijmegen Challenge

    53 soldiers from 124 Transport Squadron RLC completed Nijmegen Challenge

    53 soldiers from 124 Transport Squadron RLC completed their own Nijmegen Challenge in which individuals marched 30km 40km & 50km best effort each day over a period 4 days.   

     

    The Nijmegen 4 Day Marches is the largest walking event in the World, with an astounding 47,000 participants. People from many countries come to walk in and around the city and through the surrounding towns and villages.  Soldiers had planned to take part in the 2020 event however were unable to do so due to COVID19. 

     

    The soldiers raised £2,444 for the Army Benevolent Fund.  Simon Ferrier ABF Liaison Officer Collecting the check on behalf of the soldiers charity.  Major Paul Herlihy Officer Commanding 124 Transport Squadron said “The soldiers were determined that the current crisis was not going to stop them marching.  Instead of travelling to Nijmegen individuals picked routes around their local areas to complete the distances based on their best efforts.  The event not only raised money for the soldiers charity it also provided  an opportunity to exercise”.

  11. VICTORY OVER JAPAN (VJ) DAY (15 AUGUST 1945) – YOUR LOCAL REGIMENT

    VICTORY OVER JAPAN (VJ) DAY (15 AUGUST 1945) – YOUR LOCAL REGIMENT

    Both VE Day and VJ Day are notabl...

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    VICTORY OVER JAPAN (VJ) DAY (15 AUGUST 1945) – YOUR LOCAL REGIMENT

    VICTORY OVER JAPAN (VJ) DAY (15 AUGUST 1945) – YOUR LOCAL REGIMENT

    VICTORY OVER JAPAN (VJ) DAY (15 AUGUST 1945) – YOUR LOCAL REGIMENT

    Both VE Day and VJ Day are notable anniversaries for the United Kingdom and the World; marking the end of horrific experiences and great sacrifice.  2020 would have marked significant 75th commemorations, which have obviously been adversely affected by Coronavirus 19.

    Your local Regiment of London and the South East, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR), the Tigers, remembers the sacrifices made by its forebear regiments in the Second World War.  Six of our forebear regiments (seven battalions’ worth) were involved in the war against Japan:

    • 1st Bn Queen’s Royal Regiment, India and Burma.
    • 2nd Bn Queen’s Royal Regiment, a Chindit unit, which went deep behind enemy lines on deep penetration patrols.
    • 2nd Bn Buffs.  1944-45. Burma.
    • 2nd Bn East Surreys.  Malaya, then fall of Singapore.
    • 9th Royal Sussex.  1944-45. Burma.
    • 4th Bn Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, a Territorial battalion, which defended Kohima and included the courageous actions of Lance Corporal Jack Harman VC.  A Kohima Corporal is appointed in every PWRR battalion, each year, to acknowledge his bravery and the recent success of the appointed individual.
    • 1st Bn Middlesex.  Fall of Hong Kong.

     

  12. A Cadets from Surrey Army Cadet Force uses Lifesaving Skills!

    A Cadets from Surrey Army Cadet Force uses Lifesaving Skills!

    Jake was travelling home during rush hour approaching a very busy set of traffic lights. ...

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    A Cadets from Surrey Army Cadet Force uses Lifesaving Skills!

    A Cadets from Surrey Army Cadet Force uses Lifesaving Skills!

    A Cadets from Surrey Army Cadet Force uses Lifesaving Skills!

    Jake was travelling home during rush hour approaching a very busy set of traffic lights. Minutes before Jake arrived, there had been a very bad road traffic accident that involved a lady who had been hit by a car. Although there were several adults at the scene already, Jake observed that none of them appeared to be tending to the lady. Jake stopped and asked if there were any trained first aiders at the scene. As there were not Jake took control of the situation. The lady had multiple injuries including a very bad head injury, an open fracture of the leg and arm injuries. Jake stemmed the flow of blood from the severe head injury, reassured the lady and even though she was barely conscious, he kept her awake by asking her questions and managed to ascertain that she had no underlying medical conditions and when she had last eaten so he could pass this information to the paramedics and air ambulance crew when they arrived.

    Jake admitted when he got home that he had to dig deep at the time to hold it together as he had never seen such bad injuries in a real life situation.

    Jack’s Mother said, “We are obviously incredibly proud of Jake for his actions yesterday as he could have just driven on by, but I want to thank the Army Cadets for all the incredible skills and experiences that they teach to the young people. Without Jake's knowledge of first aid and leadership skills, both of which he has learnt through cadets, he would not have been able to help yesterday and take command of the situation until the professionals arrived. It just goes to show you never know when you need to put your learning into practice.”