Past pupil returns to help with CCF at Aldenham
James Harmer explains why he is spending his gap year volunteering with the CCF at Aldenham before university and a career in the Army:
“I’ve always had an interest in the armed forces so I was passionate to join the CCF as soon as I could and right from the start I found it to be extremely welcoming. I went on many trips and summer camps. On one unforgettable overnight exercise to Crowborough another cadet, Matthew Prett, and I were the first ones to recce the RAF’s position under the cover of darkness. We were instructed to go to the top of the hill and signal so that a flare could be sent up. However as we were approaching the top, the flare was set off without any warning. This prompted us to dive into the nearest bush and watch the chaos unfold in the RAF section as they rushed for cover without a clue as to what was going on. Although highly amusing I stayed strong as we were supposed to be unseen. It was one of many experiences I had in the CCF which I will remember for the rest of my life.
“Thanks to these experiences I made many friends from both Aldenham and Queens’ schools. These friends have felt more like family in the years I’ve been in the cadets and that’s something I really did love about it; it's one big family with new members joining every year, each with different and amazing personalities.
“One big change in my last year was when Sergeant Doug Holland joined the CCF. In the first month he explained the experiences he was going to offer the cadets, they sounded amazing. They included trips we would not have been able to do in previous years and he wanted me, as Colour Sergeant, to help him organise the cadets and familiarise him in their level of training and skills. So far he has definitely delivered on his promises. This partnership has made us good friends and when he told me that I had the option to come back this year as an instructor, I was over the moon.
“The CCF was my favourite activity at Aldenham. I knew I wanted a gap year so when I heard that I could come back to the CCF and at the same time undertake a massive range of courses and qualifications which would also boost my CV massively, I was sold.
“I’m therefore very excited to be working with the CCF as an instructor and am looking forward to the trips and courses I will attend. I know it will be a year I will never forget and one that will be an eye opener when I tell people about it at University next year.”