At the start of the summer break three of our Royal Marine Cadets (Cadet Sergeant Jasper Winsley, Cadet Corporal Sam Bradley and Marine Cadet Reuben Wielenga) attended a summer camp with cadets from schools and units of the CCF RM, the Sea Cadets Corps and the Volunteer Cadet Corps from as far afield as Scotland and London, and, as close as Plymouth.
This included an introduction to the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone, Devon. The cadets completed a number of activities around CTCRM on the first day – this included unarmed combat, skill at arms, modern urban combat, a tour of the Bottom Field Assault Course, and a swimming test. With all of this completed, they then proceeded into the field.
The cadets gained experience in fieldcraft and section attacks on Dartmoor. They undertook cliff and mountain training at Fogin Tor. The cadets completed a round robin of activities in the rain, including close quarter battle, section attacks and a combined first aid and reaction to effective enemy fire activity.
After being thoroughly soaked, the cadets withdrew to 42 Commando on the edge of the moor, where they could dry out, and then resumed field training on the third day with a series of troop attacks across Dartmoor. This resulted in a successful attack with the three sections rotating through assaulting, supporting and reserve roles with the enemy forced to withdraw. For some the proceedings were briefly interrupted, and the cadets getting the opportunity to fly in a Merlin dropping into an LZ between the second and third phases of the attack.
They then visited 47 Commando to understand about the Royal Marines’ amphibious capabilities, practicing beach landings ahead of a final exercise which combined the various skills that they’d learnt in a recce and an attack on Scraesdon Fort. This attack was preceded by clearance patrols and recces around the Fort, identifying the enemy within and concluding in a dawn assault upon the Fort.
On the fourth day, cadets proceeded again to Jupiter Point in Plymouth harbour to complete a landing familiarisation package with 47 Commando. Here, cadets got to experience ORCs and the new Commando Raiding Craft, before heading up to Wacker Quay to complete a clearance patrol around Scraesdon Fort. Clearance patrols completed, the cadets had an enforced rest period because of the early start caused by the tides. After this, they conducted a recce on the Fort, after which they reacted effectively to fire from roving enemy patrols on their withdrawal.
On the final day, the cadets visited 42 Commando at Bickleigh Barracks and completed a range package, which saw many cadets complete live firing for the first time. Just outside the camp is location of the Bickleigh Vale River Run, a 7.6km run for the cadets in memory of Captain Phil Guy RM when was killed during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Cadet Sergeant Jasper Winsley from Blundell’s School Royal Marines was first across the line followed by Marine Cadet Reuben Wielenga also from Blundell’s school crossing the line in second place, and excellent achievement for our cadets.