The Combined Cadet Force is an important part of the history of Christ’s College Finchley. Our present unit has been at CCF for over 100 years and we remain one of the few cadet units in the country to hold our own regimental colours.
In cadets, there is a set curriculum – just like in school. Cadets learn how to safely use various weapons including the L98A2 Cadet General Purpose Rifle and the Light Support Weapon (LSW) as well as history of the unit and army drill. Much of this training is put into practice when we go on our regular camps away from the school location.
There is a wide range of qualifications and recognised courses available to cadets, including navigation, first aid and outdoor pursuits (climbing, kayaking etc.). In the 6th Form, cadets can work towards the BTEC Level 2 in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community, an exciting qualification aimed at 16-19 year olds who are looking to take on a new challenge and boost their CV. The BTEC Level 2 is an internationally-recognised qualification that has been proven to help with applications for entry to higher and further education as well as in gaining employment.
The basic principle of cadets is that this curriculum is delivered by senior cadets in the school, thereby developing the key leadership and team qualities that universities and employers look for. This also means there is opportunity for promotion through the various ranks, gaining increased seniority and responsibility.
Cadets is open to anyone at Christ’s College Finchley who is in Year 8 upward, so come along to the cadet hut (next to the year 10 playground) on a Friday evening 6pm – 8:30pm if you are interested.
The first instance of Cadet activity at Christ’s College, Finchley was as far back as 1864 when a Cadet Corps attached to the 14th (Highgate) Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps was formed at the school. Unfortunately, this was disbanded in 1867 and few records remain.
The foundations of today’s Cadet Contingent were laid in 1904 with the formation of the Rifle Club. Although primarily a shooting club, its members carried military ranks and took part in regular drills and field days. A dark blue uniform was proposed but appears to have been little worn. By the end of 1910 nearly half of the 100 members had opted to wear the voluntary khaki uniform which had been introduced earlier that year. Each year the Rifle Club attended the Boys’ Bisley Week organised by the National Rifle Association and its members frequently appeared among the prize winners.
The transformation to a Cadet Corps took place on December 11th, 1911, when 41 boys signed on to become the first members of No.2 Company, 1st Cadet Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment, as Christ’s College Cadet Corps was officially titled. The parent regiment was now 7th Battalion Middlesex Regiment which was a direct descendent of the old Highgate Volunteers. The uniform now became obligatory for parades and there has been a uniformed Cadet Corps at the School ever since.
During the twenties and thirties Christ’s College was a leading light in the Cadet Movement, winning many trophies and becoming a model for other schools wishing to start similar units. In 1927 it won, for the 3rd year in succession, the Walton Shield for the most efficient contingent attending the Public Secondary Schools Cadet Association annual camp. Even during the difficult period 1930-32, when all government support to cadet units was withdrawn, the Corps carried on, keeping up its very high standards and wearing for a time the phoenix cap-badge of the Public Secondary Schools Cadet Association until the insignia of the Middlesex Regiment were re-instated in 1932.
In 1938 the Corps donned the badges of the Royal Artillery and became C (Cadet) Battery of the 61st (Finsbury) A.A. Brigade, training on the anti-aircraft guns of the local T.A. unit. By 1942, however, the Corps had rejoined the 1st Cadet Battalion and, once again, wore the badges of the Middlesex Regiment.
With the disbandment of the 1st Cadet Battalion in 1948, the Corps became Christ’s College Contingent, Combined Cadet Force, a self administering unit, which it remains today. The last major change came in 1969 when the affiliation to the Middlesex Regiment ceased and permission was given for the Contingent to wear the badges of the Parachute Regiment.
The Contingent today is extremely proud of its history and of its unique organisation, for most of its officers and adult staff are drawn from Old Boys of the School, who have themselves served as cadets. The Contingent has its own Unit Colours presented in 1952 by Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth, M.P. These colours were dedicated at Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill to the memory of all Old Finchleians killed in two World Wars.
A Cadet's view
Hello my name is Sergeant Harvey and I am a cadet at Christ’s College Finchley combined cadet force. I am now in year 12 and over the last five years at cadets I have been fortunate enough to have been able to experience lots of different activities, learn a whole range of skills, make lifelong friends and even go abroad. All this and it has still not interrupted my school career.
The cadet curriculum has taught me a whole range of skills that I can use not only at cadets but in day to day life. I started off learning drill and fieldcraft at first, how to look after myself and others in the field. As my cadets career progressed I started learning much more technical lessons, such as first aid, signals (using radios), map and compass and method of instruction. Therefore as I went on to these topics lessons became a lot harder, although this made everything more enjoyable and fulfilling
Throughout the year we all go on camps together which are used for extra training days or time where we can put all the skills and knowledge into an exercise. Every year we go to a 7-10 day long camp at the end of the summer term called Annual Camp. This is where everything we have learnt throughout the year is consolidated. For few nights we go out on exercise and all our field craft skills are really put to the test, such as leadership and taking initiative – two key factors that cadets really installs in us.
Overall, cadets has given me a lot of opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere else. I recommend it for anyone that wants to be challenged and have bags of fun.