Bloxham School CCF Cadets Inspected by Four-Star General
It was a great honour for Bloxham School to welcome back Old Bloxhamist General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, who carried out the Biennial Inspection of the school's Combined Cadet Force this week.
On the morning of Thursday 4 December, Bloxham School's CCF cadets paraded smartly on the school quad awaiting General Adrian's inspection. The General, as Deputy Commander of Europe's Allied Armies, generously fitted a visit to his former school into his demanding schedule, before taking a lunchtime flight back to Brussels to resume duties. He was keen to return to his old school and visit the CCF, which he himself enjoyed being a member of during his time at Bloxham. Little did he know then that he would go on to achieve such a high rank and appointment in his military career.
General Adrian enjoyed the opportunity to speak to a number of junior and senior cadets during the inspection. Having met the cadets, he was then introduced to key personalities: Captain Nigel Evans, the Contingent Commander; Major Jan de Gale, the Adjutant/School Staff Instructor; CCF instructors; Paul Sanderson, Bloxham School's Headmaster; Nigel Bankes, the school's Chairman of Governors; and members of eleven Infantry Brigade Cadet Training Team.
Following the inspection the Senior cadets, made up of students from Fourth Form to Upper Sixth, split off to take part in a variety of activities. Throughout the morning the cadets had the opportunity to challenge their accuracy on the 0.22 No. 8 rifles at the school's 25 yard indoor rifle range; test their arrow groupings at archery; fire paintballs at targets using infantry section level tactics and take part in a patrol and observation lane activity.
The cadets particularly enjoyed it when General Adrian and his entourage volunteered to 'have a go' at some of the activities themselves. The General fired a very impressive grouping on the No. 8 rifle in the indoor range, made all the more so by the fact that he hadn't fired the rifle for forty years!
Meanwhile, the Third Form cadets spent the full day being taught all the lessons and safe handling drills of the Cadet A2 General Purpose 5.56mm rifle. The day culminated in a weapon handling test, which all cadets are required to pass before being permitted to go on to fire live or blank rounds.
CCF plays an important role in life at Bloxham School with around 110 students volunteering to be members. The cadets take part in CCF activities on a weekly basis and go out on termly overnight field exercises. During exercises, students conduct various forms of shooting with different weapons, learn military skills and carry out varied adventure training activities, all of which give them the chance to gain leadership experience, build up teamwork and develop resilience and confidence.