Corps of Drums Society

Century-old CCF rings the changes with Corps of Drums

Hot off the press – news of a new Corps forming….

A taste of life in the Army and RAF is part and parcel of the timetable at a Derbyshire school which offers flying experience with the RAF and shooting practice.

Mount St Mary’s College, near Chesterfield, has a 100-year-old Combined Cadet Force (CCF) open to pupils in Year 10, Year 11 and sixth form. Pupils can enrol for either the Army or RAF and are issued the appropriate full uniform which they wear to school every Friday, when CCF lessons take place.

This month the College, located in the village of Spinkhill, introduces a Corps of Drums, a long-standing Army tradition, to its CCF repertoire. Contingent Commander Lt. Colonel Glyn Powell, who served in the Army for 25 years, has secured five snare drums and a bass drum from an Army Cadet Force unit in Doncaster.

With practice, the newly formed Corps of Drums will perform at special school events and formal military occasions such as Remembrance Sunday.

Lt. Colonel Powell, who is introducing the Corps of Drums, said it was another valuable skill pupils could learn through CCF. “The biggest problem they will have to overcome is playing while marching.” The Cadets will have the chance to attend a week-long National Band Camp in April to gain more experience.

Mount St Mary’s College, an independent Catholic senior school and sixth form for day and boarding pupils, has one small bore rifle .22 range and one air rifle range. These are used by both sections of the CCF for target practice and at other times by the College Rifle Club.

The RAF Cadets have the opportunity to take flying lessons at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in York, one of the busiest airfields in the country.

CCF cadets learn leadership and teamwork, discipline and presentation skills, they practice parade drills and study field craft, tactics and how to safely and responsibly handle a weapon, called ‘Skill-at-Arms’. Each summer there is a week’s military camp to put into practice what the cadets have learnt during that year.

Lt. Colonel Powell, who has worn an Army uniform for more than 50 years, having started his service career as a Cadet, aged 13, joined the staff of Mount St Mary’s College CCF in 1992. This hugely experienced serviceman had previously served and lived in West Germany, Northern Ireland, Kuwait, Oman, Canada, USA, Mexico, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Brunei, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak.

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