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I Am Known: I Am More

The Oratory's Combined Cadet Force Biennial Inspection 2024

The Oratory’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF) biennial inspection took place on Thursday 9 May.

This year’s Reviewing Officer was Major Andrew Campbell, OC HQ Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, who was accompanied by RAF Benson servicemen from the Joint Helicopter Support Squadron in conjunction with a Chinook helicopter from 28 (AC) Squadron, which landed on The Oratory School grounds.

During the inspection, Oratory cadets were given the opportunity to speak with Service personnel covering a range of ranks from the RAF and Army and who represented a wide variety of trades from Pilots, Weapon System Operators, RAF Logisticians and Royal Logistics Corps Drivers through to Army Air Corps Ground Crew and Defence Communication Specialists. This provided cadets with an insight into the many different roles and professions within the Armed Forces. The cadets then went on to welcome Major Campbell with a drill display from the RAF section and to demonstrate a series of activities to prove their skills and knowledge, which included an improvised rope stretcher carry with casualty from the Royal Navy section and a Paint Ball Section Attack from the Army section.

Contingent Commander, Lieutenant Colonel S J Bosher, says "our cadets and staff had been working hard in recent weeks in preparation of this inspection and have done themselves and the school proud. Major Campbell was impressed with what he had seen from the cadets and the stunning school facilities.”

Dr Murphy, Oratory School Head, says “This year’s inspection has been an amazing experience for all and we would like to extend our thanks to Major Campbell, RAF Benson and the Joint Helicopter Support Squadron for making this day a day to truly remember.”

A third of The Oratory School’s students are enrolled within Oratory CCF, which saw a 83% uptake from this year’s 3rd Form cohort. Great opportunities exist within the Corps, from recent gliding trips at RAF Little Rissington to challenging CCF field weekends across the UK. CCF also provides a real challenge outside of a student’s normal comfort zone, as one parent says, "For our son, the co-curricular activities, sport, and the CCF has truly allowed him to understand what he wants both now and in the future."

Now in its 111th year, Oratory CCF continues to thrive with both boys and girls voluntarily joining the Army, Navy and RAF sections from 3rd Form onwards. Recent cadet pioneers have included O. Jordan-Barber who became the school’s first Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet for Oxfordshire in 2022 and A. Lewis, the school’s first female SUO who is now pursuing an RAF career.

The Oratory's CCF was founded in 1913 and its first 5 years saw over four hundred Old Oratorians serving in World War I, with 84 giving their lives for our country and future freedom. One notable Oratorian wartime hero was Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart VC who fought in the Boer War and in World War I and was awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for bravery in battle, for his actions at the Battle of the Somme. All Oratorian wartime heroes are remembered on memorials within the school's main chapel and in the school's Garden of Remembrance, where the annual Armistice Day Remembrance Service and Parade takes place.


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