High School of Dundee CCF celebrate centenary of first-ever parade

Posted on March 07, 2018

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The High School of Dundee has celebrated a very special anniversary for its CCF – 100 years since its very first parade.

On 16th February 1918, the first contingent of the Dundee High School (DHS) CCF met for its first ever parade, at the Douglas Street Drill Hall under the command of Capt JB Swan. As the Courier newspaper reported at the time, 'Over 40 cadets paraded and the lads showed great keenness and aptitude.'

To mark the 100th anniversary of that first parade for the then fledgling group, the school staged a special CCF centenary parade.

The parade took place on the school playground and involved the whole of the current contingent of cadets (more than 100 in total). They were inspected by the Guest of Honour, and one of the most senior Army officers in Scotland, Colonel Stephanie Jackman MBE TD, Assistant Commander 51 Infantry Brigade and HQ Scotland.

The championship winning Drill Team displayed their skills and the Pipe Band performed in front of an audience that included parents, pupils, former pupils, former CCF members and guests associated with the group, plus friends of the school.

Dr John Halliday, Rector of the High School of Dundee, said: "The idea of a cadet corps for the High School was first mooted during the Boer War of 1900, where a number of former pupils saw active service.

"However, it was the First World War that provided the final motivation to set it up, and since then it has been a regular feature of the school, reflecting the social and educational changes of the subsequent century.

"Around 30 years ago the first girls were admitted and now it is a completely gender-mixed unit, modern and go-ahead, whilst adhering to the important traditional values of self-discipline, courage and respect."

Dr Halliday added: "I am delighted that we were able to mark this special moment in the history of our CCF with this parade. It was a pleasure and a privilege to welcome Col Jackman to inspect the contingent and it was inspiring for our cadets to hear words of encouragement from such a senior Army officer.

"Here's to the next 100 years!"

Col Jackman said: "I feel very honoured and privileged to be here. I think it's tremendous that the school can celebrate such an occasion.

"The cadets have done everybody proud, they were extremely well turned out and a credit to the school.

"Speaking to the cadets, they clearly thoroughly enjoy being part of the CCF. The cadet movement is all about maximising potential and that's a fantastic value to develop in any youngster."

Following its establishment in 1918, membership of the DHSCCF quickly grew and the contingent soon received rifles and uniforms. Since then, the CCF, along with the Pipes and Drums, has developed and evolved as an uninterrupted and high profile feature in the life of both the school and, through participation in various public events, the wider community. 

Today's cadets have the chance to develop, by means of a varied training programme, not only leadership but also the qualities of responsibility, self-reliance, self-confidence, resourcefulness, endurance, perseverance, teamwork and effective communication, as well as enhancing their personal and social development.

Lt Col Colin McAdam, Contingent Commander, said: "One hundred years on and the contingent is thriving, rising to challenges and developing team players and leaders as well as resilient, robust and confident individuals. I take great pride in my involvement in the past 25 years of DHSCCF."

Following the parade, those in attendance were invited to view an exhibition of CCF-related memorabilia and artefacts in Trinity Hall which, as well as providing a fascinating insight into the history of the group through the years, gave former members the chance to reminisce about their own time in the contingent.

"It was wonderful to have so many former CCF members join us for the occasion and to hear some of their treasured memories," added Dr Halliday.    

The parade and the exhibition, which the school hopes to add to in the coming months, are the first in a number of events that the school is planning in commemoration of the centenary of the WW1 Armistice in November 2018.