20230314 CCF75 Website Header Small

Celebrating 75 years of the CCF

On 1 April, the CCF marks 75 years of equipping young people with new skills, improved teamwork, confidence and leadership. It's the start of a whole year of celebrations (April 2023 to April 2024), which will commemorate the military-themed youth organisation's 75-year history.

Celebrating 75 years of the CCF

5 April 2023

  • Royal Air Force
  • Royal Navy
  • Army
  • CCF75
All news articles

Today there are CCF contingents in more than 500 secondary schools across the UK, which offer young people a host of challenging, exciting, adventurous and educational activities. The CCF is renowned for helping young people develop personal responsibility, leadership and self-discipline, but also offers an outstanding selection of extra-curricular activities. Opportunities may range from flying a plane, climbing mountains and learning to sail to making an incredible new set of friends. There are also plenty of chances to gain recognised qualifications in disciplines such as first aid, and to take part in national programmes such as DofE.

Each CCF is an educational partnership between the participating school and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and may include Royal Navy/Royal Marines, Army or Royal Air Force sections. 'MOD-sponsored cadets have been a key part of the enrichment experience in schools since its first iteration prior to 1948, as a junior division of the Officers' Training Corps in selected independent schools,' said Brigadier Anthony Lamb, MOD Head of Youth & Cadets, CCF Contingent Commander and Deputy Head (Co-curriculum) at Eastbourne College.

Sedbergh School guard inspection in 1987

Sedbergh School guard inspection in 1987

'Today the modern CCF is a vibrant, 21st-century uniformed youth movement which is helping to transform the lives of young people across the social spectrum. 'The value doesn’t just come from the cadet experience itself. What is already being recognised is that, for some, the cadet experience also acts as a catalyst that helps them unlock their self-belief and improve their engagement and wider learning across other aspects of the curriculum too. 'We will be encouraging schools to celebrate this national milestone in their own way, whether it be by reaching out to former members of their own CCFs, or by aligning some of their great activities with this anniversary year.'

Royalty and the CCF

The CCF has a long and fascinating history, which includes royal patronage. In February 2010, Barnaby Spink (pictured above with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) was one of just 26 cadets selected to meet the Monarch for the launch of the cadet movement's 150th anniversary.

The late Queen was the patron of Cadet 150, a programme of 150 events which took place across the cadet movement that year. At the time she was also Captain General of the CCF.

HM The Queen

CCF Cadets meeting the Late Queen Elizabeth II

Former head boy Barnaby was nominated for the honour due to his outstanding commitment to the CCF: at the time he was the Lord Lieutenant's Cadet for Cambridgeshire and a Cdt Sgt in Kimbolton School CCF.

'We had only received a loose itinerary for the weekend,' he said. 'We knew we would be seeing key sites, including the Ministry of Defence and Buckingham Palace, but we had no idea who we would meet.

'Beyond our wildest expectations, as we stood in the Bow Room of Buckingham Palace, in came the Queen and Prince Philip and for half an hour we spoke with them about all the cadet movement could offer young people.'

Delving even further back into the archives, the image (left) shows His Majesty King George VI in his capacity as the Captain General of the CCF. He was inspecting part of the Signal Platoon of Portsmouth Grammar School CCF at Bourley Camp, Aldershot, on 9 August 1948.

King George VI inspecting CCF in 1948

King George VI inspecting CCF in 1948.