Schools’ Celebrate 100 Years of the Combined Cadets Force
Thursday 25th June 2015 – Merchant Taylors’ Schools was honoured to receive a flying visit from Royalty. The Duke of York arrived by helicopter, landing on the Boys’ School sports field. He joined the Schools in the centenary celebrations of the formal recognition of its Combined Cadet Force (CCF) in 1915 when it was originally established as the Officer Training Corps (OTC). Upon his arrival HRH was greeted by a group of excited flag waving pupils from both the Boys’ and Girls’ Junior Schools.
The Duke of York was the guest of honour at the morning church service of commemoration and celebration which took place at St Faith’s, Crosby. The service began a full day of celebrations and saw the dedication of new CCF contingent colours. Special tribute was also paid to the 155 Old Boys of the School who lost their lives in the First World War, as well as other conflicts since that time. HRH gave a reading to the congregation. Afterwards guests moved back over to the Boys’School for an afternoon of CCF demonstrations and presentations by the pupil cadets with an Inspection of the Guard of Honour by Commodore David Dutton, RN OBE. Commodore Dutton is a former pupil of the Boys’ School. During the Inspection cadets were treated to a passenger flight in a Merlin, the Royal Navy’s new generation of helicopters.
Merchant Taylors’ Schools’ Combined Cadet Force is one of the largest contingents in the country involving boys and girls from both senior schools (over 240). At the time of its formal recognition the CCF included only male cadets but now, for the first time ever, there are more girls than boys in the force.
A gala dinner was held that evening where the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead, was the Chief Guest. Many former pupils that have been involved in the CCF over the years – some of whom have gone on to pursue illustrious careers in the armed forces – came back to join in the celebratory dinner.
David Cook, Headmaster of Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School, said “This is a very proud day in the history of the Schools. We are honoured that The Duke of York has taken time out of his busy schedule to help us celebrate such a memorable event. The CCF has been an integral and important part of school life over the last 100 years. Our pupils, both boys and girls, are able to enrol from Year 9 onwards. As well as providing a disciplined military grounding for our pupils it more importantly provides invaluable skills such confidence, self-reliance, initiative and loyalty as well as fostering an important sense of service to others. These are life skills that will help our young people thrive in the future.”
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