A Service of Thanksgiving to Mark The 70th Anniversary of VE Day

 As part of the 70th anniversary of VE Day, cadets of Wilson’s / WHSG School CCF were invited along to a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey, to represent not only their unit, but also the CCF as a whole which was  attended by  HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales.

Background

On the 8 May 1945 Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered its armed forces to the Allies of World War II, this day was to be remembered as Victory in Europe Day (VE Day).  Jubilant crowds flocked to streets up and down the nation and partied until late in the night, flags, food, music and fireworks played a great part in the celebrations.  Public buildings in London, including Buckingham Palace, were floodlit marking the end of destructive bombing on the capital.

The Service

HM The Queen laid a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Soldier, followed by the congregation being led into the Lord’s Prayer. Hymns and prayers followed before the service’s speakers were invited to read.  Amongst those were John Wilson, a veteran of VE Day, 2Lt Goldhawk recalled “Hearing Mr. Wilson speak was a poignant reminder of just how much this day meant to those involved”.

Following the readings and remaining hymns, the Band of the Welsh Guards played the last post, before the congregation observed a two-minute silence. The service was rather fittingly concluded with the National Anthem, led by the Abbey’s Choir.

Saturday 25 April - The National Commemoration of the Centenary of the Gallipoli and ANZAC Campaigns

Members of Wilsons School and WHSG CCF were asked to attend the above commemoration on Saturday 25 April at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Capt Grant, Lt Marshall, Sgts Lee & Hoskins-Turner (WHSG), Cpls MacKenzie, Nawaz, Saggrot & LCpl Anscombe (WHSG) were chosen to represent to the unit and CCF as a whole at this national event.

Commemoration

HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh attended the ceremony marking the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign in World War One. Her Majesty took part in a two-minute silence before laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. The Queen was joined by Prince William.  

At the Cenotaph, the Queen joined crowds paying tribute to the 131,000 troops who died during the Gallipoli campaign - including some 25,000 British military personnel and 10,000 from Australia and New Zealand.  

Descendants of those who fought and representatives from countries involved in the operation attended the ceremony.  

The national flags of Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and the UK were carried on parade and later through Westminster Abbey and placed close to the high altar as a sign of reconciliation between old enemies. 

Monday 9 March - Commonwealth Day Parade 

Wilsons and WHSG Schools CCF were asked to represent the CCF at the Commonwealth Day parade held at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates on Monday 9 March 2015.

The Memorial Gates is a war memorial located at the Hyde Park Corner end of Constitution Hill in London, UK. It commemorates the armed forces of the British Empire from Africa, the Caribbean and the five regions of the Indian subcontinent (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) who served in the First and Second World Wars.  The memorial was officially inaugurated in 2002 by HM The Queen.  

As a formed up body of men, Regular, Reserves and Cadets we marched under the guidance of the Garrison Sergeant Major London District up to the memorial behind the Band of the Coldstream Guards, an experience the Cadets will never forget.   The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Baroness Flather and Field Marshal Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB, LVO, OBE, DL were the principal guests of honour.  

Moving speeches were delivered in particular by Field Marshall Guthrie who thanked all for attending and reiterated the sacrifice and the on-going remembrance for all who have served from the Commonwealth in both world wars but in particular in these anniversary years the Great War.   We were reminded of the honour such men had in serving and indeed on this day the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Neuve Chappelle in Northern France where over a third of the attacking force came from the Indian Corps, one of their earliest experiences of action on the Western Front.   A particular moving lament was played by a Piper from the Royal Ghurka Rifles and then the wreaths were laid by over 20 organisations.  

A very proud day for all involved and the Contingent Commanders thanks go to the five Cadets who represented the CCF outstandingly, included LCpls Raheal (10 Athena), Hannah (10 Athena) and Lorraine (10 Athena).

Capt Grant 
School Staff Instructor

February 2015

Sophie and Deesha (both in Bronte) were part of the 11 strong Wilson’s CCF team who competed in the Regional Final of the Air Squadron Trophy.  They were incredibly successful winning an unheard of number of events and they will now go through to the National Finals.  We also had two standby reserves, Katie (Seacole) and Shauna (Athena) who showed high levels of commitment in training for the event, in a reserve capacity.  

Sunday 9 November 2014

On Sunday 92 WSCCF Cadets Paraded in Croydon.  For the first time WHGS were part of the parade; 16 girls paraded as part of The Wilson’s contingent, alongside the army reserve, the police and other cadet forces. They were joined by additional uniformed and youth organisations.   The Contingent Commander, Major Burton, expressed his pride at the size of the turnout and the immaculate appearance of all the cadets. Like him, we are very proud that our students, along with so many other young people, chose to mark Remembrance Sunday by being part of the parade and spending time reflecting on the sacrifice made by the fallen.   

Range Camp- Wednesday-Friday October Half Term

Immediately following The Cadre the Army Section ran a range camp on Hythe ranges exclusively for cadets from Wilson’s School CCF. Over the two full days of the camp cadets zeroed their own rifle, fired in a classification shoot and competed against each other on the ETR range.   Particular congratulations go to Lance Corporal Lilian T (10 Sharman) was one of only two cadets graded as a first class shot.   

CCF - Junior Non-Commissioned Officers Course: Sunday-Wednesday October Half Term

For the second successive year Wilson’s School CCF hosted a leadership cadre for aspiring junior NCOs from Wilson’s, and other invited CCFs. For the first time cadets from Wilson’s partner school Wallington High School for Girls attended the cadre as Wilson’s Cadets.  On arrival the students received a lecture on leadership before preparing their own presentations on inspirational figures from history.  On the second day the cadets spent time learning to instruct drill before spending a challenging but fun morning on the impressive obstacle course at St Martin’s Plain.

The afternoon was spent on Exercise Guthrie, using a local training area. The students had the opportunity to act as a section commander in a section attack or a casualty evacuation scenario, or to lead their peers in one of two challenging command tasks. The evening was spent delivering pre-prepared lectures on Victoria Cross winners of their choice.  The following day each of the four sections competed in an extremely demanding ‘March and Shoot’ competition.  Following exhaustive rehearsals, the final day of the course saw a passing out parade and prizegiving, with awards being given to the winning section in the march and shoot (awarded to 1 Section), the best students in each section and the best overall student on the course.

All Wilson’s and Wallington High School Cadets on the course were promoted to Lance Corporal at its conclusion, meaning that the girls who attended became the first ever female NCOs in Wilson’s School CCF.