Commodore Nick Tindal, Commanding Officer of Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, has officially opened a Combined Cadet Force Royal Navy Section at Wells Cathedral School in Somerset. The Naval contingent joins two other successful Combined Cadet Force (CCF) sections from the Army and the Royal Air Force who formed at Wells prior to World War II, bringing the total enrolment up to over 120 Cadets.
“The opening of the Naval Section at Wells gives the youngsters an opportunity to assume responsibility and practise leadership within a disciplined and uniformed organisation,” said Major Chris Rondel, CCF Commander at Wells.
“It’s a great opportunity for the cadets to venture afloat and train with the Royal Navy. We’re looking forward to an extensive range of excellent camps and courses provide by the Headquarters of RN CCF.”
Leading the Royal Navy Section is Lieutenant Fiona Robertson, a chemistry teacher, assistant house parent and hockey coach, who was appointed in September 2016, and has already been out and about with the new cadets.
Lt Robertson said, “We had some really great support from RNAS Yeovilton when we took the cadets to the Air Station. Staff from the HQ in Portsmouth have also been keen to get involved and they ran an excellent taster day at the school recently.”
Major Rondel is also looking forward to new scope for Inter-Section competitions at the school and encouraged by the Royal Navy section’s keenest to get involved. So far, the cadets have had the opportunity to take part in try-dive sessions, sailing at Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club as well as attending Royal navy CCF camps and courses.
Leading the parade from the Navy Section was Cadet Chief Petty Officer Thomas Taunton. He has recently joined from the Army Section. He said,“The Navy Section offers a lot more things to do, it’s more than just a school activity, it’s something that gives you confidence and it’s really good fun.”
Another student, cadet Pip Malone is in her final year at Wells and is seeking to make the Royal Navy her Career.
She said, “I’ve wanted a Navy Section since I joined the CCF, I’m so happy that it’s finally happened. I am also looking to join the Royal Navy as a Clearance Diver, and we are doing Life Guard and First Aid courses in the near future.
“The CCF adds that extra leadership role to school life. It’s very challenging and we learn a lot more about managing people and being competitive.”
Photos taken by Year 11 photography student James Manning.