Bid to reform Army Cadet Force in Lyme

The Lyme Regis detachment of the Army Cadet Force pictured in the 1940s, run by Captain Mitchell. Among those pictured are: Frank Potter, Tony Broom, Maurice Gollop, Edrich Govier, Bill Gear, Maurice Curtis, Pat Grate, Stan Emmett, ‘Fitter’ Adams, Dave Toms, Rob Broom, Mick Douglas, Charles Rice, Dave Rattenbury, Colin Larcombe, Alan Batten, Roy Gollop, Ivan Lane and Ray Perry

ATTEMPTS are to be made to form a detachment of the Army Cadet Force (ACF) in Lyme Regis following news this week that the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) will not be saved at The Woodroffe School.

There was an active ACF in Lyme Regis for many years after the Second World War, based in what was known as the Army Cadet Hut, later to become accommodation for the town council’s outside work staff.

The CCF, embracing detachments of the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, became very popular among pupils and many went on to served with distinction in the Armed Forces.

One former Army regular who served a number of tours in Afghanistan, who did not wish to be named, said that when he applied to join the Army his experience with Woodroffe’s CCF was instrumental in him being accepted.

Another former Army cadet at Woodroffe, now a serving Captain in the British Army and who has been awarded the MBE for his services, said he was shocked to hear that the CCF was closing and planned to write to the school. He also pledged to give his support if a new ACF detachment could be formed in Lyme.

Parents were upset to learn this week that there will be no reprieve for the CCF at Woodroffe.

One parent, who did not wish to be named for fear of retributions against her child, said the school would not consider saving the combined attachments as no teachers had come forward to support it.

Some pupils were pictured in this paper holding a banner saying “Save Our CCF”. The school prevented them wearing the uniforms and our photographer was not allowed to take the photograph on school property.

The parent said: “The children have been told off so much for appearing in your photo that the school reduced some of them to tears. They were told they made the school look bad.”

Headmaster Dr Richard Steward, angry over the criticism he had received on social media over the demise of the CCF, told LymeOnline it was “impossible” to sustain the CCF and the decision to close it had been taken “reluctantly”.

He accepted the CCF had been a significant feature of the school over the years and had offered amazing opportunities to the students.

ACF detachments are thriving in Bridport and Beaminster, but an officer at the Weymouth headquarters of the Dorset Army Cadet Force said no approach had yet been made about the possibility of forming an ACF detachment in Lyme.

LymeOnline understands that the CCF guns at the school have been collected by the Army.

It is hoped that members of the CCF will attend the event in their uniforms and there are also plans for them to march in the carnival procession on August 11.

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