The CCF is a youth organisation supported by the Ministry of Defence. The Combined Cadet Force of the United Kingdom is made up of over 250 school Contingents, the vast majority of which are from independent schools. The CCF at Monmouth combines two Services – Army and RAF.


The aim of the CCF is to provide a disciplined organisation through which boys and girls may develop qualities of endurance, resourcefulness, self-reliance, leadership, responsibility and a sense of public service. The Service (military) training that we do is used as a framework through which the above aims can be realised. I must point out at this stage that we do a considerable amount of “non-military” training, such as command tasks, leaderless tasks, adventurous training and sports competitions.

Joining the CCF

Membership of the CCF at Monmouth School for Boys is optional. Boys can join the CCF at the start of the Year 10 and can chose to join either the Army or RAF section. Members of staff from the school are commissioned officers and take lessons alongside instructors from the regular or territorial forces.  In the last fifteen years, membership has been extended to Sixth Formers from Monmouth School for Girls.  This innovation has proved to be very popular and successful.

Two new school trophies have been presented to the Combined Cadet Force by Mr Bob Blake.  They are to be known as the Buchanan and Townsend Trophies, and will be awarded annually to the cadets, Army and RAF, who have contributed most to Contingent life.

The Buchanan Trophy will be presented to a senior Army cadet, in memory of Captain Angus Buchanan VC, who fought in WWI.  After being awarded the Military Cross, Captain Buchanan subsequently went on to win the Victoria Cross in an operation in Mesopotamia on 5th April 1916.

Captain Buchanan won the VC for most conspicuous bravery. During an attack, an officer was lying out in the open, severely wounded. Two men went to his assistance, one of them was hit and Captain Buchanan immediately went out.  With the help of the other man he carried the wounded officer to cover under heavy machine gun fire. He returned and brought in the other wounded man, again under heavy fire.

Angus Buchanan from the Forest of Dean had been a schoolboy at Monmouth.  Noted for his athletic and academic prowess, he became Head Boy at the school.  He was blinded in the war but nevertheless went on to study at Jesus College, Oxford.  He rowed for the College and became a solicitor in Coleford.

The Townsend Trophy will be presented to a senior RAF cadet, in memory of Flight Sergeant W. C. (Bill) Townsend CGM DFM, who flew bombers in WWII.  As part of 617 Squadron Bill Townsend flew Lancaster ED-886 codenamed OJ – O for Orange in the famous dambuster raid of  May 1944. He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for his courageous actions in the raid.

Flight Sergeant Townsend Flew his bomber and crew in the third wave of the famous raid.  After the first two dams (Mohne and Eder)  were breached, O for Orange was tasked to attack the Ennepe Dam.  With no anti-aircraft firing at them, they had time to do three trial runs before they released their bomb, but it failed to damage the dam.  Forced to fly back at tree top level by enemy action, his Lancaster was the last to return.  It limped home short of one engine.

Bill Townsend was later promoted to Flight Lieutenant.  He had been a pupil at Monmouth and after the war studied at Lincoln College, Oxford.  He became a businessman and a civil servant after his studies.

A Brief History

“Labor omnia vincit – the Cadet Corps of the School is at last in full swing. It promises to be exceedingly smart and efficient, and from being rough and undisciplined it has learnt to serve and obey”. 

So started the report in the Monmothian in April 1906, two years after the “Cadet Corps” as it was then known was formed. What’s new we ask? In this the Centenary year we mark the fact that countless cadets have passed through the ranks of Monmouth School for Boys CCF and many have gone on to careers in the Armed Forces.

Two World Wars have been fought and Old Boys of the school have been awarded 32 Military Crosses, 11 Distinguished Service Orders, 8 Flying medals (DFC, AFC and DFM) and one Victoria Cross.  In 1921 Captain Angus Buchanan VC, once Head Boy at school stood at the opening ceremony for the War memorial. One hundred and forty three Old Monmothians fell in battle in the 20thCentury.

In 1904 a Cadet Corps at Monmouth Grammar School was added to the 4thVolunteer Battalion of the South Wales Borderers. In 1908 the 4thVB became the 3rdBattalion of The Monmouthshire Regiment, and in 1911 the School Cadet Corps was officially affiliated to The Monmouthshire Regiment. The early photographs show the Cadet Corps wearing the Monmouthshire Regiment cap badge. The Army section of the CCF are today the only unit still to wear the Welsh Dragon. Neither will the uniform of the day go unnoticed, reminiscent of the Boer War. Chindit style hats and long rifles.

After the First World War the uniform changed to the familiar peaked caps and khaki serge. In 1925 the Cadet Corps became the Officers’ Training Corps and in 1942 first mention is made of an Air Training Corps.  After the Second World War, in common with other school cadet contingents we became a Combined Cadet Force of Army and RAF.