Busy times at Stoke Gifford Army Cadet unit

Photo of Cadets kayaking on annual camp.

The Stoke Gifford detachment of the Bristol Army Cadet Force (ACF) has been busy over the last few months, taking part in numerous camps, sporting events and receiving numerous awards in the process, writes Sergeant Instructor Paul Clark.


In June the cadets went off to Rollestone Training Camp on Salisbury Plain to take part in their annual fieldcraft weekend camp. The Cadets received further training in their fieldcraft skills and were tested as part of the ACF Star Level syllabus. The fieldcraft part of the syllabus is probably one of the most exciting and demanding training that a Cadet has to undergo. Fieldcraft encompasses various skills including patrolling, cooking in the field, administration in the field, leadership skills and various battle scenarios. This helps teach the Cadets to be more independent and gives them confidence, especially when tasked to lead others. Other subjects covered on this weekend were skill at arms, navigation, first aid, drill and turnout.

Annual camp

Annual camp is the highlight of the year for all Cadets and adults. This year we were in Altcar, Liverpool. Annual camp is The Cadet Force’s main training and testing camp of the year as they spend 10-12 days on camp. All syllabus subjects are covered on this camp. Activities also included mountain biking, archery, orienteering, STEM kits and a day out to a local sailing centre where the Cadets took part in numerous activities including kayaking, sailing, sail boarding and raft building.

It is also a great opportunity for Cadets and adults to meet up with members of other detachments from around Bristol whom they would not normally see.
Stoke Gifford Cadets were well represented with 14 Cadets (from 18 eligible to go) attending camp – a very high turnout.

The Stoke Gifford detachment had two promotions on camp, so well done to Cadet Shannon O’Callaghan, promoted to Lance Corporal, and Lance Corporal Zachary Blatchford for his promotion to Corporal – both very well deserved. Well done also to Cadet Sergeant Gurr on her appointment as The Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet – a huge honour, as there is only one Cadet in the county awarded this role.

Photo of detachment members take part in a drill competition.

Drill competition

This year’s Inter-Company Drill Competition was held in the grounds of Clifton College as part of the Bristol ACF Annual Awards event. The Stoke Gifford detachment provided the largest number of Cadets for B Company Drill in this competition (and so we should as reigning champions) and we weren’t disappointed as our team won the competition for the second year running.


‘Stokie’ Cadets have represented the county and the South West region in numerous sporting events over the whole year, including rugby, athletics and football, with Cadets from the detachment receiving numerous awards and medals, the highlight being Cadet Lance Corporal Porter scoring the winning goal for the Junior Girls at the National Football Competition, resulting in her being picked to represent The Army Cadet Force national team on its Exercise Kenya Trip. While in Kenya she will help build a football academy for local children, take part in numerous football matches with the local community and go on safari, amongst other activities.

Poppy Appeal

This year, ‘Stokie’ Cadets will be assisting the Royal British Legion with their Poppy Appeal collections, whereby Cadets will assist in collections at Bristol Parkway Station. The Cadets will also take part in the Stoke Gifford Remembrance Parade at the North Road war memorial. This will be the first time the detachment has assisted the Royal British Legion in these events and we will now be helping annually with these events.


The period since September has been a busy one for the detachment as we have recruited ten Cadets, bringing the total number up to 28, which for this small detachment is a huge boost. This is testament to all adults and cadets of the detachment for their hard work and achievements.

If you’re interested in joining the Stoke Gifford detachment of the ACF, are in the age range 12-18yrs and in Year 8 at school, come along and give it try – we are actively recruiting all year round. Just come along on the following parade nights:

Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7pm and 9.30pm
Address: Ratcliffe Drive, Stoke Gifford, Bristol BS34 8UE
Tel: HQ 0117 986 3344 or Det Comd SSI Clark 07825 326488

Photos: 1 Kayaking during the detachment’s annual camp. 2 Inter-Company Drill Competition at Clifton College.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on pages 8 & 9). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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