Cadets Beat Retreat On Chilly Esplanade

alistair aitken
     By Alistair Aitken OBE

A cold, windy and damp evening on Edinburgh Castle Esplanade was the venue for the annual Ceremony of Beating Retreat organised by the Army Cadet Force Association (Scotland) and the Cadet Organisations.  On this occasion the Ceremony commenced with a musical and marching performance by The Massed Military Bands of The Sea Cadet Corps, The Army Cadet Force, The Air Training Corps and The Boy’s Brigade under the direction of SMI Robert Cowan.

Imported Photos 00086The Massed Military Bands

Beating Retreat was then performed by The Massed Pipes and Drums of The Army Cadet Force, The Combined Cadet Force and The Air Training Corps under the direction of Major Ross Munro.  At the end of the proceedings the General Salute was taken by Mr Ken Cunningham CBE BEd MEd FRSA, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland.

Imported Photos 00102The Massed Pipes and Drums

Once again the event demonstrated high quality musical performances along with precision marching and deportment, illustrating the wealth of musical talent, discipline and team-working skills being developed through the Cadet movement.  A great deal of teaching and mentoring is necessary to achieve these high standards, and the evening (April 26) illustrated very clearly the leading role the Cadet movement plays in developing the potential of young people. The picture at the top of the article features Cadet Pipe Major Isla Stout leading the parade

ACF LogoThe performances involved in the region of 150 youngsters in total.  These national youth organisations provide challenging military, adventurous and community activities aimed at inspiring those between the ages of 12-18 from all backgrounds to achieve success in life and to develop good citizenship.  The detachments of Cadets throughout the country are major contributors to the development of young people.  A broad range of activities are offered aimed at developing self-confidence, teamwork and a sense of responsibility.  The activities also offer access to credible qualifications such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; St John’s Ambulance First Aid qualifications; SQA qualifications in Leadership; SQA/Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board awards in Piping and Pipe Band Drumming; and BTEC Diplomas in Teamwork and Personal Development, Music and Engineering.  Throughout Scotland there are over 10,000 cadets.

The Tri-Service Cadet Force Pipes and Drums Centre based at Redford Cavalry Barracks, Edinburgh, is an approved SQA Centre offering the Piping and Pipe Band Drumming qualifications in conjunction with the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB).  Piping and Pipe Band Drumming tuition is provided mainly at weekends at various local venues throughout the country.  An 8-day annual residential Piping and Pipe Band Drumming course is provided in Inverness offering instruction from novice to advanced level.  157 cadets attended the course this year and a further 70 are due attend the beginner’s course in August 2015.  Throughout the year there are also local Piping and Drumming events, an advanced course and competition.  A total of 362 PDQB qualifications were delivered successfully in 2014/15.

Cadets in the Military Bands also come together for musical instruction annually in April each year, for a summer camp and for weekend training.  This year 93 Cadets also attended an eight-day event of this nature near Carnoustie. The Cadet Units on parade were:

Army Cadets – Lothian and Borders, Glasgow and Lanarkshire, West Lowland, The Black Watch, Angus and Dundee, 1st Battalion The Highlanders, 2nd Battalion The Highlanders, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Northumbria, 1st Northern Ireland, 2nd Northern Ireland, Campbell College (Belfast) CCF, Northumberland Church of England Academy CCF.

Air Cadets –  Scotland and Northern Ireland Region, North Region London and South East Region, South West Region

Sea Cadets –  Northern Area Sea Cadets

The Boy’s Brigade –  25th Stirling (Dunblane) Company, 1st Tulliallan Company