Recently the Year 10 Navy recruits participated in their first CCF Field Day. The gale-force winds and driving rain of Storm Alex had unfortunately scuppered the plans of a water sports day off the school site at Queen Mary reservoir and learning of this on Thursday afternoon set in motion a rapid change to the itinerary which would involve a day at Habs. The ability to adapt under challenging conditions was very apparent in LT Chapman’s speedy reaction to the news.
And so the boys arrived in school on Friday morning in high spirits and clad in waterproof clothing, very similar to that which they would have worn on the water. The first activity of the day took place in the bushcraft area and involved making a fire. After a few unsuccessful attempts to light it, a roaring inferno started to blaze (in a controlled manner) and, ably assisted by Mr Whalley, the boys discussed fire triangles. Despite the very wet weather, spirits were certainly not dampened and revision of the NATO phonetic alphabet followed, with boys spelling each other’s names using this language. It was extremely pleasing to see the camaraderie that this engendered.
Resident alchemist Mr Whalley then brought forth his box of magic and wowed the cadets by turning the flames into various colours. Photos and videos attached sadly do not do this justice but it was highly entertaining. Hot chocolate was imbibed and s’mores were eaten with understandable enthusiasm. A little bit of British weather was certainly not going to ruin the day.
The pupils then moved inside, and it would not have been a RN Field Day without some a proper naval activity. This took the form of Sea Shanty singing. A rousing rendition of Drunken Sailor warmed up the voices and it was a delight to see boys courageously stepping forward to heartily belt out individual verses. Every single one of our Year 10s sang and thoroughly immersed themselves in an age-old tradition. They were also taught Heart of Oak and Spanish Ladies and these were performed with similar vigour. Mr Whalley reported that he was rather moved by the latter.
While this day was far removed from what had been planned, the boys threw themselves into the activities with the spirit and courage that we have come to expect from our terrific Royal Navy section. It is worth pointing out that every single boy was present too. The School would like to thank Mr Whalley, Slt Redfern and LT Chapman for their support, guidance and tirelessness which enabled this day to be a success.