An Historical Perspective
The earliest mention of a Rifle Corps appears in The Marlborough Magazine of March 1860. The first officers were all pupils and were nearly twenty years of age when they left the school.
The uniform was a light grey dress which earned them the name of ‘The Millers’. By 1881 there were over three hundred boys in uniform, a figure which has been more or less maintained to the present day.
A cyclist section was formed in 1891, later to be merged into the Signals, and a marching band attended all camps and parades. In 1908 the Officer Training Corps was founded (OTC) and in 1948 this became the Combined Cadet Force or CCF.
The Foot Guards Beret
The Contingent has the great distinction of wearing the Foot Guards Beret and flash, in accordance with Regular Foot Guards Regiments. The Contingent is one of only six CCFs to enjoy an affiliation with the Household Division and the Honourable Artillery Company.
The Signals section was formed in 1885 and practised with flags, lamps and field telephones until the early 1930s. The wireless society was formed in 1934 and transmitting licences granted by the GPO, one static, one mobile.
Under the inspirational guidance of an officer, AR Pepin, five metre wavelength man-pack radios were built, the first in the British Army, which brought about an immediate response and lavish support from the Army Signals. As a result, Pepin was awarded the MBE and the Marlborough troop to this day has the right to ‘Royal’ status and cap-badge.
By 1940 there were twenty-eight ex-signallers in the Royal Corps of Signals or RAF Signals. The secret wireless station operated in Stalag Luft 3 was run by an ex-Marlborough College signaller and he used the original Marlborough College OTC call sign of “ÄOX”.