Marlborough College is a foundation member of the Cadet Movement. The Contingent is now an Army-only organisation with an establishment of 300 cadets and nine officers. There is a full-time School Staff Instructor and a full time assistant SSI.
The CCF welcomes all cadets, male and female, and seeks to develop their skills of leadership, teamwork and self-confidence. The Contingent does not seek to recruit, but hopes to foster interest and respect for the Armed Forces.
The unit occupies large buildings overlooking the Parade Ground and has a modern, indoor six lane 25 metre range. The College grounds and river are used every week for ‘green’ training, the more formal aspects of drill being saved for occasions such as Remembrance Sunday.
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 Green Beret
The Contingent has the great distinction of wearing the Household Division Beret and flash. Originally, as a Rifle Corps the grey uniforms had green trimmings including a green stripe down the trousers, in accordance with Regular Rifle Regiments. The Contingent is one of only six CCFs to enjoy an affiliation with the Honourable Artillery Company and the Household Division.
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”.