CCF alternative

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

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CCF alternative

Post by LongGone »

Sometime in the 50s you could opt out of the CCF and do odd jobs around the grounds. Do any members have additional information about this?
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by Jabod2 »

In my era (60s-70s) it was 'something - (social?) services (aka sh1t shovellers). Clearing/re-digging Rip Kirby's pond was one task I recall - I think that was a short period between Scouts and RAF CCF for me.
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by loringa »

The Estates Group (Sh1t Shovellers) was certainly still going in the mid-1970s. It was looked down upon those of us doing more-conventional Friday afternoon activities such as Scouts, DofE and CCF whilst they mocked us for being so conventional. It was a classic case of 'They laugh at me for being different; I laugh at them for being all the same'.

It's not a bad point though; the Sh1t Shovellers messed around with piles of leaves enjoying their smokes with impunity whilst we grubbed for badges. On the other hand, I know which one would have been / was the more useful when I applied to join the Royal Navy.

There was also, if I recall correctly, another group known as the 'granny bashers' who helped with social care provision in Horsham, attracting rather a different group of people.
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by Great Plum »

In the 90s you had a choice of CCF, scouts, DofE and Community Service
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by jhopgood »

In my era it was called PSG (Public Service Group).
Three years in CCF then a choice of CCF or PSG.
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by Mid A 15 »

We had the Police Cadets as an option during my time. We drove a panda car round the mile, went out on patrol with a constable on a Sunday, visited the control tower at Gatwick and Bramshill College in Hampshire where the 'accelerated promotion' candidates studied amongst other activities.

I don't think it lasted long as an option but I believe AKAP, sometime of this Parish / Forum, joined the police having been a cadet at CH.

If I've got that wrong and he still lurks here from time to time I am sure he will correct me!
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by Phil »

In the 1950s, it was possible to avoid the CCF, but very, very few did this. The procedure was to apply with a declaration that one was a pacifist. Then there was an interview with the HM (Flecker and then Seaman) and that was that. Then there were perhaps 2 or 3 such ‘pacifists’ at CH. I only remember one, a Richards I believe. Such pacifism seemed to be accepted as a mild eccentricity and there was no particular notice taken of the pacifists. They certainly had no compulsory alternative occupations on Friday afternoons. The scouts existed too. Their afternoon was Tuesday, otherwise a day with no compulsory sporting activity. So scouts were in the CCF. (I was in both.) There was certainly no public service activity at that time, apart from the infrequent, ‘toffee paper’ collections of bored juniors supervised by an even more bored monitor for a quarter of an hour or so.
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by brian walling »

I can offer some memories of this, being one of the earliest people to take advantage of it. Some of this has already been covered by the other posters, but here's my detailed recollection.

I believe that the option to serve in the Public Service Group (PSG), as it was called, came into being at the start of the school year 1959-1960, not earlier. I was one of its first year members.

The PSG was managed by TP (Tim) Law, a master who had arrived at the School in 1956 or 1957, was Junior Housemaster in Th A and taught History and English (I believe). I vaguely remember that he had served in the Royal Engineers, which had helped to equip him with an interesting range of construction and maintenance skills.

In its first year, the PSG had something like 20-30 members. I left CH during its second year, so I don't know how it progressed. I believe that once the PSG was launched, CCF members could opt out of the CCF and transfer in to the PSG by simple request. Whether there was threshold of age or number of years service in the CCF before you could opt out, I don't know. PSG activities took place on the same days/times that were given over to CCF activity.

As I see it, the PSG came into being as a result of two pressures. The first pressure was from boys and parents who were philosophically opposed to the idea of compulsory military training. Up to that point there was little that parents or boys could do to sidestep the requirement for membership in the CCF, except by badgering the School authorities on the grounds of being "conscientious objectors" or pacifists. One boy in my house did finally succeed by this route. As I found out only after leaving CH, he had suffered the death of his father in the RAF during the War and remained very angry about it. Wartime experiences in fact seemed to be the driver behind much of the parental opposition to enforced CCF membership.

The second pressure (and the one that drove me) was the apparent pointlessness (and time wasting) of what took place during CCF activity times. Much of this was simply rehearsing how to fight yesterday's wars with yesterday's methods and equipment, poorly taught and without any enthusiasm. Of course, for those boys who wanted to head towards a military career after CH (and there were a number who did so very successfully), the CCF probably did represent a quite useful first stepping stone. For the rest of us, however, it was sheer boredom and time ill-spent. I moved, when I could, to the RAF section. That was a little better, but I nevertheless jumped at the opportunity, when it came, to leave the CCF and do something more obviously practical and useful. Two other people in my house made the move to the PSG at the same time as me. Our "conscientious objector" also joined the PSG, making four from our house. I believe that we had the more PSG members than most other houses.

I believe that Tim Law made an arrangement with the School estate and maintenance people for the PSG to be given some of the minor maintenance jobs around the school that were at the bottom of the in-tray and that were feasible projects for the PSG to execute, under Tim's guidance and instruction. I remember a couple of the projects that I worked on those afternoons when most other people were on CCF activity. One was the repainting of the old wooden bus shelter opposite the School Post Office; the other was the construction and laying of some concrete kerbstones along part of the road from The Avenue opposite Maine/Barnes up to The Quarter Mile. I learned some interesting painting and concrete-making techniques from Tim in the process.

I do not believe that the existence and work of the PSG was widely known about in my time. The School hierarchy, I believe, did not want to encourage a wholesale flight out of the CCF into the PSG, and kept it low-profile.
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by sejintenej »

Looking at Matt's and Brian's posts my memories (1954 - 1961) were that the CCF was compulsory unless your parents were pacifists though I never heard of of the PSG.
Scouts was on Tuesday afternoons when we were forced out of houses to do "something different". Membership allowed us the key so we could study in the Scout Hut and brew up a coffee or whatever at other times. D of E Award and Queens Scout were both a part of the Scouts - not separate ; Peter Hildrew and I were the first to gain both awards despite later erroneous claims in The Blue.
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by Katharine »

sejintenej wrote: Tue May 12, 2020 1:13 pm D of E Award and Queens Scout were both a part of the Scouts - not separate ; Peter Hildrew and I were the first to gain both awards despite later erroneous claims in The Blue.
I firmly believe that I was the only girl at Hertford to achieve the equivalent double. I don’t think it got a mention in the Old Girls magazine! Each may have done individually, I can’t remember. No teacher would take on running the Guides, when I was first there we had two separate Companies, so needed two leaders. By the time I left there was only one and I don’t think that lasted long.

It was a good way to get out of school into Hertford for various events, I’m surprised more didn’t take up Guides!

When I was at Oxford, I was taken to the home of a male friend, never a real boyfriend, and to my amazement his Mum had examined me for my Queen’s Guide! We did recognise each other!
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by Foureyes »

I believe that the true progenitor of the PSG was John Twitchin (MaA 1952-60). John's father had been killed while serving in the RAF during the war and John became one of the four first four to be admitted to C.H. under Sir Barnes Wallis's RAF Foundation in 1951. John told me that he objected strongly to compulsory memberships of the CCF and was invited to state his case to the then Head Master, HLO Flecker. John told me that the discussion went much better than he had expected and resulted in setting up the PSG referred to above.

I should add that although John and I were at C.H. at much the same time (I was Lamb B 1948-55) our paths never crossed - or if they did I cannot remember! However, when I organised the RAF Foundationers Trust Reunion in 2003 he was a stalwart helper and he told me about founding the PSG at that time.

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Re: CCF alternative

Post by RobinKinloch »

By the mid-1950s It was apparent to me from talking to leavers who were doing National Service, that the CCF did not provide useful training, for the reasons indicated here by Brian Walling. After expressing my discontent - not pacifism - I was moved to the Signals section about 1954, and later charged with "using my rifle as a walking stick" on the annual parade day, about 1955. Arthur Rider then decided my dismissal from the CCF - gratefully received. This was before the PSG, evidently.
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by scrub »

Great Plum wrote: Tue May 12, 2020 8:27 amIn the 90s you had a choice of CCF, scouts, DofE and Community Service
That was it, although I don't remember too many people choosing com service. If I remember right, if you were in scouts, you automatically did DoE as part of that.

I remember doing a lot of gardening as part of my DoE. A mate and I spent a bunch of time with one of the gardeners who, in my minds eye, was a scrawny version of David Bellamy and completely bonkers. I don't remember a lot about my time at CH, but some of the conversations with him have definitely stuck :lol:

I also remember only passing my DoE Silver. Don't know what happened to the Bronze and we failed the Gold hike when we were spotted hitching a lift and getting dropped off (complete coincidence) at the same pub that the teachers were at.
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Re: CCF alternative

Post by rockfreak »

John Twitchen was popularly know as Dai Twitchen and was instrumental in forming a pretty good trad jazz band (with him on piano) who brought Big School to thunderous applause with their version of Tiger Rag. One day when the Chain was indisposed he was asked to take our class of 15-year-olds for Divinity (or Div as it was popularly known) and instead of dwelling on theological discussions about transubstantiation he gave us a convincing polemic as to why we should abolish nuclear weapons.
As to the PSG, all I remember is being on parade in the Quadrangle, booted, blancoed and brassoed up and being shouted at to shoulder arms by sergeant Major Cooke, when one of the PSG rode casually across the Quad on a bike, dressed like a scarecrow and carrying several long planks of wood under his arm. I think you would have called it a statement.
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