The modern Combined Cadet Force was formed in 1948 to provide military training units in schools and universities. A large number of boys’ and co-ed schools run a CCF for boys and girls, but only a handful of girls’ schools. Often there is only one section (Army, Navy, RAF or Royal Marines), sometimes two or even three. In a few schools it may be compulsory for a period. Many CCFs have a band (drums, brass; bagpipes in Scotland). Membership appeals to those who enjoy teamwork and team spirit, discipline and self-discipline, physical and mental challenge and an element of adventure accompanied by some hazard. Even those who don’t fit this description have been known to blossom when they have tried it.

Basic training may include foot drill, shooting (rifles), map-reading, assault courses, survival techniques. If there is an RAF section, you may even get a flight. Most CCFs have an annual camp that is based on some form of military installation and manoeuvres (sometimes with other schools). There is usually an annual inspection by somebody suitably distinguished in the services.