JRGS Army Cadet Force
JRGS Alumni Society

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JRGS Army Cadet Force

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In August 2007, Martin Preuveneers (JRGS 1958-65) visited the Croydon Archives to look for images from his time at the school, two of which are reproduced here. Click on each thumbnail to view a larger version. Can The Alumni help out with more names?

JRGS Army Cadet Force JRGS Army Cadet Force

JRGS Army Cadet Force - Officers and
newly promoted NCOs from September 1964

Top row (left-to-right): Ken Short; Cpl. Russell Ead; Cpl. Ian Macdonald; Cpl. Graham Priest; Cpl. Martin Preuveneers; UNKNOWN.
Bottom row (left-to-right): Bottom row (left-to-right): Cpl. M. Dennis Wrigglesworth; Sgt. George Strelczuk; Company Sgt. Major (CSM) John Whittington; Captain Kenneth Maggs; Lieutenant John Ratcliffe; Cpl. Colin Rickard; Cpl. Richard Peachey.

JRGS Army Cadet Force - New intake of recruits
(mainly third formers) in September 1964

Top row (left-to-right): UNKNOWN; UNKNOWN; Cadet Nick Williams; UNKNOWN; UNKNOWN; Cadet Ian Loosely; Cadet Alex Harvey; UNKNOWN; UNKNOWN; UNKNOWN.

Bottom row (left-to-right): Cadet Phil Townson; Cadet Alywn Pawlse; Cadet John Simmonds-Fishenden; Cadet Richard Peachey; Cpl. Martin Preuveneers; Cpl. Ian Macdonald; Cadet Pragnell; UNKNOWN; UNKNOWN; Cadet Chris Terry.

John Whittington (JRGS 1963-65) adds: In the left-hand image, I recognise myself - Company Sgt. Major (CSM) Whittington - with the red sash to the right of Capt. Ken Maggs. The picture was taken at the start of the 1964/65 academic year, as in my first year at Ruskin I was a Platoon Sgt.
   Most of the faces and names in the left-hand image are familiar to me; the right-hand image, I recognise many faces, but the names - maybe the little grey cells will recover some in the light of this reminder of those days nearly 43 years ago!

Doug Ford (JRGS 1966-72) adds: I was in the Army Cadet Force (ACF) Signals Section; lots of gadgets to mess around with, plus the chance to go on exercises with the Territorial Army. (I'm mentioned on the last page of the 1972 Speech Day program, winning the ACF Clark Proficiency Trophy.)
   Regarding the ACF unit's structure, John Ruskin Company was a part of the Queens Regiment, formerly the Queen’s Royal Surrey’s. The CO was Ken Maggs with John Ratcliffe as the 2IC. Below them a Warrant Officer or Company Sergeant Major. There were two or three platoons, each under the control of a sergeant.
Other schools in the area were affiliated to other army regiments; Fairchild's school in New Adddington was Parachute Regiment, and Selhurst was (I think) Royal Yeomanry.
   Going up the food chain, South East London was known as 14 Group and Ruskin was 143 detachment, (I think Fairchild's was 145.)
   Within the Ruskin Company there was a signals section which, naturally, I gravitated to and had a lot of fun with. Mike Buckley, a former Royal Corps of Signals officer (and the CO at Fairchild's) ran that operation of behalf of the group and had a treasure trove of gear, originally at the TA [Territorial Army] building in East Croydon and later at Mitcham Road barracks. He used to rent us out to provide comms for the local RCT TA group and that’s how I came to sport a "Harry Potter" scar when I bounced out the back of a Land Rover on Salisbury Plain. I probably only weighted about 120 pounds at the time!
   As well as the usual Easter and Summer camps we used to go on special courses; I went to one at the School of Signals in Catterick and later at Blandford. One of those things I’ve always meant to do was visit the Royal Signals museum down there. We ran a national short wave network and there was scandal one year when two schools realized they were sitting O-Level exams from the same board on different days. I believe the questions from the papers were relayed over the airwaves. Oh the UK forces had a frequency allocation in Band 1(?) TV so it was very easy to tune up a VHF set and blot out the neighborhood TVs.)

Grant Harrison (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I believe there were three platoons in "J" Company, each commanded by a sergeant, at least in 1962 when I joined together with Roger Hall, Russell Ead, Jeff Farmer and Martin Preuveneers. There may have been two companies by 1966 when Roger and I left; we were probably the last of the original 3M intake left. We kept trying to leave but every time we went to Ken Maggs to resign he promoted us! And we fell for it too!
   I can't remember how many corporals there were but certainly more than one for each platoon, plus numerous lance corporals.
   I remember we had this regular sergeant, Bert Miles, come to train us now and then. He was quite terrifying. He'd served in Cyprus fighting the EOKA and would tell us tales like when the troops went to the cinema, the chap sitting on the end would watch the film with a rifle pointed at the door in case someone appeared with the intent of throwing in a hand grenade!
   In the right-hand picture, is that Ian Macdonald to the right of Martin Preuveneers?

Michael Howard (JRGS 1963-70) adds: The "Ruskin 100" were so called because they numbered 100 - a company strength. The Company was commanded by Capt Maggs - "'Ken" - and Lt. Ratcliffe - "Johnny" as he was known - was 2IC. All other ranks were cadets, including the CSM.
   The company was organised into three platoons - dropping to two from about 1968 when numbers coming forward dropped. Each platoon was commanded by a sergeant and had three sections each commanded by a corporal with a lance corporal as 2IC. In addition, there was often a corporal or sergeant acting as signals-section commander, and again another NCO as armourer. Lastly, there was sometimes a Colour Sergeant, who acted as supernumerary. Lastly lastly - honest this time! - there was sometimes an Under Officer; the last I recall was Under-Officer Benn, who had been CSM and did an extra year at school for some reason.
   In my time we were successively:

J Coy 1 (C) Bn The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment

J Coy 1 (C) Bn The Queen's Regiment

143 Det 14 Group SW London ACF - of course, we still called ourselves "J Coy."

Michael Howard (JRGS 1963-70) adds: If memory serves me right, there was one ACF company that split into two or three platoons with a sergeant in command of each. The platoon, in turn, was were split again into sections with a corporal in charge of each section.
   Overall of the platoons was a staff sergeant. In the one case of Alex Harvey, he was promoted to under-officer, but I am not sure if he had left Ruskin by then and joined the Sydenham Road platoon.

Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-65) adds: Regretfully I don't remember any more names, nor can I add any more to the organisation details, other than each platoon was divided into three sections, with each section having a corporal and a 2IC of a lance corporal.
   A Memory - It was my first summer cadet camp at Okehampton in what I guess was an old Second World War camp comprising of a lot of Nissan huts. The electrics failed in our hut. Capt. Maggs and another officer were peering at the fuse box. As you will see from the photo, Ken had lost his right arm - he was injured by a shell in WWII, being in the units that were desperately trying to reach the paras trapped at Arnhem.
   "Put your hook in it and see if you get a spark," suggested the other officer.
   I don't recall that Ken took him up on his suggestion!
   The cadets were great fun, ever so similar to the Dad's Army TV series.


Our thanks also to Derek Benson (JRGS 1962-67), John Bridgen (JRGS 1959-64), Geoffrey van Beek/Downer (JRGS 1962-69), Keith Looseley (JRGS 1958-65), Paul Johnson (JRGS 1966-73), Graham Dewey (JRGS 1962-67), John Cobley (JRGS 1958-65), Martin Beckett (JRGS 1961-68), Norman Day (JRGS 1969-66), Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) and Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) for help in identifying former school friends in these two images.

Martin also unearthed two important documents:
Report by H. M. Inspectors for 1949 and Report by H. M. Inspectors for 1963

Viewing the Croydon Archives

The Archives can be viewed by anybody who has an interest in the school. However, since all documents have to be retrieved from storage, please give at least one week's notice of any intended visit. Contact archivist via email.
   To help people decide what they might like to look at, Chris has created a more detailed list in PDF format of exactly what is available. If you are planning a personal visits to view the material, this document also provides full details of how to contact Chris, as well as Archive opening hours.

 Other references to the Local Studies Library and the Croydon Archives can be found here:

Unless stated otherwise, all images on this page are Copyright Croydon Council.
Reproduced by permission of Croydon Local Studies Library and Archives Service.

In November 2018, Duncan Smith (JRGS 1957-63) located a number of photographs, newspaper clippings and letters from his era at the school and mainly about the Army Cadet Force. "At that time," he wrote, "I did a bit of shooting, along with Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65); he was a year below me at school."
   We have divided these into scanned images, cuttings and various correspondence. Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version

Photographs from ACF shoots at Bisley and Folkestone during Sixties

Bisley - Surrey ACF Championships
5 May 1960

Bisley - Nationals Practice
23 Oct 1960

Bisley - Nationals Practice
Duncan Smith's mother and father
and (right) John "Pop" Martin
23 Oct 1960

Bisley - Nationals Practice
23 Oct 1960

Bisley - Nationals Practice
Duncan Smith's mother and
Tom Shaw | 23 Oct 1960

Bisley - Nationals Practice
Captain Les Bishop (right), and
Duncan Smith's father
23 Oct 1960

Bisley - Nationals Practice
L-to-R: Tom Shaw, Dave Martin,
Horace Hills, Ray Humphries
23 Oct 1960

Bisley - Nationals Practice
L-to-R: Dave Martin, Les Bishop
Roy Shaw & Duncan Smith's father
23 Oct 1960

Bisley - Nationals Practice
Duncan Smith | 2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
Sgt. Dave Martin accepting
Inter-cadet Force medal
2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
Tom Shaw accepting
Inter-Cadet Force medal
2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
Cdt. Duncan Smith accepting
Inter-Cadet Force medal
2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
Cdt. Duncan Smith accepting
Inter-Cadet Force medal
2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
Field Marshal Lord Wilson presenting
Cdt. Duncan Smith with Inter-Cadet
Force medal | 2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
 Cdt. Duncan Smith accepting Rifle
Brigade Trophy, Best Army Cadet
shot, from Field Marshal Lord Wilson
2 0ct 1060

Bisley National Championships
Cdt. Duncan Smith with Rifle Brigade
Trophy for Best Army Cadet shot
2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
Ruskin Team (from left) Sgts. Tom
Shaw and Dave Martin holding
Canada Trophy, with Cdt. Duncan
Smith holding Rifle Brigade Trophy
for the Best Army Cadet shot
2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
After the presentations, with Colonels
Goad and Power, and (L-to-R) Sgt.
Tom Shaw, CSM Roy Burton. LCpl.
Dave Money and Sgt. Dave Martin
2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
L-to-R: Duncan Smith's mother,
Cdt. Duncan Smith, his brother
Malcolm, Sgts. J. Oliver & Tom Shaw
2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
Colonel Power presenting award to
Duncan Smith. L-to-R: Cpl P Wye,
Sgts. Tom Shaw and A Hawkett
2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
L-to-R: Cpl. P Wye, Sgt. Dave
Martin, Cdt. Duncan Smith, Sgts.
A. Hawkett and Tom Shaw
2 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
L-to-R: Sgts. Tom Shaw and Dave
Martin with Cdt. Duncan Smith
2 Oct 1960

Bisley - Surrey ACF Championship
Cdt. Duncan Smith | 7 May 1961

Bisley - Surrey ACF Championships
A team collects yet another trophy!
L-to-R: Cdt. Duncan Smith, Sgts. Ray
 Humphries, Dave Martin and
Tom Shaw | 7 May 1961

Bisley - Surrey ACF Championships
A Team with another trophy!
L-to-R: Cdt. Duncan Smith, Sgts.
Ray Humphries, Dave Martin and
Tom Shaw | 7 May 1961

Bisley - Surrey ACF Championships
Cdt. Duncan Smith receiving
Champion at Arms Shield
for best shot | 7 May 1961

Bisley - Surrey ACF Championships

L-to-R: Sgt. Dave Martin, Cdt.
Duncan Smith and Sgt. Tom Shaw,
with their shooting trophies
7 May 1961

Presentation to Cdt. Duncan Smith
of Old Contemptibles Cup for best
overall shot in competition, with
runner-up Sgt. Dave Martin
to his right | 7 May 1962

Cdt. Duncan Smith's shooting
trophies won between October
1960 and September 1961

Practice shoot | 1961

ACF A Team at Folkestone shoot
L-to-R: Muckleston, A. Carnell,
Duncan Smith and Tom Shaw
1962

Folkestone shoot
L-to-R: Muckleston, Duncan Smith,
Ray O'Leary, unknown, unknown
and Richard Elford | 1962

Folkestone shoot | 1962

Folkestone shoot Prize-giving
L-to-R: LCpl. Duncan Smith
and Sgt. Tom Shaw | 1962

Bisley - Surrey County Cadet Meeting
CSM Duncan Smith. winning
Trophies | 2 May 1964

Bisley - Surrey County Cadet Meeting
Back row: Sgts. D. Smith, Ian
Macdonald & G. Strelczuk, with Major
Ron Nebel, John Martin (coach),
Col. Goad, Cdt. Nick Williams, Cdt. Chris Hunneyball & Capt. Hunneyball.
Middle row: unknown, unknown, Cdt.
Fishenden (JRGS) and unknown.
Front row: unknown, Cdt. Baker (JRGS), Cdt. Willis (Shirley Sec) and unknown
2 May 1964

Prize-giving at John Ruskin 1963
L-to-R: B. Lee, P. Thomas, N. Hunt,
A. Booker, Duncan Smith

CSM Duncan Smith on Signals Course
with Honourable Artillery Company

L-to-R: Cdt. Duncan Smith, plus Sgts.
Dave Martin and Tom Shaw with their
trophies for shooting

Newspaper cuttings about successful ACF shoots at Bisley during Sixties

18 May 1962

Bisley - National Championships
Tom, Dave and Me| 2. Oct 1960

Bisley - National Championships
Times and County Mail | 14 Oct 1960

Bisley - National Championships
Times and County Mail | 14 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
14 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
Times newspaper | 3 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
 Telegraph & Morning Post | 3 Oct 1960

Bisley National Championships
Results | 2 Oct 1960

Presentation of Old
Contemptibles Cup | 7 May 1962

Presentation of Old
Contemptibles Cup | 7 Apr 1962

Bisley - Surrey County Cadet
Meeting results
The Telegraph | 5 May 1962.

Bisley - Surrey County Cadet
Meeting results
The Times | 2May 1964

Bisley - Surrey County Cadet Meeting
2 May 1964

Nationals Results - 1965

 Nationals Results - 1965
Times Herald

Nationals Results - 1965

Nationals Results - 1965

7 May 1962

12 May 1961

12 May 1961

Surrey ACF Championship
results in Daily Telegraph article
8 May 1961

Surrey ACF Championship
results in The Times article
7 May 1961

Bisley - Surrey County Cadet
Meeting report in Daily Telegraph
2 May 1964

Bisley - Surrey County Cadet
Meeting report in Times Herald
2 May 1964

Letters and other correspondence about ACF shoots at Bisley during Sixties

Response from The War Office HQ
regarding Nationals results 1960
12 Oct 1960

Letter to confirm Cdt.. Duncan
Smith's medal for small-bore shooting medal | 9 Nov 1961

General Foster letter
regarding Bisley - Surrey County Cadet Meeting| 2 May 1964

 

1960 National full-bore rifle shooting championships at Bisley.
Cadet 100 results

1961 National full-bore rifle shooting championships at Bisley.
Cadet 100 results

1963. National full-bore rifle shooting championships at Bisley.
Cadet 100 results

1963 National full-bore rifle shooting championships at Bisley
Cadet 100 results

1963 (continued) National full-bore rifle shooting championships at Bisley. Cadet 100 results

"I hope The Alumni enjoy looking at these images, cuttings and letters," Duncan concluded, "and can maybe put names to those I couldn't remember. Happy days! I did buy a new rifle from Fulton's gun shop at Bisley, and had it sent over to New Zealand when I immigrated here in 1989. I did use it a bit but, as I'd bought a farm way out in the wop wops - a New Zealand expression for an out-of-the way place or backcountry - it was such a long way to the rifle range from there that I hardly got a chance to use it."

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