Soham Grammarians - Civil Defence Corps


from the Soham Grammarian, Spring 1964

Since the formation of the unit in September of last year, we have progressed steadily under the watchful guidance of our instructors, Messrs Gray, Waghorne, Roberts and Mathews, and their "liaison officer", Mr Sherrington.

The somewhat delayed visit to the Shelford HQ was enjoyed by everyone even if only for the much publicised cup of tea and sandwiches! Many interesting episodes, such as the Gas-chamber test and stretcher drill, have also proved to be quite amusing, and there was any amount of speculation on what was going to happen when the stretcher Lemmon was lashed in was turned upside-down (fortunately he stayed in it).

Many people associate Civil Defence with atomic war, or conventional war, and this is a major part of our work, but we are also trained to meet "natural" emergencies, and it is hoped that the members of the unit who do not continue in CD after school will not forget that they have been trained to deal with many situations, and one in particular that we all hope will never arise.



from the Soham Grammarian, Summer 1964

The course of instruction which, under Mr. Gray's capable supervision, has occupied as this year is about to culminate in an examination. He has taught us so well - or perhaps the exam is so easy - that, although he has threatened to shoot any failures, the sale of bullet-proof vests has not risen noticeably. We can now tie various species of knot - used for lashing members of the corps to immovable objects - and fashion bandages (i.e. gags) at will; not to mention extinguishing fires (i.e. comrades) with stirrup-pumps.

On a serious plane, the effects of nuclear explosions and the precautions taken to minimise their toll have been explained in detail - a course well calculated to disillusion the most ardent military theoretician. After the exam, the entire corps has been invited to the County Headquarters to savour the traditional beverage - and, it is rumoured to carry out an exercise. There are rumours of many new recruits next year so all the best to a much maligned organisation and "caveat milites".



from the Soham Grammarian, Summer 1965

Twenty four boys were enrolled in the CD Corps at the beginning of the session and they have attended the weekly course of lectures in Preliminary Training under the guidance of a qualified lecturer from CD headquarters.

Some of the boys have already taken part in Civil Defence exercises at Soham, Burwell and Cambridge, and have shown considerable enthusiasm in accomplishing the duties allotted to them.

In addition to the course of Preliminary Training just referred to, a special course has been run to fit certain boys for the Rescue Section of Civil Defence, and yet another for those interested in "Communications" in the event of an emergency, though the latter course has been somewhat curtailed, due, on occasions, to the non-availability of a qualified lecturer.

It is hoped that, after leaving school, many boys will continue to serve the community in this worthy manner, and be prepared, if an emergency should arise, to put the knowledge they have gained to the fullest use.

NS [Mr Norman Sherrington]


from the Soham Grammarian, Summer 1966

There have been three courses in Civil Defence this year. Twenty three new boys were enrolled in the Corps at the beginning of the year and have been receiving weekly instruction in the duties of a Warden, light rescue, and first aid. At the end of this term, they took the Standard Test, which we hope they have all passed.

A group of wardens who had passed their Standard Test the previous year have been receiving instruction in preparation for the Advanced Test. Some of these are leaving this year, but we hope that some may continue with their training.

The third group have had specialist training in rescue and now form a highly efficient rescue team.

Many boys have taken part in activities outside school - exercises, and classes at the County Headquarters in Shelford. It is hoped that many boys will continue to serve their country in this manner after leaving school and will thus be prepared, should the need arise, to put their newly-gained knowledge to practical use.



from the Soham Grammarian, Summer 1967

With the pruning of Civil Defence commitments, it has been found necessary, after four years, to bring to a close the work of the C.D. Corps in the School.

During this time many boys have passed through the hands of the instructors who have come along regularly on Friday afternoons. Much useful work has been accomplished and a number of boys have left school with a basic knowledge of First Aid, Rescue Work and the duties expected of a C.D. worker in the event of a Nuclear attack upon their homeland.

Our grateful thanks are due to those people at C.D. Headquarters who provided such an interesting course of work for the boys to tackle, and we shall miss their services very much.


If you have any anecdotes or photos about the CD Corps at SGS, please contact the editor

page last updated 1 Nov 2007