His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, the first cousin of Her Majesty the Queen, carried out an historic Royal inspection of Bedford’s Combined Cadet Force at Bedford School today (15 May)
Pupils and staff from: Bedford School, Bedford Girls’ School, Bedford Modern School, St Andrew’s School, Rushmoor School and The Bedford Free School were there to take part in the ceremony, the first of its kind for over 100 years.
The last royal inspection was of both Bedford School and Bedford Modern School contingents in 1918 by the Duke’s grandfather, King George V.
Falling just after the end of the First World War, the inspection in 1918 poignantly commemorated the 470 Old Bedfordians who lost their lives in the conflict.
On arrival, the Duke was met by the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis and introduced to the headmasters and headmistress of the six schools that form the two combined CCF contingents and their contingent commanders.
Speaking after the visit, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire said, “It was wonderful to welcome HRH The Duke of Gloucester to Bedford School during his three-part visit to the county of Bedfordshire.
“The Inspection of the Cadets was very impressive and it was particularly pleasing that HRH was able to unveil a plaque in the Memorial Hall where his late Father, HRH Prince Henry KG, stood in 1926.
“It was clear that the staff and students at all the schools involved were proud to demonstrate the high standards they achieve”.
Major Peter Lumley-Wood, Contingent Commander at Bedford School said, “We were honoured to be inspected by his Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester. Our CCF forces and those of the schools of Bedford in attendance today have a proud tradition of service. The visit from the Duke of Gloucester some one hundred years after that of his Grandfather is testimony to the heritage of the schools and their commitment to the CCF.”
Major Alex Smith, Contingent Commander at Bedford Modern School said, “It was a great honour to parade in front of His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester today. The fact that we were able to celebrate the good works of the Cadet Forces with a member of the Royal Family will stick in the minds of all who took part for many years to come”.
The Duke also visited Bedford School’s Memorial Hall to unveil a plaque to mark the occasion, which sits alongside his father’s plaque from 1926.
Headmaster at Bedford School, James Hodgson added: “It was a great day… the boys and girls have done so much work to get ready for this. The staff have been fantastic.
“To raise the profile of CCF in Bedford through an event like this is magic.”