A Grand Spell of Sunshine - The Life and Legacy of Francis FrithA Grand Spell of Sunshine - The Life and Legacy of Francis Frith

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Churchers College Ccf 1954

A Memory of Petersfield.

I distinctly remember taking part in one particular exercise on Petersfield Heath at the age of 15. We were divided into two detachments, one defending a position in a clump of trees on the high ground, and the other attacking it. The first section left the school earlier in order to establish the defensive position, and I was in the second detachment Intended to be the attacking party. We were all issued with 0.22 rifles, taken from the college rifle range together with about five blank cartridges each, and to make the exercise more realistic the senior members detonated a few thunder flashes from time to time. It was a hot day and I remember crawling around in the gorse and the heather with my colleagues. All went well and we returned to Churchers College hot, tired and having enjoyed the whole experience.
However, it was not until one or two days later that I as a day pupil was in conversation with one of the school boarders who helped to run the rifle range I discovered a secret that had been kept from the schoolmasters running the CCF. At least one or two of the boarders had taken live 0.22 ammunition from the range with them to Petersfield Heath, and while the rest of us were shooting blank ammunition, these persons were actively looking for rabbits, birds and anything else of a like nature for target practice. At the time it was frightening, but from a distance of 62 years I cannot imagine any rabbits were foolish enough to show their heads with dozens of boys crawling around in the undergrowth.

Added 26 June 2016


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