Council for Cadet Rifle Shooting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Athelings

History of the Athelings

 

The first British - Canadian interchange visits of cadet teams took place in 1910, when parties of cadets from Australia, New Zealand and Canada came to England, and a contingent of 12 English cadets under Major McCalmont MP, Adjutant of Eton College OTC visited Canada. Many cadets from the self-governing Dominions came here in 1911 for the Coronation, and the British Canadian exchange visits for cadet shooting teams (then called the 'Fire Units') were resumed in 1912 and 1913.

These early interchanges were fostered by the Imperial Cadet Association, founded in 1908 by Surgeon Captain R.J.E. Hanson to create and maintain links between the cadet movements in the Mother Country, Dominions and Colonies. During the twenties Surgeon Captain Hanson started to organize annual visits to Canada for rifle teams of UK Cadets, and he introduced the 'Athelings' (aetheling of Anglo-Saxon origin meaning 'Prince' or 'Young Noble') to describe the members of these teams who were going overseas to represent their country as target rifle marksmen. By 1928 these visits to Canada were firmly established, and they continued without a break until 1939. In 1932 Surgeon Captain Hanson presented a trophy, which he named in honour of Michael Faraday, for contest on the Connaught Ranges, Ottawa, between the Athelings and a team of Canadian Cadets.

Surgeon Captain Hanson died in 1940, and the task of restarting the visits after World War II fell mainly on major J.A.O. Muirhead of Clifton College and Major E.F. Housden of Harrow, both whom had acted as Commandants before the War. Post-War difficulties, financial and otherwise, prevented effective action before 1951 when, thanks to the enthusiasm and practical support of Colonel D.G. Buell, the Director of Cadets in Ottawa, an exchange of rifle teams was arranged. Colonel Buell's efforts provided generous hospitality for the Athelings both on the ranges and while on tour in Canada; during the fifties, however, War Office support for the British Cadets fell short of financial assistance. Consequently the high costs of the visits fell entirely on the parents of the Athelings, and on their Schools and Cadet Units.

As a result it was sometimes difficult to find a sufficient number of cadets with adequate shooting ability who could afford to go, and in 1958 and 1959 the Athelings tours had to be cancelled.

The position greatly improved in 1960 when, on the occasion of the centenary of the cadet Forces in the UK, the Ministry of Defence under-took to make a substantial grant which almost entirely covers the travel costs of the team. This grant was negotiated by Lt. Col. C.E. Bond of the City of London School, who in that year took over the organization of the Athelings Tour, and it has continued until the present time. Since 1960 the number of applications for membership of the team has been far in excess of the places available, and cadets can now be selected entirely on their ability as outstanding shots. In 1970, following the setting up of the Council for Cadet Rifle Shooting, which incorporates the former Imperial cadet Association together with other cadet shooting bodies, Colonel Bond was succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel RE Goddard of Epsom, and in 1995 Lieutenant Colonel NS Suffield-Jones, late of Bradfield, who is the present Honorary Organizer of the Atheling Canadian Tour.

As mentioned, reciprocal visits by a team of Royal Canadian Army Cadets started in the fifties. In 1954 Colonel Buell presented a trophy, named after Alexander Graham Bell, to be competed for at Bisley. In this match the UK team is selected from all the CCF and Open Unit cadets who are shooting in the target rifle events of the NRA Imperial Meeting.

A further match, shot in two stages, at Bisley and at Connaught, was instituted in 1987. It is known as the Rex Goddard, with a trophy presented by Lieutenant Colonel 'Bert' Cafik, Commandant of the RCAC Bisley teams between 1985 and 1988. Competition is between the RCAC Bisley team and the 'Athelings', and was at first based on aggregate scores in the Ashburton / Garry and the Buell matches, the trophy being presented in Canada. Since 1993 this event has been fired as a separate match, using the standard issue cadet rifle of the host country.
 
 

Results up to and including the year 2001:    
     
Michael Faraday Trophy  Canadian Cadets  31 wins 
  Athelings 26 wins
Alexander Graham Bell Trophy Canadian Cadets 10 wins
  UK Cadets 38 wins
Rex Goddard Trophy Canadian Cadets 8 wins
  Athelings / UK 6 wins
  The was no match in 1993