October 8th 2018

Family matters in the ACF

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Cadet Sergeant Ewan Will-Murray (L) with his cousin Sergeant Instructor Cox (C) and his mum Staff Sergeant Instructor Will-Murray (R).

Cadet Sergeant Ewan Will-Murray from Crowland detachment, Lincolnshire Army Cadet Force (ACF) goes to the same detachment as several of his family members, in this interview we find out how it has shaped his cadet experience.

The ACF is a family affair for you isn’t it?

“Yes, very much so! At Crowland detachment my Mum is Staff Sergeant Instructor Will-Murray and my cousin is Sergeant Instructor Cox.”


Who joined first and how did it go? 

“In 2013, Mum joined in June and I joined in the September. My cousin joined in the summer of 2017.

“I kind of got forced to go for a year – I was told if I still didn’t like it by the end of the year I could leave, but, of course, I didn’t. In fact, once I got into it, I began to really enjoy the cadet experience.

“As for my cousin, mum and I encouraged her to come along to cadets as she wanted to do something new. She enjoyed working with young people anyway, so it seemed a good option for her to take.”


What’s it like having family on camp with you?

“It used to feel really weird calling my mum Sergeant, but I got used to it. I think it’s nice to know that there is someone around who knows you but, to be honest, it doesn’t make you feel any different because in Cadets they’re just another adult instructor.

“There certainly isn’t any favouritism; it doesn’t matter if they are family or not, it’s just doesn’t happen. Besides, you rarely see them on camp because you are always doing different things with different cadres. Probably the only time you can speak to them is fleetingly at meal times and it’s usually a very brief ‘Hi, how are you?”


You’re now a cadet sergeant, at this summer’s camp did you enjoy the extra responsibility?

“I can’t say that being a senior non-commissioned officer at Squadron level was an easy task but I found it fun (mostly) and certainly very rewarding.

“Dealing with the needs of 60 cadets is a big step up from leading a platoon of 20 individuals. Ensuring rooms have been left in a decent state and cadets are at the right spot at the right time can be challenging, but I like to think I met the challenges that came my way, sometimes by tackling situations in new ways.”


Your views on fieldcraft have changed, haven’t they?

“During fieldcraft exercises at annual camp, I was playing the enemy or carrying out a leadership role as a section commander.

“I must confess I was never a big fan of fieldcraft until, that is, I held a command appointment and actually taught the subject. For me, this is where it becomes more interesting as you have a greater input in what you want to do. Anyway, I just love teaching generally – helping people out and giving them a better understanding and knowledge of the subject is very satisfying.

“To top it off, playing enemy was just pure fun. I recall I went through nearly 40 magazines, so my rifle was absolutely full of carbon from all the blank firing, but I didn’t mind, I was experiencing a different side to fieldcraft and enjoying every moment.”


You enjoy witnessing cadet progression, don’t you?

“I really enjoy demonstrating new techniques at advanced star levels and experience great satisfaction from helping cadets develop their skills and become better at a subject.”


You seem to value highly friendships made in the Cadets.

“Yes, I do. Altcar, my penultimate annual camp, allowed me to meet up again with the many friends I have made over the years. It was sad at the end, though, having to bid farewell to those who were ‘ageing out’ but I hope our paths will cross again in the future.”

"It used to feel really weird calling my mum Sergeant, but I got used to it."