St Peter's School


CCF - The Beginnings – The Volunteer Rifle Corps

On 24th October, 1860, St Peter’s Company (No 4 Coy. 1st Volunteer Rifle Corps York) were sworn in at School. There had been a threat of a French invasion in 1859 which had evoked the idea of a cadet movement, and a young master, Mr F.M. Scargill (himself a Major General’s son) received a commission as Captain and was instrumental in setting up the Corps. St Peter’s was among only very few schools to have a similar group at the time. A rifle range was also set up alongside the existing boundary wall (where the new part of the Science Block is now). The uniform adopted was dark grey with blue braid, buff belts and silver ornaments. A Cadet Corps of 15 younger boys wore the same uniform with short swords. Both lasted about a year. An upstairs class room, near the Head Master’s study, was used as an armory. (Later the armory appears to have been transferred to what is now the main School Office.) Apparently age was not important – but the boys had to be of a certain size to qualify. The boys drilled with the other three companies at a rifle range in Bootham.

In the Spring of 1903 a miniature rifle range (Morris Tube) was opened at the School. It was hoped this would lead to the formation of a Cadet Corps (Officers’ Training Corps or O.T.C.), and this was eventually founded by the Head Master S.M. Toyne, in 1913, shortly before the beginning of the First World War.

In  1941 the O.T.C was superseded by the Junior Training Corps (J.T.C.) and this in turn was reborn as the CCF (Combined Cadet Force) in 1948.