Shrewsbury School

Royal Marine cadets retain the Pringle Endurance Course Trophy

Friday 13 October 2017

After an intensive five-week training programme, nine Royal Marine cadets were selected to take part in the prestigious Sir Steuart Pringle Trophy, held last weekend at the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon. Among them was Emma Graham, the first female cadet to represent Shrewsbury School in the competition.

Max Craik, Monty Hardcastle, Tom Plaut, Harry Remnant and Freddie Williams had taken part in the competition before, but Emma, Luka Cassidy, Henri Cramsie and James Martin were all competing for the first time.

Shortly after arriving, the team was briefed on what they were to face during the gruelling two days ahead, before setting up their camp on Woodbury Common.  The team were encouraged to enjoy the brisk October evening and the stars as they spent the night under bashas. Rain, an important element of any military training, was duly ordered for 05:30 the following morning to help prepare cadets for the ten stances that they had to complete on the first day of the competition.

The team started with the first aid stance at 07:00 sharp, before patrolling to the other nine stances that were dotted across Woodbury Common. After an exhausting day, the team finished on ambushes, a new addition to the Pringle competition, at 17:00. The stances included a variety of tasks, ranging from observation to command tasks and camouflage and concealment to battle exercises. Everyone acquitted themselves admirably, and all of the Directing Staff commented on Shrewsbury’s strong showing. Scores are not published until the end of the whole competition, but the team came first in map reading stance and almost scored full marks for their contact drills. Special mention should go to Max Craik and Monty Hardcastle, our Section i/c and 2 i/c respectively, who were a crucial part of the success of the day, motivating and leading by example throughout.

Despite finishing the first day late in the evening, all teams were up early the next morning for the second day of competition.  We started with the endurance course, which all Royal Marines need to finish if they are to complete their training.  With obstacles such as the Sheep Dip and Peter’s Pool, it has a fearsome reputation and cannot be taken lightly. Click on the image below to watch Emma Graham go through the Sheep Dip.

Shrewsbury has won this in previous years; and this year’s team did exceptionally well to maintain the School’s excellent reputation and retain the Endurance Course trophy. 

A solid display in the final discipline, Drill and Corps knowledge, brought the competition to an end and all the teams nervously waited for the final results to be announced.  In the end, we discovered that we had come fourth overall, which maintains our strong overall record over the past few years. 

All of the team and the squad members: Alex Ainslie, Ralph Furse, Elizabeth Ware, Harry Wasdell and James Weir deserve praise for both their commitment and skill. 

Importantly, everyone enjoyed the experience and greatly benefitted from competing against another 14 schools and the instruction given by serving Royal Marines. Although we did not achieve the first place that we had hoped for, the hard work and dedication of the Section shown during training were visible throughout the competition. Each member gave everything they had and all now have a great insight into military life.

Ciaran O'Rooke

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