National Drill and Piping Competition 2023

Cadets were on fine form and gave a polished performance at this year's hotly contested competition

drill and piping
Eastern Area cadets in action on the way to taking second place overall

The weekend of 22–23 April saw cadets from around the UK gather at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, Cornwall, for the annual National Drill and Piping Competition. The Royal Navy training facility was a hive of activity leading up to the event – and not just with last-minute preparations. 

On Thursday, there were joyous scenes of celebration for the opening of Torpoint Sea Cadets’ new unit premises within Raleigh’s Jellicoe Building. A fantastic crowd of supporters and parents enjoyed a parade and march past of the unit band, who performed a moving rendition of God Save The King, before Captain Jane Roe, Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh, officially opened the new facility. 

Southampton Unit’s team won the Piping competition for a dominant Southern Area

Even after such a memorable build-up, some very well-prepared sea cadets and royal marines cadets took the excitement to new levels. Having made it through some testing district and regional competitions, unit teams from all six areas rose to the occasion and performed with real distinction. 

Southern Area seemed particularly inspired by the surroundings of the famous arena, relishing the pressure of competition as they convincingly won the Armed Guard and Colour Party categories, through Portsmouth and Warsash Units respectively, with some impressively synchronised performances. Southern Area’s Poole Unit took the honours in the Unarmed category by a mere half point, with Lincoln Unit giving Eastern Area a fine second.

The Continuity Drill saw a victory for South West Area following an incredible performance from Torpoint Sea Cadets, whose near-perfect eight-minute display of choreographed drill capped a historic week for the local unit. Torpoint’s achievement was extra special, after four months of training for a trophy that the unit has been trying to win for many years. 

Redditch & Bromsgrove Sea Cadets enjoying the weekend’s fun

Meanwhile, in the Royal Marines Cadets Guard category, North West Area’s Warrington Detachment claimed first place with a highly polished routine, while Eastern Area’s Cadet Lance Corporal Alfie was judged to be the best Guard Commander – to the delight of his Chesterfield Detachment.  

From the overwhelming sights and sounds of the arena, the action then moved to the hushed surroundings of HMS Raleigh’s beautiful chapel. Here, Southern Area once again led the way by winning the Piping team event and providing the top two individuals in Petty Officer Cadet David and Leading Cadet Phoebe of Southampton Unit. 

With a total of five competition victories then, Southern Area were very worthy overall winners, with some very consistent performances earning second place for Eastern Area.

Congratulations to all the teams, individual winners and medallists who were thrilled to receive their prizes from MSSC President Admiral Sir Philip Jones GCB DL. And BZ to all the cadets who competed with pride and passion, and created such a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere over the whole weekend. Finally, a huge thank you to all the judges, organisers and other volunteers who ensured the event ran so smoothly and helped prepare the cadets to such high standards.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones presents Torpoint Unit’s Able Cadet Issy with the Continuity Drill trophy on behalf of Southern Area

Photos: Sea Cadets

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