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 Army Cadet Force

Portora Royal School Detachment

1st (Northern Ireland) Battalion

Army Cadet Force

The Army Cadet Force  

Our Motto: Inspire to Achieve

The Army Cadet Force is a long established National Voluntary Youth Organisation who have over 155 years’ experience in offering “Fun, Friends, Action, Adventure, Qualifications” to cadets ranging in age from 12 years to 18 years old.
  Throughout the UK over 46000 young people have taken up the challenge of becoming an Army Cadet, with over 1500 cadets from a wide range of backgrounds and areas here in Northern Ireland. It is also one of the most inclusive, cost effective and progressive youth organisations your son or daughter could join.

The Portora Royal School Detachment has grown over the last few years and have been producing some fine cadets, such as Cadet Sergeant Luis McQuade (above) who has just been appointed as Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for County Fermanagh and he will accompany HM Lord Lieutenant on some of his official engagements throughout the county.

The Portora Royal School Detachment has been very successful over the past few years with many of the detachments cadet’s achieving highly at their annual camps, various courses, competitions and qualifications.

Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for County Fermanagh

This is a role that is awarded to cadets that display exceptional standards and achievements within the ACF and is chosen by HM Lord Lieutenant, currently Lord Brookeborough. This involves escorting and accompanying HM Lord Lieutenant on some of his official engagements throughout the country. Sergeant Major Luis McQuade was chosen to fulfil this role in 2014 and Sergeant Jamie Breen’s high efforts led to his success of being chosen for this current year of 2015.

Portora detachment has participated and achieved highly throughout numerous competitions throughout the years.

The Detachment entered a team at the Mini Micks Competition (Irish Guards cadets are known as Mini Micks following the nickname of the regiment “The Micks”) this gives all cadets badged to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards the chance to compete for the coveted title of the Colonel’s Detachment. In 2013 the detachment was successful in placing first place for the First Aid Stand led by Sgt Maj McQuade (a Sgt at that time).

Champion Cadet
Sgt Maj McQuade and Sgt Breen entered the Northern Ireland Champion Cadet Competition in 2014 where the top 50 individual cadets from both battalions of the ACF and members of the CCF competed in. Sgt Maj McQuade placed 1st place for the drill and placed 5th overall with Sgt Breen placing runner up for field craft and placed 10th overall.
Military Skills Competitions

The Detachment also competed in the company military skills competition 2015 and placed 1st with a more than 100 point lead over the second placed team. The team of 8 was led by Sgt Maj McQuade who was awarded the Best Section Commander award. The team advanced on towards the battalion stage who placed 1st again under leadership of Sgt Watson in absence of McQuade who was undertaking his Master Cadet and progressed into to the final inter-battalion stage.

Best Section Commander Trophy

The Portora Detachment also has found quite some success in shooting where they placed 3rd in the Belfast Telegraph .22 shoot in 2013 and also came 1st place in the battalion air rifle shoot the previous year with Sgt Watson ( Lcpl at that time) winning best shot.

From left to right: Jamie Breen, Ryan Fleming, Luis McQuade and Samuel Watson- third place in the Belfast Telegraph shoot.


Luis McQuade was also successful in passing the vigorous selection process for a leadership and challenge course in the Rocky Mountains for 6 weeks in the summer of 2015. He secured a place out of an overall 12 from the United Kingdom with his application and essay being selected passing, fitness tests, swim tests, an interview, papers sift and national selection before finally being awarded 1 of the 12 positions. During this 6 week course he took part in activities including: horse-riding, rock climbing, glacier travel(climbed up to 11,000ft), mountain biking, white water kayaking or canoeing and an alpine trek as well as competing a qualification in wilderness First Aid, which was all free and paid for by the cadets with the only spending money to bring. This is only one of the 3 Canadian exchanges that cadets have the opportunity to apply for. The other 2 are situated in Whitehorse and Argonaut with Argonaut for the more junior cadets, Whitehorse for cadets usually after 3 years and the most senior cadets apply for the rocky mountain course.


 A photograph of the 13 UK cadets (12 new and 1 staff cadet) and the 2 Escort Officers after the annual parade in Banff

Photographs from the glacier cycle

Photographs from the Alpine Trek (middle, bottom) and the campsite below the Glacier (top) 

 South Africa 2016

Luis McQuade also was successful in the first national selection weekend in Lancaster in May 2015 for a South Africa expedition where 70 cadets are chosen to conduct one of three adventurous training expeditions in South Africa as well as take part in a rhino conservation, going on battlefield tours of the Anglo-Zulu wars and integrate with a new culture of Zulu tribes. The selection consisted of fitness and endurance tests as well as aptitude tests, command tasks and group discussions.  He scored the highest overall on the endurance test and has been selected to attend the second selection weekend from 16th to the 21st October 2015 where he will also complete a summer Mountain Foundation qualification.

 4 Peaks challenge

Jamie Breen and Luis McQuade trained last year for the 4 peaks challenge where they would climb the 4 highest peaks in the UK in four days with cadets from the rest of A company and B company, while fundraising for the Northern Ireland children’s hospice. Sgt Maj McQuade was unable to attend the challenge due to his Canada exchange however Sgt Breen was successful in completing the challenge in late August 2015.

The 4 peaks challenge includes 4 peak climbs of:

•Ben Nevis / (1,344 m or 4,409 ft), the highest mountain in Scotland.

•Scafell Pike (978 m or 3,209 ft), the highest mountain in England.

•Snowdon (1,085 m or 3,560 ft), the highest mountain in Wales.

Slieve dornard 850 m, 2789ft, the highest mountain in Northern Ireland

Sgt Patton ventured to Scotland to complete an advanced radio course called Crossflags for a week in completion of his 4 star. He successfully passed the advanced course and is now a highly qualified signaller within the battalion. In addition, Jack Patton won Best 3 star Cadet in Namur Company (out of 60 cadets) at annual camp in Otterburn 2014. Namur Company involves learning how to teach basic lessons and lead in the field with an emphasis on discipline to become a senior cadet.

Crossflag applicants in Scotland.

Samuel Watson, Jack Patton, Jamie Breen and Luis McQuade were all successful in completing their B-TEC level 2 diploma in teamwork and personal development in the community (equivalent to 4 GCSE’S) where they completed the written booklet during a weekend in April at the cadet training centre in Magiligan with other cadets in the battalion.

Luis McQuade passed a week long Master Cadet course at the cadet headquarters at Frimley Park along with 2 other senior cadets from Northern Ireland and 37 others from Scotland, England and Wales.  During this course he was assessed on giving a lecturette, teaching a battle lesson, completing an obstacle course, a 5k orienteering course, parade and field inspections and commanding section attacks, leading patrols through several military scenarios and command tasks.  Unfortunately one of the N.I cadets had to leave early due to an injury but Luis and the other senior cadet went on to finish and pass out from the course.  The Master Cadet is the highest possible level a cadet can achieve within the ACF.


Many Portora cadets also attended a battalion sports weekend at Palace Barracks Belfast competing to get into the battalion sports team for rugby, football, cross country and Tug of War.  Jamie Breen and Luis McQuade were selected for the Tug of War team in which they competed against 2nd Battalion in January. Luis McQuade was also selected for cross country in which he ran for the intermediate boys. He placed 1st when ran against 2 battalion and went on to represent Northern Ireland in the cross country ACF nationals at Warcop.  Harry Dane was also selected for the cross country battalion team, Andrew Dane got was selected for the junior Boys rugby team and Dominique Robertson was selected for the junior football team.

Junior Cadets

The new recruits have performed exceedingly well in the beginning of their cadet career and will be promising cadets in the future for Portora ACF.  As well as developing new skills and traits within the ACF such as independence, self-discipline, teamwork, communication and experiencing the challenging conditions field exercises have to offer, all recruits and 2 star cadets have successfully passed their respective star levels at annual camp displaying high performance in all subject areas. Cadet Charles Mohan was best 1 star cadet at his first annual camp in Otterburn. Cadet Matthew Kelly also achieved best cadet at Easter Camp (camp for those too young for summer camp).  Cadet Michael Boyd also won best shot for the air rifle at one star. Cadet Peter Watson was also runner up best cadet in his platoon.

Cadet Ryan Hance out on exercise for in completion of his 2 star at anuual camp in Sennybridge Wales




Army Cadets work towards a common Cadet Syllabus covering many subjects from military type training adapted to young teenagers to community based events sport, more of the activities we do are listed below:

Drill – Teaching the cadets to follow commands - commonly seen as a foundation to teamwork

First Aid - Learning a very important life skill - cadets undertake various levels of First Aid training throughout their time in the ACF, on completion of 4 Star they can complete a fully recognised First Aid at work course

Fieldcraft - Playing soldiers with all the kit - Cadets will learn basic Military tactics such as blending into their surroundings to cooking to building a shelter and much more

Duke of Edinburgh’s AwardIn action together - Cadets can use much of their cadet service to interlink with their Award.  The Army Cadet Force and the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme have a long history together.

Skill at Arms- Safe handling of cadet weapons - teaching the cadet to use our weapons with safety and confidence before taking part in any target shooting 

Target ShootingApplying marksmanship principles - to take part in competition shooting 

BTECExtra qualifications for our cadets - Cadets on reaching 16 years of age and having achieved 3 star can undertake a BTEC in Public Services equivalent to 4 GCSE’s grades A*-C, most cadets will gain at least a merit.  Invaluable to those planning on university education.

Adventure TrainingTesting the cadets to their limits - Cadets can take part in a large selection of adventurous activities ranging from Kayaking to climbing, mountain biking to skiing or a run over a military obstacle courses.


- The Detachment meets each Wednesday evening at the Enniskillen TA Centre, Rossorry Church Road, between 6.45pm and 9.00pm.

Monthly – Cadets can attend weekends away at our purpose built £5m Cadet Training Centre at Magilligan Training Camp, Co Londonderry where the cadets can put into practice everything they have learnt at the Detachment, as well as some specialist courses such as Signals, First Aid, Target Shooting and more.  A weekend away generally costs £10.

Annually - Cadets will get the opportunity to attend a camp depending on their age. Cadets who are below the age of 12 years can attend a 7 day Easter Camp at the Cadet Training Centre. For those above the age of 13 years have the opportunity to attend Annual Camp which is 2 weeks away in England this is generally seen as the culmination of the cadet year where most will achieve their Star level.  Cost is approx. £65 

If you want more information about Portora Detachment speak to any of the of pupils who are  Army Cadets  or come down to see what we get up to on a Wednesday evening, it’s easy to join come along we will give you an application form, your parents fill it in and that’s it, you are now an Army Cadet

For more information on what we do in the 1st (NI) Battalion Army Cadet Force please log on to our battalion website the link is below: