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Original Scan By Mick Finch

This is a newspaper article taken from the DERBYSHIRE TIMES, July 24, 1964. It's a type of recruitment thing for the army about the AAJLR.
A large party of reporters from local newspapers arrived at the camp who wanted to see anybody who came from within their area, this one is from the D.T. but their should be a number of other one's about from the other papers, might ring a bell or two with lads from the camp who appeared in other papers.
Mick Finch

Local lads in Junior Leaders'
Regiment at Welsh camp
By Ron Eyley
TONFANAU Camp nestles in a quiet corner of the Welsh mountains. On one side, it is bordered by green hills and on another by the sandy coastline of Cardigan Bay. Here, among some of the most beautiful countryside in Wales, the Army has established its All Arms Junior Leaders' Regiment - a unit designed specially to produce the Regular Army's future warrant officers and senior N.C.O.s. Nine Derbyshire boys are currently training there and their verdict of life at this camp is that "It's great."
    During a brief visit to Tonfanau last week, I got the definite impression that, generally speaking, the local boys are very happy. Their camp boasts amenities of which any commercial holiday centre would be proud and the only common grumble which the boys have is the same one which British soldiers have been voicing for years - too much "bull."
    Tonfanau, however, is no ordinary camp. Unlike others of its type, the All Arms Regiment does not train boys for one particular branch of the service. Junior Leaders can choose which Arm they wish to join from the Royal Artillery, the Royal Signals, Infantry, Royal Army Service Corps, the Royal Military Police, and the Intelligence Corps.
    They join between the ages of 15 and 17 and have to spend a minimum of four terms with the Regiment. In that time, boys spend as many hours in the classroom improving their education as they do in general military training.
    The aim at Tonfanau is not to produce fully-trained soldiers or tradesmen but young, men whose powers of leadership and responsibility have been developed so that they can eventually take over as Regular Army N.C.O.s.
    All the subjects which the boys are taught, stand them in good stead for their later military careers. All Junior Leaders at Tonfanau are taught how to handle and maintain the most modern weapons including the self-loading rifle, the light machine gun, rocket launcher, mortars, pistol, and grenades.
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    Before learning how to handle a teleprinter, Junior Leaders at Tonfanau first learn how to use a typewriter. Junior Corporal Michael Finch, of Matlock, practises touch-typing in the Signals Training Wing.
    Shooting is one of the main hobbies of 17-year-old Junior Corporal Michael Stuart Finch, 11, Hurst Rise, Hurst Farm Estate, Matlock, who has been at Tonfanau for two years. He signed on at the age of 15 "for no specific reason," and has only a few more weeks to serve at the camp before he leaves for Catterick where he plans to become a communications operator with the Royal Signals. Since joining the regiment, Michael has won the Duke of Edinburgh's "Silver" award.
    Everybody who goes to Tonfanau is entered for the Duke of Edinburgh's scheme. At least one day every fortnight is devoted to adventure training in the Welsh hills and the course gets progressively tougher. Junior Leaders are taught how to bivouac and cook out of doors, country lore, map reading, survival techniques, rock climbing and canoeing and sailing, both on local rivers and the open sea.
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    Another Derbyshire youth, Junior Gunner Trevor Roland Beeston, George Farm, Denby, recently completed his final tests for the Duke's "Gold" award and is now anxiously awaiting the results. Trevor (17), has also been at the camp for two years. He joined the Army "to see the world" and his wishes are soon to be fulfilled. Next week he is due to fly out to Dortmund, Germany, to start training with the Regular Army as a gunner instructor.
    Sport plays a considerable part in a Junior Leader's life. Two afternoons per week are spent on various games and there are also a number of physical training periods in their curriculum. Every boy also takes up a hobby as part of his education and many of them choose another form of sporting activity.
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    A thorough knowledge of map reading is all-important at Tonfanau. As part of the adventure training programme, Junior Leaders have to find their way over some of the loneliest and wildest parts of the Welsh mountains. Here, Junior Private David Hill, of Alfreton Road, Westhouses, gets down to some theoretical work.
    Junior Private David John Hill (17), Alfreton Road, Westhouses, only joined the regiment in April but he has already taken up weight-lifting with a view to joining the Military Police. Before signing on, David applied to join the civilian police.
    "I was turned down at Chesterfield because I was too young and Sheffield did not have any vacancies. I wanted to become a policeman and so I came here," he said.
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    Every other day, Junior Leaders return to the classroom for educational training. A former Clay Cross Secondary School student, Junior Private Alan Hart of Ilkeston, is pictured during a lesson in English language.
    A former student at Clay Cross Secondary School, Junior Private Alan Hart (17), whose parents now live at Smedley Avenue, Ilkeston, will join the Sherwood Foresters as an infantryman when he leaves Tonfanau in six months time. Alan, a former paint sprayer at Langley Mill, joined the Army "because I was fed up with civvy life."
    One of the newer entrants at Tonfanau is 15-year-old Junior Private Alan Cruickshank, of 20, Meden Avenue, Warsop, who is still in his first term. After leaving Warsop Secondary Modern School, Alan worked for a local wood merchant for a few weeks before enlisting. The elder son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Cruickshank, he has one brother and three sisters.
    In their off-duty hours, the youths spend their time between the NAAFI, the social centre, television, reading, writing, and games rooms, the camp cinema (which changes its programme nightly), the church and the library.
    Some people might even say that by old standards, the boys are pampered at Tonfanau. There are no bullying sergeant majors; every boy is housed in comfortable and modern quarters and sleeps on a luxury bed; he is offered a choice of meals of which any hotel would be envious; his leisure time can be spent in a variety of ways; and the sporting opportunities afforded to him could not be bettered.
    From the officers' point of view, life with the Junior Leaders is very different from that with the Regular Army. In the officers' Mess, Captain Robert Hardy, a former Chesterfield man, told me: "I'm finding it a very good life". Captain Hardy has been stationed at the camp since October. Wingerworth-born, he was educated at Tupton Hall School and his parents lived near Wingerworth Church for a number of years. He is map-reading instructor at Tonfanau and also teaches canoeing.
    From the boys' point of view, the All Arms J.L. Regiment has everything that makes for a reasonably happy life and not one Derbyshire lad has any real regret at having decided on an Army career. Life at Tonfanau can be tough but the boys appear to thoroughly enjoy themselves. At the moment. only a handful of local lads are training at this comparatively new Welsh camp but they are spreading the word at home. More Derbyshire boys will definitely soon be joining them. And I have no doubt at all that they will not be the last.
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    Before venturing out on the rocks of the nearby mountains, Junior Leaders first learn the theory of climbing at the camp. Here they are given knot-tying instruction and shown belaying techniques by an officer who is an experienced mountaineer.
Newspaper Article.

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