The first instance of Cadet activity at Christ's College, Finchley was as far back as 1864 when a Cadet Corps attached to the 14th (Highgate) Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps was formed at the school. Unfortunately, this was disbanded in 1867 and few records remain.

Rifle Club in 1908 - Click to enlargeThe foundations of today's Cadet Contingent were laid in 1904 with the formation of the Rifle Club. Although primarily a shooting club, its members carried military ranks and took part in regular drills and field days. A dark blue uniform was proposed but appears to have been little worn. By the end of 1910 nearly half of the 100 members had opted to wear the voluntary khaki uniform which had been introduced earlier that year. Each year the Rifle Club attended the Boys' Bisley Week organised by the National Rifle Association and its members frequently appeared among the prize winners.

The transformation to a Cadet Corps took place on December 11th, 1911, when 41 boys signed on to become the first members of No.2 Company, 1st Cadet Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment, as Christ's College Cadet Corps was officially titled. The parent regiment was now 7th Battalion Middlesex Regiment which was a direct descendent of the old Highgate Volunteers. The uniform now became obligatory for parades and there has been a uniformed Cadet Corps at the School ever since.

Cadet Unit - 1915 Click to enlarge

During the twenties and thirties Christ's College was a leading light in the Cadet Movement, winning many trophies and becoming a model for other schools wishing to start similar units. In 1927 it won, for the 3rd year in succession, the Walton Shield for the most efficient contingent attending the Public Secondary Schools Cadet Association annual camp. Even during the difficult period 1930-32, when all government support to cadet units was withdrawn, the Corps carried on, keeping up its very high standards and wearing for a time the phoenix cap-badge of the Public Secondary Schools Cadet Association until the insignia of the Middlesex Regiment were re-instated in 1932.

Royal Artillery badgeIn 1938 the Corps donned the badges of the Royal Artillery and became C (Cadet) Battery of the 61st (Finsbury) A.A. Brigade, training on the anti-aircraft guns of the local T.A. unit. By 1942, however, the Corps had rejoined the 1st Cadet Battalion and, once again, wore the badges of the Middlesex Regiment.

With the disbandment of the 1st Cadet Battalion in 1948, the Corps became Christ's College Contingent, Combined Cadet Force, a self administering unit, which it remains today. The last major change came in 1969 when the affiliation to the Middlesex Regiment ceased and permission was given for the Contingent to wear the badges of the Parachute Regiment.

Middlesex Regiment badge

The Contingent today is extremely proud of its history and of its unique organisation, for most of its officers and adult staff are drawn from Old Boys of the School, who have themselves served as cadets in the Contingent. The Contingent has its own Unit Colours presented in 1952 by Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth, M.P., and paid for by subscriptions raised by Old Boys, parents and friends. These colours were dedicated at Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill to the memory of all Old Finchleians killed in two World Wars.