Officers' Training Corps
The Officers' Training Corps (OTC), sometimes called the University Officers' Training Corps (UOTC), is a part of the British Territorial Army which provides military leadership training to students at British universities.
Recently the role of Officer Training Corps has been changed to align more with the American version of the OTC's in that all Potential Officers in the Army Reserves are now trained by the UOTCs weather they go to university or not. However students in full time university courses are not obligated to serve on operations until they are in full time education and as with all reservists any Officer Cadet can resign at any time by making a formal request.
The mission of UOTC is to develop leadership of selected Officer Cadets through undergoing military training, Adventure training and social activities. The curriculum is administered and directed by Royal Military Academy Sandhurst called "Military Leadership Development Program". Its role has become more varied recently since UOTC's have been given the responsibility to train all potential officers from reservist units and students thus the level of commitment depends on the individual Officer Cadet. Same training is given to all Officer Cadets weather they are interested in commission because it is intended that those who peruse civilian careers after leaving University would assume leadership roles in their respected fields and enrich their environments by bringing Army ethos and values instilled within them through training and thus generating goodwill and support for the Army in the wider society.
The origins of Cambridge University Officers’ Training Corps date to 1803 when, with Britain under threat of French invasion, Cambridge University undergraduates formed a corps of Rifle Volunteers to help defend British shores. Thereafter, the Cambridge University Rifle Volunteers (CURV) was raised formally in 1860. During British involvement in the Second Boer War in 1899 there was a public focus on volunteering for the Armed Forces serving in South Africa. In response to this, over 100 members of CURV applied, however due to age, qualification, training and critically the ability to shoot excellently meant that only 28 were successful.
Joined with The Suffolk Regiment, on 20 January 1900 in Bury St Edmunds the CURV reported for duty. On 11 February that they sailed from Southampton on the S.S. Doune Castle arriving in Cape Town on 7 March. Initially the Cambridge Volunteers worked as guards to the railway lines around Cape Town but alongside the Suffolks they joined the siege at Pretoria on 4 June. Although the defending Boer guns sent down artillery fire, no casualties were taken and the city had fallen by the time the Volunteers arrived. This marked the end of the conventional phase of the Boer War and the progression into a more guerrilla style warfare and the Volunteers guarding the railways from the Boer ‘Commando’ style attacks.
When the Suffolk Regiment marched as part of General Mahon’s column to attack a Boer position in Barberton, the Cambridge Volunteers joined them. With 600 Boers entrenched around the town, with supporting artillery the battle was over before the Volunteers had arrived. However due to their prowess at shooting, they were detailed to harrying the retreating Boers with long range rifle fire. After more guard duties they disembarked from Cape Town in April 1901 and returned to Britain on 4 May.
With a large welcome home awaiting them, including a service in Great St Mary’s Church, the volunteers were back in Cambridge on 6 May 1901. This welcome included all the Volunteers being made Honorary Freemen of the Borough of Cambridge and on 21 December 1904, three years later, CURV were granted the battle honour "South Africa 1900-01". In 1908 CURV was renamed "Cambridge University Officers’ Training Corps" and remains the only Officers’ Training Corps to be awarded a battle honour.
In 1880s Glasgow professors such as William John Macquorn Rankine and students formed two infantry companies as part of the local 1st Lanarkshire (Glasgow 1st Western) Rifle Volunteers. This unit later became the 5th Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), based at West Princes Street Drill hall in the Woodlands area of Glasgow.
In Aberdeen the first formed University Unit was a Battery of the 1st Aberdeen Volunteer Royal Artillery, raised in December 1885. The Battery was officered by members of the University Staff and commanded by Captain William Stirling, then Professor of Physiology. In March 1895 the University Battery was absorbed by the 1st Heavy Battery. In November 1897 an Aberdeen University detachment of the 1st Volunteer Battalion the Gordon Highlanders was recruited and in 1898 the detachment became University Company ("U" Coy).
The emergence of the OTC as a distinct unit began in 1906 when the Secretary of State for War, Lord Haldane, first appointed a committee to consider the problem of the shortage of officers in the Militia, the Volunteer Force, the Yeomanry and the Reserve of Officers. The committee recommended that an Officers' Training Corps be formed. The Corps was to be in two divisions, a junior division in public schools (now the Combined Cadet Force) and a senior division in the universities.
In October 1908 therefore, authorised by Army Order 160 of July 1908, as part the Haldane Reforms of the Reserve forces, the contingent was formally established as the Glasgow University Officer Training Corps and incorporated in the new Territorial Force, which was created by the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907.
During the First World War, the senior OTCs became officer producing units and some 30,000 officers passed through, but after the war reverted to their basic military training role.
In 1948, the senior OTC divisions became part of the Territorial Army, and women were accepted for the first time with the formation of Women's Royal Army Corps sub-units. Women are now fully integrated into all sections. The junior divisions, by then renamed the Junior Training Corps, became the Army Sections of the Combined Cadet Force. For the next twelve years until its abolition in 1960, the corps aim was to prepare students for National Service.
There are 18 UOTCs throughout the UK, each of which serves the universities and Reserve units in a distinct geographic area. Those serving larger areas may have several detachments. Each UOTC is effectively an independent regiment, with its own cap badge, its own stable belt and its own customs and traditions.
OTC members are classed as Officer Cadets (OCdt) and are members of the Army Reserve, paid when on duty. UOTC members cannot be mobilised for active service. OCdts can gain appointments as a Junior Under Officer (JUO) or a Senior Under Officer (SUO) and can also apply to the Army Officer Selection Board (AOSB) which, if they pass, leads to the opportunity to attempt the Army Reserve Commissioning Course with the goal of a commission as a Second Lieutenant.
OCdts have no obligation to join the armed forces when they leave university and can resign from the OTC at any time. The UOTC is led by officers and non-commissioned officers, who function as instructors and support staff, from the Regular Army, Army Reserve and Non Regular Permanent Staff.
All Potential Officers in the Army Reserves/TA are now trained by the University Officer Training Corps weather they are at University or not.
The mission of the University Officer Training Corps (UOTC) is to develop the leadership potential of selected university students and raise awareness of the Army ethos.
Training follow a syllabus as laid out by the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the world’s premier leadership training centre. Weekly training nights are used to build up theory and basic practical lessons. Training and exercises are structured around the academic calendar. Most activities take place during the winter and spring terms with a two-week summer camp, scheduled early to allow for other commitments. Having successfully completed basic training, the amount of time cadets commit to activities depends on the amount of time that can be spared. Training takes place on one evening a week as well as some weekends and an annual 15-day camp..
Training vary depending on the UOTC, but the same basic content is covered. There are two Military Training Qualification tests to take in the first two years , involving written and practical tests. Some UOTCs are infantry units, others also have what we call wings. This means they offer specialist training focused on a particular arm or service, say the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, or the Royal Signals.
Year One: Basic training This year involves getting drilled, getting dirty and getting discipline. Cadets will get a handle on all basic military techniques, from map reading to camouflage, from first aid to weapons training, and from radio procedure to fieldcraft. Other skills include learning how to set up camp at night and how to fire and manoeuvre effectively as part of a team. It's an exciting and challenging year whether you are in an infantry unit or with a specialist wing.
Year two: Becoming a Leader Having learnt how to be a member of an effective military team., the second year teaches cadets how to manage soldiers, equipment, and the battlefield. This involves everything from planning an attack, to giving effective orders and ensuring they are carried out and from directing a constructive debrief after an exercise to ensuring the welfare of all of those under command.
Year three: Leadership in Action An increasing number of cadets choose to go forward for officer selection either in the Regular Army or Army Reserve, others choose to enjoy the remainder of their time in the UOTC as senior cadets. All cadets will have the opportunity to take up the challenge of leading and supervising new recruits.
At the end of each module Officer Cadets must pass the assessments in order to progress to the next module. In order to progress to Commission as an Officer all modules must be completed as well as a final Module 4 at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Many Officer Cadets also volunteer to attach with other regular Reserve units to participate in their Annual Camps and other military exercises all over the world, usually after completion of Mod 1 (Year 1) and sometimes completion of Mod 2 (Year 2) is required. Opportunities are available to do attachments with Regular Army over Summer or Easter holidays.
Concurrently with military training, many OTCs provide the opportunity to pursue sporting and adventurous hobbies. Sports such as skiing, mountain trekking, climbing and sailing are actively encouraged. With access to the Territorial Army's resources for adventurous training, students are enabled to pursue their other hobbies alongside their degrees. Socially, the OTCs hold frequent parties and informal social events throughout the year which attract local press coverage.
|Recruits From||External Website|
|Aberdeen UOTC||Aberdeen University, Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen College|||
|Queen's UOTC||Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster|||
|Birmingham UOTC||University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University College Birmingham, Warwick, Aston, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Worcester, Keele, Staffordshire University and Harper Adams University College|||
|Bristol UOTC||University of Bristol, University of Bath, University of the West of England and Bath Spa University|||
|Cambridge UOTC||Cambridge University, University of East Anglia and Anglia Ruskin University|||
|City of Edinburgh UOTC||University of Edinburgh, Napier University, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh College of Art, Scottish Agricultural College and Queen Margaret's University|||
|East Midlands UOTC||Nottingham University, Nottingham Trent University, Northampton University, Leicester University, Derby University, De Montfort University, Loughborough University, University of Lincoln|||
|Exeter UOTC||Exeter University, Plymouth University,|||
|Glasgow and Strathclyde UOTC||Glasgow University, Strathclyde University, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of the West of Scotland|||
|Liverpool UOTC||University of Liverpool, Lancaster University, Liverpool John Moores University, Hope College, University of Central Lancashire, Edge Hill University College, St. Martins College, Chester College|||
|University of London Officers' Training Corps (ULOTC)||Anglia, Birkbeck, Brighton, Brunel, Bucks Chiltern, Camberwell College of Arts, (University of the Arts), Canterbury, Central School of Speech & Drama, Central St Martin's School of Art & Design (University of the Arts), Chelsea College of Art & Design (University of the Arts), City Courtauld Institute of Fine Art, East London, Essex, Goldsmith's, Greenwich, Hertfordshire, Heythrop, Imperial, Kent, King's College, Kingston, London Business School, London College of Communication (University of the Arts), London College of Fashion (University of the Arts), London Metropolitan, LSE, Luton, Middlesex, Queen Mary, Roehampton, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music, Royal Holloway, Royal Veterinary College, SOAS, South Bank, St Georges, St Mary's, Surrey, Sussex, Thames Valley, UCL - Gower Street and Royal Free, Westminster|||
|Manchester and Salford UOTC||University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Salford|||
|Northumbrian UOTC||Universities of Newcastle, Northumbria, Durham, Teesside and Sunderland|||
|Oxford UOTC||Oxford University, Oxford Brookes University, Reading University, Royal Agricultural College Cirencester, The University of Gloucestershire and the Royal Military College Shrivenham|||
|Southampton UOTC||University of Winchester, Solent University, Bournemouth University, Southampton University, Portsmouth University|||
|Tayforth UOTC||St. Andrews University, Dundee University, Abertay University, Stirling University|||
|Wales UOTC||Cardiff University, UWIC, Aberystwyth, Bangor, Swansea, University of Glamorgan, Wrexham, Chester.|||
|Yorkshire Officers' Training Regiment (formerly Yorkshire Universities OTC)||University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Leeds Universities, Bradford University, Huddersfield University, York University and Hull University|||
The British Army run several competitions throughout the academic year where the nineteen OTCs and the four DTUS squadrons have a chance to compete against each other. One of these is the Queen's Challenge Cup, a sports competition.
In March 2008, a motion was passed during the University College London Union's Annual General Meeting to ban Armed Forces groups and societies such as the University Royal Naval Unit (URNU), Officer Training Corps (OTC) and University Air Squadron (UAS) from operating within University College London Union locations and events. This action made headlines in the British national press, partly due to an unrelated issue at the time where RAF personnel in Peterborough had been ordered not to wear uniform off-site for fear of aggression from members of the public.
Through a subsequent motion passed through the Union Council the decisions made at the Annual General Meeting were ratified; however the ban was subsequently overturned by a large majority in following year's AGM of 27 February 2009.
This coincides with similar actions taken at the University of Cambridge and Goldsmiths College. The University of Manchester followed with a proposal to ban military recruitment which also received press attention. However, this proposal failed.
- University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) - organisational counterpart in the Royal Navy
- University Air Squadron (UAS) - organisational counterpart in the Royal Air Force
- Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme
- Reserve Officers' Training Corps (USA)
- Reserve Officers' Training Corps (Philippines)
- The London Gazette: . 11 May 2010.
- The London Gazette: . 21 June 2011.
- The London Gazette: . 6 September 2011.
- MOD website
- 1st Lanarkshire (Glasgow 1st Western) Rifle Volunteers
- "University Officer Training Corps". MoD.
- "University Officer Training Corps". MoD.
- "University Officer Training Corps". MoD.
- . MoD http://www.army.mod.uk/UOTC/32104.aspx. Missing or empty
- "Military Training". MoD.
- "Military Training". MoD.
- "Military Training". MoD.
- "OTC Annual Report 2005-6". "For the first time this year the Queen's Challenge Cup (formerly a TA sports cup) will be awarded to the winners of an inter-UOTC sports competition"
- Phillips, Martin (8 March 2008). "Our heroes deserve respect". The Sun (London).
- "Student military recruitment row". BBC News. 26 April 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- G.J. Eltringham. Nottingham University Officers' Training Corps 1909-1964. Privately published. 1964.
- Col. F.H.L. Errington. Inns of Court Officers Training Corps During the Great War. Naval and Military Press. New edition of 1920 edition. 2001.
- Hew Strachan. History of the Cambridge University Officers Training Corps. Midas Books. 1976. ISBN 978-0-85936-059-3.
- Harold C.A. Hankins. A History of the Manchester and Salford Universities Officers Training Corps 1898-2002. DP & G Military Publishers. 2002.
- Herbert John Johnston. The Queen's University (Belfast) Contingent of the Officers Training Corps: Sixty years of the O.T.C.: diamond jubilee 1908-1968. Queen's University OTC. 1968.
- Roger Talbot Willoughby. Military History of the University of Dublin and its Officers' Training Corps 1910-22. Medal Society of Ireland. 1989. ISBN 978-0-9513869-0-3.
- University of London. University of London Officers Training Corps, Roll of War Service 1914-1919. Privately published? 2010. ISBN 978-1-177-07206-9.