NTS TS Ambuscade

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Ambuscade Crest

Training Ship Ambuscade

Nautical Training Corps – 58th Division

Corps Commodore – Commodore D Wright NTC
Corps Patron – Rear Admiral R. John Lippiett CB MBE
Commanding Officer – 1/O Kevin Lilley         
Registered Charity Number 306084


On 2 April 2011, the Nautical Training Corps (NTC) commissioned the 58th of its units under the name TS Ambuscade at Merstham near Reigate in Surrey.  John Lippiett (AMB & AMA) attended as the NTC’s Patron and I was invited to represent AMBA.  Former MP Laura Moffat was also there and about to become the new Chair of the NTC National Council.

Patron inspection                 Commissioning day

 For all those who like me did not know of the existence of the NTC until now, it has nothing to do with the other Sea Cadets although similar – nothing to do with TS AMB I at Crewe.  Based in the south of England, it was founded in 1944 as a youth organisation to help young people develop their full potential through nautically based training. The boys and girls wear a naval uniform and are encouraged to develop self confidence and a sense of self worth, through a wide range of experiences and activities.  They are an independent charity and a principal member of the Federation of Independent Nautical Training Organisations (FINTO), of which TS Alacrity is also a member, based at Denmead near Waterlooville Hampshire.

After John Lippiett’s book War and Peas, the NTC got a flavour of the Falklands conflict and felt that with the Corps Patron’s connection it would be fitting to christen the latest NTC unit after  Ambuscade.  So on 2 April, the unit formed up and marched two miles to her new HQ in Merstham Village Hall, headed by the West Sussex amassed band and help from the largest NTC Unit TS Implacable.  This was the first new division for some time and had followed a lot of hard work and dedication by their prospective CO First Officer Kevin Lilley and the Commander Craig Knight, NTC’s First Lieutenant. 

The unit actually began forming nearly a year before in Spring 2010 as they started collecting musical instruments together and having music lessons.  Then in January 2011 under the command of a new bandmaster they set about getting the band formally assessed so that they could perform in public and be ready for their first appearance in the NTC’s National Band and Colour Competition in October.

      Founder's Day

On 12 June TS AMB paraded in their first Founder’s Day on the seaside green at Littlehampton and indeed completed their first public march past playing their instruments.  This annual event rededicates the NTC, this year celebrating their 67the anniversary.  Despite pouring rain, some 600 cadets assembled and were inspected before the rededication service, with no less than 5 mayors and the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth present.  John Lippiett and I attended again and I had the privilege of inspecting the Unit for the first time – very smart and well turned out they were too!

On 30 Oct came the National Band, Colour and Fanfare competition at the Olympus stadium Burgess Hill and TS AMB was now ready to take part.  Every unit has a band and colour party which obviously improve as the years go by, so they are graded accordingly Novice, Contest and Championship classes, depending on their age and success in previous years.  There is also a class for other members of FINTO which included TS Alacrity
              Band Showmanship

Having started seriously just 9 months earlier, TS AMB exceeded all expectations by winning a number of Novice class awards, coming second overall, and walking off with no less than 8 trophies in all, including Best Display and Showmanship and Best Drum Major.  Having won the Junior colour contest handsomely, they then went on to come second overall in the Senior colour contest, to TS Implacable who was in the Championship class, a tremendous effort which made us all very proud, and I was honoured to present them with their cup.

Presenting the trophy              Bandmaster
My last visit to TS AMB this year came on 11 November at their own annual awards evening at Merstham where their individual achievements were recognised in front of their families and friends.  It was a very happy event, when they could be justifiably be proud of themselves and all they had achieved in their first hear.  They were again immaculately turned out and everything they did was carried out smartly and with glowing enthusiasm, especially the girls who greatly outnumber the boys and have now decided to wear grown up skirts and tights

They have come a long way in a year and I feel we are very fortunate to have two such worthy TS Ambuscades to carry on our name!

by Peter Mosse