Whilst some cadet units were started in the late 19th Century, it was after the start of the First World War that large numbers of units were formed. These included Whitgift, Wimbledon College, Kingston Grammar and Tiffin; most seem to have been school units though there were some community units.
A unit was formed at Russell Hill School in 1916 as part of the 3rd Cadet Battalion of the Queen’s Regiment. After the War, the units continued in existence. Training broadened from Drill and Musketry to physical fitness, Bands and Signalling.
The unit at Russell School continued in the 3rd Cadet Bn.
In the late 1920s official interest in the cadet movement waned, and in 1930 recognition was withdrawn. This resulted in uniforms, arms and ammunition being taken away. However, the upshot was that the cadet movement carried on as before but under the auspices of the British National Cadet Association, which later became the ACFA and the CCFA.
With a change in government official recognition was restored in March 1932. Field days and Annual Camps became the norm, along with a number of sporting competitions. At the outbreak of the Second World War the Russell School Unit was a Company of the 3rd Cadet Bn. By this time a number of the school units such as Whitgift had become Officer Training Corps units and from 1948 became Combined Cadet Force units.
Russell School remained Army Cadet Force. When Queen Elizabeth II (at the time Princess Elizabeth) visited the school on 11th February 1950 she inspected a Guard of Honour of the ACF, still wearing the cap badge of the Queen’s Regiment. After this time the affiliation changed to the parachute regiment as a reorganisation in the 1957 lists Russell School as part of the Special Arms Group as an ACF unit.
Queen Elizabeth’s second visit on 20th May 1963 was when the Queen approved the adoption of the light blue beret. In 1965 the unit transferred from being an ACF to a CCF, but remaining a parachute regiment. In 1995 the unit rebadged to Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry (Croydon).
2008 saw Royal Russell School CCF expand to take in pupils from Coloma Covent School in Croydon, as part of London Challenge. At the biennial review of 2010 the unit rebadged to the Royal Yeomanry, the same cap badge now worn by the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry. The contingent was also presented with its first Cadet Banner.
1916 – 1938 Major C A Roberts. (Headmaster 1914 – 1937)
1938 – 1963 Captain W A Wright. (Died in Office)
1963 – 1985 Major A R A Starkey
1985 – 1996 Lt Colonel M F Tomlin
1996 – 2005 Lt Colonel P W Green
2005 – Present Wing Commander C Leggatt