New Commandants across three counties

Its all change at Cheshire ACF, Greater Manchester ACF and Lancashire ACF. Here we introduce the new Commandants:

Colonel Gavin Jones – Commandant Cheshire ACF:

“I’ve been a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer for twenty-six years, starting in 1997.  I had spent the preceding seven years as a cadet finishing as a Master Cadet, Cadet RSM and Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet.  Over the last 26 years I’ve held a number of different appointments from Detachment Instructor to Deputy Commandant, however the best time was spent as a Detachment Commander, really engaging with the cadets and families in my community, the foundation of all cadet experiences.  I was lucky enough to spend some time at the Cadet Forces Commissioning Board (now Army Cadet Commissions Board) as a Deputy President in 2016-2017 before returning to my County in North Wales to take up another Company Command before accepting my last appointment as Deputy Commandant in 2020.  
Col Gavin Jones

I’m excited to be taking up command of Cheshire Army Cadet Force, what I am looking forward to the most are the opportunities to engage with new Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, Cadets and families and developing those relationships as time moves forward, looking ahead I want to be able to give all cadets but particularly our senior cadets every opportunity to exercise those military skills and those leadership and management skills we spend much time training them in, particularly at key events such as summer camp.”


Colonel Paul Smillie, Commandant Greater Manchester ACF:

“As I take over from Colonel Catherine, I know that I have large boots to fill. I would like to place on record my thanks for her dedication to Greater Manchester ACF for the last 11 years in various senior appointments; the last 3 years as Commandant. She leaves us in a far stronger position than she inherited, bringing us back from the lockdown of Covid, stronger than we were before.
Col Paul Smilie

It is my desire to continue our growth and build a community where everyone feels listened too and supported. We will endeavour to set our cadets up with the skills and values that sets them on the path of life to acheive their dreams and change not only their lives but those around them. I will take pride in leading Greater Manchester ACF on this journey to make our future the success it deserves, and make our communities better places to be.


Colonel Jo Eccles MBE, Commandant Lancashire ACF:

I have been a member of Lancashire ACF for the past 25 years. Over this time I have been in a number of roles and I have had some amazing experiences as a CFAV alongside the cadets.

As Commandant I am looking forward to continuing to develop the county and take us back to pre-pandemic where we were one of the leading counties in the country with the Cadets and CFAV’s getting the chance to undertake exciting and life changing activities.

My vision has always been to enhance the cadets CV and as Commandant the focus will continue to develop our cadets and CFAVs in leadership, followership and important life skills so that their CV will shine in any opportunity, utilising the military skills we teach as a vehicle to do so.

The team at Lancashire are amazing and I look forward to supporting them increasing the pace of activities as well as expanding what we offer with more adventures at home and abroad. Without such a brilliant team around me and supporting me I would not be Commandant today.

Reserve Forces