The first principal of Cadet College Petaro was Colonel (R) John Harold Henry Coombes, CBE, E.R.D., M.A.(Oxon), who evokes extreme nostalgic memories for those who have known him, have worked with him, or were students of Cadet College Petaro during his period. He left his mark on the college for posterity. His vision, his tireless efforts and his dedication towards this college continue to bear fruits to this day. Col. Coombes was born on 28 December 1906 at Guernsey, UK, and died on 18 February 1978 at Sellindge, Kent, UK after suffering a heart attack. His body was cremated near his home.