Emotional Roller Coaster
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By Flt Lt PN Yarrow - 1151 (Wallsend) Squadron
On 30 May cadets from Alnwick, Ashington, Wallsend, Houghton and Blackhall squadrons including Cameron Douglass age 14 from Wallsend, a pupil at Burnside School and Cadet Anthony Brooks age 15 a pupil at Benfield School along with Flt Lt Nigel Yarrow the Officer Commanding 1151 ( Wallsend) Squadron left Durham/Northumberland Wing to meet with cadets from Goole (Humberside) and Woolton (Liverpool) on an emotional rollercoaster of a trip to Normandy.
Strangers at first the cadets and staff were soon working together establishing the campsite and working as two flights on visits to various museums and a British, American and German War cemetery where the costs of war and the age of it’s victims were discovered and respects were paid.
The meaning of remembrance was brought home at parades alongside the Normandy Veterans at Colville-Montgomery, Rotes, Ranville and the Merville Battery. Due to the high security levels due to the visits of the members of the British and Dutch Royal Families as well as the heads of state from the USA, Russia, France and Germany, keeping to time was almost impossible and at one venue the organiser humorously berated the RAF for “being late as usual but we don’t start without the ATC cadets” a reference to previous years when the cadets were the only British military presence. At every venue the cadets were praised by local dignitaries and senior officers from various services for their smartness and standard of foot and banner drill.
The highlight of the week was the participation in the parade and service at Arromanches which were attended by Price William and the Duchess of Cambridge. Although playing a less high profile than in previous years the cadets were once again an integral part in helping the veterans that have done so much for all of us.
Cadet Brookes said “I thoroughly enjoyed myself in Normandy, it was a great experience to do the parades at the celebrations and memorials and I learnt a lot from talking to the veterans” Cadet Douglas told the rest of the Unit “It was a really good trip and I enjoyed myself especially hearing the stories from the veterans.” “It was a pleasure to be working alongside such a hardworking and committed team of cadets and adults.” commented Flt Lt Yarrow.
For more information please visit the Squadron website