Air Cadets Visit Battlefields for WW1 Centenary
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By Flight Lieutenant Kellyann Martin RAF VR(T) - 2490 (Spen Valley) Squadron
Cadets from South and West Yorkshire Wing recently had a four day World War One Centenary Battlefields Tour to France and Belgium. The Commanding Officer of 2490 (Spen Valley) Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Kellyann Martin RAF VR(T) arranged the trip to mark the Great War’s Centenary 1918-2014: 100 years from the start of the conflict. Cadets and staff from 2490, 250, 168, 103, 185, 2387, 127, 1466 and 2387 Squadrons all joined the coach party for the commemorative trip overseas.
The Cadets visited a number of different sites including the Trench of Death at Dixmuide, Flanders and Ypres, Tyne Cot Memorial and other cemeteries, plus Vimy Ridge Canadian Memorial and the Thievpal Memorial in the area of the Somme.
To make the trip more meaningful, before they left the UK, the cadets did some research into soldiers from their local area. By a curious coincidence, one cadet, Alfie Broadfield of 2490 (Spen Valley) Squadron discovered the name of the soldier who lived in the same house in Liversedge that he lives in now. To show our respects for this soldier, we visited Essex Farm cemetery to find Private Joe Haworth of the Coldstream Guards, and held a commemoration ceremony at his grave.
For many of the cadets of the trip though, their most poignant moment of the trip came from parading at the Last Post remembrance ceremony of the Menin Gate. During the ceremony, when the buglers played the Last Post, the cadets paraded their standards and a wreath was laid.
Flt Lt Martin said “I felt it was important that we commemorated the heroes that died in World War 1, and this was an excellent way to educate the cadets in our history. As time moves on, the younger generations should be taught why it is so important to remember such events. Although our cadets participate in the Remembrance Day Parades and sell poppies every year, this was the ideal opportunity for them to see firsthand the sacrifices the soldiers of our country made, and show the cadets exactly why we should continue to commemorate these people.”