CADETS have made a poignant trip to commemorate the First World War.
Cadets from Rossett, Rhos, Wrexham and Llangollen Platoons of the Clwyd and Gwynedd Army Cadet Force, (ACF) visited the Somme area of northern France to participate in commemorations of the famous battle on July 1, 1916.
Capt Mervyn Jones of Rossett Platoon, who has organised trips over the past seven years, said: “Each year it gets bigger and bigger, we achieve more and incorporate more into the itinerary. Thirty-eight cadets came this year, next year I would hope to bring more and I would like to continue in this vein until the 100th anniversary in 2016.”
The cadets paraded at the main ceremony at the Thiepval Memorial and played an integral role at the ceremonies at the Lochnagar Crater and the Ulster Tower, the Divisional memorial to the men of the 36th Ulster Division.
The cadets also visited the Menin Gate at Ypres, Belgium and paraded at the daily ceremony remembering those who lost their lives in Flanders Fields.
The 38th Welsh Division fought at Passchendale, near Ypres, in 1917.
Passchendale is now home to Tyne Cot cemetery, the world’s largest British military cemetery with over 12,000 graves which the cadets also visited.
“There are three holders of the Victoria Cross buried within the cemetery,” said Capt Jones, “it is a poignant demonstration of the courage, selflessness and sacrifice of the British soldier. The other side of the coin is that the sheer number of graves starkly illustrates how futile war can be. It gives the cadets a lot of food for thought.”
They also found time to do ground maintenance work at the Lochnagar Crater, created by 66,000 lbs of explosive detonated as Allied troops began their assault.
Finally they developed links with French Army Cadets from Paris, and even squeezed in a trip to Euro Disney.
The trip was supported by AVOW, Egerton Street, Wrexham.
See full story in the Leader