Words & pictures by SI Nicola Gale, County Media Officer
Army Cadets from Bridgwater Platoon gathered on Thursday March 30th for a ceremony to mark the rededication of the memorial to a former Cannington cadet, Andrew Barr.
Born in Bridgwater on November 14th 1961, Andrew Barr was a cadet at the Cannington Platoon until he joined the Royal Navy at the age of 16. On May 21st 1982, during Operation Corporate, Andrew was serving on HMS Ardent, a Royal Navy Type 21 frigate positioned in Falkland Sound providing gunfire support to the attack on Goose Green, when the ship was attacked by at least three waves of Argentinian aircraft. Ardent was hit by four bombs and Andrew and 21 of his shipmates were killed. HMS Ardent sank the following day.
Following the Falklands conflict, Andrew’s parents and the local community worked together to secure a lasting memorial to Andrew on the site of the Cadet Hut at Cannington where it has sat ever since.
In the autumn of 2022, due to the condition of the Cannington hut and the low numbers of cadets attending, it was decided the platoon and the memorial would relocate to Bridgwater.
In a ceremony led by Capt (Revd) Lee Mullen RAChD, Chaplain to Somerset Cadet Bn (The Rifles) ACF, cadets, unit staff, battalion officers, members of the Royal British Legion, representatives from WRFCA (Wessex Reserve Forces' & Cadets' Association) and the Sea Cadets joined together to remember Andrew and rededicate his memorial at its new home next to the parade square at Bridgwater Joint Cadet Centre.
During the service, Padre Mullen reflected on Barr’s embodiment of the Army Cadets core values including courage, loyalty, integrity and selfless commitment. He encouraged all those attending to embody those values for themselves in both their cadet lives and in their everyday lives.
Attending the service were Brig Richard Toomey (Honorary Colonel Somerset Army Cadets), Col Stephen Kendall MBE (Commandant Somerset Army Cadets), Col Robbie Guest TD (Colonel Cadets Headquarters South West) and Maj (BM) Scott Bunker with buglers from Somerset Army Cadets’ Silver Bugles Band.