Antiguan Cadets visit to Cumbria

Antiguan Cadets visit to Cumbria

13 April 2023

  • Cumbria ACF

Today, marked the last day of the exchange programme here in Cumbria. The Cadets and Adult Volunteers departed Carlisle Castle to travel to the home of the Army Cadets in the UK, Frimley Park. They will be spending the night there before travelling to Gatwick to fly back to Antigua.

This week's visit by Cadets from Antigua and Barbuda follows a successful trip Cumbria Army Cadet Force made to Antigua in October 2022, which is part of an exchange programme between the Cadet Forces.

This has been a truly fantastic experience for all those involved and it is something that we wish to continue for years to come.

Here is a summary of some of the exciting activities they have been involved in:

After arriving into Gatwick Airport, Cadets from the Antigua and Barbuda National Cadet Corps were met met by representatives of Cumbria Army Cadet Force. They spent their first night staying Kendal.

On their first full day of activities, the Cadet had the opportunity to take part in the Lake District Sheep Dog Experience which they thoroughly enjoyed. After this, they then travelled towards Lake Windermere before taking a lake cruise to Ambleside and back. They then spent a second night in Kendal.

On Day Three, visiting Cadets from the Antigua and Barbuda National Cadet Corps (ABNCC) visited Barrow Detachment for a morning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities led by Maj. Alex Hill and SI Callum MacDonald. The equipment used was kindly provided by BAE systems. During the activities, the Cadets had the opportunity to build a 4X4 vehicle and also learned how to program a ball so that it would turn left and right. This activity turned into a bit of a competition between the boys and girls, which the girls won.

After this activity, the Cadets then visited the Dock Museum in Barrow where they learned about the history of shipbuilding in Barrow, the Vikings of Furness and many other interesting exbibits which were on display.

In the evening, the Cadets are headed to the home of Cumbria Army Cadet Force at Carlisle Castle which can trace its beginnings back to the year 1092 and is one of the oldest and most notable buildings in Carlisle.

On their fourth day, Cadets from the Antigua and Barbuda National Cadet Corps spent the day at the headquarters of Cumbria Army Cadet Force, Carlisle Castle. In the morning the Cadets toured Carlisle Castle learning about its military past and recent restoration works which discovered historic carvings within the castle walls.

We then received a visit from ITV Border News who interviewed Cadets and volunteers taking part in the exchange visit. The cadets then took part in Weapon Handling training, followed by an assessment to enable them to begin shooting on the range.

In the afternoon, they visited the Cumbria Museum of Military Life and were given a tour by Jules the curator of the museum. They learned about the military history from the 16th Century and more detailed history of the Border Regiment. After the trip to the museum, they headed to the indoor shooting range where the Cadets were able to put their weapon handling skills into practice.

Day Five marked the start of Cumbria Army Cadet Force’s Easter Camp for Senior Cadets at RAF Spadeadam. Our visiting Cadets from Antigua participated in a full programme of events across the bank holiday weekend.

In the morning, all Cadets took part in Fieldcraft refresher training to prepare them for the Fieldcraft Training Exercise . Cpl Browne and Cpl Bird who are visiting us from Antigua took part in Weapon Training with SMI Slater.

After a busy morning of training, we were treated to a hot lunch in the field - a real treat! After lunch, we moved on to tactical movement and covert approach training. These skills will be put into practice in the Fieldcraft Training Exercise.

On Day Six, Cadets from Cumbria Army Cadet Force and the Antigua and Barbuda Cadet Corps started their morning at Carlisle Castle where they took part in Drill exercises led by RSM Charles and Cadets from Antigua. As you will see from the video this was very fast and totally different from their usual drill activities! It was thoroughly enjoyed by all taking part.

By mid-morning they deployed to RAF Spadeadam to take part in the 48 hour Fieldcraft Training Exercise. Building on skills they have been learning, they will be working as a team to patrol an area at night, and set an ambush, which is one of the most exciting exercises that the Cadets will experience. Not only that, fieldcraft develops teamwork, leadership and communication skills which can be transferred into everyday life!

All the cadets will be camped out overnight and enjoyed a ‘ration pack’ diet for the next couple of days.

On Day Seven, Cadets from Cumbria Army Cadet Force and Antigua and Barbuda National Cadet Corps have been continuing their Fieldcraft Training Exercise at RAF Spadeadam.

They woke in the morning, following their first night out in their harbour area. It was a chilly night but all cadets were in good spirits this morning after a warm (Ration Pack) breakfast. They started the morning with Deliberate Attack rehearsals, which included reaction to effective enemy fire, locating the enemy, suppressing the enemy, the attack and the regroup.

At lunchtime they received a visit from the Easter Bunny, also known as SMI Harrison! He brought Easter eggs, which went down a treat!

The cadets then moved on to a fighting patrol where they were given patrol orders to carry out a mission to locate and destroy enemy forces operating within the area. After lunch the carried out further patrols, and during the night they took part in a night ambush exercise.

Day Eight, saw the conclusion of the Fieldcraft Training Exercise at RAF Spadeadam and all Cadets returned to Carlisle Castle. Unfortunately for them, their return to base meant the beginning of the dreaded weapon cleaning tasks!

After lunch, all Cadets participated in the final parade, where some of the Cadets were awarded Star Level Passes. The parade also involved a presentation made by Cadets and volunteers of Cumbria Army Cadet Force to the visiting party from Antigua and Barbuda National Cadet Corps.

Cumbria ACF also received sincere thanks for the training and activities they have been involved with during their visit from ABNCC and were presented with gifts.

In the affternoon, Cadets from Antigua and Barbuda also visited Carlisle Cathedral with the Commandant to attend an evening prayer service.

On Day Nine, Her Excellency Karen Mae Hill, High Commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda to the Court of St James’ joined Cumbria ACF who were visiting Edinburgh Castle with the RSM and Cadets from Antigua and Barbuda National Cadet Corps.

It has been an excellent opportunity for the Cadets to take part in training exercises and educational visits. We would like to say a special thank you to HQ 51 Brigade Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and Major Archibald for providing access to Edinburgh Castle and for the informative tour. The opportunity for the cadets to stand behind the 1 o’Clock Gun fire, was an experience they will never forget.

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