By Major Andy Pilling, Company Commander No 3 (Somme) Company
In this year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force celebrated, by holding a street party to celebrate the remarkable achievement.
In early 2021 plans commenced to mark this achievement in a permanent, and something future cadets would see. The Queen’s Green canopy was that ideal opportunity.
Holcombe Moor Training Camp, the home of Greater Manchester ACF has a long history with the military. Soldiers would use the wooded area to train for real conflicts. Soldiers who fought in the first and second World Wars trained there, todays soldiers use the area to train and develop their skills. As the home of Greater Manchester ACF, cadets also train and learn the skills as part of their cadet experience.
Ideas as to how the Queens Green Canopy would look were discussed. The final plan was for a harbour area, that could be used for cadets in their fieldcraft training learning new skills, such as how to shelter with minimal equipment and defend that location. This area, called a harbour, would be planted with the trees in locations and measured distances from each other that would help cadets understand their training. As it is also the 70th year of The Queen’s reign, 70 trees would be used and planted.
As the training area is so vast an ideal location was selected. As the military had trained on the land for over 100 years, clearly anything could be buried under the soil. The chosen area would need to be checked by the Army Explosives and Ordnance Disposal Team.
In December 2021 the trees, looking somewhat like tall twigs arrived at the camp. SMI Woodward a gardener with Glendale Services, who donated steaks and ties for the trees delivered them to their temporary new home. On the camp. The trees later planted, by cadets and staff in the camp until they could be moved to their permanent new home.
The army Explosives and Ordnance Disposal, a very busy unit completed the safety clearance of the land the trees would be planted in May.
On the 19th of May the Honorary Colonel of Greater Manchester ACF, Sharman Birtles MBE JP DL Vice Lord-Lieutenant did the honour of planting the very first tree.
On the 21st of May on a sunny warm day 10 cadets from Failsworth and Reddish Detachments along with adult staff commenced the move of the trees. The day before, the plan of the harbour was measured out and planned for the exact location of all the 70 trees.
70 new holes were dug, 70 trees and support steaks were dug up and replanted. It was hard work as everything had to be carried to the final place.
After 5 hours of hard work by both the cadets and staff the trees were in their new homes. A great day’s work by all and a sense of achievement as to what they had been part of in future history.
During the County celebrations for the Jubilee the Commandant of Greater Manchester ACF, Colonel Harrison had the opportunity to plant the final tree. One of the Padres for Greater Manchester ACF, Rev Dr Gerard Fieldhouse-Byrne gave a blessing for the trees.
Greater Manchester ACF as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy planted 70 new trees. The trees dwarfed by other trees, some of which were planted over 100 years ago. Nobody knowing who or why they were planted. The new trees will have a specially designed notice board, made by the Charity Seta, in Stockport, who train young people in working with metal. It will explain why the trees were planted.
Future generations of cadets, maybe in 100 years from now will train around these trees, with thoughts of their predecessors carrying the trees over the hill to plant them on a sunny Saturday a long time ago.
The cadets today are now part of a history that will live on for maybe hundreds of years in the form of 70 new trees as part of the celebration of our Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Please click here for more pictures from this story.
For more on The Queen's Green Canopy previous post and pictures from 25 May click here
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