19 March 2018

On a snowy day in mid-March 38 cadets and 10 adults visited the IWM at Duxford to start their research for the visit to France in October 2018 to commemorate the Cambridgeshire Regiment during WW1 especially in 1918 which had been arranged with Dr Pamela Linden.

After the initial introduction in the Airspace Section by the IWM staff – Dr Pamela Linden, Catherine Long (First World War Partnerships) and historian specialists – Col (Retd) Tony Slater, Cliff Brown and Robin James, we all moved across the airfield in minus 8 degrees wind chill to the Land Warfare Museum. Once inside the three groups rotated between the talks by the historians, to learn about the Cambridgeshire Regiment, the Royal Anglian Regiment as well as the vehicles/equipment used in WW1, the cadets seemed particularly keen on the weaponry. Following this, we returned to the Airspace section for a more in-depth talk by Felix Jackson, Cliff Brown and Robin James on what we had just seen and the work of the Cambridgeshire Regt 1914-18 website Historians.

After lunch, IWM’s Catherine Long (War Memorials Register and Lives of the First World War) demonstrated how to handle information from research pages and create a profile for any specific soldier – in this case, we chose Percy Nunn of Sawston. The information from a census in 1901 not only gave his date of birth but also his parents’ names, where they were born & their occupations as well as any siblings and the current address at that time. We managed to build quite a good profile of him and even found a photograph of him with his father and brother.

In the evening, we went more in depth regarding the research and what to look for; we talked about medals and awards; some would have survived more than one conflict and won more than one award as well as who had survived the war completely and how they were afterwards and what work they returned to.

On Sunday Col (Retd) Tony Slater returned to continue helping with our research by looking at the battles of 1918 in more depth and discussing how the soldiers worked within the trenches – on an 8-day rotation; how they found out the lay of the land and sent messages (semaphore / radio / homing pigeons). In fact, Percy Nunn, who we had researched the day before, had died instantaneously whilst repairing telecommunication lines. Before lunch on Sunday the cadets were given names of their two soldiers to research – one dead and one survivor of WW1.

The cadets have been asked to prepare their research by 14th April 2018 with a prize of a visit to IWM Duxford with their family for the best presented research.

Lt Col T W Cox| Deputy Cadet Commandant-Cadet Training| Cambridgeshire ACF