Battlefield tour 2018 day 2

23 October 2018

This morning the cadets woke up early and enjoyed a continental breakfast followed by making their lunch for the day. Onto the coach and ready for the first stand of the day.

Following a short bus drive to the Somme, the first stand was in the area of the build up to the battle of Nurlu. We explored the wood that Lt Col Clayton, Commanding Officer, led his battalion through the night before their attack on Nurlu village. This entailed crossing a canal and river whilst under gas attack.

To reach the second stand we moved over the canal to the village of Nurlu and looked at the ground from the German front line trenches. The cadets learnt all about the battle and how the Cambridgeshire's fought through the German lines.

The third stand of the day was to the 12th Div Memorial to the east of Epehy. Here the cadets learnt about the four days of intensive fighting that the 1st Cambridgeshire's were involved in and how it paved the way for the major battle to break the Hindenburg line. The cadets laid a wreath and poppy crosses to honour the men who fell in the battles.

The fourth stand of the day was the cemetery at Peronne. Here the cadets had the chance to lay the poppy crosses on the graves of the Cambridgeshire soldiers they were researching. The padres led a small ceremony of Remembrance and all observed a two minute silence after the Last Post was played on the flute by Cdt Sgt Eleanor Phipps.

The fifth stand was a visit to the the Riqueval Bridge which was the key break through point on the Hindenburg line, which was the German main final defensive line. There is a photograph of all the cadets on the bridge which is the same bridge that was there over 100 years ago.

The finale to the day was the Last Post ceremony held at the Menin Gate in Ypres. The cadets taking part in the parade had the chance to watch the buglers of the fire brigade that have kept this tradition for over 80 years. Lt Col Cox was given the honour of reading the Exhortation. Lt Col Cox along with Sgt McLean (Cambridge detachment) and Sgt Read (St Ives detachment) laid the wreath on behalf of the county.

The cadets were on a high on the way back ready to the chateau ready for tomorrow's activities.

“Cambridgeshire Regiment artwork used with kind permission of”