29 May 2020
By SI James Hutton, Bury Detachment, No 1 (Minden) Company
During the current lockdown Bury Detachment Army Cadets have walked from Bury Town Hall to the Minden Memorial in Germany – a distance of 920km. All of this was done whilst undertaking an hour’s exercise each day.
Lockdown has brought many challenges to our entire way of life and physical exercise was strictly curtailed for all of us. The staff at Bury Detachment came up with a novel way to help cadets to get some daily exercise as well as setting a goal that required teamwork to achieve.
Minden holds a special place in Fusilier history, it is one of their proudest Battle Honours – dating back to 1st August 1759 as part of the Seven Years War. So decisive was the victory that the enemy commander, the Marquis de Contades is reported to have said "I have seen what I never thought to be possible—a single line of infantry break through three lines of cavalry, ranked in order of battle, and tumble them to ruin!"
All face to face cadet training has been paused for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency and staff have taken to social media to keep Army Cadet training going. As part of their syllabus, cadets are expected to undertake some form of physical exercise, but this had to be delivered whilst maintaining social distancing and the one hour limit on outdoor exercise. The suggestion to have a “virtual” walk to Minden was embraced enthusiastically by the cadets and staff.
Staff members uploaded a spreadsheet so that cadets could input their exercise totals and see how other platoons were progressing, there was quite a bit of friendly inter-platoon rivalry which engaged the cadets more.
Frequent updates by the staff included the remaining distance and StreetView images. Local points of interest and history were pointed out on their virtual journey.
Detachment Commander, Sergeant Major Mike Toner said “I am immensely impressed by the cadets’ achievement in completing the walk to Minden in such difficult times.”