21 April 2015
Cadets from No. 3 Troop Bitterne and No. 7 Troop Millbrook attended Millbrook Army Reserve Centre on Monday evening of the 20th April for a formal handing over of the Wessex Branch of the Normandy Veterans Association Standard.
The Normandy Veterans Association took the sad decision to disband due to their members all being in the 90’s and so wanted to find a safe home for their standard to be held and paraded.
They approached Y Company, Hants & Isle of Wight Army Cadet Force and spoke to its Company Commander, Major Roger Mills who was honoured to accept this task. It was decided that a formal parade would be held in the Drill Hall of 457 Battery(V) at the Reserve Centre.
The parade started at 19:45 hours with the over fifty cadets from the two Detachments, members of Y Company HQ, and the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Army Cadet Force Band & Corps of Drums formed up and then receiving the Guest of Honour, the Mayor of Southampton Councillor Sue Blatchford who was greeted by a fanfare.
After a short opening address by Major Mills the cadet ranks were then inspected by the Mayor, and members of the Normandy Veterans Association who took time to speak to the cadets and thank them for their efforts.
Major Mills then led a minutes silence in the memory of passed members of the Association, and a bagpipes solo was played by L/Bdr Christina Maple of 7 Troop.
Presentations were then made with a plaque being given to Bill Edwards (BEM) by Major Mills, and a scroll being handed to Major Mills on behalf of the Veterans Association.
The banner was then formerly handed over to the cadets, with Cdt Bombardier James Seagrove (3 Troop Bitterne) receiving the Standard and escorted by Cdt Sergeant Bradley Elson (3 Trp Bitterne) and Cdt Bombardier Daniel Long (7 Trp Millbrook). The Standard was then slow marched through the assembled ranks of the cadets and then a general salute was given.
The Band then played Sunset and the national Anthem to mark the end of the formal part of the parade. Refreshments were then served and the cadets took the opportunity to speak to the veterans who gave an insight to what it was like at the Normandy battle and life in the forces during the Second World War.
Afterwards Terry Randall, from the Veterans Association said,
“Our feelings about last evening are that we are extremely happy knowing that the Standard is in such safe hands.
We are much impressed with the young people we met and I for one feel gratified to know that the Standard will live on when we are all long gone.”
Check out the video of the event at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgCgTl6EqTo