14 December 2016
Over the weekend of 30th Sept - 2nd Oct, 3 cadets from B Sqn, LNR ACF, Cadet S/Sgt L. Mecklenburgh, Cadet Cpl K. Fisher and Cadet B. Derry, joined cadets from Middlesex & NW London ACF and the Australian Army Cadets on a trip to the battlefields of Flanders and the Somme. The aim of the visit was to understand the conditions experienced by soldiers during the First World War.
On Saturday the cadets were given a tour of the Passchendaele 1917 museum. Here they were taken through the various battles that took place in the Ypres Salient and got to explore detailed recreations of trenches and underground dugouts.
After being treated to authentic “trench stew” (corned beef – yum!), the cadets took part in a "Platoon Experience", where they were dressed and equipped as WWI soldiers before travelling the very same route taken by the Australian forces in the battle of Passchendaele. Along the way the cadets took part in other WWI exercises. Upon reaching the Tyne Cot memorial, a short remembrance service was held before heading back.
On Saturday evening, the cadets had the honour of taking part in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, where wreaths were laid from the both the Australian and UK contingents.
Sunday saw a tour of several battlefields and memorials, including Fromelles, Lochnagar Crater and Poziers. The final visit of the trip was to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, where the cadets saw the tragedy and sacrifice of the war.
The cadets and instructors enjoyed the trip, as well as being overwhelmed by the moving experience, Cdt Derry from Brentwood detachment said, “I enjoyed meeting the Australian cadets, I also managed to find my Great Grandad, Private Henry Derry. This was a great experience that I will use in the future.”