11 May 2018
4 Company Cadets recently returned from a momentous trip to Normandy. The OC of 4 Company, Major Kavanagh tells us about this wonderful trip, from start to finish.
"Having left Liverpool with an eager 38 cadets and 10 CFAVs we embarked on a long journey down to Portsmouth, with spirits high but tiredness setting in our guide for the Tour, Brian, took the microphone and started pointing famous landmarks or areas of interest that where somehow connected to our eventual destination of the Normandy beaches and the D-Day landings. This immediately set the tone for the next 4 days with Brian achieving his own chant from the cadets!
Upon arrival at our accommodation after only a mere 16 hours travelling we settled in and eagerly awaited the next morning where we would officially start our guide tour. After breakfast and with cries of Sir wheres the Bacon and Sausages? still ringing in the air we walked out to meet our coach and were greeted with the exceptional site of GOLD beach. We gathered our thoughts and headed to our first locations of the day at the British Airborne cemetery at Ranville, it is at this moment that it became crystal clear why we had come! We where asked to gather around the youngest person to lose their life in the Normandy campaign Private R E Jones was a mere 16 years old when he was killed in July 1944. This to the majority of the cadets and adults was a shock to the system but a shock that took them on greater journey of understanding of Who What & Why, upon their dispersal back to the coach there was not one word muttered, with reflection quite clearly etched on their faces.
This was the catalyst needed and Brian our guide asked for our endorsement for what he just done, a Cadet from the Allerton detachment raised his hand and asked if he could ask Brian a question...
That one single action sent ripples through the remainder of the trip with both the cadets and cfavs continuously engaged in conversation with Brian or each other discussing landmark events and history.
As Brian said to us all the weather we experienced was very similar to D DAY, this in itself adds to the essence that makes the whole thing even more impressive, for the cadets to stand on each one of the 5 beaches in 30-40mph winds and driving rain, it gave a great perspective to what was felt by both the allied and axis forces.
I could go on and write pages, but to put things in a nut shell, this trip brought history and Hollywood to life. It gave everyone present a distinct memory that will last with them forever and ones that can be passed down so that this immensely important part of history is not forgotten.
We now obviously have to look forward and start planning our next trip....I wonder where that could take us.!
For more photographs of this trip, please visit the media gallery on this website.