Normandy Company

A brief look at Normandy Company, Somerset Cadet Battalion (The Rifles) ACF

Normandy Company - 1944. A campaign honour, rather than a battle honour, shared by all Light Infantry regiments that fought there for the liberation of France from German occupation towards the end of World War Two (1939-1945). Many Light Infantry regiments took part in the liberation of Europe, that began with Operation Overlord (the D-Day landings) in June 1944. The Somerset units that took part were 4th Bn Somerset Light Infantry (4 SomLI), 7th Bn Somerset Light Infantry (7 SomLI) and 7th (Light Infantry) Bn Parachute Regiment (raised from 10th Bn Somerset Light Infantry) under command of the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division and 6th Airborne Division respectively. Heavy casualties were sustained during the campaign, with Somerset's losses at Hill 112 near Caen being particularly heavy. In addition two other LI battalions took part in the battle for Hill 112; 4th Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (4 KSLI) and 5th Bn Devon & Cornwall Light Infantry (5 DCLI).

The 2nd Bn Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Oxf & Bucks) also had the distinction of being the first allied unit to land on French soil on D-Day when they assaulted and captured the two bridges, Pegasus and Horsa Bridges as they became known, across the Caen Canal and the River Orne in a textbook glider-borne ‘coup de main’ action during Operation Tonga and so vividly (if slightly inaccurately) portrayed in the film ‘The Longest Day’.

Normandy Company has its headquarters at Shepton Mallet with one full-time member of staff, the CAA (Cadet Administrative Assistant) employed by WRFCA (Wessex Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association) who looks after the day-to-day running of the Company, all its stores, buildings and other assets.

All the remainder of the staff, from the OC (Officer Commanding) down, are all CFAVs (Cadet Force Adult Volunteers) who give a huge amount of their spare time and skills from the civilian world to provide for the cadets. The OC is supported by a CSM (Company Serjeant Major) who looks after discipline and, in some cases, is also the Company Quartermaster. Depending on the manning levels the OC will also have the support of a Training Officer, an Administrative Officer, a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Officer, a Shooting Officer and a First Aid Officer amongst others, who all report to senior members at county HQ level. In many cases CFAVs may be ‘double-hatted’, performing two or more of these roles in addition to their platoon duties. Each Company also has a Coy PR Rep (Company Public Relations Representative) who looks after platoon and company level Public Relations, reporting to the County PR Officer.

Each platoon (detachment) is commanded by a CFAV who may have a number of fellow CFAVs to support him or her as well as, in some cases, a CA (Civilian Assistant) who looks after the platoon’s administration. All platoons, apart from Frome Platoon, parade one evening a week. In a number of platoons the platoon building is also shared with RAF Air Cadets which imposes its own limitations on frequency of use.

N Coy has eight platoons:

Bath

Beechen Cliff

Frome (Silver Bugles Band)

Glastonbury

Midsomer Norton

Paulton

Shepton Mallet

Wells

N Coy Facebook closed group. You must be a cadet, the parent/guardian of a cadet, or a CFAV within one of the platoons in the company to join and you must answer the questions posed before being accepted by the administrator.