24 January 2018
As the 100th anniversary of the First World War armistice approaches, 5,000 cadets from around the UK are preparing to take part in a unique battlefield tour in October 2018.
The trip will involve five groups of 1,000 cadets (the approximate number of soldiers in an infantry battalion on the Somme in 1914), plus ACF volunteer instructors, travelling over to France. The groups will travel on alternate days during the last week of October.
Before undertaking the visit the cadets will be asked to research their family history to understand more about their own families’ 100 year journey from WW1 to present day. Their research will help them to understand the roles their relatives played during WW1, find out more about local heroes who deserve to be remembered and gain a greater appreciation of the freedoms they enjoy today.
During the visits, each group of cadets will get the opportunity to talk to experts about the causes of WW1, the course of the War, technology (including tanks, mines, aircraft, artillery and radio), media, medicine and commemoration. At the end of each visit the groups will take part in a commemorative parade at the Thiepval Memorial.
Col Mark Nash, Commandant of Wiltshire ACF, is working with HQ Regional Command and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to plan the event. “This will be a wonderful experience for each cadet,” he says. “Organising it centrally reduces the overall effort and means cadets will be able to take part who wouldn’t normally do so, because we’re making the cost as small as possible – £30. “
Mark hopes the trip will introduce the cadets to battlefield studies and develop their interest in them. “Being part of a huge commemorative event should give the cadets a lasting memory and positive attitude towards commemoration,” he says.
The visits will be supported by a special Guide Team and a Support Team. Cadets who are interested in taking part should check if their county is participating and, if so, contact their Detachment Commander for more details.
Counties wanting to take part (or adult volunteers wanting to act as guides or to join the support team) should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for more information.