30 July 2012
Cadets from Rossett Platoon, Clwyd and Gwynedd Army Cadet Force have just returned from the Somme in Northern France, the setting for the famous World War 1 battle which cost the lives of thousands of British and Allied troops. As well as it being an act of remembrance, it was also a rather profound learning opportunity for the Cadets involved.
During the ten day stay earlier this month, the Cadets paraded at the Thiepval Memorial to those killed on the Somme with no known grave, the Ulster Tower where the Ulster Division fought and the Lochnagar Crater, the scene of a massive underground detonation, beneath the German lines, which heralded the start of the Somme offensive. On 5th July the Cadets travelled to Belgium for a parade at the Menin Gate at Ypres, the memorial to the missing who fought at Passchendale and Flanders. Then, on 7th July they participated in a special parade at Mametz Wood on the 96th Anniversary of the day the Welsh Division engaged in the battle.
They also visited an archaeological dig at La Boiselle uncovering the history of the Royal Engineer Tunnelling Companies, who were tasked with digging beneath the German lines. This held a special poignancy for the Welsh cadets as the archaeologists have discovered the body of William Arthur Lloyd a soldier from Gatewen Road, New Broughton, Wrexham.
16 year old Cadet Corporal Ciaran Edwards from Llay and a former pupil of Castell Alun, said:
"It has been a fantastic experience coming to France and learning what the soldiers went through, which was basically hell".
He added: "I am proud to parade in their memory and especially proud to be remembering the Welsh soldiers who lost their lives at Mametz".
Pictured is Cadet Nikki Lloyd laying a wreath above the spot where William A Lloyd lies and also standing at the entrance to the La Boiselle tunnel network.