An Army cadet force from Cheshire has just returned from a moving five day trip to the battlefields of France, to remember the fallen in both world wars.
Forty Army cadets and seven adult instructors from Chester Castle, Abbots Park, Ellesmere Port, Neston, Tarporley, Nantwich and Crewe and Alsager travelled to Northern France at the end of May.
Melissa Thorp from Somme Company, Cheshire ACF said: “Our first destination was Vimy Ridge, a Canadian monument; an impressive structure built out of white limestone which strikes an imposing figure on the landscape. It is one of two large memorials to the Canadian soldiers killed in Northern France in the First World War.
“We discovered life in the trenches and the unique tunnel systems used by both sides which are opened up to the public during guided tours delivered by Canadian volunteers. We then continued onto the Normandy beach area to our chateau which would be our base for the next three nights.”
The cadets visited Pegasus Bridge, Ranville and Bayueux cemeteries, Merville Gun Battery, Le Grande Bunker, an important German target command post overlooking Gold, Juno and Sword beaches and Arromanches before travelling to the Somme, .
Melissa added: “This was significant for us due to our rebranding as Somme Company when the companies were reorganised at the beginning of this year.
“The cadets were humbled by the huge impressive memorial at Thiepval and the volume of names carved into the stones - the names of 68,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who never recovered from the battlefields, including the name of the grandfather of Somme Company's officer in charge.”