Cadets lay wreaths in memory of Accrington Pals
ACCRINGTON cadets have returned from an extensive tour of First World War battlefields in France and Belgium.
The 13 to 18-year-olds, visited the memorials and cemeteries that honour the memory of fallen soldiers.
As part of the tour, eight cadets from Accrington’s 1035 Air Training Corps, two from Burnley and one from Blackburn, reflected on the loss suffered by the region’s most well known regiment.
The 11th Battalion East Lancashire – or the Accrington Pals – suffered huge losses in Flanders during the war, and the trip helped the cadets learn about their local history ahead of next year’s centenary commemorations. Chairman of the civilian committee at 1035 Accrington squadron, who helps to support and raise funds for the trips and activities, Hilary Austin, said: “It is important that the current cadets learn about military history and the price of war.
“Until they are actually out there and on tour, I don’t think they realise or understand the sacrifice people made and that they were of a similar age to the cadets, especially the Accrington Pals, when they died.”
The squadron of cadets, led by Flight Lieutenant Steve Woodburn, visited the Accrington Pals Memorial, at Sheffield Memorial Park, Serre, and placed a wreath to commemorate the borough’s heroes.
Flt Lt Woodburn said: “The cadets wanted to go back after last time as they got a lot out of it and learned some valuable lessons.
“This time they got a more in-depth knowledge of what actually happened and the effects on the people involved which made them really emotional.
“Some even started crying. We even had a look at the German perspective to balance out our views and looked at the thousands of names of people who have died and are still missing – it had a huge impact on them and was well worthwhile.”
They concluded their tour by laying a wreath at the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres.
Mrs Austin added: “Younger generations need to be reminded of the ultimate sacrifice made for their benefit.”
Accrington 1035 Air Training Corps meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Nuttall Street, Accrington from 7pm and are always looking out for new recruits. Call 01254 383007.
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