470 visits the National Memorial Arboretum

The trip planned and organised by 470 (Falkirk) Squadron was primarily to educate the young people that we develop about the need for remembrance, and to bring home exactly what others have sacrificed to allow them the freedoms that they enjoy and have become accustomed to today. The 150-acre site amazed the cadets and staff not only by the vastness of the NMA but the variety of memorials from personal plaques, military regiments and organisations to civilian organisations and associations who all represented loss. The trip down on the Friday night was uneventful and seemed to take forever, however we were quickly settled into our accommodation at RAF Cosford for the weekend.

Saturday saw the main event on the itinerary, spending the day at the NMA with all of our cadets in their best uniform. We held a very short act of remembrance within the Armed Forces Memorial where the cadets formed up as a composite squadron. Flt Lt Bailey recited “They shall not grow old” a verse from the poem For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon which then led to a lament “Flowers of the Forest being played by CI Campbell Macintyre. During the Lament cadets Morgan Simpkins, Sophie Devine and Heather Lees lay wreaths on behalf of 470 and 498 Squadrons. Once the pipes had stopped playing there was silence from everyone within the semi-circular walls which we utilised to respect a two-minute silence which everyone respected without a command or notification. This was unplanned but pertinent and used to great advantage. Dozens of members of the public watched and took photos of the short service and were astounded and very complimentary of all of our cadets. A gentleman inquired as to the special occasion where Flt Lt Bailey responded there is no special occasion we are all here to remember…”Lest we Forget”.

The cadets were truly enlightened also humbled at their visit and findings of the various memorials, many of them laying poppy crosses at various memorials that represented fallen family members or previous Squadron members. Each spending time for their own little acts of remembrance. Cadets were tasked with selecting a memorial in small groups then to research it and then prepare a presentation to be delivered on their return. To unwind the cadets went 10 pin bowling on the Saturday night which allowed cadets who had only met for the first time to network with other cadets. Sunday was a day of unwinding and fun with a trip to Alton Towers, this showed the cadets some of the activities that they had access to due to sacrifices of others over the years and to think what might have been had they not. The trip was brought to a close with a further educational visit to the RAF Cosford Air Museum which has some excellent technical memorials which represent some of the equipment that bought our freedom, there is also an excellent Science Technology and Maths (STEM) area within the museum where our cadets explored some of the fine interactive displays. Thankfully the journey home on Monday afternoon seemed shorter than the outward journey did. Everyone arrived home safe and well and well and truly exhausted after a packed weekend of activities. These activities help to instil the morals required by fine young citizens and the trip designed to reinforce those morals and citizenship. Thanks must go to all of the staff for their hard work and dedication in what will be a memorable trip for all who attended.

2018-09-NMA Trip