Thames Valley Air Cadets from Windsor, Didcot, Wantage and Abingdon Squadrons have just returned from taking part in the 66th Annual Airborne “Wandeltocht” or March in Arnhem.
Each year around 35 thousand people from all backgrounds honour the men of the UK 1st Airborne Division who lost their lives during Operation Market Garden in September 1944.
Started by the local people to raise funds to pay for veterans of the battle to visit each year, 459 Squadron have been attending as part of the British Military contingent for around 8 years and decided to drag along as many other cadets as possible this year. The Cadets enjoy the occasion and learn a great deal from the highly experienced Tour guides who come along.
“It really hits you in Oosterbeek cemetery” said Cadet Corporal Cpl James Hopkins “some of the service men buried there are only 18 and 19 years of age, I can’t imagine going through what they did”
Thames Valley Wing Air Training Corps won the trophy for the fastest Military team over the 15KM course “Quite an achievement to beat Adult Armed Forces teams” said Officer Commanding Squadron Leader Neil Knowles “You can show Cadets films about things like Arnhem but being here and seeing the commemoration laid on by the Dutch people and their enduring gratitude makes it all come alive to them”
These marches are an ideal lead in for Nijmegen and easy to train for with a choice of one day routes of 10km, 15 and 25km.
Next year’s Marches are on the 7th September and Thames Valley Wing are aiming for an even bigger team next year.
Details will be out in the New Year.