As part of a year of celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the cadet movement, hundreds of youngsters from all three Services paraded past His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in London yesterday.
Cadets, volunteers and their massed bands came to London from across the UK to march from Horse Guards Parade down The Mall to Buckingham Palace.
The Prince of Wales took the salute at the Royal Review and the cadets then attended an exclusive garden party with members of the Royal Family to mark the occasion.
A flypast by the famous Red Arrows accompanied the parade and, uniquely, a selection of cadets travelled in the aircraft with the pilots as part of the celebrations.
Youngsters from the Sea Cadets, the Army Cadet Force, the Air Training Corps and the Combined Cadet Force took part in the parade.
Prince Charles saluted the cadets as they marched past Clarence House, accompanied by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, and Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Andrew Robathan.
Various events have already taken place across the country to celebrate Cadet150, the anniversary of the cadet movement in the UK which was formed in 1860 to help bolster numbers of those working in Defence following heavy losses in the Crimean War.
Commodore Bob Mansergh, Head of Reserve Forces and Cadets at the Ministry of Defence, said:
The Cadet Forces have been providing a cadet experience for young people between 12 and 18 for very many years as the 150 implies.
The Duke of Edinburgh captured this well at the 100th anniversary when he said it’s not the fact that we’ve had 100 years of the cadets that’s important, it’s the achievements that they’ve had during that time.
I would just humbly re-echo that, what they do, the Cadet Forces, and particularly the adult volunteers who help them, is what the cadets are about, not the 150 years or the longevity.
A recent survey found that youngsters involved in the Cadet Forces feel they have a healthy lifestyle as a result of the activities they are able to get involved in.
They also believe that if they weren’t involved in the military, their spare time would be spent playing video games or getting into trouble.
17-year-old Petty Officer Cadet Naomi Groves, who was on parade in The Mall yesterday, has been in the Sea Cadets for five years. She said:
We get to kayak, sail, pull-in, play football, we do drill as well, which is the discipline side of everything.
When younger cadets come in we get to teach them, so we’re helping them build their future in a way. I love the people in cadets, they’re all so friendly.
With skills such as leadership, management and teamwork taught through the cadet movement, the lessons the youngsters learn can be used in later life.
Also on parade yesterday, 19-year-old Cadet Warrant Officer Alexandra Short, of 27F Squadron, said:
I’ve learned the discipline of how to look up to your elders or when you’re in a work place. I’ve had to wear a uniform which is good as I actually want to go into the RAF and this uniform that I’m wearing is basically the same, so it does help to know how to iron it, how to wear it and how to polish your shoes. It helps a lot for later life.
I’d like to become an RAF Police Officer. I’ve been influenced quite a lot through cadets, for instance, when we go on section visits, going to the RAF Police or the police dogs, they’re just the best ever.
18-year-old Cadet Under Officer Rachel Tresman has been in the cadets for six years. She acted as Parade Adjutant for yesterday’s Ceremonial Review outside Buckingham Palace. She said:
I’ve been very lucky in the experience I’ve had, but if you talk to any other cadet they’ll have a whole string of experiences that they’ve had and they’ve loved. I think there really is, in each cadet force, something for everyone.
You might not be good at one thing and then with other things you find your forte. It’s an amazing way to get a sense of achievement from a hobby and I think it’s unique in that experience and self-confidence that it gives you. I would recommend any cadet service to anyone who’s interested.
Throughout 2010 the four cadet forces will join together to participate in activities including a tri-Service Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a first air competition and a tri-Service cadet expedition to Lesotho in South Africa.