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1(F) Leicester ATC gets freedom of French town

Article posted: Dec 11, 2008 by Sqn Ldr Utting AIR TRAINING CORPS SQUADRON GETS FREEDOM OF FRENCH TOWN

Cadets, Staff and Civilian Committee members of 1F (City of Leicester) Squadron of the Air Training Corps, have recently returned from a poignant and memorable trip to France where they were given the freedom of a French town.

They joined personnel from Royal Air Force Cottesmore, members of the Royal Air Forces Association branch of Great Glen and the twinning committee of the district of Harborough, in travelling to the town of La Ferte Sous Jouarre in the Ardenne region of France in order to join in the events marking the 90th Anniversary of the signing of the 1918 Armistice.

The focus of the trip was the 11th of November where the squadron band had the privilege of leading the parade through the streets of the town. The parade stopped at two British World War One War Memorials where a trumpeter from the squadron played the last post and reveille. The parade came to a conclusion at the French war memorial where following a rededication ceremony the tricolor was raised.

After a long and moving parade, the Mayor surprised the squadron by granting them the freedom of the town and allowed them to freely march through the streets to rapturous applause from the townspeople.

Cadet Flight Sergeant Daniel McGlynn said, “It is very humbling to be able to stand at the graveside of so many fallen heroes. Throughout my cadet life, I’ve had so many opportunities but the chance to play as a member of the squadron band, play the last post at several monuments and lay poppies on war graves is a thing you can never forget. It moved all of us who were so fortunate to share the special occasion.”

The remainder of the trip involved visits to American and German cemeteries, sightseeing in Paris and a visit to the Mercier Champagne House in order to understand how champagne was made.