12 Air Cadets and staff have returned from Belgium after successfully completing the 4 day 80 mile Ijzer March organised by the Belgian Army.
The march takes place annually and has become a regular occasion for 2425 (Nottingham Airport) Squadron Air Training Corps, based at Tollerton. The march has grown into a large public event with thousands of members of the public as well as military units from different countries taking part.
On the road
Each day the walkers complete a 20 mile march around different localities including historic battlegrounds of World War I. Varying conditions were encountered, from walking on sand dunes, to road and field walking. Conditions were made difficult this year with temperatures reaching record levels but the support from the spectators and marshals helped the morale of the walkers.
Cadets are taught about the World War I and military history as part of their visit. As part of their education they were honoured to be asked to lay a wreath during the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, as well as being invited by the German military contingent to take part in a memorial service at the German Cemetery.
Final Day March Past
The final day of the march culminated in a large parade at Ypres in front of the public where 2425 Squadron proudly flew the Union Flag as it marched past the dignitaries, including the Belgian Minister of Defence.
This year there were 4 new cadets taking part. Cadet Cox said “This is the hardest thing I’ve done but the team spirit and teamwork helped me through the difficult parts. We made lots of friends and swapped insignia with the Dutch, Germans and other nationalities.”
2425 Team wearing Wish You Upon A Star T-shirts
This year the participants were sponsored in order to raise funds for the squadron’s chosen charity, When You Wish Upon A Star (www.whenyouwishuponastar.org.uk), the charity that makes dreams come true for sick children. The final total is not yet known but it is expected to be a significant sum of money, running into hundreds of Pounds for this very worthwhile charity.
By CI Phil Gregg
2425 Sqn Media & Communications Officer