The evening of the 7th of May saw cadets from a number of different squadrons gather at Nottingham castle for the annual Albert Ball memorial parade.
This event celebrates the life and achievement of a fighter pilot of the Great War, who lived locally and attended Trent College. Aged only twenty, the young man was killed when his aircraft engine failed, after an estimated forty-four airborne victories. Only three other British airman of the First World War are believed to have scored more credited victories.
A statue of Albert Ball stands atop a monument, overlooked by Nottingham castle and it is here that the annual parade takes place. The large contingent of cadets was marched down from the crest of the hill, on which the castle stands, to take their place by the monument, now accompanied by a number of veterans and various local dignitaries including the Lord Mayor of Nottingham.
Although the event is named in honour of the young pilot, Albert Ball, its purpose is to pay respect to all those who paid the same price in the service of their country. A short address was made, reminding those present of the importance of dedication, loyalty and of the need to remember everyone affected by war.
A silence was observed to reflect upon the sacrifices made by Ball and his comrades and all service men and women in conflicts since. The cadets were then paraded back up to the castle, where the event concluded. Albert Ball was only a year or two older than some of the cadets attending the parade when he died, which made the act of remembrance all the more affecting.
Just eighteen years of age, he volunteered to join an infantry regiment of men recruited from Nottingham. Only two years later he had been awarded the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order (twice) and the Military Cross, paying for his heroism with his life. He set an example of tenacity and commitment to a cause which is an inspiration to the cadet forces, one hundred years later.
Cadet Sergeant James Bland said, “It is an event I attend every year since I started to cadets. And every year the support for the event gets bigger. It is great to learn the history of Pilots from World War 1 and how young they were but how significant they were to the contribution of the war.”
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Written by Cadet J Upton
2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron ATC
Edited by Cadet Sergeant J Bland
2195 Media Team