Saturday 28th September 2013 saw four cadets from 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron Air Training Corps travel to Nottingham to take part in a talking day which formed part of a selection process to be chosen to go forward into the next heat in being selected to attend a Great Chamber Event in the House of Lords in London in November.
The event is being ran by the local Royal British Legion (RBL) and the English Speaking Union (ESU) with the aim of promoting dialogue and understanding to give the cadets an opportunity to engage with members and veterans of the Armed Forces. The RBL has a strong schools and learning programme founded on Remembrance and the talking days such as this one allow veterans to provide an insight and understanding on the realities of service life, consequences of conflict and the importance of peace. This will also allow the cadets to have the opportunity to discuss the continuing Impact of World War 1 on contemporary society and subsequent military issues.
Upon arrival, cadets were treated to an information session led by veterans of the Armed Forces. During this session, there were four veterans who each stood up and gave a 10 minute speech on their experiences of their careers within the Armed Forces. The cadets learnt that two of the veterans both enjoyed long and successful careers within the British Army, where one of them worked as an armourer. The following two veterans are still active soldiers within the Military, nearing the end of their service who gave explanations on their experiences on operational tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Northern Ireland. Once the veterans had finished talking, the cadets spent some time asking them questions about the information the veterans had just given. Some of the questions the cadets asked the veterans centered around the attitudes of the public towards the military uniform and presence around the world and also going into more detail about how one of the veterans lost his arm on Operational Duty in Afghanistan.
The four cadets from Swadlincote who attended this event included: Cadet Sergeant (Cdt Sgt) Caitlin Foy (15), Cadet Robert Green (15), Cadet Holly Ensor (14) and Cadet Lily Egan (13). Following the most interactive part of the day where the cadets were split into 3 small groups which ended in a small debate where they had to all agree on an A4 Document being produced with points on how the UK was going too use its Armed Forces and Resources over the next 10 years, Cadet Lilly Egan (13) said: “I was really nervous about the idea of talking in front of a big audience but as soon as I started to get more involved in putting my ideas across to the older cadets, I really enjoyed it as I started to feel more comfortable in what I was talking about.”
During the interactive debating sessions, the cadets were being closely observed by Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Rayson-Flynn who works closely alongside Swadlincote Squadron and many other Air Cadet units around the South Derbyshire area as our Wing Staff Officer, so the nervous wait now begins for the cadets as they wait patiently to find out if they have made it through to the next stage of the selection process, which involves a Single Service Selection Day at Royal Air Force Cranwell in October. This event may see them being selected for the main event in the House of Lords in London in November. Fellow cadets and members of staff from Swadlincote wish our team good luck in this new venture and look forward to hearing of the news as to how they got on.