Over the May half term, 2Lt Ali Harper from Bude Army Cadet Force led a trip for cadets to London. The cadets were provided with a number of brilliant opportunities to further their understanding of the armed forces and to develop their thoughts about leadership.
On the final evening of the trip the cadets, including three from Bude, travelled to Canary Wharf. They were escorted to the 30th floor where they were seated in the Director’s boardroom with some fantastic views of London. They were there to meet two soldiers of distinction. The first was Brig. Matt Maer DSO who commanded the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment in Iraq. This regiment experienced extreme hostility whilst in Al-Amarah undergoing the heaviest baptism of fire since the Korean War. The second was Sgt. Johnson Beharry VC, whose actions whilst in Iraq were quite remarkable (for his citation go here http://www.johnsonbeharryvc.com).
To be in the same room as these men was a privilege for the cadets as they listened to them talk about leadership and courage. There were three moving moments in the evening. First was Matt Maer’s humility. Despite winning the third highest award for gallantry, he was insistent that it was his troops and regiment that should be praised. The second was Matt’s almost paternal view of Johnson. Though it is over ten years since the action that won Johnson his VC, Matt’s pride in and affection for Johnson was evident. The third was Johnson’s honesty at the difficulties in his recovery and the courage he has had to display since returning.
At the end of the evening, the cadets were buzzing and discussing all that they had heard. It was a fabulous experience for them and will benefit them as they continue to develop their leadership skills for whatever they go on to do after their time in the cadet force is over.
If you are interested in the cadet force, either as a young person or an adult volunteer, do get in touch. You can email the detachment commander, Lt Alistair Harper, on 490Harpe@armymail.mod.uk.