WWI battlefields tour for local cadets

Lewis Allison and Taylor Devlin are pictured at the Pozieres Memorial which bears the names of 14,657 British and South African soldiers of the Fifth and Fourth British Armies missing or killed in action from March to August 1918 during World War I.
Lewis Allison and Taylor Devlin are pictured at the Pozieres Memorial which bears the names of 14,657 British and South African soldiers of the Fifth and Fourth British Armies missing or killed in action from March to August 1918 during World War I.

The past came powerfully and poignantly to life for two local teenagers recently as they made a pilgrimage to the World War 1 battlefields of Belgium and France.

Lewis Allison, from Brougshane, and Taylor Devlin, from Portglenone, joined Cadets from across Northern Ireland to learn about the unprecedented loss of life in ‘the war to end all wars’.

Accompanied by expert guides, the Cadets toured museums and cemeteries and explored the trench and tunnel systems where so many fought and died, and discovered that many of those who sacrificed their lives were themselves little more than teenagers.

Colonel David McCleery OBE from Army Cadet Force Association Northern Ireland, said: “Our Cadets learn about World War 1 at school, but nothing quite prepares you for the impact of visiting the region.

“Our young people were deeply moved by everything they saw and learned during their visit and, in particular, none of us will ever forget the sad sight of landscapes filled with row upon row of carefully-tended military graves.”

Col. McCleery added: “The Battlefield Tour was an enriching and maturing experience for our Cadets and I believe they have returned with memories which will stay with them for ever.”