On 30th July, eight cadets from 241 Squadron had a hectic journey to Heathrow on the Underground before flying to Dusseldorf to visit JHQ Rheindhalen with 40 other cadets from London and South East Region (LASER).
The camp was aimed at more senior cadets, who had been on annual camps before and because of this I found that it was a lot different to previous trips. It was a lot less hectic and we were given more responsibility ourselves which made the camp a lot more relaxed. Nevertheless, we still managed to pack a wide range of activities in whilst we were out there: from high ropes courses to theme parks; shooting, bowling, rides in tanks, archery and even tunneling!
However the main purpose of the trip was to learn more about “Operation Market Garden” which was an operation called “Market Garden” carried out by the British to put an end to the Second World War. The plan was to capture the bridges at Eindhoven, Oosterbeek, Nijmegan and Arnhem thus forcing the Germans to retreat. It was also the biggest airborne operation in history, parachuting 10,000 men behind enemy lines in 1944, almost all of which were killed. In order to gain a better understanding of the operation and how it impacted on the outcome of the Second World War, and also in preparation for our visit to the war graves at Arnhem the next day, we watched “A Bridge Too Far”. Both the visit and the film were immensely moving, and seeing the action the previous evening brought the conflict to life for us. We also visited the museum at the Hartenstein Hotel which was originally the German HQ before it was taken over by the British along with the bridge itself, where we were given a talk by a man who was a young boy at the time of the invasion and a soldier who had fought on that very bridge before he was captured and put in to a German POW camp.
The trip was a real eye opener and I think everyone found it very poignant and moving. I thoroughly enjoyed the historical element to the camp along with meeting new people from around the region, and I have to say it was one of the best weeks of my life and would recommend it to everyone next year!
The photo shows some of the cadets at Arnhem on a WW2 Tank