As Her Majesty The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland led tributes to the UK’s war dead at the annual Remembrance Sunday service in central London, thousands gathered for the two-minute silence which honoured those killed in World Wars One and Two and later conflicts.
Taking part in the solemn event in the nation’s capital were twenty-eight Cadets and two Adult Volunteers from Foyle College Londonderry Combined Cadet Force, selected from the 276 CCF Contingents throughout the United Kingdom to represent them at the Act of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London.
The Parade on Whitehall was a proud moment for the Londonderry Cadets.
It was the highpoint of a weekend which also included an educational visit to the Imperial War Museum and a visit to the Tower of London for a guided tour in the company of the world famous Beefeaters
Remembrance Sunday saw the participants assembling at Admiralty Arch in preparation for the traditional parade down Whitehall.
This was a nerve-wracking as well as an emotional moment for the teenage Cadets, many of whom were in London for the first time.
Andrew Hawthorn from Londonderry said: “It was a real honour to be invited to take part in the London commemorations and we were all very conscious of wanting to look really smart on the day – so we spent almost the entire evening before sorting out our uniforms, shining our boots and getting in a last practice. Being involved in the Cenotaph Parade was an amazing, moving experience and something we’ll all remember for a very long time.”
Lisneal College student Hanna Keys was equally moved by the occasion. She said: “We all felt really proud to be representing our schools and our Detachment and it felt incredible to march down Whitehall as part of the national commemorations – we’d only ever seen them on television before.
“It was very sombre occasion so it would be wrong to say we enjoyed it, but we were all very glad to have taken part and felt really privileged to be there to pay our personal tributes.”
Lindsay Thompson from Claudy added: “This was the experience of a lifetime for us and thanks are due to everyone who made it all happen: the CCF Association, Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for Northern Ireland, 38 Brigade and London ACF Volunteers, but special thanks must go to our School Staff Instructor who planned, and co-ordinated, everything.
“It was a fantastic experience and one which leaves us all with a better understanding of the sacrifices that so many have made for their country.”
Queen Elizabeth II led the tributes on Remembrance Sunday. Prime Minister David Cameron and all the other main political party leaders all laid wreaths during the ceremony. Former Prime Ministers John Major, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair also paid their respects. The main religious leaders, the main military leaders and dignitaries from all around the Commonwealth were also present at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.