Derbyshire Army Cadets travelled to France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
More than 50 cadets from across the county took part in the commemoration, in which they visited the D-Day landing beaches, learned more about the Second World War and spoke with veterans of the landings in 1944 which defeated Nazi Germany.
Cadet Corporal Shannon Walton, 17, from Bolsover, said: “It is important to learn about events like D-Day for the people who didn’t get to have a future, so their stories are passed on and they are remembered.”
While on the trip the cadets took part in a series of commemorative and educational activities including touring several stands accompanied by expert guides and were given a special booklet.
Derbyshire D-Day heroes tell of historic military operation on 75th anniversary
In preparation for the trip, the cadets were asked to research their family history and learn about any relatives who were involved in D-Day whether it be in the planning, producing supplies or as a combatant.
Cadet Lance Corporal Charles Elwell, 15, from Ticknall, discovered his great-grandfather was part of the D-Day landings. He said: “I wanted to come on this trip because my great-grandad was in the 79th armoured division which landed on Sword Beach. I wanted to walk in the footsteps of all the soldiers who gave everything for our freedom.
Timeline of what happened on D-Day
“I truly believe that you should learn about D-Day because without the soldiers’ bravery and courage we wouldn’t have the life we live and the freedom we enjoy.”
While Cadet Bailey Martin, 15 from Belper, said: “I wanted to come on the trip and learn about D-Day because it has shaped our society. I love exploring new places, learning about what happened in the past, and it is important to remember those who sacrificed their lives for us.
“From this trip I learnt a lot about what happened on D-Day and the heroic actions of men, such as Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis VC who was the only recipient of the Victoria Cross for actions on D-Day.”
And Cadet Lance Corporal Adam Reeves, 15, from Derby, said: “I have learned about the beaches on which D-Day took place and about the planning and importance of D-Day to winning the war.”
He added: “If these soldiers hadn’t fought then we would have been under the rule of Hitler. Instead, they have enabled our country to be the fairest, safest and possibly greatest of all time.”