Marine cadets to mark 20th birthday
CADETS of 901 Troop are preparing to parade for civic dignitaries and military top brass next month to mark their unit’s 20th birthday.
After a tough 18 months, that has seen numbers drop and members stuck in lockdown for weeks on end, the unit is rebuilding and looking ahead.
Started on a modest £500 budget to buy uniform and equipment, it was the first cadet unit focused solely on the Royal Marines and founder David Holman’s aim was to give young people an opportunity to have an overview of what they did. And it was the only youth organisation in the village.
Interest grew and before long it paraded with 50 cadets ‘on deck’ and 10 to 15 volunteer staff. Paul and Ann Dodson got involved after their two sons joined and took over when David moved to Finland.
In the early days the unit was based in two mobiles at Flegg High School where members would learn drill and the band would practise. Now it has a permanent home in Caister – recently revamped thanks to £4,000 of funding from Caister Community Fund and the Lions.
Earlier this year we reported how, with the help of local businesses and the village, the group raised more than £4,000 to replace its worn out minibus, meaning staff could take cadets to events and activities like sailing, camps and range shooting sessions.
On Fridays the group, which currently has around 23 cadets, meets in Winterton to make the most of the dunes and woodland as an outdoor classroom for fieldcraft, learning bushcraft and how to move about the landscape without being seen or heard, camouflage and concealment.
But it’s more than that. “We always teach them that you respect your surroundings, but you also use what’s around you,” explained commanding officer Lt Rachel Tooke. Cadets learn about the wildlife, the tides and how to navigate at night, along with other skills like first aid.
The troop, which is independent and self-funding, follows the Royal Marines ethos – teaching the youngsters to understand, adapt and overcome problems. “It gives them that edge and advantage in life. It teaches them life skills like problem solving,” she said.
Over the years the cadets have turned out for Remembrance Day parades and civic events. They have marshalled traffic at steam rallies, festivals and vaccination clinics. And they have paraded for Prince Charles, Princess Anne and provided guards of honour for dignitaries like Deputy Lieutenant Lady Agnew.
In 2012 they went to Normandy for the D Day commemorations, returning in 2019 when video of Harry Cavanagh placing roses on the graves of the fallen went viral. Members of 42 Cdo Royal Marines were so impressed they wrote to thank him.
In September the cadets hope to parade for senior military figures – maybe even General Lord Richard Dannatt, former head of the army – to celebrate the troop’s birthday.
The unit is recruiting and on the lookout for helpers. Anyone interested can visit tsfearless.org.uk, email or call 07775 513688. It meets on Mondays from 6.30pm at Caister High School and Fridays at Winterton village hall.
The unit is recruiting and on the lookout for helpers. Anyone interested can visit tsfearless.org.uk email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07775 513688. It meets on Mondays from 6.30pm at Caister High School and Fridays at Winterton village hall.