Australian Defence Force Cadets Commemorate 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Amiens
Cadet Corporal Breydon Verryt-Reid, from 612 Squadron (AAFC) in Mount Gambier, South Australia, recently travelled to the north of France to commemorate the Centenary of the Battle of Amiens and the last 100 Days of World War I.
Cadet Corporal Verryt-Reid was one of 16 cadets from Australian Navy Cadets, Australian Army Cadets and AAFC selected to represent Australia, joining young people from Canada, France, UK and USA from 6–9 August 2018.
The commemorative service gave cadets an opportunity to remember Australians commanded by General Sir John Monash, who battled with other allies on the Western Front in France 100 years ago.
“A selection process was undertaken within our organisations, and we were subject to endorsement by our Officer Commanding 6 Wing, then selected based on the outcome of a written and in person selection board,” Cadet Corporal Verryt-Reid said.
After being selected, the cadets undertook a thorough research project into a significant person from Australia who took part in World War I. The AAFC contingent researched Lieutenant John Gould-Taylor DFC, who was posthumously awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for taking on five German aircraft singlehandedly.
The cadets participating in the international commemoration attended a service at Amiens Cathedral on 8 August 2018, and visited the Somme 1916 battlefields.
Cadet Corporal Verryt-Reid said the cadets heard from experienced tour guides on the Western Front, as well as Professor Sir Hew Strachan, a highly respected World War I historian who travelled with them throughout the tour.
“We visited Villers-Bretonneux, the Sir John Monash Centre adjacent to the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, the Australian Corps Le Hamel memorial, Newfoundland Memorial Park, a Canadian memorial, Thiepval Memorial, an Anglo-French memorial to those who went missing during the war, and the Armistice Clearing at Compiègne, where the armistice to end World War I was signed,” Cadet Corporal Verryt-Reid said.
“The activities gave us a chance to reflect on the bravery, courage and fortitude shown by the men and women who participated in World War I.
“My participation in the commemoration events coupled with the pre-tour research project allowed me, and my family and friends, to learn a great deal about the battle and World War I on the Western Front generally. There was also an opportunity to share my learning and my experiences with my squadron and my school.”
Cadet Corporal Breydon Verryt-Reid joined the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) two years ago because he was interested in becoming a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force.
“I wanted an out-of-school activity that didn’t interrupt my school or part-time work,” Breydon said. “I didn’t realise it at the time, but the AAFC is so much more than just flying. I’ve been involved in drill, fieldcraft and teamwork,” Cadet Corporal Verryt-Reid said.
“My family have been very supportive of my participation in cadets as it has enabled me to prepare myself not only for a career in the Australian Defence Force, but also for my future generally, through the skills and life experience I gained. In terms of my interest in becoming a pilot, the AAFC as a Cadet Service provides plenty of opportunities to access flying activities, as well as giving me theoretical knowledge of aviation.”
“My father served in the Australian Regular Army for almost 20 years, and other family members served in the Australian Army and Dutch Navy. My interest and respect for the Australian Defence Force has grown since joining the cadets.”
The Australian Defence Force Cadets is a community-based youth development program focused on leadership, team building and other skills in a military-like environment.
For more information visit the Defence Youth website on http://www.defenceyouth.gov.au/youth-programs/adf-cadets