Island Cadet Remembers Somme Fallen

Cadets at the memorial to the Cameron Highlanders at High Wood.
Cadets at the memorial to the Cameron Highlanders at High Wood.

An Army Cadet from the Western Isles last week took part in a First World War Battlefield Tour.

Cadet Corporal Stephen Hunter from 1st Battalion the Highlanders’ West Lewis Detachment visited cemeteries, memorials and battlefields of the Somme Offensive.

The Somme Offensive, or the Battle of the Somme, was fought from the 1 July 1916 to 18 November 1916 and was intended to hasten a victory for the Allied forces, unfortunately this was not the case and it turned into the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front.

Stephen, alongside thirty members from the battalion spent three days in France paying their respects at numerous cemeteries on the Somme – including the Railway Hollow Cemetery and Sheffield Memorial Park, which commemorate some of the Pals Battalions who fought on the Somme.

They also visited memorials remembering local Scottish units who fought at the Somme, including the 51st Highland Division Memorial at Beaumont Hamel Newfound National Park and the memorial to the Cameron Highlanders at High Wood, which was home to some of the fiercest fighting during the Battle.

During the visit the cadets also took part in wreath laying ceremonies, at the memorial to the pipers at Longueval and the Thiepval Memorial to the Somme Missing, which Stephen was given the honour to lay a wreath at.

On his return home Stephen said: “The tour was an eye-opener for me, as I found out much more about the War and the guide helped me by disproving a lot of myths and misconceptions people had about the war, such as the front lines not moving at all when in fact they moved quite a bit in some cases.”