Eight of the 11 cadets from Admiral Budge in Sidney

Cadets will be part of historical event

Admiral Budge Sea Cadets of North Saanich going to France for nine-day experience

Eleven Peninsula youth will each sit at the faraway grave of a soldier they’ve come to know.

In April a group of cadets from the Admiral Budge Sea Cadet Corps, based in North Saanich, will visit France on a nine-day trip to tour the historic battlefields of the First World War and participate in the 95th commemorative ceremony at Vimy Ridge.

Lieut. Earl Phillips will lead the group in his third time accompanying cadets to Europe, a program he started in Manitoba with a trip to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the battle at Vimy Ridge.

“We made the kids research a soldier and get in touch with their family,” he said.

The kids connected with the family of a fallen warrior, then gave them the opportunity to offer a memento to be left behind on their soldier ancestor’s grave.

“It was really moving for those kids to do that. It’s a powerful thing to see those gravestones,” Phillips said. “It really gives them a connection to our history, not just boring stuff learned on Nov. 10 each year in school.”

The Peninsula cadets will do the same as they prepare for the spring trip. Each cadet will be assigned his or her soldier, all selected from small B.C. towns, this month. Aside from the research, the group of 12- to 18-year-olds will fundraise for the travels in Europe.

“It forces them to take ownership of the trip and they’ve got some skin in the game,” Phillips said. “It’s important they have buy-in.”

The local youths will join a group of cadets from the Prairies as they start in Paris to visit the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral. They will travel to the Normandy region where they will tour Dieppe and visit the D-Day beaches including Juno Beach then pay respects at the Canadian War Cemetery (Beny-sur-Mer) and take advantage of the educational opportunities at the Juno Beach Centre.

The last two days will be to the Vimy region where the cadets will see where Canadian soldiers fought during the First World War. They will tour the Passchendaele Memorial, the Newfoundland Memorial and attend the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate.

On the final day of their trip, the students will participate in the Vimy Ridge 95th anniversary ceremonies.

“For me the reward is seeing the experience in their eyes. There’s not a kid that at some point doesn’t sit at a grave and cry,” Phillips said. “With veterans dying off, if we don’t get kids learning war history, it will die with the vets.”

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Pacific FC looks for first win of the fall season in Toronto Wednesday

The Island team is currently 0-2-0 this season

Garbage piles up at Mount Doug Park in Saanich

Local resident blames the design of the garbage bins

Central Saanich makes moves to alieviate business transit concerns

Councillor calls for enhanced service and long-term transit passes

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

Saanich sponsors Jeux de la Francophonie giving $50,000 for the French-language Games

Couns. Susan Brice and Nathalie Chambers opposed funding, citing substantive and procedural concerns

VIDEO: Black bear caught climbing tree in Langford neighbourhood

Triangle Mountain residents on alert following bear sighting

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

Most Read