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Cadet Forces of Wales experience unique Somme battlefield study

 

32 Cadets from across Wales spent their half term in France for Exercise Dragon Reflect, a unique battlefield study at sites of the First World War.

 

The Cadet Forces of Wales qualified for the special opportunity through the Operation Reflect competition, which they won by producing a Remembrance themed research project about Passchendaele.

 

Colonel David Hammond, Colonel Cadets of Wales, said: “There were few households in Britain that were untouched by the events of the Great War. A century on, it’s unsurprising that the conduct of that global struggle figures large in the collective memory of modern Britain.

 

“In this centenary period of commemoration, it is especially fitting that our Cadets and Adult Volunteers have the opportunity to gain greater understanding of the parts played by their forbears through Operation Reflect and Exercise Dragon Reflect.”

 

The Operation Reflect competition was arranged and facilitated by 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales. Cadets who entered the third year of the competition worked in teams to produce an in-depth presentation about a local hero of their choice, which took part in the Third Battle of Ypres.

 

2017 saw the four winning teams taken to the Somme on Exercise Dragon Reflect for the complete Cadet experience. They came from the counties of Clwyd and Gwynedd, Dyfed and Glamorgan, Gwent and Powys Army Cadet Forces as well as Treorchy Comprehensive School Combined Cadet Force.

 

Each group that travelled to the Somme was then challenged again to produce a presentation at key sites of the battlefield study. They worked in teams again for a new project, researching the back-stories and people who were a part of the First World War.

 

The trip was led by experienced battlefield historian and guide Lieutenant Colonel Ian R Gumm TD and was funded under Operation Reflect, the five-year commemoration of the First World War. It was a first in a lifetime opportunity for many Cadets to travel abroad and use a passport for the first time.

 

Operation Reflect and Exercise Dragon Reflect aim to ensure that the United Kingdom remember the sacrifices of Service Personnel, who fought to protect the freedom and values that modern society enjoys.

 

Cadets visited several sites, including; Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, the site where the 38th (Welsh) Division fought at Mametz Wood and Fricourt Cemetery, where 17,000 German soldiers are buried.

 

The study trip was particularly poignant as it happened in the build up to Remembrance Day, which many Cadets will mark in their hometowns with parades and fundraising activities. 

 

Profiad Unigryw I Gadlanciau Cymru I Astudio Meysydd Brwydr y Somme

 

Mae 32 cadét o bob cwr Cymru wedi treulio eu hanner tymor yn Ffrainc, yn astudio meysydd brwydr y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf fel rhan o “Exercise Dragon Reflect”.

 

Cynigwyd y cyfle anhygoel yma i’r Cadlanciau Cymreig fel gwobr am gystadlu yng nghystadleuaeth “Operation Reflect”. Roedd disgwyl i’r cystadleuwyr cyflwyno prosiect ymchwil am Passchendaele.

 

Meddai Cyrnol David Hammond, Cyrnol y Cadetiaid yng Nghymru: “Prin oedd y nifer o deuluoedd ym Mhrydain na chafodd eu heffeithio gan ddigwyddiadau’r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf. Nid yw’n syndod, dros ganrif wedyn, bod y frwydr fyd-eang hon dal yng nghof Prydain heddiw.

 

“Yn ystod y cyfnod canmlwyddiant yma, mae’n addas bod ein Cadetiaid â’n Gwirfoddolwyr yn cael y cyfle i ddeall mwy am y rôl chwaraewyd gan ein eu cyndeidiau, a hynny trwy “Operation Reflect” ac “Exercise Dragon Reflect”.”

 

Trefnwyd a chynhaliwyd y gystadleuaeth gan Frigâd 160 (Cymru), yr unig frigâd I redeg cystadleuaeth o’i fath sy’n mynd â’r enillwyr i feysydd brwydr.

 

I gymryd rhan yn nhrydedd flwyddyn y gystadleuaeth, gofynnir I Gadetiaid I weithio mewn timoedd i ddewis arwr o'u hardal leol bu'n brwydro yn Ypres, ac i gynhyrchu cyflwyniad manwl amdanynt.

 

Eleni, aeth y pedwar tîm llwyddiannus i’r Somme ar “Exercise Dragon Reflect” am brofiad cyflawn. Daeth y timoedd o bob cwr Cymru, gyda chynrychiolwyr o Siroedd Clwyd a Gwynedd, Dyfed a Morgannwg, Gwent a Phowys, yn ogystal â CCF (Llu Gadetiaid Cyfunedig) Ysgol Treorci.

 

Wedi iddynt ennill y gystadleuaeth, roedd disgwyl i’r grwpiau cynhyrchu cyflwyniadau newydd i gyflwyno yn y meysydd brwydr eu hun. Ymchwiliant mewn i hanesion y bobl oedd yn ymladd yn y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf.

 

Arweiniwyd y trip gan Lefftenant-Cyrnol Ian R Gumm TD, ac ariennir gan “Operation Reflect”, y Rhaglen pum mlynedd i gofio’r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf. Roedd yn gyfle i nifer o’r grŵp teithio dramor am y tro gyntaf.

 

Mae “Operation Reflect” ac ”Exercise Dragon Reflect” yn ceisio sicrhau bod y Deyrnas Unedig yn cofio aberthiadau’r Gweithwyr Milwrol fu’n farw er mwyn diogelu ac amddiffyn rhyddid a gwerthoedd rydym yn mwynhau yng nghymdeithas heddiw.

 

Ymwelodd y cadets â sawl safle, gan gynnwys: Cofeb Thiepval; y safle lle brwydrodd  38ain Adran Gymraeg ym Mametz Wood; a fynwent Fricourt, lle claddwyd dros 17,000 o filwyr Almaenig.

 

Roedd amseru'r trip yn arwyddocaol, llai na phythefnos nes Sul y Cofio, lle fydd y cadetiaid yn cymryd rhan mewn digwyddiadau coffa lleol, a gweithgareddau codi arian.

 

(Friday 10 November 2017)

 

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