National Memorial Arboretum

We’re thinking of maybe visiting the NMA as a squadron and I was wondering if anyone had any experience of having done so and if it was a worthwhile day?

I guess it depends where your Squadron is?

It’s definitely a worthwhile trip, though it can depend on your cadets - would they really appreciate the Memorial? Or would they see it more as just a jolly - I think that should be one of the main factors when considering duration.

Whenever I went, we did it on a day, spending part of it at the RAF Cosford Museum.

I had been thinking whether it would be possible/sensible to combine it with some time at Cosford, is the distance manageable?

It’s definitely possible to do around 4 hours at each place or something similar. I think they are about 40min drive from each other.

But from my experience; 4 hours isn’t enough at the NMA - but on saying that I’m a grown male that fully appreciates the sacrifice and like to use the time to reflect and pay respects… Anything more than 4 hours may be a little too much for young cadets.

[quote=“theunknown” post=24145]Anything more than 4 hours may be a little too much for young cadets.[/quote] I’d think that anything more than about 30 minutes would be mind-numbing tedium even for me. That isn’t down to a failure to comprehend or appreciate the sacrifice, merely that I understand that it is pointless to dwell on it.

If you can find a genuine reason for the unit to be there beyond simply moping at the loss or trying to impose some level of guilt upon the young then it could be time usefully spent.

I don’t think people go just to mope about at the loss, or impose guilt as you say… The NMA is a beautiful place anyway.
Now I wouldn’t send them there regularly - not even once a year as frequent repetition can often bore people, but I would say its definitely worth going at least once. And her - if you can represent your Sqn/Wg/the ATC then why not!

i’m afraid i’d be with Incy, not only would i see little point in taking 30-odd cadets to NMA, but i think that they’d be bored to tears after 30 mins, and might - because of the boredom/enforced solemnity - act in a way you’d prefer them not to…

i’ve seem some very, very distressed families at NMA, people who are completly gripped by very raw grief, and i take the view that for all the blurb about it being a place for everyone, its not, not yet.

if you fancy doing a ‘Cosford+’ day, then Cannock Chase is a vast adventure playground of forest and heathland, and it has a couple of German War Cemetaries as well as a good history project on the WWI camp and training area that was sited there. its also closer to Cosford, and doesn’t have the sometimes oppressive atmosphere that NMA has.

other options could be Cosford+ Long Mynd (as long as you’re in decently powered minibuses, rather than a coach…), or Cosford+ either Brown Clee hill, or Titterstone Clee Hill. depends where you’re coming from…

I was at Easter Camp at Cosford a few years ago and we took everyone to the NMA. Fantastic place, but we were advised to get a guide. I guess if you were just wandering around looking at the various memorials it could get boring, but the guides explain the designs, background, layout of the whole place and many other things. They don’t cost much, especially when you divvy the cost between a large group.

Angus is right as well, Cannock Chase is also excellent.

I have not done it with cadets but did it as part of my officer training. All naval officers go there while at Dartmouth. It’s a long slog to get there but well worth it.

We did a visit there combined with a couple of hours at the RAF Cosford museum a few years ago. We went down in full uniform, paraded around and lid wreaths at about three(?) memorials. It took a couple of hours and was a huge success among the cadets - it must have been my first real off squadron event with cadets and I loved it.

Not to mention the discounts that we got at the RAF Cosford museum. :lol: