Parading at the  Belgian Cenotaph

Cadets from London had the opportunity to take part in an annual tradition by parading with Belgian troops

Cadets at the Belgian cenotaph
Sea Cadets’ participation is a symbol of friendship between the nations

We asked CO Martyn Mayger, Lieutenant Commander RN, to tell us more about what happens at this unique event… 

Where and when did the event take place? 

“At the Belgian Cenotaph, London, on Saturday 15 July 2023.”

How many sea cadets took part? 

“Eleven cadets from Twickenham Unit in south-west London, supported by two uniformed instructors on parade with them, and a very helpful parent as minibus driver, to get them there and home again!”

Cadets from Twickenham Unit

How was the platoon selected? 

“Cadets were asked to volunteer for the event and, although we initially only needed nine cadets, we had 11 who were very keen to take part and so we took them all.” 

What is involved in the event? 

“Twickenham cadets represented the Corps on parade as part of the annual Belgian Cenotaph Parade in honour of Belgium’s sacrifices as our ally during WWI. It’s a unique symbol of friendship between our two countries. The parade includes both Belgian regular and reserve forces, as well as veterans and cadet representatives from both nations.”

Making sure everyone is ship-shape for the parade

What makes the event special? 

“Belgium is the only non-Commonwealth nation permitted to parade at the Cenotaph in central London – an honour bestowed upon them in 1934 by King George V in recognition of Belgium’s sacrifice, and in honour of all their men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.” 

What was the atmosphere like on the day? 

“There was a lot of curiosity from the public but there was also a strong sense of occasion as Whitehall was closed off for the parade, not to mention seeing Horse Guards and the iconic route to Wellington Barracks, where we marched on completion of the parade and service at the cenotaph, as a large, combined Anglo-Belgian parade. It was quite an honour. It’s not often one gets to do that!”

Photos: Sea Cadets

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