Hundreds of cadets from all across the country gathered on Trafalgar Square yesterday for their biggest and most spectacular event of the year, Trafalgar Day.
Thousands more joined the cadets for the parade, musical performances and wreath-laying to commemorate Admiral Lord Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
The cadets were the stars of the show, their moment to shine after many months of hard work and training.
Singer Louise from Sefton Sea Cadets, who gave a stirring solo performance at this year’s event, knows a thing or two about all the preparation that goes into it – she’s participated in the celebrations for the last six years.
Louise is one of a set of triplets, who all joined Sea Cadets as children and “thrived” within the youth charity. Aged 18, Louise promptly joined her unit as a volunteer to pass on her skills to the cadets. “Sea Cadets has given me a real sense of belonging and the confidence to pursue my passion,” says Louise.
For Harry (17) from Walsall, this year is his first time marching in the Royal Marines platoon at the parade. “I’m feeling a bit nervous – I’ve been polishing my boots for a fortnight,” he laughs, as he made his way to Trafalgar Square.
Gurtej (16), a Sikh royal marines cadet from Sutton Coldfield said: “As a drum major, I have been training for five months for Trafalgar Day.
“I’ve been experiencing mixed emotions…proud to be selected, excited about coming to London and marching down the famous parade route, and nervous as it will be my first time representing my unit as such an important event,” Gurtej explained.
Keira (16), who joined Swansea Sea Cadets when she was 10, has finally fulfilled her long-time goal of taking part in Trafalgar Day. Both her mum and dad have served in the Royal Navy.
Keira said: “It’s been my dream to join the Royal Navy and follow in my parents’ footsteps since I was old enough to understand the concept.” said Keira. “My family is so proud of me for having been selected to take part today!”
Another first-timer in this year’s event is transgender cadet Ollie (16) from Sefton, who joined Sea Cadets during Covid. “My grandad is the Commanding Officer of my unit and he’s been such an inspiration for me. Everyone at Sea Cadets has been very supportive of my transitioning.”
Tyler (17) from Lincoln dreams of studying Nuclear Engineering and joining the Royal Navy. He’s been taking part in Trafalgar Day celebrations ever since joining Sea Cadets, aged 10.
“The excitement has never changed, and the pride I feel is what makes the long time on my feet worth it,” said Tyler. “Trafalgar Day represents the success of the Royal Navy and the continuation of its influence. I am immensely proud of my country and Trafalgar Day is one of the best opportunities to show this.”