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Memories galore at cadet reunion

PUBLISHED: 01:03 11 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:49 03 March 2010

MEMORIES, stories and laughter came flooding back as a group of Ipswich wartime veterans gathered to remember the old times.

The 12th annual reunion of the Ipswich Wartime Sea Cadets was held at the Loco Club in Rectory Road last night, as friends travelled from all over the country to reminisce and catch up over a few drinks.

MEMORIES, stories and laughter came flooding back as a group of Ipswich wartime veterans gathered to remember the old times.

The 12th annual reunion of the Ipswich Wartime Sea Cadets was held at the Loco Club in Rectory Road last night, as friends travelled from all over the country to reminisce and catch up over a few drinks.

Master of ceremonies for the evening, David Routh, said: "These reunions are very important.

"A lot of us went to school together and we've all stayed mates. It's remarkable that the friends you make at school and when you're young stay friends for life."

The men at the reunion had all been members of Ipswich Sea Cadets between 1939 and 1945 and many went on to serve in the navy, while a few moved into the army.

All remember their time with the group and serving their country with fond happiness.

74-year-old Ray Driver was one of the first members of the group and joined the sea cadets in August 1939.

He recalled the hard work his unit put into to transforming its base when it moved from Smart Street to Yarmouth Road.

"It was great," he said. "The boys did most of the work to convert the building themselves.

"We did seamanship, sports and formed our own band.

"We were one of the best units in the country at the time."

Ipswich Wartime Sea Cadets has members as far afield as New Zealand but one of the men to travel the furthest was 75-year-old Vic Thurston who has made the journey back to Ipswich from Bridlington, in Yorkshire for 38 years.

He said: "It's about seeing old comrades and faces you haven't seen for a while.

"It was enjoyable being in the sea cadets and we would take our boats on the River Orwell to sail."

Roy Gladwell and Dick Beaumont have been friends since school and served in the same areas of the world during the Second World War.

Mr Gladwell said: "We still go out every week somewhere. We're drinking pals."

There were numerous stories to tell and everyone was keen to share their memories, including Ron Peck who served in the Royal Guard.

"I was a body guard for the Queen in 1950, when she was Princess," he said. "We went to Greece with them and had to be four feet away from her at all times."

The Ipswich Wartime Sea Cadets will join the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at Ipswich Cenotaph tomorrow

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