An Exhibition at Hedon Museum celebrates the Diamond Anniversary (60 years) of the Army Cadets ‘Freedom of Hedon’. Postponed from last year, the exhibition opens the new season at the Museum. It runs from Saturday 22 May until Saturday 17 July 2021.
Discover the Army Cadet Force’s association with Hedon at the exhibition. In this article, historian Martin Craven gives a potted history of that association. One of the founders of Hedon Museum, Martin is also an honorary Freeman of Hedon. The Freeman honour recognises his eminent services in researching and promoting the history of the town.
A DIAMOND CELEBRATION
By Martin Craven.
This is a temporary exhibition held at the Hedon Museum to mark the 60th anniversary of the Borough of Hedon granting the Freedom of the Borough to the East Riding of Yorkshire Army Cadet Force.
Although a cadet force had been in existence in England since 1860, the first reference to the formation of a Hedon Cadet Company, which has been found to date, was in 1942 during the dark days of World War II. The man responsible for this initiative was Ambrose Augustine Moses, a member a well-known family of undertakers, who lived close by Hedon at Thorngumbald. A.A. Moses, popularly known as ‘Gus’, obtained permission to use the Hedon Cricket pavilion to serve as his H.Q. After the war in 1948, when cricket playing resumed, the H.Q. Moved to the newly built Magdalen camp, sharing the camp with two T.A. Regiments. At the time, the Hedon Company was said to be the only cadet force in the country to have its own camp.
The Hedon cadets wore the cap badge of the old East Yorkshire Regiment and over time it became a regular feature for them to parade on special events such as the opening of the Hedon WWII War Memorial in June 1950. Side-by-side with the rank and file, the company formed a very impressive band, complete with smart uniforms.
In the mid-1950s, the Company was reorganised as a detachment of the East Riding of Yorkshire Army Cadet Force and had their own standard designed by an old WWI combatant, which will be on display in the exhibition. By this time ‘Gus’ Moses had progressed from Lieutenant, through to Captain and on to be Major.
On the 1st May 1960, an impressive ceremony was held with a presentation by the Mayor to the ACF of a wooden casket and Freedom scroll. In return the commandant presented the Mayor with a silver cigarette box to mark the occasion. This treasured item is now kept with the Hedon Corporation’s Silver Collection.
From then on, it has become a regular, annual event for the ACF to take up its right to parade in the streets of Hedon on such occassions as the Mayor’s Church Sunday and on Remembrance Day at the Hedon War Memorial.
Over the years, both Hedon and the ACF have changed their designations. Hedon lost its Borough status in 1974 and became a Town. By special arrangement, it has maintained the position of Town Mayor and retained ownership of the Town Hall and the collection of Corporation Silver.
The E.R. Of Y. ACF became affiliated to the Royal Artillery Regiment and now wears that Regiment’s badge. In 1974, the name changed again, this time to Humberside ACF and two years later, the Hedon detachment moved from Magdalen Camp to the new training establishment at Great Driffield. In 1990, further reorganisation produced the name Humberside and South Yorkshire ACF and soon after its formation, the force recruited girls for the first time.
‘A Diamond Celebration’ exhibition attempts to show all the developments of the Hedon cadets from its WWII origin to the present day. With all the above changes, Hedon has renewed the Freedom of the Town and I believe we have three scrolls to display.
Martin Craven April 2021.
Humberside and South Yorkshire Army Cadet Force is one of the largest voluntary youth organisations. It has around 1,200 army cadets from the age of 12 upwards and 250 adult volunteers.
THE MUSEUM OPENS for the 2021 season from 22 May
Hedon Museum has a permanent exhibition downstairs and regularly changing exhibitions upstairs. There is a modern stairlift to reach the exhibition room. On a museum open day on Wednesday and Saturday, look out for the signs and noticeboards around town. They guide you to the entrance via Watmough’s Arcade.
Free Admission. Open Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10am – 4pm.
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