It’s time to salute a special organisation

The All Saints Green detachment of the Cadet Norfolk Artillery is still going strong and it's an organisation which has helped to save the lives of so many young men, reports Derek James.

It was on June 11, 1911, when a group of young lads, many already working long hours in Norwich shoe factories, got together under the leadership of an inspirational soldier by the name of Reginald Crosskill.

Major Crosskill was an officer with the Norfolk Regiment based at Britannia Barracks and he reached out to the city boys in a bid to give them a purpose in life.

A century on, the All Saints Green detachment of the Cadet Norfolk Artillery is still going strong and has turned out to be a great survivor and an organisation which has helped to save the lives of so many young men.

It is still operating on part of the same site and is still reaching out to the young men and women of Norwich. Playing a leading role in many lives. It is a group we can all be proud of.

Now the group is compiling its long history and is appealing for your memories and photographs to be included in a special booklet.

The All Saints Green detachment was the first Army Cadets group to be formed in the city and it was known as the 'Boot and Shoe' troop because of the number of boys who worked in the factories at that time.

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In 1912, the cadet unit was presented with two artillery pieces for training purposes.

Official recognition followed on April 12, 1913, with affliation to the 1st East Anglian Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (TA).

It was formed and developed at the same time as the City of Norwich Volunteers, part of the Norfolk Yeomanry.

Cadet Norfolk Artillery grew in strength leading up to the First World and nearly 3,000 served in the forces during the savage conflict. Between the wars, additional batteries were formed across the county and just before the Second World War CNA was affiliated to the 65th (Suffolk and Norfolk Yeomanry) Anti Tank Regiment. The cadets had use of borrowed mountain guns for training.

Major Crosskill, now a Lieutenant Colonel, remained Commandant until 1942. He was succeeded by Lt.Col R F Humphrey.

During the Second World War, it was recorded that it had 21 officers and 900 cadets. More than 17,000 boys has passed through the system since its formation in 1911 to 1942. Colonel Crosskill OBE TD, died at the age of 63 in 1951. He had served the cadet force for almost 40 years. Since then there have been many changes. By 1968 the joining age was reduced to 13 years and in 1986 female adults and cadets were allowed to join their ranks. As part of the centenary celebrations, the detachment is applying for a change of title. It wants to be called All Saints Green (City of Norwich) Troop and get the battery name changed to Crosskills Battery, Cadet Norfolk Artillery – to honour its founder.

CNA was one of the first Army cadet Force sub units to be formed in the country. Its members have served us well over the years – and they still do.

The All Saints Green detachment is compiling its 100-year history and is planning to produce a booklet. Were you a cadet, or perhaps a member of your family was one? Do you have any old photographs or other memorabilia?

If you do, please get in touch with the HQ at Dereham TA Centre, 44 Norwich Street, Dereham, NR19 1AD (Tel: 01362 694515) or click on