Long March 2009
The March aims to honour the actions and sacrifices made by Allied personnel during the Long March of Prisoners of War (PoW) in World War II, carried out through re-enacting the Zagan – Spremberg marching route with the addition of further study in Berlin.
Participants will conduct their own original research into differing aspects of the Long March and present them to the rest of the marching party. All of the presentations will reflect the core elements of the current Force Development priorities within the air force such as ethos, air power, leadership and common military skills. As the exercise is so multi-faceted, it will also incorporate a degree of adventure training and a vast array of organisation and inter personal skills, teambuilding, morale and physical endurance.
The nature of the program has been carefully crafted to involve all aspects of the POW Long March experience. The participants will rest in the exact locations used during the original Long Marcher’s and their food, whilst not the 200 calories a day of 1945, will be field rations, delivered and prepared by the team. Along the route, the Support Party will prepare the locations and provide back-up, medical facilities (if needed) and health and safety. It is hoped that former Long March prisoners from the Ex-R.A.F Prisoners of War Association will be alongside to offer historical reality and moral support. The nature of this project relies heavily upon the building of an esprit de corps and teamwork, self motivation and determination.
“The previous Long March project was a truly inspirational experience for us all. I cannot think of a better way to build the core principles of Force Development and our link to the past Royal Air Force generations. I am sure that I speak for us all when I say that this has been one of the finest things we have participated in during our time in the Royal Air Force.” Grp Cpt J. Maas, Station Commander, RAF Northolt.