Cadets seek strength to cope with tragedy


Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­

PRAYERS are be­ing said tonight (Thurs­day) by Ash­ford Sea Cadets for fel­low mem­ber Jonathan Martin who fell to his death from a ship’s rig­ging.

The Sea Cadets will hold a minute’s si­lence for the 14year-old and prayers will be of­fi­ci­ated by their chap­lain, the Rev Colin Preece, at their twice-weekly meet­ing.

A full at­ten­dance is ex­pected at the meet­ing at the cadets’ base at Ash­ford TA Cen­tre in Chart Road.

It is part of the mass of trib­utes and con­do­lences, na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, for Jonathan, of Sha­dox­hurst, and his griev­ing fam­ily.

Jonathan’s com­mand­ing of­fi­cer, Lt Ali­son Oates, said: “This has been a tremen­dous shock for all cadets and their par­ents.


“We will hold a minute’s si­lence and prayers for Jonathan tonight.

“As a unit we need to make sure we are strong enough to deal with this.

“We have also had mes­sages of sym­pa­thy from sea cadets from all over the UK.”

Lt Oates said that Jonathan had been part of Ash­ford Sea Cadets for two years and had achieved his sail­ing and ca­noe­ing qualifications.

Lt Oates said: “He was very en­thu­si­as­tic and en­joyed a lot of wa­ter sports.

“He was one of the qui­eter mem­bers of the group but al­ways en­joyed tak­ing part in ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Jonathan had been work­ing on a sail when tragedy struck in the So­lent, Hamp­shire, on Sun­day evening.

He had been stow­ing a sail on the Sea Cadets Corps’ flag­ship TS Roy­al­ist when he fell into the wa­ter at Stokes Bay, near Gosport, at about 8.30pm.

The ship had sailed to the bay that evening.

Jonathan was plucked from the wa­ter by a lifeboat and taken by heli­copter to the Queen Alexan­dra Hos­pi­tal at nearby Cosham where he was pro­nounced dead.

Mike Cor­nish, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Ma­rine So­ci­ety and Sea Cadets, told the Ken­tish Ex­press: “Our un­der­stand­ing is that the boy fell from the for­ward star­board side, while on the yardarm. We be­lieved the fall would have been 20 to 30ft. This is clearly a tragedy for his fam­ily, the or­gan­i­sa­tion and his unit.”

He said that cadets would use safety har­nesses while climb­ing the rig­ging.

Jonathan was one of 19 cadets on board for a week­long ex­er­cise and was bring­ing in the sails when he fell.

It is un­known if any other cadets from the Ash­ford unit were also on board.

The ves­sel had been tak­ing part in cel­e­bra­tions in the So­lent to mark the cadet move­ment’s 150th an­niver­sary.

The Sea Cadets Corps are work­ing with the Ma­rine Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch to find out what hap­pened.

There were re­port­edly 10 staff on board the brig with the young­sters, who where aged 13 to 18.

The TS Roy­al­ist, aboard which 14-year-old Sea Cadet Jonathan Martin died af­ter fall­ing from the rig­ging

Jonathan Martin, the Ash­ford sea cadet who fell to his death from a train­ing ship

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