Canadian Letters

Junior School children receive replies…

Following the initial contact from Rod Helpard (Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class, Royal Canadian Navy), who had seen the poppy wreath that Junior School students had laid at Vimy Ridge on the French trip, several of the children wrote letters expressing their feelings on visiting Vimy Ridge. This week, children at Beardwood Bank were excited to receive a package containing letters from some of Mr. Helpard’s colleagues at the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, Canada.

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Each of the children who had written had a response from a variety of ranks, from a Master Warrant Officer to a Private. Mr Helpard wrote the following words to the pupils:

‘I have to admit that I was very impressed with your superb handwriting and how each of you easily conveyed your feelings and experiences with visiting Vimy Ridge. Your ability to express your gratitude for the service and sacrifice of the men and women who fought for our freedoms was exceptional and made me feel good knowing that this important piece of history has not been forgotten by the youth of today.

Having served in the Canadian Navy for the past 34 years as a Naval Combat Information Operator, it does my heart good to know that young people, such as you, continue to learn about modern history and in particular, the impact that the two world wars had on shaping our societies. From your letters I can just imagine the humility you all experienced visiting the Vimy Memorial, and pride that you all most certainly felt when Tom and Mollie-Jo placed that beautiful wreath on the lower graveyard cenotaph. What a wonderful gesture of respect.’

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In addition to the letters, each child received badges and army tags as a small memento!