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Letter: To ‘Our Newfoundlanders’

Students from Beatrix Potter Primary School in London, England, are visiting Newfoundland and Labrador this week to learn more about the Royal Newfoundland Regiment soldiers who are buried in the military cemetery next to their school. Arriving in St. John’s Tuesday evening were (front row from left) George Overy, Sophia Anderson, Sasha Cellino, Oscar Heard, Alice Goldberg, Zoe Spenceley and their headteacher Steph Neale (back row).
Students from Beatrix Potter Primary School in London, England, visited Newfoundland and Labrador this summer to learn more about the Royal Newfoundland Regiment soldiers who are buried in the military cemetery next to their school. Shown here (front row from left) George Overy, Sophia Anderson, Sasha Cellino, Oscar Heard, Alice Goldberg, Zoe Spenceley and their headteacher Steph Neale (back row). - Juanita Mercer

It is 2018 and here as I am sure like you we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, the war to end all wars. Here in Wandsworth at Beatrix Potter, we are preparing with a range of theatre groups, actors playing First World War soldiers to bring the realities of this period to life for our children.

We are also preparing a special remembrance service for “Our Newfoundlanders” in the Newfoundland plot opposite our school. 

To all the relatives of these young men and one young nurse we will call out their names, their ages, their occupation before war and the names of their parents or relatives before, on each we will place a personal cross and a stone brought from Newfoundland in July of this year. We are blessed with the participation of the deputy commander of the Regiment, the president of the Regimental Association and a representative from the Canadian High Commission.  A range of other representatives will also attend.

Our Year 2 and Year 6 students with the school choir will sing the Newfoundland Anthem and we will read a poem about a soldier of the Regiment. A piper from Newfoundland will play a lament, wreaths will be laid and two pupils from our Girls High school nearby will play the last post on their trumpets.  Parents from the school will also be in attendance. We hope a recording of the event will be made for our website for relatives to see. That same week we will be presenting to the high school the story of our soldiers.

We hope this is a fitting memorial to these brave Newfoundlanders who came to fight for England not knowing what lay before them.  We continue to learn of their lives and that of the Regiment they were part of.  To both the relatives of “Our Newfoundlanders” and to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and community of Newfoundland we will remember them.

Steph Neale

Headteacher, Beatrix Potter Primary School

Earlsfield, Wandsworth, London

Related story:

British schoolchildren cross Atlantic to visit families of 'Our Newfoundlanders'

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