2003 Annual Battlefields Tour
From March 10 – 18, 2003, 31 history students in Grades 10 to OAC, chaperoned by Tony Myrans, David Stewart, and Major Brian McCue, made a trip of a lifetime to the battlefields of northwest Europe upon which Canadians fought and died in both World Wars.
As adjunct study to the Grade 10 and OAC Canadian history courses and the Grade 11 20th Century History course, the trip was the realization of planning begun almost a decade ago by Tony and Honorary Colonel Kingsley Ward, long-time members of the Board of Governors. Guided by Lieutenant Colonels Edward Rayment and Tom Christianson, experts on the Canadian battlefields, the students began their eight-day study at Pegasus Bridge on the Orne River near Breville, France. This bridge, made famous in the film The Longest Day, was the farthest left flank of the allied armies invading Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
A special moment of the Normandy tour came when the Mayor of the village of Le Mesnil Patry, liberated by Canadian forces in the first week of the invasion, thanked those valiant Canadians who liberated him and his village by inviting our students to a splendid dinner in the Town Hall and presenting our school with a hand painted china plate on behalf of its Council.
Along the way our group explored more than 30 war cemeteries scattered in farmers’ fields throughout France and Belgium, which brought home in a deeply personal way the enormous sacrifices of our forefathers in preserving the freedoms and lifestyles that we have today.
Perhaps the most significant moments of the trip, however, were the five wreath-laying ceremonies our group performed at the graves of fallen Andreans. The wreaths, in S.A.C. colours of red poppies and white flowers, donated by the S.A.C. Association and carried from Canada for this purpose, read simply "St. Andrew’s College, Canada.."
Check out Major McCue's Battlefield Tour Diary about this exciting Corps event.