BLUE COVE, N.L .– A Viking Trail Academy student will soon be venturing to France to see the historic Beaumont-Hamel memorial first-hand.
Gillian Chambers, 17, was granted the opportunity along with several other students through the Royal Canadian Legion’s Beaumont-Hamel Pilgrimage program.
During the Battle of the Somme in the First World War, after a failed advance alongside the British forces, the Newfoundland Regiment lost hundreds of men with hundreds of others injured. The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial was established in honour of their sacrifice.
Chambers' patrol leader in the Junior Canadian Rangers program, Russ Marsden, submitted a resume with a list of activities and things Chambers has done for her community.
When Chambers heard the news she had been selected to take part in the pilgrimage, she says she was thrilled.
“It’s really exciting to be able to get out of the province and experience something new,” said Chambers. “I’m looking forward to seeing the history of the war and I’m really excited to meet new people.”
Chambers has been out-of-province to Nova Scotia and Ontario before but it will be the Blue Cove resident’s first time outside of Canada. While her friends are excited for her, Chambers says her parents are a bit nervous that she’ll be heading out for such a distance.
Chambers was given a copy of the book The Tin Triangle by Linda Abbott to learn more about the experiences of those young Newfoundland soldiers as they risked and gave up their lives in war-torn Europe.
A fundraiser is being planned by the Rangers and community to help with additional funds for Chambers’ trip.
The Beaumont-Hamel Pilgrimage takes place from June 27 to July 4.