CHARLOTTETOWN, N.L./FRANCE – For Chloe Campbell of Charlottetown a recent pilgrimage to Beaumont-Hamel, France is a trip the 14-year-old won’t soon forget.
Chloe, among a group of students, Royal Canadian Legion members, veterans and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Band were in Europe from June 27-July 4.
Premier Dwight Ball also took part in the pilgrimage.
The trip was organized around the Trail of the Caribou and involved remembrance ceremonies at Beaumont-Hamel, Masnières, Gueudecourt, Monchy-le-Preux and Courtrai (Kortrijk), Belgium.
“We got to walk around on the battlefields of soldiers who were there 102 years ago. That was a very emotional experience. It was sad but it was something definitely to remember,” Chloe said.
Thirty-five students participated in the pilgrimage including Chloe and 18 other youth who were part of the Provincial Government's Ambassador Program, an award that recognizes excellence in student projects commemorating the men and women who served in the First World War.
Chloe clinched an ambassador award for her project focused on women in the First World War.
“I think that women in World War I is a topic that not everybody is familiar with and I think it needs to be discussed more,” she said.
For Chloe, one particularly moving moment during the trip happened on July 1 at Beaumont-Hamel.
The students were given an envelope with the name of a soldier who had been on the front lines on that same day 102 years ago.
“The soldier I was given was a man named Harry Simmons... my friend and I visited the grave... we gave him a Forget-Me-Not,” she said.
A recent Grade 8 graduate at William Gillett Academy, Chloe said in addition to learning about the First World War, the pilgrimage was an opportunity for her to meet students from other parts of the province.
“It was just a wonderful trip, overall,” she said.