North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Nov 10
How one class lived the phrase ‘I Remember’

​By Paul Best, Grade 4/5 Teacher, Lynnmour/Xá7elcha Elementary

Lynnmour/Xá7elcha Elementary School grade 4 and 5 students had a special project for this Remembrance Day. They made ceramic poppies dedicated to a local First World War veteran, buried in the North Vancouver Cemetery. The cemetery is located close to the school, which made it convenient for the class to visit the grave markers.

Students used a photograph of the gravestone and researched the person commemorated. During computer time, the class accessed the Canadian Government online resource that had digitised copies of the complete service records of all those who served in the Great War.

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Some of what students discovered was surprising; for example, they were curious why so many of the veterans’ medical records had the abbreviation G.S.W. They used another database attached to the Library and Archives Canada site that listed the military abbreviations used in service to learn it stood for “Gun Shot Wounds.”

Another veteran buried at the cemetery, Major George H. Williams, served in both World Wars. He had a very interesting life. In 1917, Williams enlisted in Lord Strathcona’s Horse regiment and a year later, in the last cavalry charge of the First World War, was wounded. During the time between the wars, he had become one of the leaders of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation party in Saskatchewan. He left the party for active military service in 1941, endorsing the new leader, Tommy Douglas.

Another student found the military record of his great, great grandfather and learned from the doctor’s notes the cause of his ancestor’s injury: a G.S.W.in the lower left side of his back.

The class completed their act of remembrance by visiting the gravesite of the soldier they had learned so much about. Each ceramic poppy had a nametag attached, which detailed the rank, name, service unit, and age of each service member. On the back of the label, the students wrote, “I remember” and signed their own names.

On Tuesday, November 9, the class, with their poppies, walked from the school to the cemetery to honour these brave service members at their final resting place.

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