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Student inspired by fate of unknown soldier

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Geregistreerd op: 17-7-2005
Berichten: 12471
Woonplaats: Jabbeke, Flanders - Home of the Marine Jagdgeschwader in WW I

BerichtGeplaatst: 21 Jun 2007 20:56    Onderwerp: Student inspired by fate of unknown soldier Reageer met quote

By Nigel Bunyan
Last Updated: 1:09am BST 18/06/2007

A teenager who "adopted" an unknown soldier who fell during the First World War is to tell the Queen how he inspired her life.

Laura McLintic was 13 when she joined school friends at the man's simple grave on the Flanders battlefield.

The experience so moved her that she later wrote a poem in his honour, and subsequently drew upon his suffering and sacrifice to put her own teenage difficulties in perspective.

Next month Laura, now 20, will return to Belgium where the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele is to be commemorated by the Queen at Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Ypres.

Miss McLintic will stand in front of the Queen as she reads the 32-line poem she wrote four years ago.

The poem ends: "So thank you, unknown soldier/My comfort and my friend/You will be my continuity/Until my life is at an end".

Yesterday Miss McLintic, who is studying education at the University of Wolverhampton, recalled the poignancy of her first visit to the 11,908-grave cemetery.

At the time she was one of a party of children from Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Horncastle, Lincolnshire.

She said: "It was an incredible experience to see all those graves and to realise how many had no names on them. It brings me to the verge of tears every time I think of it. It is so sad that they did that for us but it is also liberating and moving.

"We were all given remembrance crosses to place on graves that had particular meaning but I didn't have a relative buried there so I used my birth date - June 28 - to pick Grave 28 in the sixth row. It was simply marked: "A Soldier of the Great War - Known Unto God" and at that moment I gave my heart to him.

"I have been through a lot of difficulties - my parents divorced - and whenever I've felt down my thoughts have turned to my soldier and what he went through. When I think of my soldier I feel great pride for him and it has really kept me going."

The Queen is due to visit Tyne Cot on July 12. She will also attend a ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres where 54,896 men with no known grave are commemorated and where local buglers continue to sound the Last Post every night.
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