On a still and overcast morning, Nov. 3, Grades 3 to 6 Elkhorn school students and their teachers Ms. Howard and Ms. Sabourin, gathered on the hill in Elkhorn Cemetery to take part in No Stone Left Alone exercises, laying memorial poppies upon the graves of military veterans buried within Elkhorn Cemetery. It was their first such ceremony.
A brief service of Remembrance was led by Canadian Armed Forces Captain (ret’d) Kevin Tutthill. Elkhorn Legion Br. No. 58 and Virden Legion Br. No. 8 were represented.
The students led “O Canada” and recited “In Flanders Fields.” Elkhorn Legion Ladies Auxiliary President, Margaret James led the Prayer of Remembrance. Student Ryan Anderson said the Commitment to Remember: “They were young, as we are young….”
The Act of Remembrance was led by Chief Warrant Officer Chad Lelond, CD – Royal Canadian Artillery RSM (Reserves).
Wreathes were laid by students Scotlyn Malcom & Jazlynn Lowes, Comrade James, RCL; CWO Lelond, CD; and by MLA Greg Nesbitt on behalf of the province.
Following “God Save the King” students traversed the cemetery finding the gravestones of military veterans and laying poppies there.
The group moved back to Elkhorn to St. Mark’s Anglican Church yard where Cpt. (ret.) Tutthill, formerly a principal at Elkhorn School, provided an interesting history lesson focused on a soldier from Elkhorn Private William John Rodgers whose headstone is near the church door.
He enlisted on Dec. 28, 1916 in Winnipeg with the 101st Overseas Battalion, Winnipeg Light Infantry. This was the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF).
Rodgers traveled across the ocean to England on the largest ship of the day, a sister ship of the Titanic. However, he became sick, was hospitalized in London and was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
When the war ended Private Rodgers was shipped back to Canada to the sanatorium at Ninette, where he died a few short months afterward.
He was a resident of Elkhorn, but a flood destroyed his records. It was through searching his enlistment number that Tutthill was able to follow the trail of this serviceman. The personal details made an interesting story for the students to absorb.
Three students laid a poppy on William Rodgers’ grave.
Following NSLA exercise, Margaret James with the helping hands of Ed and Marilyn Clayton and Holly Tutthill served hot chocolate to the group who took part in NSLA. Soup and sandwiches were served to the special guests attending the NSLA ceremony.
Teacher Courtney Howard said afterward that students found their search of the gravestones very interesting, also taking notice of some graves dating back to the 1800s.