Scouts pay respects in battlefields trip

Cotswold Journal: At the graveside of Harry Checketts are, left to right, Cub Scout Leader Tony Coletta, Jack Dempsey, Group Scout Leader Bob Bailey, Cameron Kelly, Scout Leader Trevor Allbut, Arthur Simpson, James Costall, Peter Lippett and Harrison Walker At the graveside of Harry Checketts are, left to right, Cub Scout Leader Tony Coletta, Jack Dempsey, Group Scout Leader Bob Bailey, Cameron Kelly, Scout Leader Trevor Allbut, Arthur Simpson, James Costall, Peter Lippett and Harrison Walker

A GROUP of young Scouts paid their respects to those who lost their lives in The Somme during a trip to France and Belgium.

Five Scouts and four leaders from the Second Evesham Bengeworth Scout Group made the four-day trip to visit the First World War cemeteries, memorials and battlefields last month.

While they were on the trip the group visited the grave of Harry J Checketts, one-time Scout leader of the then 1st Evesham Scout Group, who was killed in action in 1916, and whose picture still hangs in the Scout hut.

During the visit they performed a private ceremony by his grave in the Branhoek Cemetery, laying a wreath.

Tony Coletta, Cub Scout leader, said: “The second highlight was taking part in the poppy parade at the Menin Gate on November 11 and laying a wreath.

“It was an amazing atmosphere.

“It was an honour and a privilege and an experience we shall all remember with great pride. The group visited The Somme memorial at Theipval, the Lochnager crater at Ovillers La Boiselle, the Newfoundland memorial at Beaumont Hamel, Vimy Ridge and the Wellington Tunnels at Arras and then moved on to Ypres to Tyn Cot and Passchendale, and the Messine Ridge.

“While we all enjoyed the trip and learned a great deal from it, we couldn’t help but feel very sad that so many should lose their lives in such dreadful conditions.

“It became extremely difficult to take in the vast numbers evidenced by the rows of gravestones and, perhaps more poignantly, the thousands of people whose names appear on the memorials and whose remains have not yet been found."

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