Back in the last week of the summer term, Myton History teacher Mr Grier set his Year 8 students a challenge: to write the letter depicted in the hands of the statue of the Unknown Soldier at Paddington Station. He promised that the letters would be personal to them and that he wouldn’t check them. He then sent them off to Paddington Station.
Chris Newport, the Chaplain at Paddington was so moved when he read the letters that he contacted the school to invite the students to participate in the Remembrance Ceremony held annually at the station. He selected four letters as being particularly poignant.
Mr Grier managed to track down three of the students who had written the letters. The writer of the fourth letter, rather fittingly, remains unknown. On Wednesday November 11 Humreen Khangura, Daya Gill and Catherine Gregson all travelled down to London to attend the ceremony.
They stood at the foot of the statue of the Unknown Soldier and read out the letters they had written to him. Mr Grier read the letter from the unknown student.
“It was an incredibly moving service,” said Mr Grier. “The students showed enormous empathy through their letters and great courage in reading them out in front of around 300 people made up of railway workers, veterans and members of the public. It was a real privilege to be involved.”
Letter to the Unknown Soldier
Dear whatever name you wish to be called,
I feel awfully intimidated to be writing to someone who has experienced events I can’t even comprehend. It is even worse to imagine that someone possibly similar to me could have participated in something so terrible.
My family is always finding an excuse to lecture me that I should be doing more with my education or that I should try harder with every aspect of my life. I would love to know your story and whether you found any of my problems relatable. It haunts me to think though that I complain about the tiniest problem in my life, but you are still grateful for some food you are given while fighting in catastrophic conditions.
Education, desperation and ridiculous qualms aside – I would do anything to see who you are, what you are like, and to give you a hug to slowly wash away all of your worries about this war. There are people in this day that still support you and want to thank you for everything you’ve done to protect us, because you and millions of other men have shown us that we should appreciate what we have and we will make the most of our lives to come.
Personally I find it quite hard to label you as ‘Unknown Soldier’. You have obviously been given a name so that magnificent people like you are NEVER forgotten! So, my name for you is Magnificent. Thank you Magnificent for inspiring me to show myself and others to never be forgotten.
I will respectfully not say my name so we will both happily be unnamed together.
Thank you Magnificent.Click here to return to the current newsletter