Vimy Ridge among sites visited during local battlefield tour

June 22, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

The Grand Valley 85 Tornado Squadron recently completed a European battlefield tour, visiting historic Canadian battle sites from World Wars 1 and 2.

The tour saw the cadets visiting Vimy Ridge, The Somme (from World War 1), along with Normandy, Juno beach, and Calais (from World War 2), as well as various Canadian cemeteries and memorial sites.

The tour was organized by the squadron’s commanding officer, Captain John Smith.

Lucas Bobetchko, one of the cadets who went on the tour, has been with the squadron for four years, and described the tour as breathtaking. “Seeing the footage of soldiers going off to battle to fight, seeing it in real life, it was really intense.”

He was able to buy two pins from the Vimy Ridge memorial, and collected some sand from Juno Beach, where Canada landed on D-Day.

Mr. Bobetchko said his favorite place was the Somme battlefield. “Seeing the distance of the battlefield, I actually didn’t know we’d be visiting the Somme; it was a huge surprise. It was nice.”

Asked how he felt about visiting Vimy Ridge after its recent 100-year anniversary, he said, “Driving across the landscape, and seeing the shell holes and crater holes … they really fought for me, and what they had to go through.”

Mr. Bobetchko said the tour was important for the squadron, and for himself, as it made him appreciate more of what Canada did, along with seeing it in person, “instead of just on footage.”

He advised everyone should take these tours, especially the Vimy Ridge memorial, and pay their respects for those who died fighting for freedom.

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