It is fair to say that Covid-19 has blighted many things, but thanks to international cooperation, it couldn’t interfere with the remembrance of former pupil and wartime pilot Flight Lieutenant Alexander Turnbull. Alexander was shot down over Norway in 1945 after delivering supplies to the Norwegian Resistance. His body now rests in a Lillehammer cemetery.
An investigation by school archivist David McLeish uncovered that Alexander had no known family, so it was planned that ESMS representatives would visit his grave in 2020. However, when travel restrictions came into force, Haakon Vinje, Head of the Norwegian War Graves Service at the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, stepped in. Through the parish council in Lillehammer, it was arranged for a locally made wreath to be laid by deputy churchwarden Ms Reidun Bjørke on behalf of ESMS.
This act of kindness sparked a reciprocal response, and teacher David Clarke and the Commonwealth Graves Commission (CWGC) arranged for wreaths to be laid at Norwegian CWGC graves all over Scotland and Wales.
Image with thanks to the Commonwealth Graves Commission/Haakon Vinje
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