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Summerside group travelling to visit relatives buried in British war cemetery

Roy Crozier, left, and Alan Cameron, right, hold two plaques they plan to lay at the graves of their uncles who died in the Second Word War. Both are buried in the same war cemetery in the U.K. and their nephews have always wanted to visit their graves.
Roy Crozier, left, and Alan Cameron, right, hold two plaques they plan to lay at the graves of their uncles who died in the Second Word War. Both are buried in the same war cemetery in the U.K. and their nephews have always wanted to visit their graves.

SUMMERSIDE, PE.I. - Roy Crozier never knew the uncle for whom he is named.  

Alan Cameron didn't get to know his father's twin brother.

Roy Alexander Crozier was killed in the Second World War at the age of 23. Hillard Cameron was 35 when he died in the same conflict.

Crozier and Cameron, both of Summerside and both involved with the Summerside Royal Canadian Legion branch, grew up knowing about their uncles and at one time or another wondered what it would be like to visit their graves. But both men dismissed the thought as a pipedream.

It wasn't until the two got talking one day that they realized their uncles rested in the same graveyard, Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey, England. When they looked into it a little more they found their relatives were buried closely together, just one row of separation.

That was it for them. They'd had enough of wanting to visit their uncles' graves and started planning to do it with help from their Legion friends Leroy Gamble and Karen Churchill-Gamble, who have been visiting Canadian war cemeteries in Europe for a number of years.

"I've been wanting to do this all my adult life," said Cameron.

"For as long as I can remember ... I've always wanted to visit that grave site.

"Now I've got the opportunity to do it. It becomes a very personal issue. It brings closure - to something."

The group of eight, including Suzanne Cameron and Marie Loney, left for their pilgrimage on Sept. 1.

Everyone involved in the trip is excited and looking forward to the experience - but there will be a tinge of sadness to it for the Gambles.

A number of years ago the couple started laying small ceramic plaques and leaving Canadian and P.E.I. flags at the graves of Islanders in various European war cemeteries.

They plan to do the same during this most recent visit - but the couple is confident this will be the last time they complete this tradition.

It's been a rewarding and fun experience, said Karen, but at some point you have to pass that torch onto someone else.

"I think we've done our part."

Still, they plan to enjoy this final experience and are excited to share it with their friends. They have 25 flags, one for each known Islander in the graveyard, and seven plaques.

It's sure to be a moving experience for everyone when those items are laid out, she added.

Colin.MacLean@JournalPioneer.com

 

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