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Blog: Monday, November 6th, 2017

Lest We Forget

By Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

I recently came across the letter below that was written by Captain Charles May of the British Infantry to his wife on the eve of one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War: The Somme offensive of 1916. The heart wrenching letter is a reminder of the scale of the sacrifice that was made by all countries, but also that at the core of this ordeal were individuals with family, hopes, dreams, and potential:

“I must not allow myself to dwell on the personal – there is no room for it here. Also it is demoralising. But I do not want to die. Not that I mind for myself. If it be that I am to go, I am ready. But the thought that I may never see you or our darling baby again turns my bowels to water.

…My one consolation is the happiness that has been ours. Also my conscience is clear that I have always tried to make life a joy for you. I know that if I go you will not want. That is something.

But it is the thought that we may be cut off from each other which is so terrible and that our babe may grow up without my knowing her and without her knowing me. It is difficult to face. And I know your life without me would be a dull blank.

Yet you must never let it become wholly so, for you will be left with the greatest challenge in all the world; the upbringing of our baby. God bless that child, she is the hope of life to me.

My darling, au revoir. It may well be that you will only have to read these lines as ones of passing interest. On the other hand, they may well be my last message to you. If they are, know through all your life that I loved you and our baby with all my heart and soul, that you two sweet things were just all the world to me. I pray to God I may do my duty, for I know, whatever that may entail, you would not have it otherwise.”

Captain May went over the top of his trench the following day with his men, and was killed by a German shell. He was 27.  

Lest we forget.

By Kevin Godden
Kevin Godden
Kevin Godden

By Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

Kevin has been the Superintendent of Schools for the Abbotsford School District since July 2011, overseeing some 19,000 students and 2,500 employees. Kevin is committed to student success in all forms and envisions a school district that can nimbly respond to the ever changing needs and interests of its students.