SOLE was proud to host a visit on Wed June 12, 2019 of World War 2 veteran, Capt. John Jack Rhind, 99, who came to us courtesy of Historica Canada as part of the 75th anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1944). Although Capt. Rhind was not part of the Allied Armada that led the eastern push into Europe, he was part of the Allied push north towards Germany from Italy, where he served with the 11th Field Artillery as a commander of a troop of 30 men.
Capt. Rhind shared with our students his experiences during the war, particularly the Battle for Montecassino. Capt. Rhind was also part of the Allied troops that liberated several villages in The Netherlands that had been under Nazi occupation for four years.
SOLE students, teachers and guests were spellbound by his war stories and anecdotes even though they depicted a very bloody time in our history. Capt. Rhind connected easily with his audience. He brought with him a scale model of his field artillery piece and demonstrated to students just how they used it to fire up at the Germans who were firing down at them from their advantageous position from the monastery at the top of Montecassino.
Capt. Rhind was an extremely engaging speaker who kept us wanting to know more when he hinted at stories yet to be told, particularly when soldiers had time off. Although he did share with us some of his field notes, he made us aware that there is a lot more to be told.
Student Dawson D., even though he is not taking the history course, created the flyer to advertise Capt. Rhind’s visit. History student Jack O. did the welcoming remarks, giving the audience a background to Capt. Rhind’s military service during the war.
History student Matthew S. did the closing remarks, thanking Capt. Rhind for bringing history alive to us. “As a wise man once said, ‘Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it.’ This is why it is so important to remember our history and luckily for us we have many sources to do so. Things like books, papers, and diaries give small glimpses of the past, but more importantly than any others are the people who were there. They give us a firsthand account that beats the written accounts by miles and, sadly, as time marches on, we have fewer and fewer veterans left to share their stories with us. And so it is with this in mind that we were so excited to welcome World War 2 veteran, Capt. Jack Rhind to our school. We will never forget his descriptions of what the war truly felt like, the people involved and the impossible hardships that he went through. We thank you for coming to speak to us and for your military service.”
SOLE would be very happy to host Capt. Rhind again in the hope that he will share those stories and anecdotes he just hinted at.
Photos by Clare E-A.