Primary school kids send thank-you notes to Anzac veterans
Primary school children honour Anzacs by sending heart-felt thank-you letters.
Anzac Day 2020 will be like none other, but 30 Melbourne primary-school children are keeping the Anzac spirit alive by writing to veterans at home.
For many decades, RACV has co-ordinated volunteer drivers to transport veterans to the Anzac Day march and ceremony. But with the usual events cancelled this year, the schoolchildren wanted to reach out and write letters to each of the 35 veterans who had booked RACV’s free door-to-door service to the march.
Lysterfield Primary School teacher Caillin Ibbotson asked her grade 5 and 6 students, aged 10 to 12, if they’d like to write to the veterans.
It wasn’t a set assignment, but 30 children volunteered because they wanted to let veterans know they were thinking of them on Anzac Day, she says.
Some children wrote to more than one veteran and many included personal notes about themselves and their families or were full of questions about the veterans, she says.
“We have a few students whose great-grandparents or grandparents were part of the army, navy or air force and there are scouts who always participate in Anzac Day services, while others are genuinely interested in history and the Anzacs,” Caillin says.
“Many want a return letter from their veterans to keep up the relationship.”
Molly, 10, wrote to Robert Jeavons (pictured above), 93, from Brighton, who served in World War II and who led last year’s Melbourne Anzac Day march as a naval representative alongside veterans from the army and air force. (More: World War II veterans remember ‘good times and terrible times’.)
“I would love to say thank you for fighting for our country’s freedom. It means that I can do the things I can do today!” Molly wrote. “Thinking of you on Anzac Day.”
As well as the letters, every veteran who had signed up to be driven to the march will get a call from an RACV volunteer on Anzac Day.
RACV’s Anzac Day driving service is a tradition that stretches back to World War I when car ownership was rare. RACV members volunteered their cars to meet almost 300 hospital ships at Station Pier in Port Melbourne and transport the injured to hospital. (More: Letters from the World War I trenches.)
By the end of the war, RACV’s Volunteer Transport Unit had driven more than 93,000 returning soldiers and nurses from ships to hospital or to military barracks, a massive task for a club with only 1400 members.
The club was recognised for its wartime contribution by King George V in 1916, who gave the club its royal prefix, changing its name to the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria.