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Great great grandson's touching Armistice Day tribute

The great great grandson of a soldier who fought in the First World War laid a poppy-covered cross on his ancestor's grave as part of a touching Armistice Day commemoration in Wisbech General Cemetery on Friday (November 11).

Armistice Day 2016

Mackenzie Plitsch was paying tribute to George Plitsch, a farm labourer from Leverington who died in 1919 after returning from his military service in France.

The solemn moment was the centrepiece of a Remembrance event that focused on 11 men who served or died in the 1914-18 conflict and whose graves are in the cemetery.

Mackenzie was one of 29 Year 6 children from St Peter's Junior School who took part in the commemoration. It was organised by Sue Beel, chairman of the cemetery's Friends group, and Emma Ball-Rye, one of the school's teachers.

The pupils observed the traditional two minutes' silence and held prayers before touring the cemetery and laying the crosses with the pin-wheel poppies that they had made at each of the graves.

George Plitsch's story was particularly tragic. After being called up in 1917, he served in France from January 1918. Over the next 18 months he and his wife suffered the deaths of their two daughters aged eight and one and his nine-month-old son before his own death in July 1919.

Mrs Ball-Rye also read out John MacRae's famous poem "In Flanders Fields"beside George Plitsch's grave.

She said: "It was a lovely, moving day. It was very spiritual and reflective and the children got a real sense of tragedy and respect."

Sue Beel added: "We've held a short commemoration ceremony in the cemetery for the past two years but the involvement of the children from St Peter's School gave it an entirely new dimension. 

"It was a very moving occasion for everyone, particularly when Mackenzie laid one of the crosses that the children had made on the grave of his great great grandfather."

Armistice Day group 2016 Armistice Day 2016 - group 2

Article added November 14, 2016