St Peter’s Junior School pupil Mackenzie pays a touching tribute to his great, great grandfather on Armistice Day

Mackenzie Plitsch with the poppy-covered cross at his great great grandfather’s grave, with teacher

Mackenzie Plitsch with the poppy-covered cross at his great great grandfather’s grave, with teacher Emma Ball-Rye reading In Flanders Fields. - Credit: Archant

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 at Wisbech General Cemetery.

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.

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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 Mr Plitsch’s grave.

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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.”

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