Twin brothers based in Suffolk honoured by schools around the world
PUBLISHED: 11:21 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:21 09 November 2018
Students from three schools around the world have come together to mark the sacrifice of two brothers, and countless others, who gave their lives for war.
Newmarket Academy pupils have been learning about the town’s involvement in the war over the past two weeks, and the history of the Rowley Mile racecourse, which served as an RAF airfield in the Second World War.
Pupils also looked at the story of two Canadian twin brothers, Ernie and Doug Tod, who served in the 75th New Zealand Squadron based at the Rowley Mile.
The twins, who were born to a family of ten brothers and sisters, were RCAF flight sergeants in bomber crews based in England during World War Two.
The brothers were previously based at Mildenhall, Cottesmore and Stradishall, before being transferred to Newmarket in 1943 to be a part of the seven-man bomber crew.
One of their elder brothers, John Tod also served in the war and managed to spend time with the brothers in England while visiting with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps.
After 28 successful bombing missions, the brothers were shot down by a German Messerschmitt on June 23, 1943.
They were buried in two separate locations in Holland – where their bodies had been washed to shore after the crash.
In 1945, after the Netherlands had been liberated, their brother John landed on Normandy beach with 14,000 other Canadian soldiers and supporting units and soon learned about their burials in separate places in Holland.
In 1946, he arranged for the brothers to be buried side-by-side at a cemetery in Medemblik, so they would be together as they had been all their lives.
The Koggeschip in Medemblik, Holland, where the brothers are buried, Hastings School in St Vital in Canada, where the brothers grew up, and Newmarket Academy each held memorials for the brothers.
Pupils visited the racecourse for a special ceremony on Thursday and laid flowers, read a reflective poem and created a poppy mosiac.
Sam Barker, history teacher at Newmarket Academy, said: “Not many know of the 558 planes that took off from the Rowley Mile on June 22 and 23, 1943, or more specifically the Tod brothers.
“Their story is a poignant one and today has been a fitting tribute to the fallen.”