“This could have been us” says student

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Andrew McNabb and Bruce McDonald would have been just about the same age as Hugh Murray McQueen but their lives have taken a much different course thanks to his service.

McNabb and McDonald researched the life of McQueen, a Canadian soldier from Petrolia who fought during the Great War for their history class at LCCVI. They shared his story with their school as part of the Act of Remembrance Nov. 11.

The pair spent hours finding out about McQueen who went to England in 1915 and saw his first action in the trenches one week after he arrived at the front.

McQueen was fought on various battlefields including Canada’s epic battle at Passenedale. He was subject to mustard gas attacks in the trenches and was in and out of the hospital with what he doctors called bronchitis but what McQueen’s family believes was the effects of mustard gas.

McNabb says the young man died during just 40 days before the Great War ended in the 100 Day Offensive.

McNabb and McDonald were moved by his story especially considering the soldier was their age when he enlisted.

“If this had happened 100 years later, this would have been us,” says McNabb.

“I see a lot of us in him,” says McDonald.

And yet McQueen’s experience is much different than McNabb’s and McDonald’s. “We can speculate and guess and come up with all sorts of ideas, but there is no way to go through the suffering he did,” says McNabb

The pair, and their classmates will learn more about the history of World War One in the spring. The history class will be taking a trip to the battlefields of the Great War in March.

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