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Youngsters offered chance to learn about St Valery and 51st Highland Division sacrifice

Youngsters are being educated about the 51st Highland Division. Pic: Poppyscotland.
Youngsters are being educated about the 51st Highland Division. Pic: Poppyscotland.

It was the Second World War battle which led to 10,000 mainly Scottish soldiers being captured.

And yet, the remarkable bravery of the 51st Highland Division, which remained on the continent after the Dunkirk evacuations and was eventually captured at St Valery-en-Caux, has largely been forgotten.

However, the efforts of three Scottish Armed Forces charities has ensured that schoolchildren will be able to learn about this incredible story.

Speaking at the launch of new learning resources created by Poppyscotland, Scottish Government minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd MSP, said: “Barely a town, village or hamlet in the Highlands was unaffected by the events at St Valery in June 1940, yet many today are unaware of its significance.

“At a time when parents and carers are doing an incredible job to keep our young people learning at home, the St Valery materials are an excellent additional resource, and offer fascinating insight into the events 80 years ago this week.

Recalling the sacrifice of the 51st Highland Division at St Valery in 1940

“My great-uncle fought there and spent five brutal years as a prisoner of war, so the forthcoming commemorations have added poignancy for me.

“While the 75th anniversary of VE Day was rightly at the forefront of national consciousness last month, it is equally important that we remember and learn about less triumphant periods in our history.”

In addition to daily lesson plans, other learning events include an interactive Facebook Live lesson on Friday June 12 at 11am and two special broadcasts of critically acclaimed play The Beaches of St Valery  on Thursday at 8pm and Friday at 3pm.

Written and directed by Stuart Hepburn and starring Ron Donachie, James Rottger and Ashley Smith, it was first performed as part of ‘A Pie, A Pint and A Play’ at Glasgow’s Oran Mor in March.

The play has been made free for young people and adults as part of the 80th anniversary commemorations of St Valery by all the artists involved.

A new play commemorates the heroes of St Valery. Pic: Poppyscotland.

At 10am on Friday, pipers up and down Scotland and all over the world will take to their doorsteps to play Heroes of St Valery.

Pipers, and other musicians, of all ages and abilities are being invited to download the sheet music and learn the piece over the coming weeks.

The public is being asked to support the St Valery tribute through a fundraising campaign which will support the work of the three charities.

For more information on the 51st Highland Division at St Valery, please visit

https://51hd.co.uk/

.

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