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Storytellers present ‘Vimy and the Child Soldier From Hillier’

Robert Clarence Thompson, of Hillier

In honour of the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge, The County Storytelling Festival Series presents an adaptation of the true story of a 13-year-old County farm boy who ran away from home and enlisted in the army.

The story and music has been written by Suzanne Pasternak, Mark Despault, Cori and Codie Goodman and Maeve Sanderson. The show features musicians Suzanne and Mark as well as local singer/songwriter Lenni Stewart, Codie, Cory and Maeve.

This is a storytelling adaptation of the dramatic musical first performed as part of the Kerosene Lamp Concert Series and was also presented at a theatre in Teeswater and Macaulay Museum in Picton back in 2009.

“This is based on the true story of a 13-year-old farm boy who ran away from home and enlisted in the army to fight in the First World War,” said Pasternak. “His dad was relentless in tracking him down and bringing him back home. The second time, Robert Clarence Thompson made it to France and turned 14 years old on the battle fields. He actually fought in the battle of Vimy Ridge.”

Mark Despault and Suzanne Pasternak

Pasternak explained that when his age was discovered, he was discharged and returned to Hillier.

“He ran away again and enlisted in Toronto a few days before the catastrophic Halifax Explosion of 1917. Robert’s battalion became the first emergency respondents from Toronto to reach the devastated city. Although still under age after the Halifax mission, he was sent back to France to finish out the war.”

Part of the story takes place on the farm in Hillier. It paints a picture of the lives of the woman, children and people left behind.

“I asked the teens Codie, Cori and Maeve to write their parts. They did a fantastic job and gave an important and authentic voice to the script.”

Vimy and The Child Soldier is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, April 9 at The House of Falconer in Picton. Tickets are $20 adults and $10 for kids and are available at Books and company or by calling Suzanne 613-847 9842

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