Letter to dead soldier creates unusual friendship

On his way to the Vimy Ridge memorial two weeks ago, David Frost stopped off in the city of Thélus to visit the grave of his uncle, who died during the bloody 1917 battle.

Frost, the 63-year-old Sarnia man, walked up to his uncle's headstone and knelt down beside it, whispering just two words — thank you.

That's when he spotted a letter by a Grade 12 Prince Edward Island student, who would soon become his pen pal.

"I get choked up every time I read it," he told CBC News. "Near the end, it says, 'no one will forget you' and that is so powerful and moving to read." 

Frost and his family snapped a photo of the picture and got back on their tour bus.  That evening, back in his hotel room, Frost posted the picture Facebook and within hours he was messaging with Keirstyn Hamlin, the student who penned the letter.

Hamlin was assigned to write the letter to Earnest Ralph Frost as part of a school project. She learned about Earnest and his death April 9, 1917 during the battle of Vimy Ridge, and the note quickly became more than a class project. 

"It felt personal," she sadi. "If it wasn't for those soldiers, we wouldn't be here today. It was an unbelievable experience."

​When Frost's uncle lost his life in the battle, he was 19-years-old, just one year older than Hamlin. 

"Realizing that makes you feel kind of sad, but also makes you realize how brave they were," she said. 

The experience of connecting with Frost has made Hamlin recognize what an honour it was to write the letter in the first place. They have since sent a few messages back and forth, and are hoping to stay in touch.

"It's been a fabulous experience and to finally talk to Keirstyn, it's been really moving," Frost said.