By: Louise North – Principal and Head of the Senior School

Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher was killed on 2 June 2009. He was one of the youngest soldiers to die in the Afghanistan war. I am going to read the letter that he wrote to be delivered to his family if he died.

I want to read this to emphasise the importance of remembering that behind the terrible numbers of men and women who have died in war across the world, behind each name, there is a story, a person with a family, with hopes, dreams and ambitions, whether they died in recent combat or in the Great war. Let’s never forget this.

Hello it’s me, this is gonna be hard for you to read but I write this knowing every time you think it’s got too much for you to handle (so don’t cry on it MUM!!) you can read this and hopefully it will help you all get through.

For a start, Damn I got hit!! Now I’ve got that out the way I can say the things I’ve hopefully made clear, or if I haven’t this should clear it all up for me. My whole life you’ve all been there for me through thick and thin, a bit like a wedding through good and bad.

Without you I believe I wouldn’t have made it as far as I have. I died doing what I was born to do. I was happy and felt great about myself. Although the army was sadly the ending of me, it was also the making of me, so please don’t feel any hate toward it.

One thing I know I never made clear to you all, was I make jokes about my life starting in the Army. That’s wrong, VERY wrong. My life began a LONG time before that (Obviously) but you get what I mean. All the times ‘ve tried to neglect the family, get angry when you try teach me right from wrong, what I mean to say is I only realised that you were trying to help when I joined the army and without YOUR help I would have never had the GRIT and the down right determination to crack on and do it.

If I could have a wish in life, it would to be to say: I’ve gone and done things many would never try to do. And going to Afghan has fulfilled my dream i.e. my goal. Yes, I am young, which as a parent must break you heart, but you must all somehow find the strength that I found, to do something no matter how big the challenge. As I’m writing this letter, I can see you all crying and mourning my death, but if I could have one wish in an “after life”, it would be to stop your crying and continue your dreams (as I did), because if I were watching, only that would break my heart. So dry your tears, and put on a brave face for the rest of your friends and family who need you.

I want each and every one of you to fulfill a dream, and at the end of it look at what you have done (completed) and feel the accomplishment and achievement I did, only then will you understand how I felt when I passed away.

[To his brothers:] You are both amazing men and will continue to be throughout your lives. You both deserve to be happy and fulfill all of your dreams.

Dad – my idol, my friend, my best friend, my teacher, my coach, everything I ever succeeded in my life, I owe to you and maybe a little bit of me! You are a great man and the perfect role model and the past two years of being in the army, I noticed that. And me and you have been on the best level we have ever been. I thank you for nothing, because I know all you have given to me is not there to be thanked for, it’s there because you did it cause you love me and that is my most proudest thing I could ever say.

Mum, where do I start with you!! For a start you’re perfect, your smell, your hugs, the way your life was dedicated to us boys and especially the way you cared each and every step us boys took. I love you, you were the reason I made it as far as I did, you were the reason I was loved more than any child I know and that made me feel special.

You’re all such great individuals and I hope somehow this letter will help you get through this shocking time!! Just remember do NOT mourn my death. As hard as this will seem, celebrate a great life that has had its ups and downs. I love you all more than you would ever know and in your own individual ways helped me get through it all. I wish you all the best with your dreams.

Remember chin up head down. With love Cyrus xxxx

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