Nfld. & Labrador

Visit to French war sites amid Paris attacks hits home for father and son

A father and son visiting France last week to honour fallen relatives found themselves in the middle of another conflict.

Lindy, Lloyd Rideout pay respects to at sites where relatives fought during First World War

Lloyd and Lindy Rideout (far left and right) travelled to France to pay their respects to family members who fought in the First World War. (Submitted )

A father and son visiting France last week to honour fallen relatives found themselves in the middle of another conflict.

Lloyd and Lindy Rideout had travelled abroad to pay their respects to Lloyd's father and uncle who fought in the First World War. 

Cadiz Rideout, Lloyd's father, was injured in Monchy-le-Preux in 1917. Lloyd's uncle, Sidney, was killed the year before at the infamous battle of Beaumont-Hamel, where most members of the Newfoundland Regiment were killed or wounded. 

The morning after the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, the pair found themselves in a country that was again under siege. 

"The borders were closed. We were flying out in a few hours. It was that moment where you don't stop, you don't breathe and your mind races: what do we do now?" said Lindy Rideout.

"We weren't really expecting to be in the epicentre of another terrorist attack," said Lindy Rideout.

In France for First World War tour

The father and son duo travelled to France to see first-hand where their relatives fought.

The duo was in France to retrace the steps of their relatives, in the place where nearly 100 years ago, they defended a 100-metre strip of land in Beaumont-Hamel with the Newfoundland Regiment.

Lloyd Rideout went in hopes that it would help him understand a little bit more about his father, a man who passed away when he was only seven.

His son Lindy said that being in France during the attacks Friday helped put in perspective how his ancestors felt during the First World War.

"It did help bring home how my grandfather and his brother felt when they were in the presence of all that chaos," he said.

Piece of Newfoundland nearby

Lloyd Rideout's father and uncle fought in the First World War.

Outside the window from the bed and breakfast at which they were staying the two saw a familiar symbol.

"In Beaumont-Hamel, there is a piece of Newfoundland soil we could see it from our hotel. The Newfoundland flag flies there," he said. "It was reassuring to know that it was next door."

The two are now safely back home in Newfoundland, and the trip has opened their eyes to how lucky they have it in Canada.

"We have a new appreciation for the word freedom," said Lindy Rideout. 

"Being back home makes me want to stay here even more."

With files from Julia Cook and Chris Ensing

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