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Museum Blog

Rob Porkka
Red Deer, Alberta

Rob Porkka

Image: Rob Porkka at the Knokke-Heist Liberation March

Rob Porkka is a historian and educator. He taught at the AFCENT International School (run by NATO) in the Netherlands on loan from the Red Deer Public Schools from 1998 to 2001.

Rob has been part of remembrance projects in Red Deer and the Netherlands. As a teacher and Vice Principal at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, he helped found the “We Will Remember Them” project. This project commemorates former students of Red Deer High School who were killed in the world wars.

Canadian Military Members as part of KnokkeHeist March

Image: Canadian Military Members as part of Knokke-Heist March

While teaching at the AFCENT International School, Rob participated in marches to honour Second World War soldiers. One was the Knokke-Heist Liberation March on November 1. It retraces the steps of the Canadian Soldiers who landed on the Netherlands beaches on November 1, 1944. It snakes through villages from Hoofdplaat, Netherlands to Knokke-Heist, Belgium.

For the marches, Rob chose to commemorate two stories, one Red Deer and one personal.

Rob’s second cousin, Harold Porkka, was a Veteran of the Liberation of the Netherlands. Harold stayed more than a year after the war ended to re-establish the Netherlands’ communication networks. When he returned to Red Deer, he opened the first T.V. repair shop.
Rob also walked for Corporal Robert Ellenwood. Ellenwood was only a year old when his family moved to Red Deer in 1903. He enlisted at the beginning of the Second World War, seeing service and injury in Italy. Corporal Ellenwood was killed in Belgium in September 1944 during the liberation.
Gravestone of Corporal Ellenwood

Image: Gravestone of Corporal R.W. Ellenwood

Did you know?

Every two years, Lindsay Thurber students travel to Europe. On each trip a name from one of the memorial plaques in the school is selected. While on the trip, a ceremony of remembrance is held at that person’s gravesite or memorial; including placing a plaque to mark the school’s visit. Upon returning, a framed photo of the grave, soldier, and student is added to the main hall’s memorial wall. With all of the First World War soldiers completed, the project has continued with the Second World War soldiers; some have their final resting place in the Netherlands.

Did you know?

Ellenwood Drive in Red Deer is named after Corporal Robert Ellenwood.

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