Memories of War

This nationwide project encourages World War II and Korean War veterans to tell their stories to ensure their memories will be preserved for generations to come.

September 11, 2013 | | Autumn 2013 | Back Issues

When woven together, memories are the threads that create the fabric of history – and as Remembrance Day 2013 approaches, In The Hills’ writers have picked up some of those threads to tell three remarkable stories about the wartime experiences of Headwaters residents.

James Jackson relates what happened when three generations of his family took a 21st-century drive across northern Europe to retrace the much more gruelling journey by his grandfather, Tom Jackson, and the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in 1944 and 1945.

Bernadette Hardaker recounts the story of how Orangeville and the family of Jim Welsh, a 13-year-old boy at the time, welcomed his father and other “hometown boys” back from World War II.

And Ken Weber describes how, during the Great War, Peel historian and lawyer William Perkins Bull and his wife Maria opened the Perkins Bull Hospital for Convalescent Canadian Officers in their home in London, England.

As stories like these threaten to fade from living memory, Historica Canada is working to preserve this disappearing legacy through the Memory Project. Funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, the nationwide project encourages World War II and Korean War veterans to tell their stories to ensure their memories will be preserved. “We’re recording thousands of stories of our veterans for eternity,” says Memory Project manager Alex Herd.

On Wednesday, October 9, staff of the Memory Project will be at the Albion Bolton Branch of the Caledon Public Library to record the recollections of area veterans, who are also encouraged to bring in wartime artifacts that can be photographed, digitized and displayed online. Because each one-on-one interview with a Memory Project staff member is expected to last about an hour, veterans are urged to contact the library to set up an appointment. Call 905-857-1400 x228 or email Mary Maw at [email protected].

The Memory Project is also reaching out to veterans who are unable to attend the event in Caledon or other southern Ontario communities this fall. Veterans can contact the Memory Project at 416-506-1867 to make an appointment to record a telephone interview.

The stories collected in Caledon and elsewhere will be added to the many firsthand accounts already online on the Memory Project website: www.thememoryproject.com.

Both Dufferin County Museum & Archives and the Peel Art Gallery, Museum & Archives have also gathered some recordings of veterans’ oral recollections. These can be accessed by visiting DCMA or PAMA.

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