12 June 2014

Lives of the First World War

For me the Beechwood cemetery walking tour last Sunday revealed the lives of the great and the good but overlooked the ordinary soldier. I'm slowly exploring the lives of the 98 WW1 soldiers in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database buried at Beechwood Cemetery. Some will be posted here on their anniversary of death.

Gail Dever on her Genealogy à la carte blog mentioned the IWM Lives of the First World War website which would be a good place to archive and consolidate such stories.

What about other cemeteries? Will any person or organization take on that task for those with no descendants or close relatives? How many of the 277 WW1 CWGC burials at Montreal's Mount Royal Cemetery, the 248 at Notre Dame des Neiges, the 62 at Kingston's Cataraqui Cemetery, the 12 at Belleville Cemetery, the 126 at Toronto's Mount Pleasant, and many others. There are 2,844 cemeteries with WW1 and WW2 CWGC burials in Canada, many with a single burial like the Czar Cemetery in Provost, Alberta, which holds the remains of Canada's first WW1 fatality.

Compiling these stories is a fitting tribute and also a great way to sharpen your research skills.

I'm reminded that the Perth (Ontario) Royal Canadian Legion, 26 Beckwith Street E., has a Hall of Remembrance,which commemorates the stories of area residents in the world wars. For information about visiting the museum, phone the Legion’s office at 613-267-4400, or the lounge at 613-267-1148.

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