Info on Placentia Bay veterans being collected

Elizabeth MacDonald
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Military roots

Information about the men and women from the Placentia Bay area who served during World War I, World War II and the Korean War is being collected and compiled for a commemorative book and database. That information will be used to help prepare the province, and the area, for the 100th anniversary of Beaumont Hamel in 2016.

The plan, a joint project of Festival of Flags and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 33 in Placentia, will detail information about the servicemen and women from each community in the bay.

Office assistant Melissa Brenton (left), researcher Elaine Murray and researcher Debbie Griffiths (right) are working on a military history research project that involves communities throughout Placentia Bay. The project is being carried out with help fro

Information about the men and women from the Placentia Bay area who served during World War I, World War II and the Korean War is being collected and compiled for a commemorative book and database. That information will be used to help prepare the province, and the area, for the 100th anniversary of Beaumont Hamel in 2016.

The plan, a joint project of Festival of Flags and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 33 in Placentia, will detail information about the servicemen and women from each community in the bay.

Local amateur historian Brendan Collins is assisting researchers find photos and information about individuals throughout the region. He's been doing years of research, according to Ian Walsh with the Royal Canadian Legion in Placentia, who couldn't say enough about the work Mr. Collins has done to track down individuals and their records.

The data will eventually be compiled in a book for the Legion to be available for all communities in the bay.

Mr. Walsh added the information will also be used for a Legion display, and will be a great addition to the history of the area to commemorate those people who served in those particular wars.

"It will be a wonderful display project for all communities. If communities come to us and say they are having a come home year, they can borrow the book," said Mr. Walsh.

This is year two of a five-year period of research, he explained, which could take even longer.

"This will be a valuable piece of history for the region," he said, "as the sons and daughters of people who served in WWI are in their 70s and 80s now."

Festival of Flags chairperson Darrell Duke said the work being done in this project is very important to the region and, indeed, the entire province.

Elaine Murray is a researcher on the project. Debbie Griffiths and office assistant Melissa Brenton are also doing a lot of the legwork for the project.

Ms. Murray was the editor for a similar book in 2005 for Year of the Veteran, although on a smaller scale.

She said the information gathered for that book, and additional information collected by Festival of Flags, has already been put into a database recently developed by the Festival of Flags and soon to be made available on their website.

"There is a tremendous amount of work already done," said Ms. Murray.

Details on those who served in WWI should be added to database by mid-November. After that, research will continue on those who served during WWII and the Korean War.

This phase of the project started Sept. 15 and will continue until the spring of 2010.

Ms. Murray noted that, to date, there is no comprehensive, complete information base available to the province on a community-by-community basis. This project will go a long way to filling that gap.

"Another aspect of this research project is a close review and collection of information on military graves in all cemeteries from Ship Harbour, the Placentia area and the Cape Shore," said Ms. Murray. "A review will also be undertaken of cemeteries in the former and remaining communities of Placentia Bay. In this way, we will ensure that no one is missed."

Already, Placentia cemeteries have been reviewed and secondary research is being carried out at The Rooms, The Royal Newfoundland Regiment (RNR), the Royal Canadian Legion provincial command, Veterans Affairs and Memorial University.

"In addition, research will be carried out, community by community, through local cable stations, other local media and Royal Canadian Legion branches across the island," she noted.

Ms. Murray said she hopes other areas of the province will participate in similar projects so a complete inventory of the military service of all men and women who served from this province will exist, not only for the 100th anniversary of Beaumont Hamel in 2016 but for the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI and the 80th anniversary of the end of WWII.

editor@thecharter.ca

Organizations: Royal Canadian Legion Branch, The Rooms, Veterans Affairs and Memorial University

Geographic location: Placentia Bay, WWI

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  • EOK
    July 06, 2010 - 10:25

    What a wonderful way to have these brave men and women remembered. My father served in The Korean Conflict and still lives in the area. My heartfelt thanks to all who are involve din this worthwhile endeavor...