Soldiers leaving Revelstoke on the train leaving for service during World War I. (Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 6017)

Remembrance Day: Remembering at the Museum

A Remembrance Day column by the Revelstoke Museum and Archives

Revelstoke Museum and Archives

Contributor

Revelstoke Museum and Archives is a place to preserve and share the stories of our community. The impact of World War I and World War II on Revelstoke is a part of our community story, and the museum has many resources to ensure that this aspect of our history is recorded and shared.

In 2004, Ken English undertook a research project for the museum, and created a profile for each of the 100 soldiers from Revelstoke who died during World War I. He found their attestation papers online, and supplemented that information by reading all of the local newspapers published during the four war years, and conducting other research on the men. The profiles are kept in memory albums at the museum, and are also available to read online on the museum’s website. https://www.revelstokemuseum.ca/blog

In the years since, Library and Archives Canada has completed the digitization of the complete personnel records of all of the soldiers, nurses, and chaplains from Canada who served during World War I. This is a valuable resource for researchers, particularly family historians. The database can be accessed here: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/personnel-records.aspx

From 2014 to 2018, Revelstoke Museum and Archives had an exhibit entitled “Answering the Call,” marking the 100th anniversary of the four years of World War I. The exhibit featured artifacts, stories, and photographs related to Revelstoke’s involvement in the war. We also conducted school programs with Revelstoke Secondary School, giving the students the opportunity to see the records of some of the soldiers who died, and helping them to see the casualties as real people who once lived in our community.

Several of our Brown Bag History talks have dealt with the history of the World Wars, and some of these are available for viewing on the museum’s YouTube channel. We have also added a World War II Memory Book to our website, sharing information on the 33 men from Revelstoke and area who died during that conflict. https://www.revelstokemuseum.ca/world-war-ii-memory-book

Our former intern, Madison Bridal, created a small exhibit last year featuring some artifacts and stories related to World War II. These dealt with both the home front, and the men who were serving overseas. Among the artifacts featured are a ration book and meat ration tokens, which were issued to all Canadian citizens to control the amount of food items purchased to keep resources available for the war effort. A Philco Cathedral Radio is on display, along with licenses required to use the radio for home use. Along with newspapers, the radio was an important way for people to stay in touch with world news, and hear what was happening during the war. The exhibit also includes a metal storage box with items used by Jack Hallam during the war, including his pay book, a writing kit, and other items, as well as a gas mask issued to flying officer Robert Robinson, and a flight helmet and headset used by flying officer Stuart McAllister.

The Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11 will once again give us the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices that so many people from Canada made over the span of more than 100 years. May we always remember them with gratitude and respect.


@josh_piercey
josh.piercey@revelstokereview.com

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