Remembering our veterans by knowing their stories

Learn more about the members of the McGill community who served Canada in times of conflict
The McCall MacBain Arts building will be illuminated in red from November 9-12 to honour our veterans.Owen Egan / Joni Dufour

The eight Books of Remembrance held in the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, commemorate the more than 120,000 Canadians who gave their life while serving in uniform. Included within the pages of those sombre Books are the names of hundreds of McGill students, staff, faculty and alumni who died far too young.

Our duty, as the beneficiaries of this, the greatest of all sacrifices, is to ensure that the memory of these veterans does not fade over time.

Below, you will find links to websites, archives and articles that tell the stories of McGill’s men and women who served Canada so selflessly. Some of these stories have been told for over 100 years now and are well known. Others languish in near obscurity. On this sombre day, we owe it to the fallen to read at least one story, and to bring their memory once more into the light. Lest we forget.

Act of Remembrance
They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We shall remember them.

Websites

 McGill Remembers is a labour of love of McGillians Christopher Milligan (retired Education professor) and Wes Cross (retired Student Services administrator) that provides access to thousands of digitized archival records pertaining to the students, alumni, faculty and staff of McGill who contributed to the Second World War effort.

The McGill Book of Remembrance honours the names of all McGillians who lost their lives in the service of Canada during World Wars I and II.

McGill Library has a number of digital exhibits dedicated to McGill during war. These include Campus life during WWII and the Women’s Union and the war effort,

McGill’s Bicentennial website includes a timeline highlighting important people and dates in McGill’s history. This includes a brief profile of Sir Arthur Currie and the important work done by McGill scientists during WWI.

The digital archives of Macdonald College Magazine can be filtered by year. Readers browsing issues during WWI will come across the Honour Roll of Mac community members shipping off to war and poignant letters home from Europe side by side with on articles plant pathology and raising healthy turkeys.

Articles

McGill in wartime, gives a detailed overview of the University’s efforts in the First World War, both in Europe and back home.

Remembering those who served, highlights the labour of love of Christopher Milligan and Wes Cross to digitize the McGill University War Records. In all, these archives comprised of some 6,600 index cards and more than 3,000 files containing newspaper clippings, correspondence and hundreds of photographs – all of which are now accessible online.

How did the poppy become an emblem for war and loss? The answer lies in the words of a poem, written by John McCrae, a medical lecturer at McGill, while he was serving at the battlefront during the First World War. Read The man behind the poppies for the full story.

Read the story of the 1938 McGill championship football team whose members, to a man, enlisted for World War II. Seven never made it home.

Unsung hero of Dunkirk evacuation a former McGill student, profiles James Campbell Clouston, the World War II hero whose efforts at Dunkirk in 1940 saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

McGill’s WWI doctors and nurses: A proud but bitter legacy, chronicles the history of the 3rd Canadian General Hospital in in Boulogne, France, in the First World War. The brainchild of McGill’s Dean of Medicine Herbert Stanley Birkett, the hospital was largely staffed by doctors, nurses and medical students recruited from McGill and its teaching hospitals.

In 2018, the McGill Reporter profiled members of the McGill community who had served or who are currently serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, including staffers Badawy Sha’ath (Dept. of Chemistry); and Daniel Doran (Faculty of Medicine); and alumni Marie-Ève Tremblay (EMBA’20), Pascal Larose (EMBA’18); and Bruce Bolton (B.Sc. ’72).

Remembrance Day photo galleries from ceremonies held at Macdonald Campus, including the most recent ones in 2019, 2018 and 2017.

To learn more about Canadian veterans, visit the Government of Canada’s Remembrance website.

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