We will remember them
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | November 8, 2018|
It’s hard to believe that 100 years after the end of the First World War we’re still unearthing stories about local people who have a connection to the war that was supposed to end all wars.
Today, Joseph and I are proud that we can share new stories with our readers as we embark upon a very special commemoration of the 1918 end of the First World War.
The cover story highlights a project by the high school’s leadership class and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 129 Haliburton to create a database of local World War I veterans buried locally as part of honouring the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Another story, on our special Remembrance Day pages, is thanks in part to Trina West. She shared the tale of how her grandfather, Norman Klinck, was a runner in the war. That meant he delivered messages, sometimes on foot, sometimes on bicycle and sometimes by motorbike.
We’ve learned that he had the distinct honour of delivering the news to troops at Vimy Ridge that a ceasefire had been ordered and war was finally over. What a privilege.
And, we can thank Linda Coneybeare for taking the time to go through some old photo albums to share the story of her grandfather, Arthur Robert Oliver. She actually didn’t know a lot about his service - other than he had served and been injured at Passchendale. It was more the post-war legacy that is interesting in his story. After all, he married Mary Crowthers and the two came to farm in Halls Lake. Mary would go on to become Haliburton County’s oldest citizen at 103 and there is still a laneway named for her in the municipality.
Then, there’s Ivan Skinner, a well-known war veteran from Highlands East. His daughter, Angela Penn Skinner turned up at The Highlander one day with a fascinating photo album that Ivan had amassed during his time in Germany.
I then had the distinct pleasure of chatting by phone with Mr. Skinner at his retirement home in Bancroft. At 88, he is sharp as a whip. He shared memories of his time in post-war Germany in the 1950s. He also shared some strong opinions about war. He went to do his duty but with the power of hindsight says most wars are not fought for good to fend off evil, but for political reasons. He also believes war veterans have been given a pretty rough ride from the federal government.
We got an essay written by a student about her father, who served in Afghanistan. The young writer chronicles her dad’s struggles with PTSD and also laments a lack of support for vets.
Some left the politics aside and simply sent photos. We received a scanned image of a postcard from 1919, that Sgt. George Thickett sent to his sister. He is buried at the Maple Lake United Church Cemetery.
We also learned about a young Haliburton girl who benefits from the War Amps program.
And, finally, we received some images from Bryce Osborn that told the story of his great uncle George Henry Perks, who fought in the Boar War as a railway sharpshooter and then in World War I in the 48th Highlanders.
We thank each and every one who contacted us about their connection to the First World War and Remembrance Day in general. We have devoted a lot of ink to these stories … because we will remember them.
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.