Remembering with research - King's studies Canada's role in the World Wars
November 9, 2023
At the eleventh hour of November 11, 1918, the guns of the First World War fell silent as the armistice came into effect. A year later, two minutes of silence were held across Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth as part of the first Armistice Day ceremonies.
In 1921, legislation was introduced to establish Armistice Day as a legal holiday, to be observed on the Monday during the week in which November 11 fell. In 1931, Alan Neill, an MP from British Columbia introduced the Armistice Day Amendment Act, fixing November 11 as Armistice Day. Another M.P., C.W. Dickie of Nanaimo, speaking on behalf of veterans, moved an amendment to change the name to Remembrance Day, a term he felt “that we wish to remember and perpetuate.”
In the past, the King’s community has gathered to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to Canada. Because November 11 falls on a Saturday this year, there will be no official Remembrance Day ceremony at King’s. However, the flags outside of Wemple Hall will be lowered on November 11.
There have been many occasions on which our faculty and students have remembered those soldiers who served during the World Wars as part of their academic journeys at King’s.
In 2021, a special lecture in the Veritas Series included a presentation to remember Private Arnold Logan, an Indigenous soldier who served during the First World War. Logan was one of the “first hundred” to sign up for the First Battalion (Western Ontario Regiment) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in August 1914. He served in England, France and Belgium before his death in 1916.
King’s History students travelled to Europe in the spring of 2022 to visit the battlefields of the World Wars as part of the experiential learning course World Wars in History, Memory, and Reconciliation, a course designed by Dr. Graham Broad, Associate Professor of History, and Katrina Pasierbek ’12, PhD candidate, King’s history alumna and course co-instructor. The students travelled to Belgium and France to visit the historic sites of Dieppe. Juno Beach and Flanders Fields.
The students were awarded the prestigious Juno Beach Centre Fellowship for 2021/2022 and received $5000 to assist with their research work and travel to Belgium and France. Students also received an additional $3000 from an Experiential Learning Award from King’s International and from King’s itself to assist with travel costs.
Don Cooper, President of the Juno Beach Centre Association, said it was “thrilling to see the Juno story gain new life via the research efforts of these young historians at King’s University College – many of whom are the same age as those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our sovereignty.”
“Everything changes when you’re standing here and seeing things in front of you,” said Avery Campbell ’22, who was completing her fourth year with a double major in History and English Language & Literature. “You can picture what those on the front lines of war were seeing because you’re seeing it too. It’s extremely impactful and powerful.”
The students were able to see their research on display at the Juno Beach Centre as part of the exhibit “From Dieppe to Juno: Exceptional Destinies,” which explored the lives of individuals who served in the Dieppe Raid of August 19, 1942, and the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944, or the subsequent Battle of Normandy. A satellite version of the original exhibit was displayed in the Spriet Learning Commons in the King Student Life Centre from November 7-11, 2022.
(To see highlights from the students’ journey through the battlefields and memorials of Belgium and France, visit their Instagram account @kingswarhistory, @history_kings on Twitter and @HistoryatKingsUniversityCollege on Facebook.)
Earlier this year, Dr. Broad and two students, Olivia Holland and Emily Amarelo, travelled to Europe to be part of a Canadian Battlefields Foundation Battlefield Study Tour.
The Canadian Battlefields Foundation undertakes programs to commemorate and promote public awareness of Canada’s role in the two World Wars and other wars of the 20th century. The Foundation was established in 1992 to educate and actively promote public awareness of Canada’s role in the Second World War. The Battlefield Study Tour program is the Foundation’s bursary program that allows twelve university students from across the country to travel to Europe and explore the battlefields, monuments, and cemeteries of the two world wars.
Holland and Amarelo applied and were selected to be part of the tour. “Over the past decade, King's students have had a good track record in being selected from a nationwide pool of applicants for the tour,” says Dr. Broad.
For more information about History at King’s, please visit https://www.kings.uwo.ca/academics/history/.