Authors

Barry Gough

Abstract

Contained in this article are suggestions on how to write a history of a Canadian high school and the First World War. Included in the discussion is the approach and methodology of the historian, the materials available for use, and knowledge of the background of Canada, the British Empire and the war “for King and Country.” It appeals for an understanding of war and of patriotism Canadian-style as of 1914-1918, as a war they fought and not the one we now think they fought or should have fought. It is an appeal for “sharp end” history. Attention is given to monuments of valour – rolls of honour, plaques, banners, stained glass, gravestones and markers, memorial trees and, above all, school records. The history should be a tribute to a youth now no longer with us. The history, when written, becomes its own memorial to their passing and sacrifice and may serve as an example for other such histories to be crafted. Lastly, it is a legacy to a grey generation of mothers, sisters and sweethearts who far from the searing battle line were also victims in this catastrophic eruption that forever changed Canada and, through what I call the Vimy Alchemy, made a nation in an age of dissolving empires. Above all, keep school records related to this war and to others. Years hence other historians will be grateful.

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