Many of the stories of everyday Canadians participating in World Wars I & II have come to light in recent years due to the painstaking research of history enthusiasts. They are accounts of sacrifice, personalities, hopes, thoughts, family ties, and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. They are shared with us through writing, historical re-enactment and lectures in a manner that is often more enlightening than the telling of history via a recounting of dates, battles, motivations and viewpoints of generals and political leaders. One local woman from Dutton, Tracy Gordon, has taken on such a story-telling mission on many fronts.
In 1914, our boys marched off to war. Their battle cry was “We’ll be back by Christmas.”
We all know that the boys did not return for Christmas with their families. On the Western Front, there had been one million casualties and the fast battles of the summer had turned to slow mud-filled trenches of stagnation. Slowly everyone became aware that this was going to be a long war with many more millions yet to die.
Starting on Christmas Eve, many troops sang Christmas carols across the lines, and at spots brass bands joined in their joyous singing.
St. Thomas-born major league baseball player Jack ‘Glad’ Graney’s plaque on the Timken Centre’s St. Thomas Wall of Fame was unveiled this year in July. That was cause for celebration by his nominating committee, but they are hopeful recognition for Graney and his inspiring story won’t end there.
Read our feature on Jack Graney in Relish Elgin Fall 2014 ...