Stephen Davies

Letters remember war heroes

NANAIMO – VIU project has digitized and preserved letters, images and other wartime documents.

A young hotel clerk in Manitoba who enlisted to fight in the First World War might not have been famous enough to get a chapter in a history book, but his story – and other stories like his – are important to Paige Fehr, a history student at Vancouver Island University.

One of six VIU students and three volunteers working alongside history professor Stephen Davies on the Canadian Letters and Images Project, Fehr has spent more than two years as a research assistant digitizing letters and photos, ticket stubs, menus, postcards and telegrams, amongst other materials, and transcribing letters exchanged between soldiers and their family and friends.

“This project brings these stories to life and reminds us that everyone who participated was an individual, they had a past, they had a family that was deeply affected by the war,” said Fehr. “These individual stories are important to remember.”

Fehr is not the only one whose interest and imagination has been captured by letters and images found in the vast archives, which Davies began in 2000. With more than 18,000 individual digitized and transcribed letters from wars fought by Canadians, word on this valuable free national archive is spreading.

Many of the stories are delivered to the project by the finders and keepers of letters who understand the importance of keeping the story alive, said Davies.

The individuals, families and organizations sharing their original letters, photos and other materials are promised their collections will be returned once they have been digitized for the archive, he added.

The project will partner with the Victoria Symphony in the Wednesday (Nov. 12) performance at the Port Theatre titled Lest We Forget. The concert features enlarged images and letters.

To learn more, please visit www.canadianletters.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIU and Nanaimo high schools host Skills Canada competitions

Central Island and Sunshine Coast high school student compete for spots on provincials and nationals

Taxi driver taken to hospital after crashing cab into utility pole

Accident happened Thursday afternoon on Big Bear Ridge

Beefs & Bouquets, Feb. 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo woman leaves friend’s home, now considered missing

Ashley Sheppard, 31, has not been heard from since Feb. 10

Francophone festivities in Nanaimo this weekend

French Canadian culture and cuisine highlight Maple Sugar Festival du Sucre d’Érable

Taxi driver taken to hospital after crashing cab into utility pole

Accident happened Thursday afternoon on Big Bear Ridge

Nanaimo woman to compete in new season of ‘Big Brother Canada’

Carol Rosher, a cancer survivor, is one of 16 houseguests appearing on reality TV show

Wellington Jazz Academy has strong showing at Surrey Schools Jazz Festival

Senior band and individual students earn top awards

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

Banned Nanaimo investment advisor accused of lying under oath to investigators

B.C. Securities Commission to schedule hearing in March

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

Most Read