A special event this Sunday (June 9) starting at 2 p.m., at the Antigonish Heritage Museum, will be the first opportunity to pick up a copy of First World War Honour Roll of Antigonish, Nova Scotia 1915-1927.
The book is the compilation of the Antigonish Cenotaph Project stories which have run frequently in this paper, during the past number of years, and can be found online at antigonishcenotaphproject.wordpress.com.
“From 1915 to 1927, a total of 97 First World War soldiers from Antigonish County died from causes related to their military service,” a notation on the back of the book reads.
“While the vast majority were killed in action or died of wounds received in combat, a significant number died of sickness, while several fell victim to fatal accidents.
“Drawing on information from the genealogical sources, military service records, battalion war diaries and other available documents, a committee of volunteers operating under the auspices of the Antigonish Heritage Society, researched and wrote this volume’s stories.”
The members of the Antigonish Cenotaph Project committee are; Bill Landry (chair), Antigonish Heritage Museum curator Jocelyn Gillis, Fraser Dunn, Bruce MacDonald, Paul MacDonald, Catherine MacGillivray, Marie Terese Redican and James Matheson from the Antigonish Royal Canadian Legion Arras Branch 59.
Bruce MacDonald noted the book is about 400 pages.
“The soldiers are connected to Antigonish, the majority are natives, who died either in service, during the war, or shortly afterwards from causes related to service,” he said.
Bruce said while this Sunday’s event will act as a launch for the book, with copies available, it’s more of a “reflection and remembrance program.”
“A combination of letters, some poetry and music, all from the First World War period; a program rather than us talking about the book,” he said.
Landry noted the local Legion, located in the East Coast Credit Union Social Enterprise Centre on St. Ninian Street, is planning a second launch event for the book on Remembrance Day.
He added all proceeds from the book go to the Antigonish Heritage Society and Antigonish Heritage Museum, and noted without support from the society and Legion, the project would not have been possible.
“Without those two [organizations], without their contributions, we wouldn’t have been able to get as far as we have,” Landry said.
He talked about being asked, on a few occasions, about how the authors of the stories were able to include so much detail.
“The genealogy is coming from our own resources, the heritage museum and all of that,” he said, as Bruce listed a few folks who were a wealth of historical information covering their particular part of the county.
“The military details … Library and Achieves Canada. It’s public information; so we’ve pulled the genealogy and public records together to make these stories.”
“It was a really good project,” Bruce added, noting the committee enjoyed working as a group.
He added plans are now underway for a new set of stories for area soldiers killed during the Second World War.
“Similar to the First World War stories,” Bruce said.