UM joins First World War commemoration
Remembering the millions of soldiers, nurses and other military personnel who lost their lives
The World Remembers (TWR) is a Canadian and international commemoration of First World War dead. In 2018, the 1,003,167 names of people from 16 nations, including Canada, who were killed in 1918-1922 are being displayed to mark the 100th anniversary of their death.
The Centre for Defence and Security Studies (CDSS), the Department of History and the Chief of Information Office have partnered with the Toronto-based non-profit TWR which has staged the project annually since 2014. The 2018 display — the final in the five-year TWR project — also includes official war deaths from 1919 to 1922, as thousands later died of wounds or diseases they contracted in the conflict.
Manitoba and the University lost many in the wars. The University of Manitoba has a war history. At the outbreak of the war (1914), it appointed a Committee on Military Instruction to teach military science and tactics and, on March 15, 1915, the U of M officially established the Canadian Officers Training Corps (COTC), with eight companies of 60 men led by Professor Edwin P. Fetherstonhaugh as captain and adjutant to serve as a training ground for both WWI and WWII. The First World War memorial on Chancellor Matheson is testament to the sacrifices of many of its students, faculty and staff.
Display of names
Three screens at the University of Manitoba have been dedicated to the TWR commemoration from mid-September to Remembrance Day, November 11, running for a total of 61 days. On the Fort Garry campus one is on the second floor in UMSU University Centre, near Tim Hortons and the second is located near Starbucks in Dafoe Library. The third, on the Bannatyne campus, is located near the circulation desk at the Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library. Over 16,000 names appear each day on screen. The name display is interrupted every fifteen minutes with a First World War photo that displays for 25 seconds.
From Canada, 23,731 soldiers, nurses and military personnel lost their lives in 1918. These names are displayed alongside the names of those from other countries. Every 90 seconds a Canadian name appears. Each day, 398 Canadian names are shown.
“By displaying the names of the military war dead from both sides in nations around the world for the first time in history, we will not only remember but we will also honour shared histories,” reads a statement on the website.
“Manitoba, as a province, has one of the most significant commonwealth grave sites outside of Europe reflective of the selfless sacrifice of so many Manitobans and Canadians who gave their lives to defend principles we take for granted today. It is imperative, especially as the memory of war fades, that we commemorate the millions who died, the indefatigable spirit of those left at home, and the courageous decisions made by many that allow us today, the luxury to remember these souls,” shared Andrea Charron, Director CDSS.
The University of Manitoba display is sponsored by CDSS, Information Services and Technology, the Office of the Chief Information Office, Department of Political Studies, Department of History and the Libraries.
The display will be staged at more than sixty participating locations across Canada including government offices, libraries, museums and several other Canadian universities such as Memorial, Concordia and The Royal Military College of Canada.
Members of the public looking for specific family names or other individuals and times when those names will be displayed can go to the TWR website.
As part of Remembrance Day activities on campus, CDSS is also hosting a panel discussion on the topic of World War I, Then & Now on Thursday, November 8 at 10:00 am in Room 231 Isbister Building. Panel members include:
- Andrea Charron, Director, Centre for Defence and Security Studies
- Jim Fergusson, Deputy-Director, Centre for Defence and Security Studies
- Stephan Jaegar, Head, Department of German & Slavic Studies
- Adam Muller, Professor, Mauro Centre for Peace & Justice
The panel will discuss how the war has shaped Canada, the way we think about war and our world today.
In 1918, bells rang to celebrate the end of the First World War. At the setting of the sun on November 11, 2018, bells will ring in communities across Canada to remember. At UM, St. Paul’s College will ring it’s bells at sunset.
As we lead up to November 11 and the 100th anniversary of WWI, the war to end all wars, partake in Remembrance Day 2018 activities and visit the three UM locations to see the moving TWR tribute.
Read about the official Canadian launch of The World Remembers in the Globe & Mail (September 14, 2018).
This article was updated on November 2, 2018 to add information on the bell ringing.