Starting on Oct. 5 and ending on Remembrance Day, the names of the more than 519,000 soldiers who lost their lives in 1915 during the First World War will be shown on the new screens in the first floor main hall of Upper Canada College’s Upper School as part of The World Remembers program.
The World Remembers is a Canadian non-profit organization started by actor R.H. Thomson to honour combatants from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Australia, the Czech Republic, Italy, New Zealand, Slovenia and the former British Indian army who were killed in the First World War. Among them will be 179 UCC Old Boys, including 22 who perished in 1915.
The names will be shown from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. each day and will change every seven seconds, according to UCC history department chair Fiona Marshall, who’s overseeing the program as part of her role as director of the College’s recently established military history immersion program funded by John and Pattie Cleghorn, the grandparents of Year 2 student Jamie Cleghorn.
“John Cleghorn is the inspiration behind the whole project,” Marshall says of The World Remembers, to which UCC contributed $400 from a gift to the history department in order to take part. “He didn’t pay for this, but we wouldn’t have known about it and wouldn’t be participating without him.”
Twelve UCC students have been chosen to go on an all-expenses paid trip to northern France and Belgium, where they’ll visit Canadian battlefields and the graves of Old Boys who fought and died in the Great War, as part of the military history immersion program. They’re also responsible for promoting The World Remembers at UCC, and Foundation Year student David Niddam-Dent announced it to the rest of the Upper School on Oct. 2.
“When you are walking in the foyer and hurry past the TV screens displaying the names of men long dead, stop a moment to think,” he told the boys. “The names in the middle will be Canadian and those on the outside will be from the other countries of the war, but in this war a man’s homeland did not change that he fought for his sense of duty, honour and country.”
Organizations from around the world are taking part in The World Remembers, and Marshall says, “UCC is hoping to continue with the program until 2018 when it’s over.”
You can learn more about the UCC community’s role in the First World War at the UCC Remembers website.