The U of A Remembers

More than 2,300,000 Canadians have served in the armed forces throughout Canada’s history. Their service has touched countless lives…

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University of Alberta soldiers, Montréal, 1915

More than 2,300,000 Canadians have served in the armed forces throughout Canada’s history. Their service has touched countless lives, including many right here at the U of A.

This Remembrance Day, we’re taking a moment to honour the members of our university community who served — and those people who supported them — as well as the stories of their incredible sacrifices.

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University of Alberta soldiers, Montreal, 1915. Illustration by Jordan Carson.

In 1914, as the Great War began, there were only 439 students and staff members at the University of Alberta. By the time the war ended in 1918, 484 had served in the war effort. Eighty-two of them did not return home to their families. A plaque in Convocation Hall lists the names of each soldier who sacrificed his life for his country.

Read the full story here.here.

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The back of the PPCLI Plaque bears the signatures of 20 U of A soldiers. Only 3 would make it home.

Those who remained on campus pulled together to support their absent classmates. But how? They can knit socks and warm clothing, they decide; send candy, baked goods and cigarettes; and stay in contact through correspondence and newsletters. Before they leave for the evening, the University Soldiers Comfort Club has taken shape. The club’s steadfast support for U of A soldiers serving throughout Europe will persevere through the long years of the war.

Read the full story here.here.

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Photo via University of Alberta Archives, Accession 69–12–075.

One of the most unheralded legacies of the University of Alberta’s medical school is its service to the Canadian Armed Forces. The records trace back to 100 years ago this April, when most of the university’s medical school class of 1914 found themselves embroiled in the Great War on the Western Front in France at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Read the full story here.here.

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Left: Colonel Henry Marshall Tory during World War I; Right: A certificate issued to a soldier from the Khaki University of Canada. || Photos courtesy of New Trail.

As the war dragged on, Tory looked for some way to do more for these young soldiers. He found it in 1917 when he traveled to France and England at the request of the YMCA to conduct research on how to engage the soldiers’ minds during long periods of inactivity behind the lines. What he proposed was something called the Khaki University, which would provide classes ranging from basic instruction in reading and arithmetic to university-level courses. After his proposal was accepted, he took a leave from the U of A to lead the initiative as its president.

Through the final months of the war and the long period of demobilization, Tory managed to create a “campus” in England where approximately 650,000 men attended lectures and 20,000 enrolled in courses. He also worked with fellow university presidents to ensure that Canadian and British universities would accept completed coursework for legitimate credit.

Read the full story here.here.

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Retired University of Alberta professor, world-renowned artist Norman Yates is probably not the first individual you would think of being a Second World War veteran. For those who are not familiar with the name, University of Alberta students, faculty and staff will know him more by his work, “West and North” — the 5,500 square-foot mural on the Education North Building on the U of A campus.

Yates passed away in February 2014. The story of his art, of his life and his duty to his country will continue to live on with great pride at the University of Alberta.

Read the full story here.here.

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Photography: Steven Heipel

The City of Edmonton’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the U of A Butterdome will be held on November 11, 2019. The public is invited as we pay our respects to all those who have served in Canada’s armed forces.

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