12
12
3

Far From Home: Canadians Who Died in UK During WW1

£695 of £5,000 goal

Raised by 11 people in 2 months
Created April 15, 2019
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Diana Beaupre
‘Far From Home’ is a not-for-profit and post-retirement project providing a long lasting legacy and individual memorial for every one of the 3,902 Canadian casualties of the Great War buried in 872 locations across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Over the last 12 years, Diana Beaupré and Adrian Watkinson have visited and photographed the final resting place for 3,882 of these Canadian casualties. By the close of 2019, they will have been to the final 20 casualties, completing a number of ‘road trips’ totalling  over 20,000 miles.

During the course of their travels and research, they have built up a vast collection of photographs, newspaper clippings and primary source material. It has enabled them to draw up a comprehensive ‘profile’ for every single casualty in the 102 volumes of ‘Far From Home’, drawn up on a county by county basis according to the pre 1974 county names and boundaries.

Diana and Adrian have decided to donate their digitised files in their entirety to a national archive or museum, preferably both in Canada and Great Britain so they can be made available to all for free; and, to complete a set of the volumes in one or more print versions as research material for future articles.

In 2007, Diana  wrote a 10,000 word dissertation about the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in the UK during the Great War for her third and final year BA Hons degree in ‘American Studies’. Entitled ‘En Route to Flanders Fields’, it examined life at Shorncliffe Barracks and social interaction with the civilian population in nearby towns of Folkestone and Hythe (1915 -1919). A great amount of research for the dissertation was focused on the 305 Canadian casualties buried at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. Post graduation, Diana and Adrian  decided to build on her dissertation and extend it to include all the Canadian casualties of the First World War buried or commemorated across Great Britain. 

It soon became apparent there were also major misapprehensions in both Canada and Great Britain about the significant contribution made by the CEF.  ‘Far From Home’ (FFH) has sought to demonstrate the Great War Canadians are neither underestimated, undervalued or largely forgotten.

The FFH project has significant historical value to both Canada and Great Britain, by highlighting a significant and previously unpublished era of joint Canadian and British history. For the 10 years between 1904 to 1914, a million or so young men from all corners of Great Britain emigrated to Canada in pursuit of the promise of a better life. Many were accompanied by their families and settled into Canadian life as best they could, others marrying and starting their own families. Sadly, that better life often did not materialise. During that period, Canada experienced a major economic recession before the First World War.

As the recruiting centres filled up, the majority of volunteers were those same immigrants. As well as a huge swell of patriotism to fight for the Mother Country, it gave thousands of young men the opportunity to return to Britain and visit their families before the war was over “before Christmas”. Enlisting and serving as Canadians also gave them a slightly better pay and a certain kudos with the female population ‘back home’. CEF casualties of the Great War served and died as Canadians, irrespective of their country of birth. By the end of 1918, Canada was beginning to evolve from being part of a colonial Empire to an independent nation with its own unique identity forged by its participation in the conflict.

It is generally accepted around 60% of the CEF were British born. Of the remainder, many had at least one parent who was born in Great Britain. Consequently, the CEF was distinctly ‘British’ in character at the outset of the war. Featuring the 3902 CEF casualties, FFH also highlights the wide geographical areas of Great Britain from which so many of them had originated.

With genealogical research now so popular, Canadians searching for ancestors, who they believe are buried in the UK will be able to search by county and narrow it down to a particular town, village, then to a churchyard or cemetery. By also giving a brief thumbnail sketch of each of the 872 locations, it is important to provide a snapshot of the location where their ancestors are buried or commemorated.

By compiling all of the 3902 casualties into one work, it allows for those missing Canadians who had no known grave, to finally be recognised and their burial place commemorated.

For the families in Canada who plan to travel to the UK and visit the graves of ancestors, they would have found it very difficult without FFH, as hundreds of the private headstones are very badly damaged, unfindable or unreadable through lack of maintenance over the past 100 years. Also, apart from the well maintained military cemeteries, most other cemeteries and churchyards have no discernible ‘order’ or grid references, so the grave references given by the CWGC no longer have much relevance.

One of the goals of FFH is for all damaged or poorly maintained graves to be reported to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, so that the organisation will eventually erect one of their own headstones and maintain it.

FFH gives a mine of information about each Canadian casualty including death certificate details and family names. By using a ‘signature’ of a memorial cross and small flag at each grave or memorial wall, we are able to reassure those back in Canada that their ancestor has been visited and will never be forgotten.

Their sacrifice has been recorded for all time.

This decade-plus-long project has been a tremendous post-retirement labour of love, and one conducted almost entirely of our own resources. Realizing our GoFundMe goal would help us to finalize the Far From Home project, including to:

1) Produce 102 county volumes in hard copy,  which will enable us to formulate an outreach programme to relevant organisations, institutions, schools and academic establishments.

2) Contribute towards the exceptional costs of our final road trip later this year to the north of England, Scotland and hopefully including two of the Western Isles.

3) Support the digitisation effort of a substantial body of our work including to make that available online, for free.

Our FFH website and blog with additional information about the project is available at
https://www.canadianukgravesww1.co.uk 

Follow us on Twitter at
https://twitter.com/canadawargraves
+ Read More

£695 of £5,000 goal

Raised by 11 people in 2 months
Created April 15, 2019
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Diana Beaupre
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
NE
£25
Natalie Edwards
10 days ago
JM
£20
Jane McKenna
16 days ago
TM
£100
Tony McCulloch
16 days ago
AL
£20
Ann LOVERIDGE
1 month ago
JR
£25
John D Reid
1 month ago
GW
£50
Glenn Wright
1 month ago
ST
£20
Suzanne Turner
1 month ago
£85
Anonymous
2 months ago
JB
£50
John Blakeley
2 months ago
MM
£250
MGen Lew MacKenzie
2 months ago
or
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a £5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.