Chatham This Week, July 18, 2012 — By: Karen Robinet
Chatham-Kent’s First and Second World War veterans will be honoured in perpetuity thanks to a website being created in their honour.
The Kent Regiment Chapter IODE has received $25,000 in federal funding, which will be used to digitize its Remembrance Books as part of a new website to be created as part of the ongoing Gathering Our Heroes project. Following both of the world wars, members of the IODE gathered information on as many Chatham-Kent veteran as possible and their information is contained in the 13 books, which have since been donated to the Chatham-Kent Museum.
But the service of as many [as] 5,000 people has not been included, and local historian Jerry Hind has already identified another 1,900 people not included in the original books. That information will be added to the new website, expected to be launched in April 2013, the same year the chapter marks its 100th anniversary.
The funding was announced July 6 at the Eden Villa Residence, which has been providing office space for the project.
Garna Argenti, IODE vice president, credited chapter historian Norma West with having the vision to move forward with the project three of four years ago.
“We don’t think there’s another resource like this,” she told those on hand for the launch.
The IODE and Hind are still working to ensure that no veteran is overlooked as part of the project, and would like to hear from anyone who has information, photographs and stories about local veterans. To be eligible for inclusion in the online database, veterans must have been either born in Chatham-Kent, living in Chatham-Kent at the time of enlistment or actually enlisted in Chatham-Kent.
Hind said that as the son of a Second World War veteran, he’s long been intrigued by the stories of local veterans and has been working hard to make sure their memories aren’t forgotten.
“This project will give substance to these names,” he said.
While the names of First World War veterans are readily accessible, Hind said the Privacy Act has hampered efforts to identify all those who served in the Second World War.
Once the website has been launched, it will continue to expand, and Hind will serve as its curator.
He said, “we’d like to link to other organizations,” and said ultimately the project will be a resource that will be of envy to many other groups.
Over 10,000 entries have already been compiled, but there are still thousands of names outstanding.
Anyone interested in contributing information is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The website is being designed by A. Thiel Marketing.