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Thousands of graves

First World War Audio Archive

Transcript
When we were over to France this time, we drove all the way from

Hill 62 Memorial Belgium.

the Somme right up to Belgium and there’s thousands and thousands

Courtrai Memorial Belgium.

of cemeteries, some of them maybe with a thousand graves in them. And you look at these words and they say, name so and so, 18, 19.

Le Quesnel Memorial Belgium.

Gueudecourt Memorial France.

We had a fellow from Newfoundland on our trip, Mr. Mullet. He was

Dury Memorial France.

with us on this tour and he was with the Newfoundland Regiment

Monchy Memorial France.

there. And they went in one day, they had 801 members and the

Passchendaele Memorial Belgium.

next day there was only 68 answered the roll call. And they have

Masnières memorial France.

a, they have a great big park there, too. It’s a great big rock

Bourion Wood Memorial France.

and on top of that rock stands a caribou, Beaumont-Hamel.

Courcelette Memorial France.

You just think, the prime of life, thousands and thousands all over along the front. We had a Mr. John White with us on the trip

Beaumont-Hamel Memorial France.

He was, he’d been in the War Graves Commission for years.

St. Julien Memorial Belgium.

And you know, the War Graves Commission deserves special

Canadian National Vimy Memorial France.

commendation because their cemeteries were all in great shape.

Hill 62 Memorial Belgium.

He was retiring now, he’d been doing this... he was getting near sixty-five so he was going to retire, but he was with us for the

Courtrai Memorial Belgium.

three days. We had a nice luncheon. You know, they always have

Le Quesnel Memorial Belgium.

their Remembrance Day service at the Vimy Memorial the Sunday

Gueudecourt Memorial France.

before Remembrance Day, every year. And after that, the Minister

Dury Memorial France.

gave us a luncheon and boy, was that a swell affair. It was in

Monchy Memorial France.

that hotel there and the tables were round tables. It was about

Passchendaele Memorial Belgium.

ten at each table. And that was the nicest afternoon, you didn’t

Masnières memorial France.

think, you were among friends. And on one side of me was a

Bourion Wood Memorial France.

Major Peterson, who was in charge of the Canadian Forces in

Courcelette Memorial France.

Germany and what a fine fellow he was. You know, he talked the

Beaumont-Hamel Memorial France.

whole time and on the other side was a French colonel, of course.

St. Julien Memorial Belgium.

He was, he couldn’t talk. Then I got a thrill. One of these girls

Canadian National Vimy Memorial France.

you know, were at the table. She sent over a menu, she wanted it

Hill 62 Memorial Belgium.

and when I come back she had written on it, “I will be in Vancouver sometime and I’ll be phoning you.”

Courtrai Memorial Belgium.

Le Quesnel Memorial Belgium.

Description

Mr. Ganong describes a pilgrimage to France and being overwhelmed by the number of graves. He offers high praise to the War Graves Commission and expresses appreciation for a luncheon hosted by the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Whitfield Ganong

Whitfield Ganong was born August 1, 1895 at Snider Mountain, New Brunswick. A second cousin to the Ganong chocolatiers of nearby Saint Stephen, he and his family lived on a mixed farm. Mr. Ganong enlisted in the 64th New Brunswick Battalion, having been accepted despite a bad leg and transferred to the 104th Battalion. He then joined the 26th Battalion as a Private and Lance-Corporal, and saw action in three major battles: Vimy, Hill 70 and Passchendaele. Mr. Ganong later worked as a teacher, shopkeeper and accountant, and married Katherine Ellen Herbert in 1924. He took part in a pilgrimage to France, and was shocked by the number of graves, yet awed by the work of the War Graves Commission. Mr. Ganong died on January 5th, 1989.

Meta Data
Medium:
Video
Owner:
Veterans Affairs Canada
Duration:
2:36
Person Interviewed:
Whitfield Ganong
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
Location/Theatre:
Europe
Branch:
Army
Units/Ship:
104th Battalion
Rank:
Private
Occupation:
Infantryman

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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