Summerland Remembers a Tribute to Their Veterans PDF Print E-mail

David Gregory and Sherril Foster have written the book, Summerland Remembers, Sample Imagein commemoration of Summerland residents who served in both world wars. Summerland Remembers was launched on the Remembrance Day weekend 2007.

“This book is a tribute to our war veterans and the community that supported them,” said Gregory said.

  A dentist by profession, Gregory is currently serving as Summerland’s mayor. Gregory’s interest in history began in his native Montreal. He became interested in the history of the CPR while in Montreal and then discovered that there were significant links to the CPR in Summerland. He was to learn there was also a family link to Summerland.

“After moving to Summerland, I discovered that my grandfather had lived here many yeas ago,” said Gregory, who settled in Summerland in 1978. Over the years, history has become a major interest for Gregory. In 2006, he and Foster collaborated on a book to mark the town’s centennial year.

Foster, curator of the Summerland Museum, is a self-admitted accidental historian. A native of Ontario, Foster married Gareth Young and settled in Summerland in 1984.
Her interest in history began when she wrote a couple of history-based plays for Singers and Players. Subsequently, Foster became a volunteer at the museum and assumed her duties as curator in 2005.

The 128 page book, which is based on four years of research, focuses on the Summerland soldiers who died in both world wars. Each fallen soldier is commemorated with photographs and a brief account of his life. The account typically consists of information about the soldier’s family background, work, community activities, military service and circumstances and place of death.

“We relied heavily on letters to family and friends at home which were published in local newspapers,” Foster said.

Many of these letters express the soldiers’ gratitude for parcels sent by the Home Comfort Club. Family members of many of the soldiers also provided information.

“We wanted to personalize these fallen soldiers, to make them real to the citizens of today, including young people,” Gregory said.

Over 60 soldiers who died in both world wars and whose names are engraved on the cenotaph in Summerland’s Memorial Park are included along with  12 other fallen Summerland soldiers whose names do not appear on the cenotaph. The names of all Summerland world war veterans are listed in the book. As well, five war brides contributed their stories.

“There are also articles about the organizations that supported the soldiers, our memorials and our local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion,” Foster said.

The famous Canadian photograph of World War II, “Wait for me, Daddy!” is included in Summerland Remembers. The photo shows a five-year old boy, Warren Bernard, breaking away from the grip of his mother, Bernice, to run to the outstretched hand of his soldier father, Jack Bernard, who is marching with the BC Regiment in New Westminster. The photo which was taken by C.P. Dettloff of the Vancouver Daily Province was chosen by Life Magazine as “Picture of the Week” in 1940.

Warren was born in Summerland in1935, his parents were long time residents of the community and his grandfather, Vic Bernard, was a founding member of the local branch of the Legion. Foster recently had the opportunity to meet Warren, who had just completed his tenure as mayor of Tofino.

Summerland Remembers is available at the Summerland Museum, 9521 Wharton Street. Hours: Wednesday to Friday, 1- 4 pm. and Saturday 10 am. – 4 pm. Phone 494-9395.  

Proceeds from the sale of the book will be divided between Legion Branch 22 and the Summerland Museum.

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