As part of Second World War anniversaries, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has created its first online sound archive, Voices of Liberation.
Today the CWGC is launching a call for Canadian content for this worldwide initiative.
The Commission is capturing the voices of the “greatest generation” for unique online sound archive and calls on the public to make their own lasting tribute.
To mark the 75th anniversary of some of the most momentous battles in history, the CWGC is recording the voices of veterans, relatives, and pilgrims for a unique online sound resource that aims to explain why the Commission’s war graves, cemeteries, and memorials are as poignant today as when they were first built.
“We believe that by capturing these stories from the Canadian public, we are creating an archive of international importance and a lasting legacy for those who died for our today. We want people to share their connections to the war and our cemeteries to ensure that as Commonwealth nations we have not forgotten their sacrifice,” said Andrew Fetherston, chief archivist at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The CWGC honours the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars and ensures they will never be forgotten.
From the beaches of Normandy to the hills of Kohima, to the mountains of Manipur, Voices of Liberation is a global project that will cover the sacrifice and contribution of Commonwealth forces who paid so high a price for the liberty we enjoy today.
Of the 1.7 million people, CWGC commemorates more than 100,000 people that died in the above pivotal battles in 1944. Commonwealth servicemen and women are commemorated in CWGC war cemeteries and memorials around the world, and today, these iconic sites of remembrance remain places of pilgrimage for veterans and descendants.
The archive aims to pay tribute to those who gave their lives and shine a light upon these places of remembrance.
The public will be able to explore the archive online and discover a wealth of recordings, from firsthand accounts from veterans about losing comrades to testimony from family pilgrimages to the battlefields.
The recordings capture the voices of veterans who served in infamous battles during the war, such as Victor Gregg. Gregg served with the Parachute Regiment and in 1944 found himself at the Battle of Arnhem, where he was captured by the Germans. Victor, now 99 years old, recorded his story to be part of the archive.
CWGC is now calling on the Canadian public to record their stories and feelings, relating to the Second World War and its sites of remembrance.
The stories will reinforce these sites as unique places of memory and create a resource that is both a moment in history and a fitting tribute to those who died.
CWGC has also approached the Canadian institutions such as Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about a possible collaboration on unique Canadian content.