News Release – November 14, 2008
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Oakville students research names on Oakville Trafalgar High School’s World War II Memorial
“Ancestors in the Attic” to air on History Television on November 15, 2008 at 8 p.m.
A group of Grade 10 History students from Oakville Trafalgar High School were assigned a project to research the names of 34 alumni killed in action during World War II. Under the guidance of their History teacher, Pam Calvert, the students’ goal was to uncover the lives of these soldiers.
When the students required some research assistance, Calvert contacted the producers of the documentary series “Ancestors in the Attic”. The students used Library and Archives Canada WWII genealogical documents, German, Dutch and French records and declassified British war files.
The TV series chose to make the students’ research for answers into a one-hour program entitled “Cenotaph”, a new episode produced by Ancestors in the Attic. “Cenotaph” will air on History
Television on Saturday, November 15th at 8 p.m. Two Oakville Trafalgar High School students, Ian Egglestone and Karl Tombak journeyed to a secret airbase in England and the site of a Canadian battle in the Netherlands. As part of the episode students, Egglestone and Tombak outlined their search to unveil the mystery of how two soldiers, Pilot Officer Peter Barnicke of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Major Robert Gordon Slater of the Royal Highland Regiment of Canada, met their death.
Approximately 100 people turned out on October 28th at the preview of this well-researched, emotional History Televison documentary. In attendance, along with Oakville Trafalgar High School students, their families and high school staff, were World War II veterans and family members of the soldiers listed on the school’s cenotaph.
“The show highlights the benefits of cenotaph research to actively engage students in acts of remembrance. I told my class that if they didn’t tell these stories, who would?” said Canadian History teacher Pam Calvert.
Student Sierra Pearson shared her feelings about the project. “William Joseph Lawrence was a student at Oakville Trafalgar High School who served and died in the World War II. Never before has his story been told. Now, no longer, is he just another name on our school cenotaph. He was only 22 years old. Lest we Forget.”
In April 2009, a class from Oakville Trafalgar High School will take a field trip to Ottawa to work with Library and Archives Canada staff to uncover the stories of soldiers from their school who died in WWI. It is believed that two soldiers on the school cenotaph took part in the famous battle of Vimy Ridge.
Students said this learning experience of discovering what happened to these former students of Oakville Trafalgar High School definitely had a profound effect on them. They share their research in detail in the documentary.
For additional information, contact:
Pam Calvert, Teacher, Oakville Trafalgar High School