Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Students to be able to see names of the dead online

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MANITOBA students will get the chance to see the names of soldiers of all nationalities killed in the First World War.

The World Remembers, created by a Canadian non-profit organization as a national and international Remembrance Day project in honour of the 100th anniversary of the First World War, is set to begin on Oct. 20 and run until Nov. 10.

Its advisory council includes former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, former prime minister Paul Martin and retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie.

Robert Thomson, co-producer of the project, said the names of the 68,000 Canadians killed during the war, as well as soldiers from other combatant countries, will be displayed on school computers, tablets and screens for about half a minute on the 100th anniversary of the year they were killed during the war.

Thomson said this year, only soldiers killed in 1914 will be shown, while the names of soldiers killed in 1915 will be displayed next year. Every page will feature the name of a Canadian soldier in the middle, but the rest of the screen will also have the name of a soldier from another country including Britain, France, Germany and India.

"We want (the students) to begin to understand how personal it is," he said. "We want them to go home and ask their parents 'Did I have a relative in the war?' Most schools will have a plaque of the students who died in the war so they can also research the students who were killed."

While there were 68,000 Canadians killed during the First World War, Thomson said only 198 of those deaths occurred in 1914.

"They were still arriving," he said. "They began starting in action in November and December, so in 1915, 6,000 were killed and in 1917, 17,000 were killed. As the war goes on, more and more Canadians were killed."

Thomson said the project's website will be searchable so students will know in advance the exact week, day, hour and minute a soldier's name will be shown.

Thomson said so far, no local schools have signed up to join the project, but almost a dozen have indicated they are interested in participating.

Organizers are asking the schools to contribute $400 for the first year and $200 in each of the following years to help pay for the project's costs and cover the expenses for the software, technical support and materials it will receive, but the fee is not mandatory.

"If they can't do it, we will try to do fundraising for them," Thomson said.

Thomson said any school -- or even museum, legion or library -- that wants to participate can contact the project at either theworldremembers@gmail.com or lemondesesouvient@gmail.com.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 11, 2014 B1

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