But now, though the War has almost passed from living memory, these men and women are still remembered: For their lives meant more than the War in which they died, and their deaths more than can be known. (Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance, English dedication page)
The First World War Book of Remembrance takes centre stage in the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. But it is not the only book in the room in which one can find names of those who fell in WW1.
The Newfoundland Book of Remembrance honours Newfoundlanders who died in WW1 and WW2, before Newfoundland became a province of Canada. It was installed in 1973.
The Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance honours merchant mariners who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2. Because they were not subject to military discipline and could quit at any time, they were considered civilians rather than military sailors. Only in 1992 did the Canadian government start to grant the wider range of benefits to them. The Book of Remembrance was dedicated in 1993.
Mariners are listed with occupation or rank, date of death and name of ship. The book also includes poetry and paintings of ships, waves, flags, crests, gulls and other ocean-related images. Page 52 ends with Rupert Brooke’s poem, The Dead, undulating like the sea. The N atop page 53 is supported by ocean waves.
The Newfoundland book lists one WW1 woman: Bertha Bartlett, a Newfoundland VAD. The Merchant Navy book includes the names of three WW1 women, all stewardesses: Eliza Kennedy; Mary Elizabeth Oliphant and Jane Johnstone.
Who were the scribes who wrote all these names?
- Newfoundland book: Yvonne Diceman and Sandra Armstrong
- Merchant Navy book: John Whitehead; Judith Bainbridge; Nancy Ellis and Heather Mallett.