We Were There, Over There
A group of volunteers goes above and beyond to keep history alive
A group of volunteers with a passion for history, display and preserve our military heritage.
In Saskatoon, housed in the basement of Nutana Legion Branch 362, is a unique and amazing collection. Formerly known as the Artifacts Room of Military History, now called the Saskatoon Museum of Military Artifacts, it is staffed and operated by volunteers who have a passion for history and are dedicated to displaying and preserving our military heritage.
In 2014, in honour of the 100th anniversary of World War I, volunteers Shirley Timpson, John Davis, Eric Story, Sam Derksen and I decided to do something that would honour this historic milestone.
Our project was called, “We Were There... Over There.“We created a fictional World War I veteran, giving him a voice in the form of a first-person monologue. He was accompanied by a nursing sister, who also had a monologue, both of which were written by Shirley.
In its collection, the legion has a World War I soldier’s tunic, cap and pants but we were lacking a nursing sister’s uniform. Through the generosity of Lynne Yelich, then the Member of Parliament for Blackstrap, Sask., a seamstress was engaged to sew a replica of the uniform.
With actors portraying the World War I characters, our group began showcasing our tribute, taking it to heritage fairs, libraries and dinner theatres. Veterans Affairs Canada provided funding for honorariums and travel.
Our goal was to keep engaging the public with the reality of the experiences of those who served, so that their sacrifices would always be remembered. ■
Actors Eric Story and Kendal Mcinnes portrayed a World War I soldier and nursing sister at various commemorative sites in Saskatoon.