Re­mem­ber­ing Hamil­to­ni­ans who served in epic bat­tles of First, Sec­ond World Wars

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MARK MCNEIL

Do you have a rel­a­tive who took part in an epic bat­tle of the First or Sec­ond World War in France or Bel­gium?

We’d like to hear from you for a spe­cial project that will run later this year in The Spec­ta­tor as a com­mem­o­ra­tion of Canada’s 150th birth­day.

The Spec­ta­tor will be trav­el­ling with a del­e­ga­tion of mem­bers of the Royal Hamil­ton Light In­fantry to key bat­tle­fields in Europe that played a role in shap­ing Canada’s na­tion­hood. We want to blend the ex­pe­ri­ence of vis­it­ing those lo­ca­tions with stories about the role that Hamil­to­ni­ans played.

The high­light of the trip will be a two-day stopover in Dieppe for the 75th an­niver­sary of the con­tro­ver­sial raid that is still re­mem­bered as one of the dark­est days in Hamil­ton’s his­tory.

A to­tal of 197 sol­diers with the Royal Hamil­ton Light In­fantry died on Aug. 19, 1942, more than a third of the 580 mem­bers of the Ri­leys who landed on the beach of the French coastal city. The 10-day trip vis­its these sites: First World War bat­tle­fields of Vimy Ridge, the Somme, Ypres and Pass­chen­daele;

Sec­ond World War sites that re­late to the Nor­mandy in­va­sion, the evac­u­a­tion of Dunkirk as well as the Bat­tle of Dieppe.

If you have let­ters, medals, pho­to­graphs and other mem­o­ra­bilia re­lat­ing to a Hamil­ton an­ces­tor who fought at any of these bat­tles, please con­tact me at mm­c­neil@thes­pec.com. In cer­tain cases, The Spec­ta­tor may be able to as­sist fam­i­lies in ap­ply­ing for ser­vice records for de­ceased rel­a­tives.

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