Canadian Genealogy · Stories of WWII · Womens History

We shall never forget – 12 posts on war and family history

My husband and I watched Passchendaele on the weekend. There is a scene that never fails to hit me, and it’s not the most violent one in the movie: it’s the scene when Sergeant Michael Dunne (Paul Gross) and his company arrive at their trenches and move in. And when I say “trenches,” I mean round, swimming pool-sized mud pits half filled with dead men, water, and all manner of horrors. Surrounded by rot and filth, awash in water to their waists, they joke about being unable to light their cigarettes because their matches are wet.

Mud and barbed wire through which the Canadians advanced during the Battle of Passchendaele. Creator: William Rider-Rider, 1889-1979. Date: November 1917. Reference No.: MIKAN 3194807. William Rider. Canada. Dept. of National Defence. Library and Archives Canada, A-002165. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Personnel of the 16th Canadian Machine Gun Company holding the line in shell holes during the Battle of Passchendaele. Creator: William Rider-Rider, 1889-1979. Date: November 1917. Reference No.: DAPDCAP58234. Copyright: Expired. Usage: non-commercial reproduction. Canada. Dept. of National Defence. Library and Archives Canada.

I said, “We are being asked for so little. Look what they went through.” It was history brought to life.

Remembrance Day is the only day in the calendar set aside to remember the past, specifically, war. Today I am grateful to those that served, whether home or abroad, and to the ingenious teachers who know that to understand history, you must make it personal – to see history through the eyes of the people that lived it. As family historians, we understand the power of story. For my part, I want to see history through an encompassing lens: those who served directly and those who were affected and particularly those whose stories are less well known by reason of their gender or race. To commemorate Remembrance Day, I will collect my stories and research posts on war and conflict. There’s a dozen to choose from. Two are stories: Virot and Owens, two are photo essays, one is a video. The rest are research, where genealogy meets war.
Veterans at Remembrance Day, 11 Nov 1986. Victory Square Cenotaph, Vancouver, BC. Credit: Linda Yip.

Thank yous

This one is for my dad, Cecil Wing See Yip.

Look what they went through.

We shall never forget.


This is my 100th post. I remember wondering if I’d run out of stories when I began this blog but those fears have proved to be unfounded. As I write, I have dozens more ideas in various stages of completion, from wild I wonder if… ideas to just needs a bit of tweaking and it’s done. If there is a better word than grateful, that is how I feel about you, my readers. Thank you.


The murderous mud of one First World War battlefield (6 Sep 2018) CBC Archives, Accessed 10 Nov 2020.

Roy, RH and Foot, R. Canada and the Battle of Passchendaele (31 May 2006, updated 21 Nov 2018). The Canadian Encyclopedia. Accessed 10 Nov 2020.

Passchendaele (2008). Accessed 10 Nov 2020. Movie review.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.