Mapping Canada’s War Dead

Map journalism? Who’d have guessed  that maps could be such a fascinating way to paint a picture of Canada at war?

Who’d have thought a television network could convey drama and danger and heartbreak … and all without a single reporter or an anchor or sound bites?

Good for  Global Television — the youngest of Canada’s three major networks — for pulling off this triumph; of using their web site in an imaginative and fascinating project to examine our war dead. It’s terrific, innovative story telling.

Global News website

Global News website

 

Photos include Canadian dead, some banned from publication at the time …

From Global News website

From Global News website

 

And maps and charts … the idea is to show  the hometowns of those killed in both World Wars and in Korea, and also examine deaths for specific cities, month by month.

Here are Ontario’s dead, from Korea …

Global News website

Global News website

 

There are still some mysteries … the hometowns of 42 of the dead remain unknown. But here are the known homes of  Toronto’s 6,000 dead from three wars.

Global News website

Global News website

 

Click on a poppy and the name and home address pop up … this is for Lorne Mooney from Brandon, Manitoba, killed after his unit (2PPCLI — Canada’s first infantry unit in the Korean War) had been in combat only a couple of weeks.

Global News website

Global News website

 

If you click on an additional link, you go to Veterans Affairs profiles … this is for Alex Gray from Ottawa … he was killed in Korea only three months before the war ended.

Alex Gray / Veterans Affairs Canada

Alex Gray / Veterans Affairs Canada

 

Gray’s sister, Ruth, was the close childhood friend of a  fellow teenager, Adrienne Clarkson, who would go on to become, among many other things, Canada’s 26th Governor General. She later wrote that “Alex was a grand young man and we worshipped him … he will always be for me, the living embodiment of a spirit of gallantry. ”

Alex Gray / Veterans Affairs Canada

Alex Gray / Veterans Affairs Canada

 

This Global website beckons us to names and faces; reminding us they all had mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and girl friends and wives and school chums. And lived in homes like ours, just down the street. All those thousands of Lorne Mooneys and Alex Grays left behind a melancholy trail of shattered dreams and broken hearts.

Global News website

Global News website

 

Pay them all a visit at Global’s sobering and poignant website. It’s riveting stuff. Here’s where to find it:

http://globalnews.ca/news/938142/korea-mapping-dead-canadas-forgotten-war/

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About Dan Bjarnason

Dan Bjarnason is the author of "Triumph at Kapyong, Canada's Pivotal Battle in the Korean War." Bjarnason was a television news and documentary reporter for The National at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for over 35 years, He specialized in military history and has worked on documentaries from the Little Bighorn to the Falklands. He now lives in Toronto and can be reached at: danbjarnason@gmail.com
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