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Military oral history collection
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Dates of creation area
ca. 1890-2010 (Creation)
Physical description area
400 audio reels and other material
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Archival description area
The military oral history collection held in the Special Collections of the McPherson Library at the University of Victoria was established by Dr. Reginald H. Roy, who held the Chair of Military History (1968-1988) and Social Sciences Research Centre (1970-75). 29 interviews constitute the Social Sciences Research Centre interviews with and about Maj. Gen G.R. Pearkes, 185 interviews were conducted by Dr. Roy's students working part-time on DND funds. Dr. David Stafford interviewed 9 people about covert operations in World War II, Dr. Barney Singer of the UVic History Department contributed 1 interview with a holocaust survivor, and Elizabeth Hazlitte, a nurse at the Veterans' Hospital contributed interviews with 6 World War I veterans. Since 2005, the History Department has offered a Military Oral History seminar course as a component of the Canadian Veterans Oral History Project, a joint project of the Royal United Services Institute of Vancouver Island (RUSI VI) and University of Victoria. The seminar course offers students the opportunity to interview veterans for course credit and the resulting interviews are deposited with University of Victoria Special Collections. Each of these principles constitutes a series in the inventory.
Scope and content
The collection consists of records generated by a number of different sources that have been brought together as a collection. The Social Sciences Research Project (1970-75) includes 29 interviews (and transcripts) with Major General The Hon. G. R. Pearkes and significant associates of Pearkes. They cover Pearkes' military career in both World Wars, his political career, particularly as Minister of Defence, and his role in the office of Lieutenant Governor or B.C. (1960-68). Over a number of years, subsequent to the Pearkes interviews, Dr. Roy commissioned several senior students to interview 185 former military personnel, Canadian and Allied. These were funded by the Department of National Defence. The collection offers personal accounts of action in the Great War and in most theatres of the Second War in which Canadians participated, as well as post war peace-time activities in NATO. When Dr. Roy retired in 1988 he gave a number of guest lecture tapes and some C.B.C. military oral history tapes. In 1982, Dr. Barnett B. Singer, a sessional lecturer, donated one interviews with a holocaust survivor, Mr. William Jacobs of Victoria. In 1983, Dr. David Stafford donated nine research interviews (and transcripts) for a book that he was doing on clandestine operations in World War II. In 1984, Elizabeth Hazlitte, a nurse at Victoria's, Veteran's Hospital, gave her interviews with six Great War veterans which she had completed on an L.I.P. grant. In 1990, Robert Winkenhower gave an interview of Olga Ghosh about the experience of a Jew living in Germany in the 1930's (accessioned 1994). In 1993, Cmdr. Hal Lawrence, a naval historian, donated copies of cassettes, summaries and transcripts of 120 interviews with retired Canadian navy personnel. These interviews were conducted between 1980 and 1990 under contract with DND. In 1993, B. Marshall, through Dr. Reg Roy, donated a cassette of an episode of Lister Sinclair's CBC radio programme called "Ideas". The episode was called "A Sense of War" and contains the experiences of Nursing Sisters in W.W. II. In 1997, Dr. Shawn Cafferky donated 22 tapes and transcripts of interview on Naval aviation also commissioned by D.N.D. Directorate of History and Heritage. Interviews with Lt. Col. John Edmonson, M/Gen. Norman Ross and Mr. Geo. Kidd (Major) were added in 2007. "War Stories: A Life Remembered", an audio recording of Thomas Miller's experiences in the Canadian Army during World War II on 2 compact discs was donated in 2008, as well as an interview with Ross Purse describing conditions in Oeyama Camp in Japan during World War II. Will Pratt's interviews of Japanese-Canadian veterans were added in 2009. An interview with LCol Cyril Neroutsos was added in 2010.
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Availability of other formats
Many of the interviews have been digitized and are available through UVic Digital Collections.
Restrictions on access
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Some interviews may not be copied as identified in the Guide to the Canadian Military Oral History Collection.
Finding aid available.
Cafferky, Michael Shawn, 1958-2008 Collection of interviews; Hazlitte, Elizabeth. Collection of Interviews; Holocaust survivors--Interviews; Japanese Canadians--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945; Lawrence, Hal, 1920-1994. Collection of Interviews; Military history, Modern--20th century; Military nursing--1939-1945; Portage (Ship); Roy, Reginald H., 1922- . Collection of Interviews; Sea King (Helicopter); Singer, Barnett. Collection of Interviews; Stafford, David, 1942- . Collection of Interviews; University of Victoria (B.C.). Social Sciences Research Centre. Collection of Interviews; Winkenhower, Robert. Collection of Interviews; World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives, Canadian; World War, 1939-1945--Medical care; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Canadian
includes 6 compact discs; 9 cm of textual records
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Revised by JF, August 6, 2013.