During the First World War, L’Orignal and the region saw many of their youth leave their family homes and their jobs in order to enlist in the army, the navy, air force and merchant marine. Some joined out of patriotism others felt obligated and still some young people saw it as a job opportunity. We must remember that in 1939, Canada was barely out of the Great Depression; employment opportunities were scarce and poorly remunerated. Enlisting in the military represented, for many, the sole avenue to earn a salary.
Whatever the reason for the enrolment, young people never expected to experience as much drama at sea, in the air or at the front. The majority of the our local veterans served overseas and some others stayed on this continent where their services in a multitude of war related positions, were essential to the war effort
There appears to have been few women from the village or the region who served in the armed forces. Several women worked in plane, bomb and munitions factories. Let us not forget the fears and worries that plagued the women when their sons, husbands, brothers and fiancés enlisted. What about the agony they experienced when letters from the front were late! What despair when a black-bordered telegram announced the disappearance or death of their loved one! These women had to keep the home fires burning!
By committing to paper the results of interviews with concerned individuals, the decades-old life experiences of the youth of our region, indirectly we become the guardians of their memories.
We will not forget! Our most profound gratitude to all of you.
Do You Know Them?
Harold & Reay Johnson