A young First World War soldier fresh from a sniper’s course was killed by a sniper’s bullet himself after being moved to the front lines in the Somme 100 years ago during the.
The poignant details of the man’s time in the battlefield and valuable records about thousands of Canadians during the Great War are among one of the best online sources of its kind – now housed at the University of Victoria.
The records are available to scholars, families and history buffs, thanks to Marc Leroux’s website – canadiangreatwarproject.com – with a new look to be unveiled today for Remembrance Day. The Canadian Great War Project, founded 10 years ago by Leroux, is a crowd-sourced inventory of digital data on more than 176,000 of the 619,636 soldiers, nurses and chaplains from Canada during the First World War.
“This is a jewel and a national treasure, and its preservation no longer has to rest solely on the shoulders of only one person,” says project manager Jim Kempling, a PhD candidate in UVic’s history department.
The site features more than 18,000 pages of war diaries, nearly 30,000 images and about 500 letters, and hosts close to 185,000 visits each year. Leroux has encouraged active participation of qualified researchers, including those within local communities, church associations and history groups.
The move from the current site to an enhanced site will be phased in over several months, with the first release providing a much enhanced search engine for the soldier database.