British Columbia

WWI veterans' graves: why soldiers died after returning

The B.C. Geneological Society will offer tours of the final resting place of World War I veterans in Mountain View Cemetery.

B.C. Geneological Society offering free tours Sunday of WWI veterans' graves in Mountain View Cemetery

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      To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the start of World War I, a tour is being offered at Vancouver's Mountain View Cemetery of the graves of hundreds of veterans.

      Some of these men survived the battle overseas, only to return home where they died during the flu epidemic or as a result of their war experiences.

      "They came back with injuries ... they suffered the gas attacks, they had post traumatic stress [disorder] that they didn't diagnose," Lorraine Irving of the B.C. Geneological Society told CBC Radio's The Early Edition.

      Irving's own grandfather fought in the war and is buried at Mountain View.

      Many of the soldiers' graves are marked by special monuments provided and cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

      Free tour open to all

      The Commonwealth War Graves can be found grouped together throughout the cemetery.

      The largest grouping is in a section known as "Jones 45", which includes the Cross of Sacrifice, a fixture in Commonwealth war cemeteries around the world.

      The striking limestone monument was installed in 1922 and presides over 384 WW I graves.

      We always say to remember what happened in the past and it won't happen in the future. Unfortunately it still continues ... It's important for everybody ... to remember.- Lorraine Irving of the B.C. Geneological Society

      "They all have stories and they all went to fight for their country," said Irving.

      "It was important to them and to their families. And many of these families lost their only child or only son. It's so sad."

      Irving hopes people of all ages will come to the free tour, regardless of whether or not they have a direct connection to the men and women buried there.

      "I'd like them to remember the soldiers and their past and perhaps try to find out more about them," she said.

      "We always say to remember what happened in the past and it won't happen in the future. Unfortunately it still continues.

      "But it's important for everybody, from the young children, to remember."

      The free tour is on Sunday Aug 10, from 10 - 11:30 a.m. at Mountain View Cemetery. Guests should meet at the cemetery office.


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