Charity bringing Canada's military past out of the shadows

A commemorative campaign is marking the centenary of the end of the First World War by bringing Canada's military history out of the shadows, and helping modern-day soldiers along the way.

'Soldier silhouettes' standing guard at military landmarks around Ottawa

The There But Not There campaign places 'soldier silhouettes' on guard in front of landmarks such as the National War Memorial in Ottawa. (Supplied )

A commemorative campaign is marking the centenary of the end of the First World War by bringing Canada's military history out of the shadows, and helping modern-day soldiers along the way.

There But Not There, the first campaign by the charity Remembered, places six-foot-tall outlines of a First World War soldier in front of some of the country's most iconic military landmarks. In Ottawa, the "soldier silhouettes" have been standing guard at the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces at Beechwood Cemetery, the Canadian War Museum and the National War Memorial.

Rick Hillier, Canada's former chief of defence staff, is working with the charity.

"We can't bring them back to life, but we can sure give their memory back to life," Hillier told CBC's All In A Day.

Stirring remembrance

Hillier said the outline, which is partly inspired by a photograph of a standing soldier by Horace Nicholls, leaves a powerful impression that viewers immediately connect with. He said when he looks at the shape he thinks of a great uncle who fought in the First World War.

"You can actually see a face there. You can actually see features there," he said. "I am sure any other families that have a great-grandfather or grandfather who fought at Vimy would see the exact same thing."

Smaller, transparent versions of the soldier silhouette are for sale, with proceeds going toward charities such as True Patriot Love and the Invictus Games Foundation, which provide assistance to veterans suffering from the mental and physical wounds of service.