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Culture Summerside teams up with volunteers to take a look at P.E.I. soldiers returning home from ‘the Great War’

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During Volunteer Week in Canada, Culture Summerside thought it would perfect timing to give an update on its latest project: “1919 – P.E.I. soldiers return home from the Great War”.

Since January, over 15 volunteers from across the province have chalked up hours searching though century-old Island newspapers. Through the process, they are selecting images and articles from 1919 that represent the Island mood and circumstances of the soldiers’ return. Their findings are being used in the compilation of a commemorative booklet to mark the 100th anniversary.

A number of the images selected by the volunteers have become the inspiration for 14 writers being challenged with creating a microfiction story based on their interpretation of the image. On March 30, the writers attended a workshop on writing microfiction literature presented by Deirdre Kessler, a part-time professor of English at UPEI, author and a former provincial poet laureate.

The microfiction stories will be placed alongside the historical material in the booklet. J. Clinton Morrison, author of “Hell Upon Earth; A Personal Account of Prince Edward Island Soldiers in the Great War, 1914-1918,” is providing the booklet’s editorial input.

The booklet will be launched at the music and drama tribute titled, “1919: Remembering the Islanders Who Returned from the Great War,” on Sunday, May 26 at 3 p.m. at Trinity United Church in Summerside. The event is free, as is the booklet.

Jean MacKay, assistant archivist at MacNaught History Centre and Archives, has great praise for the volunteers on the project.

“I am both surprised and pleased with the level of interest in the project and the dedication of the volunteers in searching out the material needed for the publication,” said MacKay. “It is a real pleasure to work with members of the community in this important historic project.”

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