Port Alberni author takes modern look at First World War


WATCH: The 11th hour of the 11th month, 1918. is Armistice Day. The end of the First World War. Many on Vancouver Island are marking that day and looking back with awe and horror. The Great War is of the utmost significance to a Port Alberni author. Both her grandfathers fought in it. She’s just released a book about the experiences of many who fought with them. Kendall Hanson has the story.

It’s a modern look at a war from a bygone era.

Port Alberni’s Jacqueline Carmichael grandfathers both fought in the First World War.

Her aunt gave her letters and journals written by her paternal grandfather throughout the war.

She recognized their significance and was compelled to write about them.

A grandfather she never met as he died before she was born.

“He was funnier than I thought he was going to be because I always heard that he was cranky so I was shocked by how charming and appealing he was and also how desperately scared he was,” said Carmichael.

Titled ‘Tweets from the Trenches’ the book weaves poetry with letters, postcards and memoirs from those involved in the First World War.

Carmichael’s research involved travelling to the Western Front in Europe to get a first-hand look at where Canadians fought.

“I really felt the weight of all that had happened there,” said Carmichael. “It was very emotional to walk on the western front. A remarkable experience. I recommend it for anybody.”

Carmichael says so much has changed from a technological standpoint since then and yet people have remained the same.

“I hope people understand that these people that were so desperately caught up in something much bigger than themselves. They were just like us,” said Carmichael. “You look at their faces and they’re timeless. They’re just young men, young women, that were terrified in their time and we could switch places with them.”

Carmichael hopes the book will help the next generation learn about a war that doesn’t get as much attention as other more recent wars.

“The difficult things they’d be nice to set aside but I think it’s really important to remember how this happened, what they did, the valour that was displayed, the courage despite being terrified. Those are remarkable things that need to be remembered,” said Carmichael.

‘Tweets from the Trenches’ is available online. A book intended to help younger generations understand and remember the First World War.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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