Archives immortalizes Saanich grads’ sacrifice

Binder captures story of 300 School District 61 grads who died while serving

School District 61 trustee Ann Whitaker and Saanich Coun. Vicki Sanders appreciate the SD61 binder of students who died while in service during the Second World War.

Cadboro Bay’s John Lukey was a 25-year-old pilot when he died flying a night attack about 23 miles southwest of Bremen, Germany.

It was April 3, 1945, and the Mount Douglas secondary grad of RCAF squadron 613 was flying in support of Field Marshall Bernard “Monty” Montgomery. His plane never returned to base.

Lukey left behind a one-year-old daughter, Susan Anne, and wife Margaret. His story is among those of 300 men and women (mostly men) who came through the School District 61 system and enlisted with the Canadian Forces for the Second World War. The compilation, SD61 Remembers, is a binder produced by volunteer SD61 archivist Judi Stevenson, who is based out of Central Middle School.

“There’s only one stipulation for all the former SD 61 students to be in the binder, that they died in someway related to the war,” said SD61 trustee Ann Whitaker. “Stevenson and her team did an incredible amount of research to tell even a parcel of these stories. These were our students who grew up but didn’t come back.”

What’s remarkable about the deaths, is that they’re often unrelated to action. Teddy Blenkinsop was another 25-year-old pilot in the book. An Oak Bay High grad who started school at Craigflower elementary, Blenkinsop survived a crash behind enemy lines in Belgium in 1944. However, as a member of the Belgian resistance, he fell ill to tuberculosis. Many other pilots died on friendly soil during training accidents.

A copy of the binder, which captures the sad tale of hundreds of students from Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich and Oak Bay, has been made available to Saanich Archives and to Oak Bay Archives. One copy is also being supplied to each school in the district along with curriculum suggestions to help students engage with the tragedy of war.

In some cases, the research team was able to find descriptions of the soldier’s death, either through old news articles or from their brief burial reports, which are now archived online.

 

“I’m just so pleased we were able to get a copy of this binder in Saanich Archives,” said Saanich Coun. Vicki Sanders. “It’s an excellent record of fighting for the country.”

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich councillor slams McKenzie Interchange Project

Coun. Judy Brownoff said the project will only create more greenhouses gases and traffic

Showers ahead in Wednesday’s forecast

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Fairfield plan ‘counterintuitive’ to affordability aims, says working group member

Plan for Victoria neighbourhood heads to public hearing Sept. 12

40 BC authors collaborate on new book celebrating the islands of the Salish Sea

Ivan Watson Special to the News Marion Cumming’s hilltop property near McNeil… Continue reading

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Families want Island Health to take over seniors home

Letter campaign points out longstanding issues at the Comox Valley residence

Most Read