November 9, 2022

Displays help connect students to fading memories of wartime

Jon Robinson

Crescent Heights High School has two displays thanks to a partnership between the school, Ghost Squadron Military Museum, Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 17 Robertson Memorial and the South Alberta Light Horse Regimental Museum. (Photo: Samantha Johnson)

By Samantha Johnson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

Crescent Heights High School Medicine Hat, Alberta, has a Remembrance Day display featuring WWI and WWII uniforms along with other artifacts. The display is courtesy of the Ghost Squadron Military Museum, Royal Canadian Legion, Branch No. 17 Robertson Memorial, and the South Alberta Light Horse Regimental Museum.

Shonna Barth, principal at the school, said “lots of our students no longer have an immediate family member that has been touched by war in the same way. My grandpa fought in WWII, but most the kids don’t know anybody and can start feeling like it’s way off in the distance. This brings it to the school and keeps it more relevant”

The display not only connects the school to experts from the community but fosters awareness and understanding and helps to tell a story.

It doesn’t end with world wars though, as also featured in the display is a photo and bio of Stephan John Stock, who was from Medicine Hat and died while serving overseas in 2008. Stock trained with the South Alberta Light Horse before joining the Royal Canadian Engineers.

The curator and owner of the Ghost Squadron Military Museum, which is a privately owned collection that has 420 uniforms and artifacts spanning from 1840 to 1990, has been giving tours for the school. One of the uniforms in the school display is from the 88th Division and the museum has the pictures and records of the soldier who wore it along with another 52 uniforms from the same division.

There are two Second World War uniforms, one from the Royal Canadian Airforce and another from the US Army Airforce. It is interesting to note the US uniform also displays RCAF wings. Many Americans came up to Canada and joined the flight training schools of the RAF and RCAF. The Eagle Squadron was made up of these Americans flying British aircraft in the war prior to the USA joining.

A second smaller display shows a male and female uniform as it is important to remember how many women served as well. In the Canadian military they had the Royal Canadian Air Force women’s division, the Wrens (Women’s Royal Naval Service) and CWAC (Canadian Women’s Army Corps) who served in the Second World War.