The two were never even suppose to meet.
Stuart Byatt, a merchant navy veteran, served during WWII on an English ship. While at sea, he started a long distance letter correspondence with a young Canadian lady.
“I wrote to her things I would have probably never told her, had we just met on the street,” said Byatt. The long distance pair never expected to meet, but Byatt was granted a few days leave and he took a trip to see her. They married soon after.
Byatt’s tale of romance hints at other, more difficult, memories of the war. He shared some of these stories in an effort to help record Canadian history.
The accounts of World War II veterans across Canada are being digitally preserved for future generations through The Memory Project: Stories of the Second World War. Local veterans shared their tales and memorabilia yesterday during the project's stop in Calgary.
Beyond the digital archive, the project offers schools the chance to “book a veteran” to speak with students.
“It provides an intergenerational dialogue,” said project manager Jenna Misenger. “Students here have always lived in a time of peace. This gives a snapshot of what life could be like.”
With the recent passing of the last WWI veteran, The Memory Project aims to ensure the legacy of those who served in the Second World War will never be forgotten, said Misenger.
“These firsthand accounts are just a reflection of what this generation experienced.”
The archives are available at www.thememoryproject.com.