|One of five pages listing the members of the 15th Company, Canadian Forestry Corps, that was found in a scrapbook of Patrick Hennessy's service in Scotland during World War Two.|
Many people have been involved in developing this book project and I'd like to thank them individually.
First, I'd like to thank the wise person who saw the value in these old, castaway letters that were sitting in boxes, bags and even garbage bags up in the attic of the old family home in Bathurst. Peter Jarratt found the first batch of letters many years ago and at the time we thought we had something interesting. But when Peter found the rest of the letters last summer up in the attic we knew we had a treasure on our hands. Without Peter, we would have no letters at all.
Second, Patsy Hennessy and Sharon (Hennessy) Olscamp laboured for hundreds of hours sorting, scanning and cataloguing the letters and archival documents at the Hennessy house. This was a monumental task which had to be done before any sense could be made of this treasure trove from World War Two.
Undoubtedly, there is still a lot of work because, for the most part, they were only able to scan the letters so the bulk of the documents will have to wait. Yet still, Patsy and Sharon spent the better part of the winter of 2008-2009 scanning every single image at high resolution, naming the files according to yyy-mm-dd and entering the information into a spreadsheet which could be converted into a SQL database on the web and turned into a searchable db that you see here on this website..
Without Patsy and Sharon, we would not have the letters to view on line, so much credit is due to them for a job well done.
Jacques Desjardins of JMedia did the website design and Sean Givan did the programming for the searchable database and to them I extend a big round of applause for doing such an excellent job.
I will be travelling to Beauly, Scotland in July 2009 and hope to connect with some of the people there who can help us fill in the blanks. It is our great hope that I can meet the descendents of the Frasers, the Munros and Mackies who played such an important part in our grandfather's life in Scotland during the war years. It would be a dream come true if some of the letters my grandmother and grandfather wrote to these people in Beauly survived into the 21st century and were available for me to read - and hopefully scan so they can be added to the collection.. That would be like coming full circle.
When I return, I plan to start working on the book and will keep viewers up to date on my progress. I expect that as the rest of the archival documents continue to be scanned by Patsy and Sharon, and hopefully other helpers, we will see more of the story of our grandfathers' service overseas unfold and much of the blanks filled in through our research over the next few months.
Melynda Jarratt, BA, MA, Diploma Digital Media