Keepers of Military History

Quesnel's Royal Canadian Legion is packed with hundreds of items of memorabilia from wartime and peacetime military service

Above: Doug Carey and Carrie Lawrence dryfit the frame.

Above: Doug Carey and Carrie Lawrence dryfit the frame.

There’s another treasured memory almost ready to be installed at the Quesnel Legion. Carrie Lawrence of Carrie’s Custom Picture Framing is in the final stages of preparing the two-sided First World War Canadian deployment pictorial newspaper spread. Using conservation techniques to flatten, remove the creases and preserve the fragile newspaper for encapsulation in an archival sleeve. She has also prepared the frame to accommodate the two-sided requirement of the display by sandwiching two frames, removing half the regular frame backing to fit the archival sleeve and protective acrylic sheeting. It will then be the Legion’s Doug Carey, who is in charge of memorabilia, to properly display this unique historical archive.

“We are the keeper of military history in the community,” Carey said.

“We want to make sure that generations to come can see and understand their ancestors’ military contribution.”

The Quesnel Legion, possibly more than most Legions, is painfully aware of how important it is to maintain such reminders of Canada’s military past. In 1995 the former Legion building burned to the ground in Quesnel and many irreplaceable military treasures were lost.

“We know what’s it’s like to lose it all,” Carey said.

However, he is very proud of the valuable archival material that is once again on display at the Quesnel Legion.

“We value each and every donation we receive,” he said.

“They represent a person’s history and that is important to preserve.”

He also added that not all the memorabilia is wartime. Many items, such as photographs and service records tell the story of peacetime service and of general military life.

The Legion takes their sacred trust very seriously. Veterans from generations ago and for generations to come can find a friendly face, a helping hand and a comrade to share a story of two with.

“When we can, we support local causes and the local people who benefit,” he said.

“Every dollar from the Quesnel Poppy Campaign stays in Quesnel serving Quesnel veterans.”

Legion Week is June 24 – 30 with Quesnel’s big day on June 25. The public is invited to a free curb side barbecue, a car wash, contribute to a bottle drive and see the unveiling of two new displays, one of which is the First World War pictorial display. This would also be a great opportunity to visit the Legion, see the many displays, meet the members and talk about the branch. The week culminates with a free barbecue at Legion Beach June 30 for all first responders and their families.