Nicholas E.

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Avalon Regional Heritage Fair

My Two Great-Grandfathers - 100 Years Ago - In Their Footsteps

My project explores the lives of my two great-grandfathers. In particular, I tell about their role in the Newfoundland Naval Reserve 100 years ago during the Great World War. I retrace their footsteps where they started the journey by visiting their two hometowns, Branch and Lawn.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

One of the most interesting stories I learned was about my great-grandfather's service on a Q-ship. These were ships that were armed for battle but disguised as ships that could not fight. Only a small number of Newfoundlanders served on these ships. My nan didn't even know her dad served on a Q-ship before this project. I thought that was pretty cool.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

One important lesson I learned doing this project was how looking back in time to events that happened so long ago is still really interesting and meaningful today. The pride my great-grandfathers had about their service in the war is something that I can continue to show today. They had a huge desire to serve their country and to serve others, at war and at home.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

My life today is very different than my great-grandfathers' lives 100 years ago. They grew up in very poor times, without electricity or technology, and in small towns. I am growing up in a city with a lot of opportunity and conveniences. I feel my great-grandfathers helped to make this all possible.