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Commemorating Winnipeg Grenadiers Through Geography

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More than 45 000 Canadians lost their lives serving in the military overseas and at home during the Second World War. Canadians fought and sacrificed their lives for democracy through all aspects of warfare in the skies, oceans, and land. In 1945, the Geographical Board of Canada created a program to commemorate fallen Canadian soldiers by naming a geographical feature in honour of their service. With over 100 000 lakes, Manitoba has been an adopter of this program by naming 4000 lakes, bays, peninsulas, quarries and points after Manitoban casualties. The project was completed in 1995 and was never digitalized, until now. Two Canadian regiments fought in the Defence of Hong Kong in 1941: the Winnipeg Grenadiers and The Royal Rifles of Canada. Both regiments were taken POW when Hong Kong was surrendered to the Japanese. The Canadian prisoners lived in poor conditions where they were forced to work in mines and shipyards. From lack of access to medical aid and proper food, many prisoners died of malnourishment and disease that frequently travelled throughout the camps.  

Following their repatriation in 1945, the returning Grenadiers received an inadequate pension from the government and were never largely recognized by fellow Canadians for their sacrifices during the war. The latter is mainly due to the fact that Canada's war effort has been overshadowed by American and British materials. Many Canadians are educated about The Battle of Britain and the Americans on Omaha Beach; however, fail to recognize the large impact Canadians made in the Second World War on a global scale. The Defence of Hong Kong, Ortona, Dieppe, and Juno Beach are just to name a few significant Canadian battles. By creating a digital map of the geographical features commemorating fallen Winnipeg Grenadiers, it is my hope that Canadians recognize the sacrifices their young men made and the hardships they faced in the POW camps and following their repatriation to Canada. By interacting with this map, one can gain a better understanding of who the Grenadiers were as individuals prior to the war and their experiences in the Pacific. If you click on a poppy, it displays a picture of the Grenadier, information about them, and their commemorative feature.  

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To access the map, click 

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