Vimy Ridge Memorial

Lest We Forget

Dedicated to those brave young men and women who served their country on land, on sea, and in the air in time of war. This web site is meant to serve as a starting point for those who have forgotten, or never knew, how much we owe to those who "took up colours" on our behalf.

These pages begin with the First World War -- the war that was to have ended all wars. While thousands of books have been written on that catastrophic conflict, the great majority of them have given little attention to the remarkable role played, and sacrifices made by Canadians. This is one small step to help rectify that oversight.

For a far more profound perspective, one should visit the foreign battlefields where so many young men fell in the line of duty, that we might be free today.

       Joyce Kennedy

Heritage Album: The Great War

Victorious Canadians Returning from Vimy Ridge

The 1914 outbreak of hostilities in far-off lands, and growing outrage at Germany's violation of neutral Belgian territory provoked a wave of loyal demonstrations from British Columbia in the west to the island province of Prince Edward Island in the east. But what could Canada, the youthful nation of fewer than eight million people, contribute to the cause? Here we try to shed some light on the size and quality of that contribution. Just click on each title to visit the page for that subject.

Air Aces of Canada
8 August 1918
Baron Byng of Vimy
Beaumont Hamel: Newfoundland Bleeds
1 July 1916
Cabaret Rouge to Ottawa
Canada's Unknown Soldier Returns Home
Courcelette / Regina Trench
15 September 1916
Sir Arthur Currie

Essex Farm

Lt. Col. John McCrae
In Flanders Fields
Passchendaele / Tyne Cot Cemetery
St. Eloi & Mount Sorrel
Grim Baptism in the Salient
St. Julien / Vancouver Corner
First Gas Attack; 22 April 1915
Vimy Ridge: Perfect Victory
9 April 1917

Heritage Album: The Second World War

Inland from Juno Beach, 6 June 1944

When young people ask me why it was so important to wage the war against Hitler, I like to share this quote from Wordsworth with them:

We must be free or die, who
spake the tongue
That Shakespeare spake; the
faith and morals hold
Which Milton held.

Grey Links Not Activated Yet - Check Back Later for Additions

The Battle of the Atlantic
The Battle of Britain

Sir Harry Crerar
Dieppe Raid
19 August 1942
The Fall of Hong Kong

RCAF Operations
Juno Beach & the Battle for Normandy
Starting 6 June 1944
Sicily & Italy
Liberating Belgium
Liberating Holland

My Family's Military Heritage

The brutal world wars in far off lands cast their long tragic shadows over all of Canada, touching countless thousands of families, including mine. Even the smallest communities, such as Cumberland, Ontario (population 375 before the Second War) have memorials to the fallen. My immediate family was forever changed by the Second World War, as were the families of my grandparents in the First World War.

1. My father, Robert J. Kennedy, served with the Canadian Artillery in the Great War and fought in all the significant operations of the Canadian Expeditionary Force until he was seriously wounded and rotated home. He was an eyewitness to every major operation of the Canadian Expeditionary Force from Flanders and the Somme through Vimy Ridge.

After the war dad served as the Clerk and Treasurer of Cumberland Township in the Ottawa Valley for more than 30 years. He died in 1970 and his wife Eva followed him in 1978. The local community center in Cumberland is named in Robert's memory, in recognition of his devoted service to the community.

Click here to read more about his service in the Great War and here to read his firsthand account of the gas attack at the Second Battle of Ypres on April 22, 1915, one of the most dramatic moments of military history.

2. Born on a farm in the Ottawa Valley in 1894, Eva Farner might easily have spent a quiet agrarian life helping her husband raise their children. But her adventurous spirit, inquisitive mind, work ethic and desire to help others propelled her to a different world. She left the sheltered farm to train at the internationally-known Metropolitan Hospital in New York City where she later (1918) graduated as a Registered Nurse. Eva signed up with the American Red Cross during her studies in order to serve, but by the time she graduated the war was winding down. She returned to Cumberland where she married her childhood sweetheart, Robert Kennedy, who had returned home a seasoned veteran of the First World War.

As her life unfolded with the new century, Eva witnessed -- and wrote about -- history in the making. Her own life was a whirlwind of activity --
of leadership in a small community, of helping her husband in his township work, of playing the church organ (for 53 years), of raising six children (and watching three sons go off to the Second World War), and of nursing, including delivering nearly 500 children, many of them in the family home. Eva's life, which was lived in boldface, has been recaptured in the book "Just Call Me Eva: The Story of an Uncommon Woman" written by her daughter, Joyce.

3. All three of Robert Kennedy's eligible sons served in the RCAF during the Second World War. (A fourth son was only 16 when the war ended.) Sadly, one would not survive the war. Flying Officer Carleton G. Kennedy, was killed on his first mission in a Halifax bomber August 30, 1944. His name is engraved on the Public Memorial in his home village of Cumberland, Ontario and he is never far in our memory.

4. Irving Farmer [Hap] Kennedy was born in Cumberland, Ontario, just 15 miles from the Peace Tower in Ottawa, in 1922. In 1940 he joined the RCAF, became a Spitfire ace with more than a dozen enemy aircraft shot down, and in 1944 commanded a Spitfire squadron in Normandy. After the war he studied medicine at the University of Toronto, graduating with an MD in 1950. He completed his internship and residency at the Ottawa Civic Hospital then practiced medicine for 35 years in the Ottawa Valley. Now retired, Dr. Kennedy lives with his wife Fern in Chickadee Woods near Cumberland. His two daughters and five grandchildren live nearby.

5. Robert A. Kennedy, after graduating from the University of Toronto, trained in Prince Edward Island before being sent to England in late 1944 where he was attached, ironically, to the 6 Bomber Group (where his younger brother had been killed in August of the same year.) He worked in wireless communications with Halifax and Lancaster bombers. In 1945 he volunteered to transfer to the Pacific Theatre, but shortly thereafter the Atomic Bomb expedited the end of the war. He attended Cornell University, worked at the National Research Council in Canada, and later became head of Information Systems at Bell Labs in New Jersey.

6. Joyce M. Kennedy, Ph.D., owner of has been associated with education in Ventura County since 1974 where she is Director Emeritus of the California State University at Northridge, Ventura Campus. She holds degrees from Carleton University, Ottawa, CSU Northridge; and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Organizational Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Joyce earlier served as a Flying Officer in the RCAF assigned to Europe, NORAD, & RCAF HQ and was National Director of Information Services for the Canadian Association for the Mentally Retarded.

Hap Kennedy's war memoir Black Crosses Off My Wingtip, the story of his service as a Spitfire Squadron Commander, has had multiple printings. Dedicated to honoring both her family's and her homeland's military tradition, Joyce has published two works: a history of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War, Distant Thunder: Canada's Citizen Soldiers on the Western Front. and her mother's story through war and peace, Just Call Me Eva. All of their books are still in print and can be ordered at the places listed below.

Available from:

General Store Publishing House
499 O'Brien Road, Box 415
Renfrew, Ontario, K7V 4A6

184 pages, illus., $17.95 (Canadian)
plus GST, shipping and handling
Phone (800) 465-6072

Available from:

Laura's Corner
NAVAN, Ontario, K4B 1J5

336 pages, illus., $21.95 (Canadian)
plus GST, shipping and handling
Phone (613) 835-1616

Available from:

General Store Publishing House
499 O'Brien Road, Box 415
Renfrew, Ontario, K7V 4A6

238 pages, illus., $19.95 (Canadian)
plus GST, shipping and handling
Phone (800) 465-6072

For Learning More

First Nations Chief Howard Anderson
Pays His Respect to Canada's Unknown Soldier

Web Sites   
Films & Video

Please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions for
Copyright © 2001-2007 Joyce M. Kennedy                Design and Layout Michael E. Hanlon
Thanks to Rich Mentzer, Frank Jordan and Elspeth Johnstone for contributing photos to this site.