Every Remembrance Day, the U of T community honours those alumni, students, faculty, and staff who fell in the First and Second World Wars, as well as other conflicts. In 2022, U of T’s Service of Remembrance will return to the Soldiers’ Tower. Join the university community for the Service of Remembrance to honour soldiers and veterans – in person or online (livestream – see below): Friday, November 11, starting at 10:20 am ET. Together, we will pay our respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice—as we do each year. The flags on campus will be lowered to half-mast in honour of Remembrance Day.
Each year on November 11, Canadians fall silent on the anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. It is a time to reflect, remember and to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives. Read a few stories about members of the Trinity community and their contributions to the war efforts. Lest we forget.
|2022 marks 100 years since the publication of The War Memorial Volume of Trinity College, Toronto. The 165 page volume is a meticulously researched artefact that demonstrates the wide-ranging effect the war had on the wider college community.
As time passes and we become further and further removed from the events and horrors of the World Wars, documents like The War Memorial Volume illustrate the real-world impact conflicts can have on a community like Trinity College. Simultaneously, it also shows the out-sized impact Trinity College had on the war effort. To learn more about this volume, check out our latest blog post by Student Outreach & Archival Projects Librarian Christopher Hogendoorn.
Image: Pages from the The War Memorial Volume of Trinity College, Toronto
|Remembering the Great War
In August 2014, the world marked 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. A total of 543 Trinity men travelled abroad to fight, joined by women of St. Hilda’s, who served as physicians, nurses, ambulance drivers and administrators. Of the 543 Trinity men who went to war 57 never returned —56 were killed in action, and one was missing. Read the full story: Remembering the Great War, Trinity Magazine, Spring 2014, pages 18-25 (PDF 1.68MB).
Image: Trinity looks back as we mark the 100th anniversary of the start of The Great War – article.
|As Dying and Behold We Live
Image: To the memory of those members of Trinity College who gave their lives in the two Great Wars. The names of those who never returned home are engraved on the memorial wall in the Trinity College Chapel.
|Trinity and The Great War 1914-1918
In 2017, many of the devastating battles of the Great War reached their centenaries, including Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele and the Third Battle of Ypres. To commemorate the sacrifices of the Trinity community, an exhibit capturing some of the narratives of the Great War was on display in the Trinity College Archives: “Trinity at War: 1914-1918.”
Image: The Trinity Truck – Students from the College celebrate the Armistice on November 11, 1918 in the Trinity Truck. The caption reads: “When the word came that Peace had been signed, Charles Gossage rented a truck, all the students of Trinity piled into it and they drove all over Toronto.”
|Trinity and St. Hilda’s in the Great War
Toronto Star coverage of our exhibit ‘Trinity and St. Hilda’s in the Great War’ (November 2018): First World War soldiers and nurses are a ghostly presence in Trinity College windows.
The Trinity College Archives holds 210 glass plate negatives of portraits of the young people who left their studies or their careers, and went to war. Some of these images were reproduced for an exhibit in 2018.
Image: Portrait reproduction of glass plate negatives displayed on windows along the main hallway.
|Rare Book of the Month 2018
Image: Letter from Emil Seebaldt, prisoner of war, to his wife Agnes Seebaldt in 1917.
|Farmerettes Help at Home
Learn how U of T’s women undergrads – including Trinity’s Mossie Waddington – aided the WW1 effort at home: Changed by War: Farmerettes Help at Home in U of T Magazine.
In 1917 and 1918 hundreds of U of T women spent the summers picking and packing fruits and vegetables, filling in for farmers who were away at war.
Image: U of T women spent the summers filling in for farmers who were away at war.
|Trinity Welcomes 150 Children from War-Torn Great Britain
From July 1940 to November 1944, the Trinity community welcomed over 150 children from St. Hilda’s School in Whitby, England. Evacuated from war-torn Great Britain, they were housed and educated thanks to Trinity’s Provost Francis Cosgrave and the Saint Hilda’s College Alumnae Association. A beautiful letter from Queen Elizabeth recognizes these efforts by the Trinity community.
Image: A beautiful letter from Queen Elizabeth recognizes these efforts by the Trinity community.
|The story of Jacques Olivier Clerc, 1917-1944
by Sylvia Lassam, Rolph-Bell Archivist
On the day after war was declared in 1939 a young Swiss academic arrived at the University of Toronto to teach in the Department of Political Economy.
Read about Clerc
Probably through friendship with the economist C.A. Ashley, who lived at Trinity, Clerc also taught conversational French at Trinity and lived at the College. Here he met Bill Rogers and others. By Ashley’s account, he was an extremely popular teacher. “His enthusiasm, his quick intelligence, and his remarkable conversational gifts made him equally popular with his colleagues.” He had a gift for friendship, and kept in touch with lively letters, some of which can be found in the William S. Rogers fonds in the Trinity Archives.
One of four sons of Professor Charly Clerc of Zurich, professor of French literature and a literary critic, Jacques-Olivier was educated at the Universities of Lausanne and Paris. After two years in Toronto, he moved on to the University of Saskatchewan as an instructor, and soon after joined the R.C.A.F., graduating at the Crumlin Air Force Base as an Air Bomber. Ashley relates that, while Clerc upheld Switzerland’s right to remain out of the war, he increasingly identified as a Canadian. On August 16, 1944, his plane was shot down over Danish waters. Five victims, including Clerc, were buried nearby; two survived.
C.A. Ashley was the executor of Clerc’s estate. His Will contains the request that “si je tombe en service commandé, je désire que mon nom ne soit jamais gravé sur aucun monument funéraire, ni mentionné dans les services funèbres des institutions auxquelles j’ai appartenu [If I fall in commissioned service my name never be engraved on any funeral monument, nor mentioned in the funeral services of the institutions to which I belonged]. There is no commemoration of Clerc at Trinity, although there is a plaque in Denmark, near the site of the crash, that is regularly stocked with flowers.
|The World Remembers|