VIU and community partners remember local fallen armed forces members through video memorial

A group of soldiers pose for a photo with Nanaimo Remembers written across the bottom

October 28, 2022 - 1:15pm

VIU video project acknowledges Nanaimo armed forces members' contributions to the First and Second World Wars.

Private Reginald Edgar Emblem, a farmer and resident of South Wellington, served in the 72nd Battalion during the First World War. He died at age 20 of influenza and pneumonia in October 1918 and was buried at Seaford Cemetery in Sussex, United Kingdom.

Private William Armstrong Syer, a miner and resident of Franklyn Street, served in the 143rd Battalion. He was 34 when he died from wounds received in battle in August 1918 and is buried in the Crouy British Cemetery in Somme, France.

A Vancouver Island University (VIU) video memorial project that tells the story of these two men and other Nanaimo armed forces members who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First and Second World Wars will be displayed across the city November 1 -11, 2022.

For the 11 days leading up to Remembrance Day, the Nanaimo Remembers project will display the names of more than 200 who served in prominent locations across the city. The names have been obtained from the Dallas Square Cenotaph in downtown Nanaimo and a special section highlights the contributions of local Indigenous armed forces members, thanks to research conducted by VIU Elder-in-Residence Geraldine Manson.

The project, which launched in 2018, was spearheaded by VIU’s Communications and External Affairs and Brand and Marketing teams in collaboration with the University’s Canadian Letters and Images Project (CLIP) and Nanaimo Community Archives. Nanaimo Remembers grew out of a desire to localize a project VIU participated in for many years – The World Remembers, a display tribute to individuals across the world who lost their lives in the Great War.

“The importance of Nanaimo Remembers is that it represents more than simply the names on a cenotaph,” said Dr. Stephen Davies, Director of the Canadian Letters and Images Project. “It is a means to poignantly remind this community of those individuals who lived and worked here, and who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”

Information shared about each person, where available, includes their name, rank and battalion, when they died and at what age, where they were buried, their occupation, and their connection to Nanaimo.

The video presentation will run continuously from November 1 – 11, 2020, on the large screen in the Welcome Centre (Building 300 at VIU’s Nanaimo campus). It will also be played on screens at several locations in the community on varying dates: 

  • City of Nanaimo: Beban Park and Oliver Woods Community Centre
  • Port Theatre
  • Nanaimo Museum
  • Vancouver Island Regional Library: Nanaimo Wellington Library (Country Club Mall) and Nanaimo North Library
  • School District 68
  • Shaw Spotlight

Check out the project at one of the participating locations above or visit VIU’s YouTube channel.


Media Contact:

Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Advisor, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

“The City of Nanaimo is honoured to support the VIU Nanaimo Remembers project which so poignantly acknowledges the sacrifices made by Nanaimo’s soldiers who served in World War I and II.” 

-       Leonard Krog, Mayor, City of Nanaimo


“The Nanaimo Museum is honoured to be sharing the VIU Nanaimo Remembers Project with our guests again this year. Nanaimo has a long history of service and it’s critical that the sacrifices the soldiers and their families made are commemorated now and for future generations.  We encourage guests to take some time to acknowledge their service, and to visit our partners at the Vancouver Island Military Museum to learn more about Nanaimo’s military heritage.”

-       Sophia Maher, General Manager, Nanaimo Museum


“The 11 days of Remembrance serves as a solemn reminder to our community of the deep sacrifices made by Canadians throughout history. The Port Theatre is pleased to play a supporting role in sharing their stories and honouring their memories.”

-       David Warburton, Executive Director, Port Theatre


“Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools wishes to express its utmost appreciation and gratitude for those that have and currently serve in the Canadian Armed Forces. Your bravery and dedication to a better future will never be forgotten. We will forever be in your debt. Thank you.”

-       Charlene McKay, Trustee, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools

Tags: History | In the Community | Indigenous | Announcements

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