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UPDATE: Vernon First World War internment camp book going to schools

The Vernon Internment Camp 1914 – 1920 book was officially unveiled on Tues, Feb. 21.
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Authors of the book were on hand to give speeches at the book unveiling at W.L Seaton Secondary Feb. 21. (Bowen Assman - Morning Star staff)

A book pertaining to an episode in Vernon’s dark history, written and printed in Vernon, was revealed Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Entitled: The most difficult of our camps, Vernon Internment Camp 1914-1920, is an oral history of the camp, complete with personal anecdotes and detailed financials of the six-year camp.

The area in Vernon known as MacDonald Park – where Seaton is situated today – has held a jail, a mental asylum, an internment camp, a house for transients and finally a secondary school and sports field.

This book deals with the internment camp period during and after the First World War.

Researched and written by members of the Vernon and District Family History Society, and made possible by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund, The Vernon Internment Camp 1914-1920, takes you into the lives of the internees with numerous biographical sketches, great photographs from local, national and international sources, details of camp life and reaction from citizens of Vernon.

Mayor Victor Cumming was on hand at the event, and was thankful of the work put in by the authors.

“I think it is so critical that groups take the time to do this level of work to really clarify these types of historical points,” he said. “Most of Vernon does not know this. So I thank them for bringing this forward.”

Copies of the book area being donated to the Museum and Archives of Vernon, the five secondary schools in the Vernon School District, the five secondary schools in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District, Cherryville and other museums in the area.

Excerpts from the book:

–The internment camp in Vernon was one of the largest, one of the longest running and one of the most distinctive camps in Canada. Over 1,000 men, women and children were interned in Vernon over the 5 years and 6 months it was in operation. It was one of only two camps in the country that housed women and children.

Otter rejected Leduc stating, “… (Major Nash) has now been for two years in command of this, the most difficult of all our Camps, administrating it in a most capable and satisfactory manner.”

“Why are some of the aristocratic German prisoners at the Vernon internment camp treated with such sickening deference and consideration? Why are they given all manner of privileges which renders their confinement a farce?”

The book initially will be available through the Vernon and District Family History Society’s Resource Centre in the lower level of Peace Lutheran Church during limited hours. You can also purchase the book for $30 by emailing verfamhist@shaw.ca, or at vdfhs.com.

READ MORE: Vernon internment camp shut down 100 years ago

READ MORE: Vernon internment camp part of major digital history project



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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