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Canadian Heroism - A Forgotten History

Canadian Heroism - A Forgotten History

Time to Remember

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO, November 10, 2019  (LSN) At the 101st anniversary of the end of the Great War (1914-1918) the story of how a group of Canadian, Australian and British civilians went to Serbia to help should be told.

During the war a typhus epidemic was raging in Servia, there was no medical personnel to spare for civilians. Newspaper stories of the suffering went out worldwide and Canadian, British and Australians responded. Doctors, nurses, medical students (from the University of Toronto) and ordinary people left their jobs and studies and went to Serbia to help. Even a contingent of Scottish suffragettes, who were told they should stay at home and let their husbands do the fighting, came to Serbia to help fight the epidemic. The volunteers nursed soldiers and civilians. Some took part in the retreat with the Serbian army crossing the mountains in the winter into Albania. Some were captured by the Germans and forced to tend German soldiers. 

In Belgrade, there is a plaque on the wall of the Medical Association building that celebrates the volunteers, where there is a small museum in the building dedicated to them.
 

Canadians don’t know this story but in Serbia, this story is not forgotten and there are celebrations in many of the towns to thank the volunteers who came to help in their time of great need. War is a terrible thing, the destruction of buildings homes and infrastructure, and the killing and wounding of soldiers and civilians alike lives on in the memories of those who suffered, as well as their children and grandchildren. According to some estimates, the army, which had little in the way of equipment and weapons, lost 25% of its soldiers, well above the losses of other combatants. Civilian deaths including those who died from typhus were estimated at 650,000 from typhus, famine and killed by the occupiers. 


 

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