Veteran’s Military Oral History Project – (UVic – RUSI VI Joint Project). The outcome of this project is to not only record and preserve for posterity the experiences of veterans, and other retired personnel – but from these personal records and other primary sources – produce manuscripts, monographs, journal articles and books. Likely of at least equal importance, this project will provide for the training and education of student historians in the collection, preservation and use of our Military Oral History.
Consistent with the direction provided at the AGM of 2004, and the support of the executive counsel of RUSI VI the following segments/activities related to the project was completed.
1. The development and formation of a relationship between UVic History Department and RUSI VI, which has its aim the recording, preservation and use of individual oral history accounts, by historians and others. This project is described in more detail at www.rusiviccda.org/oralhistory
2. The linkage between RUSI VI and the UVic Department of History is Dr. D. Zimmerman, Professor of Military History – who also is the scholarly authority for the project; and J. C. Eggenberger, the RUSI VI project manager.
3. To assure that it was well understood that all military organizations are included in the project, briefings and tours of the UVic Special Collections were made to the Presidents of the NOAC VI, AFOA VI, ACA, AFA, and Legion.
4. The formation of a RUSI VI project oversight group, comprised of Dr. Reg Roy, Larry Gollner, Lloyd Skaalen, Len Jenks and Migs Turner. This RUSI VI group provides invaluable advice on the conduct appropriate for a project such as this, solely in relation supplying advice to the Navy, Army and Airforce co-ordinators.
5. The formation of Navy, Army and Airforce administrative infrastructure’s which have as their purpose acquiring and tracking all relevant information about, then making available for interviews, those persons who have volunteered to be interviewed. The coordinators are, Migs Turner (Navy) Ken Reeves (Army) and George Baker (Air Force).
6. John Neurotsos and Ian Mair have undertaken to assist in raising further funds for the project from sources other than RUSI VI.
7. Training of three interview volunteers was completed.
8. The Lieutenant Governor, The Honorable Iona Campanola, officiated at the naming of the Military Collection to “The Reginald Roy Military Collection” and the re-launch of the Veterans Oral History Project.
9. Briefings about the project were made to the Air Force Association, Comox, the Aircrew Association, Sidney, the RMC Club of Victoria, and the James Bay Cooperation Group.
10. Over the past year several groups were briefed upon, and took advantage of a tour of the UVic Library – Special Collections, Military Oral History section. Chris Petter, the curator, has been especially helpful – having made himself and his staff available for discussions on many occasions.
11. RUSI VI was invited by the Chair of the Department of History to attend a launch/congratulation of books, journal articles, monographs produced by members of the history faculty during the past year. Ian Mair, John Neurotsos, John and Mary Eggenberger attended. From the presentations and the faculty it was clear that this Department is extremely strong. Also attending was the Minister Of Higher Education, Province of BC.
12. For the winter term, (Jan – May, 2005) UVic developed and introduced an undergraduate Military Oral History course, taught by Dr. Shawn Cafferky.
a. This course has 9 students (selected from an applicant pool of nearly 30 persons).
b. The course materials and information gathering protocols, as well as the use to which these will be put was submitted to the UVic ethics committee – this information was approved without revision.
c. For each student’s topic area three persons were located that have had personal experience in the topic, and then were appropriately matched with the students.
d. A new topic area emerged, military families, and three wives of military veterans volunteered to be interviewed.
e. One graduate student in another course asked for and was provided with opportunity to interview a military wife from WWll – and this request was met.
f. The taped recordings derived from this course will be preserved in the Reginald Roy Military Collection – Oral History section.
g. It is planned to compile the manuscripts, produced by the students, into a form that can be uploaded on the RUSI VI website.
13. It is understood that the Oral History course may again be offered for the autumn term 2005.
Plans for 2005:
14. Continue to develop and embed the support infrastructure to the UVic.
15. Enable more use of the UVic interview collection by historians and students, among these options are:
a. Funding of scholarships to students,
b. Funding UVic Library internships to the Reginald Roy Collection,
c. Funding research grants to established scholars.
16. There is an immediate need for funding in the following categories:
a. Preservation of tapes already recorded:
i. equipment is needed to transpose existing reel tapes to CD format’s: $2,000.00 – one time cost.
ii. student internship funding to enact the a/n transposition: $5,000.00 annually.
iii. CD/Video recorders for Oral History students: $5,000.00 – one time cost.
b. Support to students:
i. Four Oral History student scholarships @ $5,000.00.
17. In support of the funding need, as agreed by the executive council and noted in their minutes of 9 Feb 2005, RUSI VI proposes a $1,000.00 grant to the project.
a. a fund raising group, headed by John Neurotsos is soliciting funds from entities other than RUSI VI to support all of these requirements.
18. In discussions with UVic it has been determined that for the funds so dedicated, that the benefit will be directed to a particular funding category and not taken into UVic general revenue, and as well – the benefit may (should the benefactor wish) be named after the benefactor.
19. Continue to develop and embed the support infrastructure to the UVic.
20. Promote the development of Military Oral History project elsewhere.
21. In some additional way, yet to be determined, enable more use of the UVic interview collection by others than historians and their students.