Oral History AGM Report 2016

As of 24 Feb 2016

The 2016 Program that is collaboration between the RUSI and UVIC History Department covers the semester period of 1 Jan to 31 Mar 2016. Six students took part under the tutelage of Dr David Zimmerman.

BGen (Ret’d) Lloyd Skaalen represented the RCAF veterans and Maj (Ret’d) Gary Del Villano represented the army, and also acts as the Director, Veterans Oral History Program on behalf of the Board and Membership. Cmdr (Ret’d) Kevin Carle is undertaking an analysis of RCN participation over the years and did not take part this year.

Based on the veteran participation of three per student, 18 veterans took part covering the following topics:

  • Enigma-Cryptanalysis at Bletchley Park & British Coordination Office New York WW2;
  • Force 136-Chinese Canadian Soldiers Behind Japanese Lines SE Asia WW2;
  • Northern Ireland Security Operations Against IRA;
  • Afghanistan Operations;
  • Bosnia Operations;
  • NORAD Background and Operations.

As in past years, the professor and students were invited to take part in the RUSI Luncheon of Wed 10 Feb. Four students accepted the invitation and Dr Zimmerman gave a short introduction to the program, its background and its conduct in this semester.
Five veterans took part as well, giving the students an opportunity to meet some of the veterans who will participate this year.

Research continues on “distance interviews” using Skype and a UVIC program that would allow two hour interviews to take place anywhere, thereby greatly expanding the ability of UVIC and the RUSI. The aim is to incorporate these interviews into the UVIC Special Collections Military Oral History website in future years.

Most importantly, the members at the AGM 2015 donated $25,000 towards ensuring that the Oral History Program will continue into the future. Since then some $6000 has been raised through donations as the RUSI VI works towards a total of $75,000 that would ensure the program is self-sustaining indefinitely.

Interview access to the UVIC Special Collections is: contentdm.library.uvic.ca/cdm/search/collection/collection13/searchterm/

Gary Del Villano
Director, Veterans