OSCVI’s War Dead with Dave Alexander

| November 7, 2018

Juno Beach and Beyond
OSCVI's War Dead with Dave Alexander

It was one of the oldest high schools in Canadian history. Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute (OSCVI) closed its doors in 2016, after 160 years of operation. As one of the few avenues for students in Ontario’s Grey and Bruce Counties interested in post-secondary studies, OSCVI can claim famous alumni like Norman Bethune, Agnes Macphail, and Billy Bishop. Men and women from the school served in both of Canada’s world wars, including 60 men who died in the course of their duties during the Second World War.

Unlike in the First World War, where most of the school’s servicemen and women served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium, OSCVI’s Second World War veterans served across the globe in the army, navy, and air force.

Today’s guest, Dave Alexander, shares his research on OSCVI’s Second World War dead and argues that the identities of these men were lost in the process of adopting a traditional commemorative approach based on the First World War experience.

Part of the OSCVI Casualty List, with names organized by the date of the incident that saw the individual killed, missing, or taken as a prisoner of war (Courtesy of Dave Alexander).

Time Stamps

2:28 A Brief History of OSCVI

8:52 Norman Bethune in China

14:05 Growing Up at the High School

20:22 Examining the Service of OSCVI War Dead

31:20 The Air Force’s Popularity

36:55 Wartime Efforts to Commemorate OSCVI’s War Dead

42:22 The OSCVI War Memorial Fund Committee

52:44 The Evolution of OSCVI’s Commemorative Efforts

57:09 The Digital Age and Commemoration

Guest Biography

Dave Alexander is a semi-retired history and geography high school teacher who is passionate about remembrance education. He has years of experience teaching Canada’s military heritage and taking students on tours of Canada’s battlefields in Europe. In December 2017 he completed a Master of Arts history thesis at the University of Waterloo. His topic was the experience of the Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute’s Second World War war dead and their commemoration at the school. He and his family are well-connected to the school’s history. Dave attended OSCVI as a high school student and spent his entire 32-year teaching career at the school. He serves on the board of the Billy Bishop Home and Museum, the Victorian boyhood home of Canada’s leading First World War ace.


The following links offer more information on the topics discussed in this episode:


The Battle of the Atlantic

The Dieppe Raid


The Normandy Campaign

Weapons & Formations

Canadian Army Organization

1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

Royal Canadian Artillery

Canada’s War in the Air

Canada’s War at Sea


Norman Bethune and New Methods of Treatment


Juno Beach & Beyond is hosted and edited by Alex Fitzgerald-Black, the centre’s Digital Projects Coordinator.

Mackenzie King’s speech to British Parliament from the British Pathé YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SlEvclY5LE&t=48s

Artillery firing sounds from the CBC News: The National YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsCSQ4uWR1Y

Female veteran’s voice (Eileen Green, née Short) Courtesy of The Memory Project, Historica Canada: http://www.thememoryproject.com/stories/383:eileen-green-nee-short/

Winston Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech from Jonathan Thomas’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB5wZtV1MWM

Spitfire sound effect from Jason Kirby’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgZI4tAoMN0

Dramatic Interlude by Alexander Nakarada | https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com

Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com

Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at jbca@junobeach.org.

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