The Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial
In 2005, Saskatchewan War Memorial Committee Member Bill Barry realized during his research for the World War II Memorial that a ‘Virtual War Memorial’ could be of great benefit to all those who might not be able to physically visit Regina to see the Saskatchewan War Memorial. He visualized a web site created to bring attention to and supplement the physical Saskatchewan War Memorial located on Memorial Way in the Legislative grounds in Regina.
In 2006 after the dedication of the physical memorial, Barry approached the Saskatchewan War Memorial Committee with his concept plan for a virtual war memorial commemorated to those who originated in Saskatchewan (born in Saskatchewan or living there when they enlisted) and who gave their lives to serve their country in any war or peacekeeping effort. Currently this includes Conflict of 1885, Boer War, WWI, WWII (including Ferry Command, Merchant marine and BCATP), the Korean War, Afghanistan and other peacetime operations.
On his own initiative, Bill contacted software and web development specialist Ben Charron to determine whether his idea had merit and was viable. The two developed a demonstration presentation for the Saskatchewan War Memorial Committee and were given the green light to proceed.
The project was eventually funded by the Committee and what you see today is a tribute to the many, many hours of their research and work. The Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial was developed for approximately $18,000.00 over a three-year period. The Saskatchewan War Memorial Committee is extremely proud of this dedicated team of Bill Barry and Ben Charron.
In 2012, the web site was redesigned and redeveloped using WordPress blogging software. This was done to allow most of the content of the web site to be maintained by the web site administrator rather than having to be maintained by a web site developer.
Goals for the Future
There is a great deal of information yet to be added to the Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial. The database has been built up of various spreadsheets and databases owned by Mr. Bill Barry. Programs can be written to automate linking much of the information, yet there is still much that must be linked manually, which is a time-consuming task. Although the web site database is in good shape, there is still some manual effort required to get include some new information and links. So, you may want to check back periodically for updated information.
Bill Barry continues to work on research. During 2009 and early 2010, he has spent several months at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa to update information on WWI and WWII casualties. The fruits of his labours are included in the information in the current database.
Eventually, it is hoped that photographs of geo-memorial locations and/or plaques and grave location information will be added as well. The intent is to provide a rich source of information to honour our war dead.
We are also excited about the public Blog feature of the web site. We are looking forward to see it grow into a rich repository of knowledge about war casualties, conflicts, battles, general military memorabilia, etc.