Category Archives: Remembrance Day

Canada’s Great War Album: Submit Your Story

Canada’s Great War Album wants your story to be told. Use this link to upload pictures, letters and the story of your family member who served in World War One. Teachers, use this as an opportunity to have students write for an authentic audience and preserve history.

I have a writing job to do too. I will be sending what I have to share about my paternal grandfather and his role in WWI.


Pte. Frederick and Florence Gosney
Married January 22, 1918.

Canada’s Great War Album

Canada’s History has created a site, Canada’s Great War Album, that tells stories of Canada and her soldiers who participated in World War I. Use the tabs at the top of the site to locate many online resources. You are invited to submit your story to add to their database.

Students can use this site to view and read about Canadians who made a difference through their heroic part in The Great War’s Battle Fronts: Ypres, Festubert, Mount Sorrel, Somme, Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Paasendaele, Amiens, and Arras.

Primary Source Document Use: Remembrance Day / Veterans Day

The use of primary source resources can connect students the past in a very real way. I am sharing primary source documents of my Uncle Leonard. You may want to introduce this brief narrative about my Uncle Leonard with your students to introduce the investigation of these resources as historians.

The Critical Thinking Consortium has created a series of videos to share with your students to introduce them to the Six Historical Thinking Concepts. Each of these videos can be the basis for a mini-lesson.

Historical Significance

  • How notable was the event at the time it was happening?
  • How widespread and lasting were the consequences after the event?
  • Has the event become symbolic of representative of key historic trends?

 Evidence and Interpretation

  • Can we trust the source of information?
    • Artifacts- Are they authentic?
    • Accounts- Are the authors qualified to report on the topic?
  • Do the sources provide relevant evidence to the questions we hope to answer?
    • The evidence that can be drawn from historical sources depends on the questions we ask?
  • Does the evidence support the interpretation offered?
  • Do the conclusions go beyond what can be reasonably be concluded form the source?
  • Were several sources consulted to confirm an interpretation?

Cause and Consequence

  • What are the range of factors that contributed to the event?
  • Which of the causes are most influential?
    • Causes can be People, Ideas and Beliefs, Institutions and Organizations, and Other Events
    • Some causes are immediate
    • Some causes are underlying
  • What were the intended and unintended consequences of the event?

 Historical Perspective

  • Examining the past through Social, Intellectual, and Emotional lenses of the time in order to understand the what it would have been like for the people living then
  • Are we using our knowledge of the beliefs and values existing at the time to interpret the people, events, and practices of the past?
  • Are the interpretations representative of the beliefs, values and practices of the time? Or have important differences been overlooked?

Continuity and Change

  • For each aspect of life,
    How have they stayed the same?
    How have they changed?
  • Were the continuity and changes positive or negative?
  • How rapid or slow were the changes?
  • Did any of the changes mark turning points in the course of history?

Ethical Judgement

  • Are ethical judgements included in the historical accounts you are studying?
    • Are ethical judgements offered as
      clear statements of praise or blame?
      suggestive of positive or negative opinion
  • Are these judgements reasonable or justifiable?
    • Has the historian fairly considered the interests and perspective of all key groups when making the judgement?
    • Historians need to consider what people knew and believed at the time?
    • Does the judgement seem plausible when all of the evidence is considered?

Teachers, use the Document Analysis Worksheets with your students as they examine the following primary source documents.

My Uncle Leonard Gosney’s Narrative

My uncle was born in Allandale, Ontario December 25, 1922. He was the middle son of three boys. My dad, Herbert William, was the oldest. He attended King Edward Public School and then later Barrie Central Institute, now called Barrie Central Collegiate, the oldest school in Simcoe County. Leonard joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in May 1942. His rank as Sergeant.

Leonard’s early training began at the St. Catharines Flying Training School in Ontario from May 25 – July 25, 1942. His training on the Tiger Moth and the Cessna Crane began.

He then trained at the No. 11 Service Flying Training School, Yorkton, Saskatchewan from July 26, 1942- Nov. 6, 1942 using the simulation Link Trainer and flying the Cessna Crane.

His continued training took him to the Elementary Flying Training School at Shellingford, England from Feb. 20 – Mar. 18, 1943 where he continued to fly the Tiger Moth.

His next training location was the R.A.F.  Unit Ossington, Nottinghamshire, England from Apr. 2 – Apr. 12, 1943 where Leonard trained on the Oxford and the Anson.

Leonard moved onto the bomber command training airfield at Holme-on-Spalding Moor in Yorkshire, England,  where he continued his training on the Oxford from Apr. 14 – May 17, 1943. He learned B.A.T. – Blind/Beam Approach Training at this airfield.

He then moved to 14 A.F.U. at Fraserburgh located in Aberdeen, Scotland from May 27 – Sept. 17, 1943 where he trained on the Wellington.

He moved onto RAF Balderton (in Nottinghamshire, England) and then RAF Syerston (near Newark, Nottinghamshire) from Nov. 13 – Dec. 24, 1943. He flew the Halifax and Lancaster bombers.

His military experience ends in great sadness to my family. He and his crew were reported missing on his first Lancaster bomber mission on January 1, 1944 flying over Berlin, Germany.

The series of documents that follow gives you a glimpse of his early life, when he was declared missing in action, then the follow-up official letters declaring him dead and official documents that were sent to my grandparents. You will see that my grandparents received correspondence from early January 1944 to 1951 concerning the loss of their son. Just think how every time another piece of mail came into their home, they must have  lived through his passing each time. Now think of all the families that lost a love one during the war who also had to deal with their loss on an ongoing basis. The loss of my Uncle Leonard is still felt in my household especially around his birthday- Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and of course Remembrance Day.  The pain does linger. I want to share his story as we need to remember the heavy cost of war.


Fred & Florence Gosney - Parents
Fred and Florence Gosney – Parents – Picture taken at time of their wedding, 1918



Leonard is sitting on the hobby horse with his older brother, Herbert William (my dad)


  • L D Gosney training photoP.O. L Gosney
  • LD Gosney Training Photo                 Pilot Officer L.D. Gosney



Berlin Grave 2007
Grave in Berlin Germany, 2007


First World War Resources

Canadian Geographic has create a fabulous resource for you to use with your students as Remembrance Day approaches or as a resource for your history curriculum. The online printable package contains a tiled map entitled: ‘A Nation Takes Shape: Canada and the First World War’. There are 10 associated lesson plans to coincide as you assemble the 24 page map of Canada when it was still a Dominion and Newfoundland was a part of Great Britain. This resource is suitable for late junior to high school students.