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Preparing War Memorials: Danforth Tech Shows How

How did schools collect the names for their war memorials? Danforth Tech, with 2,235 volunteers— more than any other school in the Commonwealth—shows us.

Danforth Tech's memorial form

Danforth Tech’s form for collecting students’ info for war memorials. Photo courtesy Danforth CTI Library and Archives

A War Memorial Committee sent forms like John D. Marr’s (pictured here) asking former students how their names should appear. This form, not dated, was probably completed shortly after the end of the Second World War, when John Marr returned to his life in Toronto.

“Have not seen that signature in years,” Ronald Marr commented when we sent him a copy of the war service record signed by his father. “P.O. Tel” likely stands for Petty Officer Telegraph,” he suggested. John Marr, a wireless operator on a corvette in the Royal Canadian Navy, became so skilled at Morse Code that he was appointed to teach recruits in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Another Danforth list shows John Marr’s Regimental Number: V-22191; his unit: RCNVR (Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve); and his address: 189 Wineva Ave.

Throughout the war, the school also sent out much longer “permanent war records” forms, asking for years of attendance at Danforth; date of enlistment; medals; campaigns served; names and addresses of parents; and much more. The returned forms and other records, including some photographs, are now kept in the school’s War Memorial Library. No long form for John Marr has turned up yet.

We hope to show some of Danforth’s long forms later, but will need permission of the former students or their families. A few are shown on Danforth Diaspora.

Danforth was daunting—the size; the scope. (See the full history and indexed names here.)  Librarian Barbara MacKay gave us generous access to the school’s library and archives. “For King and Country” volunteer Guy Anderson gamely input 2,472 names (some names are listed twice) determined to finish by Remembrance Day—and visited the school to update our photos. Ron Marr kindly gave permission to tell about his father, the young man who carefully filled out a form so many years ago.

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