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Author Bill O’Gorman issues challenge to others to preserve memory of war veterans


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Author Bill O’Gorman proudly displays his first two books and the promotional poster for his newest and final book, “Lest We Forget, The Life and Times of Veterans from the Port au Port Peninsula — WW2 and The Korean War.”

WEST BAY — Bill O’Gorman has completed his third and what he said will be his final book, this one highlighting the life and times of veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War.

The retired schoolteacher, who lives in West Bay on the Port au Port Peninsula, took an interest in writing some years back when he delved into his roots and found out in detail why his family and others moved from the Fortune Bay area to Lourdes.

His first book, Never Forgotten Days at Millers Passage, Sagona and Harbour Breton featured the Resettlement Program of 1934-36 of people from those communities settling in Lourdes.

It was during research of that book that he discovered his Great Uncle Julian Gorman served in the First World War and died at 17 years of age on March 30, 1915. That inspired him to write about veterans on the Port au Port Peninsula in the First World War for his second book and now the Second World War and the Korean War for his third and final book.

In carrying out research for his book on the First World War Veterans he said he is sure he walked into every house on the Port au Port Peninsula looking for memories and stories of veterans; and even in doing that he missed seven of them.

But their memories will not be forgotten as all seven are being included in the Second World War book currently being printed.

His second book is entitled “Lest We Forget, The Life and Times of Veterans from the Port au Port Peninsula - WW1” and his latest book is entitled “Lest We Forget, The Life and Times of Veterans from the Port au Port Peninsula - WW2 and The Korean War.”

His second book highlights 113 veterans; while his last book features 149 veterans in total, including those seven missed from the First World War; 128 from the Second World War; and 14 from the Korean War.

“All of these are veterans who first lived on the Port au Port Peninsula before going off to war. While some returned to the peninsula, there are others who came back and settled down elsewhere,” he said. “Of course, there were others who never returned.”

The challenge

Now O’Gorman is challenging others who have an interest in research and writing to do the history of veterans in the areas where they live.

He was pleased to hear that Melvin and Karen White of St. George’s are doing the same thing for the Bay St. George South area and that a lady from Burin is taking up the cause and preserving the memory of veterans from their community.

O’Gorman said he would like to see more of this as it’s very rewarding, especially when he was able to identify gravesites of veterans and contribute to having military headstones place on unmarked graves of First World War veterans on the Port au Port Peninsula.

Ties

O’Gorman said there are a lot of “ties” between all of his books, linking them together with lots of history and literally hundreds of photos in the books to depict it.

“My books are well researched and contain all the facts with documentation from everything from sales receipts from places like Abbott and Haliburton, documentation of war records, telegrams, death notices, and even death certificates if they got killed ‘over there’,” he said.

The last two books have everything you want to know about the soldiers there in black and white on hundreds of pages.

O’Gorman is holding a book signing for his latest book at the Port au Port East Parish Hall at Berry Head at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

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