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Vernon First World War internment camp subject of new book

The Vernon Internment Camp 1914 – 1920 will officially be unveiled Tuesday, Feb. 21
A First World War internment camp in Vernon, at the site of what is now MacDonald Park, is the subject of a locally written and printed book which will be unveiled Tuesday, Feb. 21, at W.L. Seaton Secondary. (Contributed)

A book pertaining to an episode in Vernon’s history, written and printed in Vernon, will be revealed on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 4:30 p.m. at W.L. Seaton Secondary School.

The area in Vernon known as MacDonald Park – where Seaton is situated today – has held a jail, a mental asylum, an internment camp, a house for transients and finally a secondary school and sports field.

This book deals with the internment camp period during and after the First World War.

Researched and written by members of the Vernon and District Family History Society, and made possible by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund, “The Vernon Internment Camp 1914 – 1920” takes you into the lives of the internees with numerous biographical sketches, great photographs from local, national and international sources, details of camp life and reaction from citizens of Vernon.

The work camps are not forgotten. The book contains details about the various work camps situated at Mara, Edgewood and Monashee.

Copies of the book area being donated to the Museum and Archives of Vernon, the five secondary schools in the Vernon School District, the five secondary schools in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District, the Cherryville and other museums in the area.

Excerpts from the book:

–The internment camp in Vernon was one of the largest, one of the longest running and one of the most distinctive camps in Canada. Over 1,000 men, women and children were interned in Vernon over the 5 years and 6 months it was in operation. It was one of only two camps in the country that housed women and children.

Otter rejected Leduc stating, “… [Major Nash] has now been for two years in command of this, the most difficult of all our Camps, administrating it in a most capable and satisfactory manner.”

“Why are some of the aristocratic German prisoners at the Vernon internment camp treated with such sickening deference and consideration? Why are they given all manner of privileges which renders their confinement a farce?”

The book initially will be available through the Vernon and District Family History Society’s Resource Centre in the lower level of Peace Lutheran Church during limited hours.

READ MORE: Vernon internment camp shut down 100 years ago

READ MORE: Vernon internment camp part of major digital history project

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About the Author: Vernon Morning Star Staff

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