An important piece of Swift Current’s history in the military has been researched and compiled and will be brought to light on Remembrance Day by a diligent local genealogist.
Until now, Swift Current has had no official count of those who left the area and lost their lives during World War I and II. A one-man project over the past 18 months changed that and has proved extremely informative about the local Legion’s history.
John Griffin, the public relations officer for Royal Canadian Legion Branch 56, and the curator of the Branch 56 Museum will speak about his efforts in Swift Current on Remembrance Day.
“My speech for the banquet on Saturday is going to be about a project that I've been taking on; not so much a Legion project as it is a personal project,” Griffin explained. “Someone asked me if there was a list of all those from Swift Current who had served and lost their lives. And of course, I didn't have that figure or answer off the top of my head. So, it spurred this project that I'll be talking about, and I've been working on it for a year and a half.”
Thanks to Griffin’s extensive research, it has been confirmed that a total of 113 veterans from the area lost their lives in World War I and World War II. Seventy Individuals who called Swift Current home lost their lives in service during the First World War. For the Second World War, Griffin has been able to identify 40.
“I guess if I had to pick one out it would be the story of Private Arne Byklum. He was born at the South Landing, and he joined the Canadian Army during the Second World War. He was with the South Saskatchewan Regiment, and he took part in the raid on Dieppe. Unfortunately, he was killed that day.”
Five thousand Canadians were the main force in the Raid of Dieppe, a pivotal battle in August of 1942. Byklum was one of the 907 Canadians who were killed with 2,460 wounded and 1,946 captured. He died at age 27 and is buried at the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery.
Eventually, Griffin plans on writing a paper publishing his results. He hopes to make his findings easily accessible for people to better appreciate their veterans.
“I hope it inspires people to learn about our veterans and what they've done for our country,” Griffin expressed. “I'm a major proponent of telling the personal stories of our veterans as I feel that's what really brings remembrance alive. It's that personal story, you know, they're no different than you or me. They had hopes, dreams, people who loved them, and they put it all on hold, to serve their country and they lost their lives doing it. We owe them more than anything could ever be repaid.”
In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, Swift Current Online encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the Swift Current Online app.