Canadian War historian wants to speak with Cyprus veterans
Work on compiling history will take 10 years
By Gail Harding, CBC News Posted: Jul 15, 2017
A historian with the department of National Defence says he wants to speak with P.E.I. veterans who were peacekeepers in Cyprus.
Dr. John MacFarlane is one of 14 historians who work on long term projects to compile the official histories of wars Canada was involved in by looking at war diaries.
"The first one was the First World War and then the Second World War was just recently finished so you can see how long it takes sometimes to do the complete official history," he said.
Work is now being done on peacekeeping missions and MacFarlane said that will continue for quite awhile. His work on the Cyprus peacekeeping mission will take 10 years.
"My main concern is the Canadians that were in Cyprus and I want to collect all the information they have in the archives. A lot of the veterans have created their personal diaries when they were on these missions so I go through the regimental archives."
MacFarlane said he will be doing interviews with the veterans to help tell a more personal story of the mission.
Canada's involvement in the peacekeeping mission in Cyprus was a combination of the Canadians observing what was going on and imposing order.
"It's interesting to see from the diaries that were kept by each of the regiments and also each of the individuals how they saw it during that evolution."
MacFarlane said he feels many Canadians don't know much about the the country's role in Cyprus because the mission was not clear.
"Peacekeeping has always been seen as a useful contribution for Canada but defining exactly what it is has been complicated because it's never clearly defined. It's difficult to rally behind."
Anyone wanting to speak to MacFarlane can reach him through the National Defence website.