Lest We Forget

The Lest We Forget project provides an opportunity for students to conduct primary research, encouraging their skills in writing essays and in using the computer to access historical documents and databases. Students are tasked with researching and writing about individuals who served in the First and Second World Wars.

The story behind the project

The project is the inspiration of Blake Seward, a history teacher in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Concerned that the contributions of those who died serving in the First World War would be forgotten, Mr. Seward began researching the military history of his own great uncle. He soon realized that this type of research would be an exciting way to make history come alive in the classroom. While completing their research, students also work with many concepts involving historical thinking. For more information on the six historical thinking concepts incorporated into this project, please refer to the Big Six Historical Thinking Concepts (AMICUS 41595791) or consult the Historical Thinking Project’s external website.

Mr. Seward has received a number of awards including the Veterans Affairs Recognition Award and the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence as acknowledgement of his commitment to teaching Canadian history. In 2006, he received the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. Today, teachers and students across Canada use the Lest We Forget project to research and write about Great War local history.


Information for teachers

Instructions on getting started, how to proceed, going further and project extensions

Information for students

Instructions on how to conduct primary research on Canadians who served and died in the First World War and the Second World War in Europe

Selecting military service files

An overview of military service files available online for the First World War and the Second World War

Templates and supporting documents

Links to templates and reference materials that support participation in the project, and additional exercises

Completed example

Example of a short, structured essay about a young Canadian who served in the First World War, including links to sources and endnotes

Further research

A list of websites that can also provide relevant information

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