The second newsletter included a page of scenes of Kelowna in 1944 by Ribelin Photo Studios. (Vince Bezeau Military Library and Archives: Les Kerry fonds 2005.320)

The second newsletter included a page of scenes of Kelowna in 1944 by Ribelin Photo Studios. (Vince Bezeau Military Library and Archives: Les Kerry fonds 2005.320)

REMEMBRANCE DAY: Capital News reaches out to Kelowna troops overseas in 1944

Editor who started the Capital News in the 30s sent newsletters to local troops in during the Second World War

Leslie L. Kerry started the Capital News newspaper in Kelowna in 1930. He remembered, as a First World War veteran, the value of a newsletter he had read about a town in Canada, and decided to produce one for service members from Kelowna in 1944.

Les sent out two newsletters filled with local news, jokes, and games to Kelowna men and women located mostly in Europe. Many wrote back appreciating his point of view.

Here are some excerpts from the Kerry collection, which is at the Kelowna Public Archives.

“A serious problem right now is that of housing…but you who have wives who are living with other people will want to set up in a nice little home of your own & have some home comfort, you’re going to be disappointed. There are no homes & no matter what the government does about housing schemes right now – there are not the materials nor the labor to build homes. You may be able to buy a place possibly, but the price is well over 50% higher than it was 2 years ago.

“There’s one thing I should say to you fellows, & that is that many of you have had a chance to study various trades whilst you have been in the services. If you have got hold of anything you like, why not try & follow this up after the war? … Radio work, machinists, mechanics, builders etc. will be in demand for reconstruction all over the world. The government offers a lot of help for reestablishment, so look into this matter when the time comes.”

In response, Gordon Chase wrote, “Thanks for the tips on back to Civy Street. I haven’t decided what I want to do. But being married I’ll have to think of something or else.”

Gunner Douglas D. McDougall serving with the 2nd Medium Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery in Italy communicated, “I really miss Kelowna a lot, especially when it is so close to Christmas and I find I can’t do the things I am used to doing but have to treat it like any other day. It’s hard to do, but if it’s going to ensure me having many wonderful Christmas’s I guess I can put up with it possibly once more.”

Flying Officer E. G. Blackburne with 433 Squadron RCAF wrote, “One is apt to get very outdated ideas about life at home and imagine things to be just as we left them. When we return it will be ever so difficult to realize that things have been changing. Life seems to get along well enough without us and is quite independent of our help. All the change will not be forgotten when we come home, so we might as well learn what is happening and be prepared to fit into life as we find it. I often think of the home town and more especially of my own district East Kelowna.”

Les Kerry felt it was a civic duty of the Capital News to serve local audiences, even when some were far from home.

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