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On November 11th, 1992, a group of Grade 12 students, members of the 440 English 12 course at the Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School performed songs from the war years at the Remembrance Day service. That event would be the genesis of the Wartime Heritage Association. 440 would evolve over the years into 440 Productions and in 2007 to the Wartime Heritage Association. The focus changed and evolved from the earlier years of research for the presentation of stage/video productions to wartime research presented on our website, Facebook, and YouTube. Over 400 individuals participated in the projects and as one remembrance initiative ended and another began it was not uncommon for many to return to participate in a second, third, or even a greater number of projects. After years of being encouraged to "take the show on the road" 440 Productions, in the fall of 2003, designed a performance for a tour in the spring of 2004. On May 13, 2004, eighteen members of the cast and crew of Time To Remember - Songs and Stories of the War Years departed Canada, en route to London, England, for a performance at Thorngate Halls Theatre, in Lee on Solent, Gosport at the Annual Memorial of the Telegraphist Air Gunners on May 15th and the attend the Memorial Service at the FAA Memorial on the seafront (Lee- on-the-Solent on May 16th and the Annual Dinner of the Telegraphist Air Gunners. The group then travelled to Dover, Kent to perform at the Astor Theatre Arts Centre, Stanhope Rd, Deal, sponsored by the Down Branch of the Royal British Legion. The East Kent Mercury would write: “NOSTALGIA will be in the air at the Astor Theatre Arts Centre when songs and stories of the war years come to the stage in Deal. The Downs branch of the Royal British Legion is hosting a visit by a Canadian group who will present their show for two nights. Branch chairman and secretary Keith Atkinson said: “The young Canadians are very enthusiastic about coming to Deal with their production. Their aim is to teach the many lessons that can be learnt from examining the challenges faced by ordinary men and women who served their country during the years of conflict and to meet as many ex-servicemen and women as possible.” After 10 years of being encouraged to take the show on the road, 440 Productions has designed its “Time to Remember” to weave the music of the war years with stories of ordinary people caught up in the reality and romance of the Second World War. Old favourites It’s A Long Way to Tipperary and Pack Up Your Troubles will be sung, along with All The Nice Girls Love A Sailor, The White Cliffs of Dover and There’ll Always Be An England. Service training antics will be relived and there will be a touch of love with stories of young recruits and their sweethearts. There will also be serious moments in the production, and the show ends with renditions of We’ll Meet Again and Wish Me Luck” The success of the first British tour would be followed by two more British tours to perform for Telegraphists Air Gunners at HMS Collingwood, Fareham, Hampshire (May 2007), and at the Astor Theatre Arts Centre, Deal Kent (July 2005 and May 2007). Wartime Heritage is most indebted to Mary Eldridge of the Downs Branch, British Royal Legion, for her support and dedication to the British tours and is often referred to by Wartime Heritage “as the most important person in the United Kingdom”. The tour of May 2004 can only be described as an unbelievable, awe-inspiring, awesome experience. It was remarkable for the cast to be on stage singing about the experiences of people in their audience. Many of the Telegraphist Air Gunners had trained in Yarmouth, NS during WWII. “You will have noticed that we were all spell-bound from your introduction to the very end. The enthusiasm and sincerity of all the cast brought tears to eyes of all of us.” read one letter received from a TAG after the first tour. Beyond the performances, the group visited the Imperial War Museum, London, HMS Victory and the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth, the Dover Museum, Dover Castle, the Kent Battle of Britain Museum (Hawkinge Airfield), the Battle of Britain Memorial (Folkestone Rd, Near Dover) and the Cliffs of Dover.
Time To Remember - The British Tour of 2004
Wartime Heritage ASSOCIATION
Performance at Thorngate Halls
Jason Dalton assists a Veteran at the Memorial Service May 16, 2004
Battle of Britain Memorial (Folkestone Rd, Near Dover)
Dover Castle