Saturday, June 23 , 2018, 7:19 pm | Overcast 65º

 
 
 
 

Remembering Veterans of Great War on its 100th Anniversary

"Over There" event features re-enactors from Great War Historical Society

Back row from left: Re-enactors from Great War Historical Society: Philip Dye, Damian Stellabout, Fred McDowell, Ryan Doezie, Larry Dunn, Monty Van Shaw, John Harmon. Front row from left: Mary Collier, James Villeneuve, Henri Vantieghem, Gillian Cole-Andrews, Salim Yaqub, Col. Phil Conran, Lt. John Blankenship.
Back row from left: Re-enactors from Great War Historical Society: Philip Dye, Damian Stellabout, Fred McDowell, Ryan Doezie, Larry Dunn, Monty Van Shaw, John Harmon. Front row from left: Mary Collier, James Villeneuve, Henri Vantieghem, Gillian Cole-Andrews, Salim Yaqub, Col. Phil Conran, Lt. John Blankenship.  (Scott Gibson)

To commemorate the veterans of the first World War and the war’s 100th Anniversary, the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation (PCVF) and the Channel City Club recently co-hosted a luncheon titled Over There: WWI 100 Years On at the Fess Parker a DoubleTree Resort by Hilton.

Following welcome comments by Brian Robertson, Channel City Club vice president and chairman, and Lt. John Blankenship, PCVF co-founder Salim Yaquib, of UCSB’s History Department, gave background information on the events leading up to the war.

The luncheon featured re-enactors from the Great War Historical Society, an Los Angeles-based group that educates people about World War I through educational displays, lectures, and re-enacting battles.

Re-enactors Damian Stellabott, Monty Van Shaw, Larry Dunn and Phil Dye shared perspectives as soldiers from Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. They described the harsh realities of trench warfare and consequences of new technology such as the tank, machine guns, and poison gas.

Stellabott depicted local doughboy, John Thomas Hall, who was one of at least 61 men from Santa Barbara County who died in World War I. Pvt. Hall died in action on Sept. 26, 1918, at age 31.

He was killed the first day of the final Allied offensive of the war. He is buried at the Santa Barbara Cemetery.

Additional comments and reflections on various countries’ perspectives on the war were provided by special guests:

Henri Vantieghem, Consul General of Belgium; James Villeneuve, Consul General of Canada; Mary Collier, professor and chair of French at Westmont College; and Gillian Cole-Andrews, British Army Capt. Sandhurst 84 (former).

Because of donations from supporters of the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, students from Anacapa School were able to attend and learn about this significant event in history.

For information on upcoming veteran events in Santa Barbara or to support events such as this one that help ensure the men and women who have served in U.S. military efforts are never forgotten, visit www.pcvf.org.

— Hannah Rael/Chris Davis for Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation.

 

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