440 Productions obtained its name from the coding for the high school course where it began in 1992: English 440 at Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School, in Yarmouth Nova Scotia, Canada. Between 1992 and 2008 twenty-three stage and video presentations reflected wartime themes and were designed not only to teach military and wartime history but the many lessons which can be learned from examining the challenges faced by ordinary men and women who served their country during the years of conflict. The stories and shows were all based in reality; they came from real stories and events as told by Veterans themselves, war brides, and civilians who lived through the war years. The director and the participants compiled the research over the years and these stories were gathered through interviews and meetings with local Veterans, war records, books, and other publications. Those involved gained the perspective of what earlier generations of men and women experienced during the war years. The cast and crew learned to balance the feelings of pride and sense of accomplishment in tackling these projects with the burden and sense of responsibility that in large part are to honour the very real contributions of Veterans. The research of war time daily life, the songs, the uniforms and the period costumes, indeed the attention to detail in every aspect of the show, highlighted what these things represented to the actual Veterans and families that lived through World War I, World War II, and Korea. The military uniforms and costumes used were authentic and date from the wartime period. There were few subjects related to the war years that 440 Productions and Wartime Heritage did not tackle. For filming shoots of the various war themed movies and for the stage productions, the history of the wartime years was recreated. Through research, the Association presented stories and music honouring the courage of ordinary men and women during wartime. From basic training and the home front to a Jewish home in Poland and the death camps; from the pubs of England and the cliffs of Dover to the disaster at Dieppe, the fall of Hong Kong and battlefields of Europe; from the internment of Japanese Canadians to the romance and tragedy of war; the Association presented a series of stories of bravery and courage from World War II. Many of the stories examined the struggles faced by soldiers, sailors, airmen, and civilians during wartime, and included: the Wartime History of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Basic Training Camp 60 (Canadian Infantry) East Camp (Yarmouth NS) - Telegraphist Air Gunner Training West Camp (Yarmouth NS) HMCS Chebogue The Channel Dash Dunkirk Dieppe D-Day, Normandy Battle at Caen (Canadians) Canadian Corvettes- -The Sicily and Italy Campaign the Fall of Hong Kong Canadian and the Guns at Calais Royal Navy Pacific Fleet - Attack at Palambang Stories of Telegraphist Air Gunners Stories of Wartime Dover and Deal, Kent England Canadian Internment of Japanese Canadians The Death Camps - Polish Jews Wartime Romances Canadian and Australian War Brides Individual Stories and Letters of Specific Veterans Over 400 individuals participated in the projects over the years. 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. In 2003, 440 Productions recorded and produced the first of three wartime musical CDs. These CDs have found there way across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. In 2004, the CD, Songs of the War Years was recorded live in Deal, Kent UK during the British Performance Tour of Time to Remember . The production of CDs was undertaken with a belief that music and songs of the war years passed from one generation to another remain forever in the heart. In 2004, 440 Productions began to publish a Newsletter, Remembering Our Wartime Heritage , that contains information on current activities, features on individual Veterans and their stories, articles on the history of 440 Productions, and a section of items taken from wartime scrapbooks and newspaper clippings. The Association also began its Time To Remember series of stage performances in 2004, touring Nova Scotia and the UK. Three international tours to England with performances in Gosport and Fareham, Hampshire, for the Telegraphist Air Gunners Association and in Deal, Kent broadened the scope of the Association's initiatives. The opportunity to perform for Veterans both in Canada and the United Kingdom, meet Veterans personally, and hear first hand their experiences and memories of wartime was an opportunity and experience unlike any other. The Association participated in Remembrance Services at the Fleet Air Arm Memorial, Lee-on-the-Solent, laying wreaths during the 57th, 59th, and 60th Annual Memorial Weekend of the Telegraphist Air Gunners Association in 2004, 2006 and 2007. In May, 2007 the cast and crew of Tragedy and Triumph visited the Hawkinge Cemetery located two miles north of Folkestone, England. There are 156 casualties of war at rest at the Cemetery. Among the casualties there are 5 Canadians: Sgt (Pilot) William Lorne FRASER, Pilot Officer Charles Willard GOMM, Pilot Officer James Norman LEWIS, Flight Sgt (Pilot) Stanley Gilbert NAPIER, and Flight Sgt (Pilot) Walter Charles WICKER. Canadian Flags and poppies were placed in remembrance on their grave sites. Participations of the Association have visited many wartime historical sites and have attended Remembrance Services across Nova Scotia and in England. The commitment to remembering the war years, honouring Veterans, and educating continues through the ongoing projects of the Wartime Heritage Association.
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