History Channel features Carleton alum

Douglas Meredith, a Second World War veteran and Carleton graduate, shared his story on the History Channel’s War Story that will air on Nov. 11, Remembrance Day.(Kristy Strauss Photo)

Douglas Meredith spent three-and-a-half years on convoy escort duty during the Second World War – traveling with merchant ships, battling sea sickness and witnessing the Germans attack these vessels.

On Remembrance Day, the Carleton alumnus will share his story to viewers across the country as part of the History Channel’s War Story – a documentary series about Canadians who have lived through war.

“I’m flattered and happy to be able to do something that will enhance our understanding of Canadian participation in the Second World War, particularly in the Atlantic,” says Meredith, 90.

The episode he appears in is titled Perils on the Sea, which Meredith says is named after an old navy hymn. It will feature other members of the navy who recount their own experiences on the Atlantic during the Second World War.

While each story is different, Meredith says they all have one thing in common.

“War is hell,” he says, pausing to think of a way to sum up the experience. “It’s difficult. One of the reasons people don’t know about it is because it’s very difficult to talk about.”

Veterans returned home from their experiences as different people. They weren’t children any more – they were adults and many wanted to continue their education.

Meredith enrolled in Carleton shortly after the war in 1946, and graduated with a commerce degree in 1949.

Back then, the university was accepting Second World War veterans who returned home, a proud part of Carleton’s history.

Meredith remembers the early days of Carleton, when it was located on First Avenue near Bank Street.

He recalls the differences between the returning veterans and the high school students who had enrolled at Carleton and the relationship each group had with professors.

“(The high school students) were all bright kids and we were a bit cavalier,” Meredith chuckles. “The vets were hard to convince sometimes . . . you don’t order bomber pilots or sailors around. These were not kids.”

Meredith remembers his role in the Royal Canadian Navy, both in the Second World War and later in the Korean War. But he now enjoys a new role as public speaker and teacher with Historica Canada – a charitable organization that helps Canadians learn more about the stories that make Canada unique.

The volunteer work brings him to schools, where Meredith gives students a first-hand account of what war was like and answers their questions.

But the hardest question he’s asked is what he remembers on annually on Nov. 11.

“People. Events. Aftermath. Horrifying events,” he says, shaking his head. “I can’t describe it.”

Barry Stevens, the War Story series director and co-producer, says Meredith was found through Historica Canada’s The Memory Project, which feature recordings of veteran’s war memories.

“Doug is a terrific storyteller and a man of great heart,” says Stevens. “He had a hell of an experience.”

New episodes of War Story will air on History from Friday, Nov. 8 to Monday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. Meredith’s story will appear on Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The episode will also be available on history.ca.

This entry was written by Kristy Strauss and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media: http://carletonnow.carleton.ca/?p=11491

Kristy Strauss

By Kristy Strauss

Kristy Strauss graduated from Carleton's journalism program in 2009. She is a regular contributor to Carleton Now. She has worked as a reporter for the Kemptville Advance. She currently reports for EMC Ottawa South.

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