REAL MEMORIES PAINTED BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
As time goes on, our knowledge of the past fades from memory. We've lost soldiers to age, service and suicide and their acts of bravery are being lost along with them. But there is one place their stories live on;
In the letters they wrote from the front lines.
For the first time, these letters have been unearthed from the archives and read by an image-generating algorithm, which has turned each of their words into a work of art. Each piece paints a fuller picture of a Canadian soldier's service and sacrifices, helping preserve their memories for generations to come.
Explore the full collection below.
Gordon Gibson, 1944.
A pilot describes Normandy on D-Day in a letter written just two days after the historic event. Read the original letter.
"Their gun flashes lit up the sky over the sea. Their shells rocked the coast like a tree in a hurricane.The whole area was covered in a pall of yellow-black smoke. The sky was aglow with fire and death."
George Stonefish, 1917.
An Indigenous soldier reflects on looking up at the same moon as the people at home thousands of miles away in a letter to his friend.
“I still see the green leaf and a green grass…still looking at the same moon as the people at home looking at. Still I am here…the friends which I came with are all gone.”
William Mayse, 1917.
A soldier in the trenches details the shell-torn ground and blood-red poppies in a letter to his wife and children. Read the original letter.
“As I write Fritz is dropping a few shell around but we are quite safe unless one drops right on top of our dugout. The horror of it all can never be described, its worse than hell.”
James Hepburn, 1917.
A wounded soldier in a French hospital describes losing his arm in a letter to his father.
“There are thousands of others like me, and lots worse. My battalion must have had very heavy losses on the Somme, as I heard they had to get 700 to reinforce them.”
Norma Stowe, 1943.
A five-star nurse talks about treating an air crash victim who’s still in his flight suit in a letter home to her sister.
“I was just ready to leave theatre when one of my OPD girls came rushing in. There was an air crash victim just being brought in, would I come please? He was in helmet, goggles, teddy bear suit, even to parachute, so we sent him along to the ward and awaited instructions.”
George Griffiths, 1952.
A prisoner of war in Korea describes missing home during the holidays in a letter to his friend.
“I guess this winter they will be playing a lot of hockey at the arena. We have a little snow here…the weather is much similar as home. These darn wars sure make you miss the comforts of home, never again will I leave Canada.”
James Francis Watson, 1944.
A soldier recounts experiencing his very first air raid in a letter to his parents and sister. Read the original letter.
“We never saw him but we felt him and heard him. The explosion from the bombs going off shook the windows. We had to wear our steel helmets because there was shrapnel falling all around us and machine gun slugs.”