Military oral history collection

Elizabeth Hazlitte interviewing WWI veteran Egbert Browning in 1983 for the Military Oral History Collection.
Elizabeth Hazlitte interviewing WWI veteran Egbert Browning in 1983 for the Military Oral History Collection.

The University of Victoria Special Collections Military Oral History Collection is composed of over 700 interviews of veterans of WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the War in Afghanistan. Over 370 recordings done by Dr. Reginald H. Roy and his students are the largest holding in this category. Historian Hal Lawrence also donated over 180 recordings that he collected of Canadian Naval personnel.


Digital collection

Finding aid


About the collection

The following are descriptions of the major collections of interviews that make up the Military Oral History Collection. Summaries for the interviews from the following collections can be browsed by following the link to our database. Alternatively, you can also search the entire database by Subject Heading, Summary (Keyword), Interviewee, and Interviewer.

Reg Roy collection

Dr. Reginald H. Roy was the Chair of Military History (1968-88) and the Social Sciences Research Centre (1970-75) at the University of Victoria. The Reg Roy fonds contains over 370 sound recordings of oral histories conducted over his career and was recognized by Lieutenant-Governor Iona Campagnolo in 2005.

Reg Roy lecture series

Dr. Roy also contributed 63 tapes of lectures given to his classes on Canadian foreign affairs and Military Strategic Studies. However, many of these lecture recordings need copyright permission before we can make copies of them.

Social Sciences Research Centre collection

This is an important subset of the Reg Roy Collection of military oral histories and consists of extensive interviews with Major-General George R. Pearkes and other interviews with his family and a number of personal and professional associates for his biography entitled "For Most Conspicuous Bravery: A Biography of Major-General George R. Pearkes, V.C., Through Two World Wars" (1977). All 74 interviews are also available as transcripts.

Hal Lawrence collection

This collection includes approximately 120 interviews conducted by Cmdr. Hal Lawrence in collaboration with National Defence/Défense nationale on the Canadian Navy (1940-1995). Some of these interviews have been transcribed and some are only available as transcripts. We did not receive releases with these interviews and so cannot provide copies of them at the present time.

Shawn Cafferky collection

This collection of 14 interviews by military historian Dr. Shawn Cafferky of the University of Victoria's Department of History were conducted in 1997 and refer to the experimental Squadron VX-10, and the testing and use of the Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King helicopter. None of these interviews, as yet, have adequate summaries or copyright releases.

Military oral history class interviews

Since 2005, the History Department has offered a Military Oral History seminar course as a component of the Canadian Veterans Oral History Project, a joint project of the Royal United Services Institute of Vancouver Island (RUSI VI) and University of Victoria. The seminar course offers students the opportunity to interview veterans for course credit and the resulting interviews are deposited with University of Victoria Special Collections.

Elizabeth Hazlitte collection

This collection is comprised of six interviews with veterans of WWI conducted from 1983-84 by Elizabeth Hazlitte, a nurse at Victoria's Veteran's Hospital at the Memorial Pavilion.

David Stafford collection

This collection is comprised of nine interviews conducted by Dr. David Stafford, retired history professor at the University of Victoria, for his monograph on clandestine operations in WWII.


Access policy

All users who would like to access the collection in the Special Collections reading room must fill out a Researcher Registration Form provided by desk staff. Users can then request items by providing the Collection Name, Record ID Number, and Tape Number. This information can be found using indexes and finding aids available online.

On receipt of the material, users must present current photo ID which is retained by staff while the material is in use. Most of the material is unique and irreplaceable, therefore, all research use is supervised by staff in the reading room and the area is monitored by closed circuit television. To protect the material, users are requested to use pencils while taking notes.


Copyright policy

The material is to be used solely for the purpose of research or private study. Any use of the copy for a purpose other than research of private study may require the authorization of the copyright owner of the work in question. The user must assume full responsibility for obtaining copyright permission to publish items in whole or in part.

Exception for Educational Institutions, Libraries, Archives and Museums Regulations

Although the University of Victoria has permission to make the oral histories available to researchers, the copyright belongs to the interviewees. If extensive passages are used for publication, exhibition or presentation permission from the copyright holder is necessary.


Publication credit

The University of Victoria Special Collections will be given a copy of the book, article, exhibition catalogue, or supporting publication in all cases of publication, exhibition, or presentation of the oral history reproductions. In such cases a credit line citation should read as follows:

University of Victoria, Special Collections, Military Oral History Collection,
[Name of Interviewee], [Record ID Number]


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