"The Kiss of Death Bestowed with Gratitude": The Postwar Treatment of Canada's Second World War Merchant Navy, Redress, and the Negotiation of Veteran Identity

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Moore, Matthew Joseph




This thesis focuses on the Merchant Navy’s redress campaign and appraises shifting government attitudes towards the mariners in veterans’ legislation. It traces the wartime experience of the mariners and discusses their postwar treatment. By examining the factors that contributed to the mariners’ initial exclusion as veterans, this study sheds light on the complex process whereby the state evaluates and then reassesses what is owed to those who serve. It demonstrates that concepts of “veteranhood” are fluid, and, that in the case of the Merchant Navy, once neglected wartime narratives can be reincorporated into the nation’s military past. In the case of the Merchant Navy, renewed public engagement with Canada’s social memory of its involvement in two world wars helped the merchant seamen find an audience willing to validate their claims. This study of Merchant Navy redress serves as an exploration into the nature of the state-veteran relationship.






Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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