"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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  • 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.

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  • Copyright © 2016 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2016


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