cover of From Classroom to Battlefield: Victoria High School and the Second World War

From Classroom to Battlefield

Victoria High School and the First World War

By (author): Barry Gough
ISBN 9781772030051
Softcover | Publication Date: November 7, 2014
Book Dimensions: 6 in x 9 in
256 Pages

About the Book

In August 1914, Canada found itself jolted from its splendid isolation by the onrush of a European catastrophe. In Victoria, British Columbia, five hundred youth who had been educated at Victoria High School went to war and were forever changed by the experience.

From Classroom to Battlefield follows the experiences of this cohort through the Second Battle of Ypres, when Canadians suffered terribly from the German use of poison gas; the horrors of the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and Amiens; and, at last, victory at Mons. It weaves Victoria High School’s idealistic hopes into the realities of the pain, suffering, and death in faraway fields of fire, while examining legacies of the conflict at home. This is a poignant book about war, memory, and sacrifice from one of Canada’s preeminent writers of historical nonfiction.

About the Author(s)

Canadian historian Barry Gough has published more than eighteen books to critical acclaim, including Historical Dreadnoughts: Arthur Marder, Stephen Roskill and Battles for Naval History; Through Water, Ice & Fire: Schooner Nancy of the War of 1812; and Juan de Fuca’s Strait: Voyages in the Waterway of Forgotten Dreams. He has received many accolades, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to civic life in Canada, and the 2015 Mountbatten Literary Award for his book Pax Britannica: Ruling the Waves and Keeping the Peace before Armageddon. Dr. Gough is past-president of the British Columbia Historical Federation. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia.


"From Classroom to Battlefield is recommended to those with a connection to VHS or Victoria, students and educators, as well as a general audience of Canadians who take interest in this period of history. Gough has produced a work in which his passion for sharing the stories of those who walked the halls of VHS before him is evident from beginning to end."—Sara Karn, Canadian Military History
"This is a powerful, well-written book. In simple terms, if you want to read a single book about the Great War, this is the one to read." —Dave Obee, Times Colonist
"Barry Gough has written a remarkable work in which the stories of VHS graduates are skillfully woven through the Great War narrative. Passionate, robust, and moving." —Brian R.D. Smith, former BC Minister of Education
"For those who think history is a boring subject, they need only to read this magnificent book to see history come alive. Dr. Gough's writing style is easy to read and he paints wonderful word pictures." —Hallmark Heritage Society, Victoria, BC
"From Classroom to Battlefield makes a valuable contribution to the growing list of new publications commemorating the centennial of the Great War. It will appeal strongly to readers of British Columbia history, educators, social and military historians, and anyone who shares even a fraction of the author’s connection to the city of Victoria." — James Wood, BC Studies
"Detailed footnotes indicate the precision and care the author has taken in researching the many individuals filling this history. Gough's book may inspire BC educators to teach more about their school's own rich history. It serves to remind all of to appreciate a generation who endured and sacrificed so much." — Janet Nicol, British Columbia History