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Simon Lloyd guest speaker Nov. 9 at Charlottetown's Benevolent Irish Society

Simon Lloyd.
Simon Lloyd. - Contributed

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Simon Lloyd will be the featured speaker this evening in the next presentation in the Fall Lecture Series.

All talks take place on consecutive Fridays in the Katherine Hughes Memorial Hall at the BIS until Dec. 7. There is no admission charge, and all are welcome. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and talks begin at 7:30 p.m. Reservations are not required.

The title of Lloyd’s talk is “The young men of our race”: Prince Edward Island's Irish-Canadians and the First World War”. All through the dark years of the First World War, Prince Edward Islanders were constantly exhorted to rally to the defence of King and empire. Many Islanders of many different backgrounds would have had complex and conflicted emotions about the war, but those of Irish heritage faced a particularly difficult question: how to reconcile an avowedly imperialist cause with ancestral ties to a homeland caught up in an existential crisis about her place in that same Empire?

Many Islanders of Irish ancestry doubtless grappled with these issues privately – if they ever spoke of them at all – but on a small, close-knit island where so many identified as Irish and at a time when public fealty to the Empire was demanded, the interweaving of Irish politics and the war effort inevitably received some public airing. Lloyd will speak about the attention given this issue, and especially the question or Irish Home Rule, in the pages of The Guardian during the years 1914-1918.

Lloyd, who works at UPEI’s Robertson Library, is the university archivist and special Collections librarian. Since August 2014, he has written monthly columns for The Guardian marking the centennial of the First World War, focusing on the experience of Prince Edward Islanders during that monumental struggle.

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