An Enduring Legacy

March 28, 2023

Young Irwin James (Jim) Reed left his family, his home, and his honours history degree at Victoria College in Toronto to serve his country in the Second World War.

Tragically, Lt. Reed was wounded in action on August 22, 1944 while serving with a Tank Regiment in France. Ten days later, Jim died from his wounds just shy of his 22nd birthday — but he left a legacy that continues to span generations.

In a poignant letter to Jim’s father, good friend Chaplain A. Phillips Silcox wrote, “He was a son you may well be proud of – but whenever Jim spoke of the possibility of not returning (we all face that possibility) I used to feel especially rebellious at the thought, for he is the kind of man we need to build our nation’s future.”

Canadian War Museum donor Murray Snyder has always been interested in the Second World War and feels a particular connection with Jim, his great-uncle. He remembers his grandfather — Jim’s brother — speaking of him often with pride and sadness. “I heard about him my whole life. It was a common topic. My grandfather was diligent about tracking down how Jim died. And it was important to him that his grandchildren were aware of his brother’s service.”

Image of letter beside gravestone

A graveside tribute to Lt. Irwin James Reed – Photo: Courtesy of Murray Snyder

And when Murray visited Jim’s grave in Ryes War Cemetery in France, he knew that he wanted to continue his family’s tradition of ensuring that the sacrifices of those who served were taught to young Canadians.

Murray and his wife, Jennifer Post — whose own great-uncle was killed while serving in Italy — now make annual donations to the War Museum in Jim’s memory. They are also leaving their own legacy by including a gift to the Museum in their will. It is their wish that, through their gift, future generations of Canadians can learn about the sacrifices made by those so young.

We truly appreciate Murray and Jennifer’s investment in the future of our educational programs, and all the generous donors who have chosen to arrange a gift to the Museum in their estate plans. Their commitment to preserving and sharing Canada’s military heritage with future generations is inspiring, and we are grateful for their trust.

To learn more about how making a gift through your estate can help preserve and share Canada’s military history for the future, please contact Megan Ollivier at 819-776-8336 or