Museum hosts Izzard exhibit

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BARNEY’S RIVER — A soldier who spent part of his life in Pictou County was honoured for his contribution to the Allied cause during the Second World War.

Private William Lyall Izzard was 21 when he was killed while serving as a member of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders on June 7, 1944, the day after the massive fighting force of Canadian, British and American troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in northern France.

He was remembered during an exhibit last Saturday at the Barney’s River Station School Museum. Izzard attended classes there when it functioned as a school.

Numerous items that included a canteen and other military gear, pictures, lists of military personnel and a framed certificate of service were among items displayed.

“We’ve been working on this for 25 years,” said Nova Bannerman, a retired educator who operates the museum. “We want Billie Izzard to be remembered, and I think he’s being remembered.”

A program was printed that showed Izzard was the oldest son of a family of 10 children. The family moved from Guysborough County to locations in Pictou County that included Bearbrook and Weaver’s Mountain near Barney’s River.

Billie Izzard was considered a favourite with teachers and students alike. Local resident Maye Bannerman recalled children learning to ride a bike on his bicycle.

He enlisted in the army in October 1942 and was shipped overseas in July 1943.

He is buried at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, about one kilometre east of the village of Reviers, France.

Izzard was an uncle to siblings Linda Vandenberg and Tony Vanemberg and Penelope David, who were among loved ones who visited the exhibit.

“It’s an honour,” David said. “I’m glad I could make it. I was here 10 years ago. It wasn’t like this.”

The siblings have nothing they can recall regarding their uncle, having been born long after his passing.

“It’s bitter-sweet. I remember seeing a picture of Uncle William,” Linda said.

“It’s good to be here,” Tony said. “We don’t have any memories. Nothing much was said.”

The Barney’s River Station School Museum’s building is a classic example of a one-room school in Pictou County, complete with the desks that accommodated two students each.

The building dates from its construction in 1875, while the museum opened in the summer of 1996.

Its hours of operation are noon to 5 p.m. from July 1 to August 24 and by appointment after that.


From left are siblings Linda Vanemberg, Tony Vanemberg and Penelope David with a framed certificate of service in honour of their uncle, William Lyall Izzard, that was part of the display on July 27 at Barney’s Rive Station School Museum. (Goodwin photo)