#100DaysofVimy – February 26, 2017

Each Sunday we will share a story of Remembrance. Part IV – Building The Vimy Memorial

With the arrival of the first shipments of Seget limestone in France, sculpting could finally begin for the Vimy Memorial in 1927. The blocks were first cut to size in work shops on the ground before being hoisted into position; the figures of the memorial were only sculpted once set in place atop the memorial. This required the construction of extensive studios, encircling the memorial’s two pylons and suspended nearly 200 feet in the air. A pantograph was used by the sculptors to reproduce Allward’s plaster models to scale.

 

Studios were suspended hundreds of feet in the air for the sculpting process. Credit: Central pylons enclosed, view from left. National Gallery of Canada.

 

 

Partially completed figures and remaining blocks indicate the amount of sculpting that had to be completed within the suspended studios. Credit: National Gallery of Canada. Gift of Peter Allward, 1986.

 

Sculptors used a pantograph, (partially visible at top of photo), to reproduce the figures. Allward’s plaster model can be seen on the right. Credit: Duplication of Female Mourner. National Gallery of Canada. Gift of Peter Allward, 1986.

 

#100DaysofVimy – February 25, 2017

Each Saturday, we’ll share some reflections from our past student participants about the impact of their visit to Vimy Ridge and other sites of the First World War. 

Brandon Taschuk (far right) explores the underground tunnels of Maison Blanche in 2014 as a recipient of the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize.
Credit: The Vimy Foundation, 2014.

A number of weeks ago, we learned that approximately 29% of Canadians are descendants of First World War servicemen. In 2014, Beaverbrook Vimy Prize recipient Brandon Taschuk faced the significance of that fact when he explored the battlefield of Passchendaele. In those muddy fields 100 years ago, his great-great-grandfather nearly never made it home: “one of the battles he fought at was the battle of Passchendaele… During an explosion he was flung face-first into one of the many mud bogs. Being a short man, only 5’2″, he was nearly completely enveloped in the mud. His death by drowning was imminent it seemed. But, one of his companions noticed his rather small boots sticking out of the mud, and recognized them as his. He was able to save my great-great grandfather, Benjamin Loney, and because of the Vimy Foundation I was able to stand where my family line almost ended. Not only did I get to walk through the battlefields my ancestor fought at, I also got to walk through the place that could have been the end of my existence, before it even began. I wish words could describe the feelings this trip gave me, but there are no words to describe the intense emotions I experienced and continue to foster after the trip. I only wish that you truly know how thankful I am.”

 

The Attestation Papers of Benjamin Loney.
The second page indicates Benjamin Loney is indeed of slight build – 5’2″ and 138 lbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit: Personnel Records of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada, Reference Number: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 5723 – 22. Item Number: 535649.

 

 

#100DaysofVimy – February 24, 2017

Each Friday, we will revisit an interesting poll result from the past few years. How do you compare to other Canadians? See our past poll results here: (http://www.vimyfoundation.ca/learn/poll-results/).

Reflecting on last week’s poll, (which revealed that 52% of Canadians felt Canada was doing enough to commemorate the centennial anniversaries of the First World War, while only 25% of Canadians say they’ve attended a war remembrance ceremony in the past 12 months), it is interesting to note that Canadians trail a number of fellow combatant nations in saying that they remember learning about the First World War in school. Two thirds (66%) of Canadians and those in Great Britain (64%) remember learning about the First World War in school, behind those in Germany (70%), the USA (72%), France (78%) and Belgium (80%).

#100DaysofVimy – February 23, 2017

Each Thursday, we run a social media contest! Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and you can win a Vimy Prize Pack each week! Contest for Thursday, February 23, 2017:

Over the past few weeks, we have been discovering places in Canada with a unique First World War connection. Has your community made a similar dedication? Share a photo of your community’s unique First World War connection!

Guidelines:
Comment on our Facebook post, Instagram post, or tweet at us by 11:59pm PT on Thursday, Feb 23 with a photo of your community’s unique First World War connection. Only one submission permitted per account per platform (i.e. if you have an account on both Facebook and Twitter you can enter twice; you cannot submit two entries through Facebook). One winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries received during the time period on all platforms. The winner will be contacted on Friday February 24, 2017! These contests are not sponsored by Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Credit: Kerry Poon & Nicole Lin, 2013 Beaverbrook Vimy Prize, Richmond, BC.
Credit: Leo Saccary, 2014 Vimy Pilgrimage Award, Regina, SK.

#100DaysofVimy – February 22, 2017

Each Wednesday we will highlight the women of the First World War. Today: 

Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe

In 1920, a plaque was dedicated to the losses of the Ontario Military Hospital nurses, at the Legislative Assembly in Queen’s Park, Ontario.
Credit: Toronto Star, 27 March 1920.

In 1904, the Canadian Militia established the Canadian Army Medical Corps, equipping a very small, but permanent, nursing service. Distinct from all other countries, Canada commissioned its nurses with the rank of “Nursing Sisters”, granting them the equivalent of a lieutenant’s rank. In 1914, only five nurses were on staff. By war’s end, 2,845 nurses had served with the Canadian Army. Nursing Sisters staffed the Canadian General Hospitals that were created behind the front lines in Europe. They assisted in surgery rooms, performed triage, dressed wounds, fed, and cared for the wounded. In close proximity to the front, they were not immune to the dangers of shells and bombs. Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe, of Binscarth, Manitoba enlisted with the Canadian Army Nursing Service in 1917. She was killed when a German air raid bombed the 1st Canadian General Hospital at Etaples, France in May 1918.

The funeral procession of Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe in Etaples, France, May 1918. The innumerable rows of crosses in the background of the photograph indicate the suffering experienced at the field hospitals.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-002569.
Burial of Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-002575.

#100DaysofVimy – February 21, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or internationally!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight:

Valour Road, Winnipeg MB

Frederick William Hall, VC.
Credit: Canada, Department of National Defence.
Robert Shankland, VC, the only one of three from Valour Road to survive the war.
Credit: Canada, Department of National Defence.

Similar to the Memorial Avenues honouring the fallen across the country, Valour Road in Winnipeg was dedicated to three sons of the city, but with a particular twist. In 1925, Winnipeg’s Pine Street was renamed Valour Road, in honour of its three former occupants, all of whom received the Victoria Cross in the First World War.  Sergeant-Major Frederick William Hall (1915), Corporal Leo Clarke (1916) and Lieutenant Robert Shankland (1917) were awarded the Victoria Cross at different points of the war, but all called Pine Street home when they first enlisted. Sadly, Shankland was the only one of the three to survive the war, seeing action at Vimy Ridge and serving again in the Second World War. In recent years, the story of the three men from Valour Road was featured in a Historica Canada Heritage Minute. Their medals are held by the Canadian War Museum.

Seated on the far right is Leo Clarke, VC. Pictured here on 16 June 1016 with his Bombing Platoon of the 2nd Battalion at rest billets near Poperinghe after fighting at Sanctuary Woods & Maple Copse.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-000344.

#100DaysofVimy – February 20, 2017

Each Monday, we will share a brief biography of a soldier of the First World War with a Vimy connection. Today we honour:

General Andrew George Latta McNaughton, CH CB CMG DSO CD PC

A young Andrew George Latta McNaughton in 1912.
Credit: Notman and Son/Library and Archives Canada/PA-034151.

Andrew McNaughton of Moosimin, Northwest Territories (present-day Saskatchewan), was a professor of engineering at McGill University.  In 1914, he took command of the 4th Battery of Canadian Field Artillery and arrived in France in February 1915. McNaughton’s engineering background enabled him to have a profound impact on the development of gunnery during the war. In preparation for the Battle of Vimy Ridge, McNaughton improved the concepts of “spot-flashing” and “sound-ranging”. These methods used the flash of firing guns and their explosive report to mathematically triangulate their location on the battlefield, providing targets for counter-battery. This enabled the Allied artillery to effectively neutralize nearly all  German artillery positions prior to the launch of attack on 9 April 1917.   By the end of the war, McNaughton held the command of all the Canadian Corps Heavy Artillery and Counter-Battery units. McNaughton’s work in counter-battery led to his invention of the cathode ray direction finder, an early form of RADAR. He sold the rights of the invention to the Government of Canada for just $1. McNaughton remained in the Permanent Force after the war, achieved numerous commands again during the Second World War, and fulfilled roles as a diplomat and public figure for two decades until his death in 1966.

A 6-inch naval gun fires at night over the Canadian lines at Vimy Ridge in May 1917. Muzzle flashes such as this were used by McNaughton to develop the method of spot-flashing for locating enemy artillery.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001879.

 

See Line 221 – The McNaughton family registered in Assiniboia East, Moosomin, on the 1906 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Credit: Courtesy of Ancestry.ca

#100DaysofVimy – February 19, 2017

Each Sunday we will share a story of Remembrance.

Part III – Building The Vimy Memorial

Due to the difficulty of quarrying such large slabs of stone, as well as its extensive shipping route, the first shipment of Allward’s selected Seget limestone did not arrive in France until 1927. In an effort to keep his workers busy, many of whom were French and British veterans, Canadian military engineer Major Unwin Simson decided to preserve a section of trench lines that had been slowly deteriorating since 1918. Workers reinforced the German and Canadian lines near the Grange crater group by filling sandbags with concrete and re-lining the dugout walls. A portion of the Grange Subway was also excavated, a concrete entrance poured, and electrical lighting installed. The opportunity to experience these preserved trenches and tunnel systems at the Vimy Memorial today can be largely attributed to Major Simson’s efforts.

2015 Vimy Pilgrimage Award recipients descending into the tunnels of Maison Blanche, near Vimy Ridge, courtesy of the Durand Group.
Credit: The Vimy Foundation / Marc Cayez.

 

2015 Vimy Pilgrimage Award recipients in the tunnels of Maison Blanche, courtesy of the Durand Group.
Credit: The Vimy Foundation / Marc Cayez.

#100DaysofVimy – February 18, 2017

Each Saturday, we’ll share some reflections from our past student participants about the impact of their visit to Vimy Ridge and other sites of the First World War. 

Credit: Hicham El Bayadi, 2015 Vimy Pilgrimage Award – Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa, ON.

As part of the Vimy Foundation’s Vimy: Canada’s Coming of Age week at Encounters With Canada, students attend a candlelight vigil at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa (the cemetery contains the graves of 212 Commonwealth casualties of the First and Second World War). Writing of the candlelight vigil, Molly reflected: “Our ceremony in the cemetery was incredibly influential and eye-opening; the grave I stood at was of a 17 year-old which is the age of many of my friends, and so it was very difficult for me to imagine one of them fighting and dying for our country at such a young age.”

Credit: Hicham El Bayadi, 2015 Vimy Pilgrimage Award – Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa, ON.

#100DaysofVimy – February 17, 2017

Each Friday, we will revisit an interesting poll result from the past few years. How do you compare to other Canadians? See our past poll results here: (http://www.vimyfoundation.ca/learn/poll-results/)

As the world commemorates important centenaries of the First World War, just over one half (52%) of Canadians agree that Canada is doing enough to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War, while the other half (48%) of Canadians disagree in a November 2016 poll. Despite 52% agreeing Canada is doing enough to commemorate, only one quarter (25%) of Canadians say they’ve attended a war remembrance ceremony in the past 12 months.