#Vimy101 – The Vimy Memorial

Allward with his chosen stone delivered to Vimy Ridge.
Credit: W. and M. le Chat., National Gallery of Canada.
Allward in the Seget limestone quarry.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

#Vimy101 – Did you know, sculptor Walter Allward spent two years travelling the world in search of the perfect stone to be used on the Vimy Memorial. Allward finally found it, Seget limestone, in an old Roman quarry in Yugoslavia (modern-day Croatia). A total of 6,000 tons of stone would travel by water to Venice, and then by rail to Vimy. The Canada Bereft figure was cut from a single block weighing 28 tons!

The block of stone for Canada bereft is lifted into position.
Credit: National Gallery of Canada.

#Vimy101 – #DYK

#Vimy101 – Did you know, in an April 2015 poll, 5% of Canadians said that they, or a member of their family, were planning to travel to France in 2017 for the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the unveiling of the new Vimy Education Centre.

Were you there for #Vimy100?

Source: IPSOS Reid Poll for The Vimy Foundation, April 2015.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Did you know, the 199th (Duchess of Connaught’s Own Irish Rangers) Battalion was raised in Montreal in an effort to bolster recruitment amongst Irish-Canadians? Their motto was “Who Shall Separate Us”.

“All in One with the Irish Canadian Rangers 199th Overseas Battalion : recruitment campaign.”
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-28-888.

#Vimy101 – Slang of the First World War
"Tube Train" & "Carpet Slipper"

“Loading a heavy howitzer.”
Credit: W.I. Castle / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-000800.

#Vimy101 – The Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917, and “Kaiserschlacht” (“Kaiser’s Battle” – the German Spring Offensive of 1918)  are both known for their use of devastating artillery fire. In the trenches, the common soldier sought words to describe the phenomena they saw, heard and felt, when witnessing such firepower.

Did you know – “tube train” was a slang term for a heavy shell passing low overhead, due to its sound mimicking the underground trains. On the other hand, a “carpet slipper” was “a heavy shell, passing high above” which created a sound like whispering (Pegler, Soldiers’ Songs and Slang of the Great War, p. 191 & 58).

#Vimy101 – Artillery & Civilians

“Man of Canadian Forestry Corps with old French couple. February, 1919.”
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-004010.

During the First World War, as artillery technology became increasingly advanced, the ever-increasing reach of their firepower left few unscathed. It is no secret that civilians suffered greatly under the strength of artillery. Private Fraser, of the 31st (Calgary) Battalion, recorded an altercation between civilians and artillery in his journal:

“The big gun, a 12-inch… hidden in a camouflaged house, began to talk this afternoon… We watched the shells leave the gun. Although weighing 750 lbs., they shot up towards the heavens… and appeared from behind like cricket balls… the shells were soon lost to view in the clouds… as soon as the first shell was fired, a small dog bolted out of a nearby house and flew down the road… to put kilometers between it and the gun… an aged Belgian couple was passing in the vicinity of the gun when it went off, and it was pitiful to see the woman totter and stagger for several yards, due to sheer shock and fright, before she could compose herself.” (Fraser & Roy (Ed.), The Journal of Private Fraser, p. 162-163)

#Vimy101 – #DYK

#Vimy101 – #DidYouKnow the Canadian Corps had approximately 170,000 men, all ranks, for the attack on Vimy Ridge? Of these, 97,184 were Canadians. The remainder were British infantry, artillery, engineer and labour units attached to the Corps for the attack  (Nicholson, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919, p. 252).

“14th Battalion who fought on Hill 70 on way to rest camp. October, 1917.”
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/ Library and Archives Canada/PA-001964.

Commonwealth Day 2018

It’s Commonwealth Day today! Did you know, it was originally known as Empire Day – a patriotic celebration of the British Empire, complete with fireworks, bonfires, sports competitions and military reviews? Empire Day was traditionally celebrated on the last school day before Queen Victoria’s birthday (May 24) in the late 1800’s to mid-1900’s.In the 1950’s, it was changed to Commonwealth Day, and set for the second Monday of March. It is now a celebration of the diversity, unity and values of the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth.

“(Track & Field) The first hurdle in the final. Empire Day, Canadian Athletic Meeting at Godalming.”
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-022668.

#DYK – Daylight Savings Time

Its time to push those clocks forward! Did you know, the concept of Daylight Savings Time first gained significant adoption during the First World War? Germany and Austria-Hungary introduced Daylight Savings on 30 April 1916 as a war economy measure to conserve coal. Most of the Allied nations quickly adopted the concept as well.

A German postcard marking the introduction of Daylight Savings in 1916.
Credit: Deutsches Uhrenmuseum, Archiv, Inv. 100318.

One Month From Today – #Vimy101

Exactly one month from today, the 101st anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge will be observed across Canada on April 9th, Vimy Ridge Day. To mark this occasion, we will be posting Vimy-related facts, stories and history over the next four weeks. Be sure to follow along and share the posts with the hashtag #Vimy101 as we will also be running contests to win Vimy-themed prize packs!

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

We’re kicking-off our #Vimy101 coverage with #FastFacts on Andrew McNaughton, arguably the Canadian counterpart to Germany’s “Durchbruchmüller” (Breakthroughmüller).

#DYK – A former engineering professor at McGill University, McNaughton improved the artillery concepts of “flash-spotting” and “sound-ranging” in preparation for the Battle of Vimy Ridge. #Vimy101

#DYK – McNaughton’s work later 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. #Vimy101

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 flash-spotting for locating enemy artillery.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001879.

International Women’s Day – #DYK

To mark International Women’s Day we’re sharing a photo from our First World War In Colour project!

Did you know, women made up a large portion of the war time workforce, particularly in newly established munitions factories? For many working class women, the factory work was a boon, it was relatively well paid, and left them extra money for luxuries they couldn’t otherwise afford. Though more women entered the workforce during the war, working class women had been in factories for years before, since only having one income made survival almost impossible.

“Assembly Department, British Munitions Supply Co. Ltd., Verdun, P.Q.”
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-024436 (modified from the original) Colourized by Canadian Colour.