As mentioned yesterday, the special exhibit going on in the War Museum at the moment deals with the skies over Europe during the First World War. New tactics and strategies for a brand new technology were literally being invented at the spur of the moment by young pilots. Their stories are presented in a series of panels that are rather like graphic novel or comic strip formats, which provides a different way of telling the story. There are also artifacts on hand, such as this Sopwith plane.
One of the panel displays tells the story of the German ace otherwise known as the Red Baron. The last time I was in here, I looked it over, but didn't photograph it. There's controversy as to who it is who actually killed him- Australian infantry on the ground or a Canadian pilot he was caught in a duel with. Even though he was on the other side, Von Richthofen was an extraordinary man.
This is a Royal Navy Ensign flag carried by a Canadian pilot, Henry Wiser, when he landed at an Ottoman aerodrome on the Gallipoli peninsula, the first officer from the British empire to do so after the armistice.
There was also a chance to try on period items to see how you'd look. While my oversized head was too big for a leather pilot's helmet, two different pairs of goggles did fit. Yes, I look thoroughly disreputable.
The main exhibit space of the museum starts off with the earliest recorded signs of human conflict between First Nations peoples, and moves forward in time through wars that Canadians have been involved with to the current day.
This stetson hat is a relic of the South African War that straddled the 19th and 20th centuries. A Canadian named George Roberts placed it on an ant hill to draw out a Boer sniper. There's a hole you can make out at the top that shows the skill of the shooter. The cannon is also from that war, a 12 pounder field gun used at the Battle of Lefliefontein.
This painting is one I've always liked, one of numerous examples spread throughout the Museum of war art. Norman Wilkinson painted this during the First World War, titled Canada's Response, depicting the convoys ferrying Canadian soldiers to the battlefields of Europe in 1914.
This is another work of art that some of you might remember, titled Canada's Golgotha, sculpted by artist Derwint Wood in 1918. It is based on an apocryphal rumour that during the Second Battle of Ypres, German soldiers had crucified a Canadian soldier on a barn door in Belgium.
The sculpture is part of a section dealing with propaganda, which also includes a panel on the murder of British nurse Edith Cavell (for whom a mountain in Canada is named), and a porthole and mementos related to the sinking of the Lusitania.
I finish today with this set. There are a series of such display cases in the First World War section dealing with the everyday life of a soldier- these are about good luck charms. Private John Steele's pocket bible and mirror saved his life when he was shot in the chest during the war. He gave them for luck to a brother-in-law, Private Wilbert Willan- who survived the war- but Steele himself died on the first day of the Battle Of Vimy Ridge, on April 9th, 1917.