Thursday, November 16, 2017

Time And Conflict

A reminder to members of City Daily Photo that the theme day for the first of December is Gift.

The permanent galleries in the Canadian War Museum tell the story of Canada's military history in chronological order, beginning with conflicts between First Nations people through to European contact. The French and Indian War and the American Revolution are examined as well. During this visit, my photography began with the War of 1812. This is a model of the HMS St. Lawrence, a British navy ship built in Kingston at the time, and which lies in the harbour today after sinking years after that war.

The weapons and wampum belt seen here would be typical of First Nations allies to the British during that war. The portrait is of John Norton, also known as Teyoninhokarawan, a Cherokee warrior with a Scottish mother who had been adopted by the Mohawk chief Joseph Brant. Norton led First Nations warriors against the Americans at the Battle Of Queenston Heights.

Another leader of that war can be found here. Charles de Salabery was a rarity- a French Canadian who rose to become an officer in the regular British army. He served with distinction, commanding the light infantry regiment called the Voltigeurs Canadiens in the War of 1812.

The galleries move on in time, through events of the latter 19th century and the South African War before the extensive area dealing with the First World War. This is Canada's Answer, a large painting by Norman Wilkinson, an English artist. He captured the October 1914 sailing of ships for Europe bearing Canadian men for the war.

Another striking work of art nearby is this sculpture, based on a story that may or may not be true- that German soldiers crucified a Canadian soldier on a door.

The life of a soldier is explored among the panels and artifacts of battles. One of the displays includes things that might be found in a soldier's kit in the trenches. That includes, at the lower left, an inedible item many American Civil War soldiers might have been familiar with: hardtack. 

The Halifax Explosion of December 6th, 1917, is examined in depth, with photographs of the carnage accompanying the text, as well as pieces of one of the ships destroyed in the detonation. 

The Second World War area of the galleries opens with an examination of the state of the world during the 1930s and the forces that drew everyone into war. A painting based on action in the Atlantic drew my eye. Painted in 1944 by a lieutenant, Thomas Charles Wood, The Boarding Of The U-744 depicts sailors from the H.M.C.S. Chilliwack boarding the disabled German submarine on an intelligence gathering  run in the Atlantic.

Canadians were at war not only with Germany in the European theatre of operations, but also with Japan, and that aspect of the war is covered in this area. One of the panels examines the Japanese practice of sending balloon bombs east across the Pacific to strike at North America. One of those balloons hangs overhead.


  1. Dang this is interesting. I wish history at school could be so interesting. Of course I went to school 900 years ago and I like history

  2. I too like history but I only seem to be able to take in war in smallish chunks. I despair that we can't manage peace in bigger segments.

  3. ...conflict is an unless part of life.

  4. What an interesting exhibit. The balloon bombs are fascinating. I agree with Tom. Conflict seems useless.


  5. That last painting is beautiful.

  6. @MB: I always liked history in school.

    @Kay: unfortunately true.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Tom: it can be.

    @Janis: humanity has an infinite capacity for inhumanity.

    @Marianne: I think so.

    @Marleen: I agree.

  7. Although it's an interesting exhibition, I still can't understand that man can not do without war and struggle.

  8. That de Salabery is certainly a distinguished looking gentleman.

  9. I agree with Jan. Is there no end to conflict?

  10. i know boats are not always the smart or fastest way of travel or sending items. but they sure have style back in the day. so awesome!! ( ;

  11. A fascinating trip through the violence of years - past and present. I learned a number of things in this post and I thank you for that. Re the crucifixion, it may be a myth, but from what I know of the capabilities of men at war, it would not be impossible.

  12. Interesting William, interesting.

  13. The war museum would show us that we are at war for much of our history and that maybe we should learn a lesson about peace.

  14. @Jan: it is in our nature, unfortunately.

    @RedPat: too many.

    @Sharon: he was!

    @Janey: not anytime soon.

    @Beth: they did indeed.

    @Lowell: it wouldn't surprise me. The ferocity of the Great War in some ways has never been exceeded.

    @Karl: it was.

    @Red: true.

  15. Tres interesting William.. the difference between weapons used in those wars and what would be used now is unbelievable!

  16. Fascinating history & that carving of the Canadian soldiers crucifixion is very haunting.

  17. Love that ship model. It just exudes the open sea. :-)

  18. Oh, my God. I had not heard the story of the Canadian soldier! I hope that is not true...but...oh, my God.

  19. Interesting history but I don't like wars.

  20. @Grace: one of the reasons the First World War was so horrendous: they were still using Napoleonic era tactics against weapons that had long since surpassed them.

    @Cloudia: thank you!

    @Christine: I've been drawn to that sculpture every time I've visited the museum.

    @Revrunner: or in this case the open lakes!

    @Sandi: it's a horrendous story, but fits a horrendous war.

    @Nancy: none do, but the arms dealers, and they're never involved in a fight.

    @Bill: thank you.

  21. Very impressive museum and photos ~ My son is retired USA Navy and a history buff ~ he would love your post ~
    I wonder, though, are doomed to repeat history??? ~

    Happy Weekend to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  22. I'll dispute the one. History at my schools was always enthralling. It's nice that you can be patriotic without someone insulting you.

  23. The artwork is so compelling. I don't know how one would tackle that crucifixion, whether it actually happened or not.

  24. Goodness that crucifixion, marvellous artwork but what a subject.

    I enjoyed seeing your photographs.
    History can be so interesting, but do we learn from it?

    All the best Jan

  25. Great exhibition. Balloon looks interesting.

  26. @Carol: it sometimes seems we are.

    @Mari: thank you.

    @Whisk: I do!

    @Mike: if it happened, it was typical of that war- sheer horror.

    @Jan: do we indeed.

    @Klara: one wonders who came up with the idea of the balloon bomb.