I have switched out my header image for something more fitting for autumn. And have a look at my writer's blog today for a photo post I have set up there about this past weekend's Army Run event.
Picking up where I left off yesterday with these panels on the Hundred Days that ended the First World War, this panel notes that during the height of that period, Canadians fired 847 990 artillery shells in a span of eight days. Women back home were doing the work men had done before, including in arms factories, and the war experience for them would lead to a stronger suffrage movement and push for a greater say in society.
The 22nd Batallion, also called the Van Doos, were a French speaking unit. Their officers included Georges Vanier, who decades later would be the first Francophone Governor General of the country. Here they are seen crossing the Rhine into Bonn, Germany, to occupy the city.
This photograph of two soldiers was taken during the Hundred Days. The fellow giving himself a shave was a Japanese-Canadian soldier. At the time, marginalized groups hoped that war service would help them increase their standing in society.
First Nations men were also part of those marginalized groups, and yet they served in the war. This photograph, taken years after the war, shows Sergeant Major Binaaswi Francis Pegahmagabow, an enlisted soldier of the Anishinaabe people. He was decorated for bravery on three occasions during the war, the last of those being during the Hundred Days. Returning home, he found discrimination at home, and would become a leader in the indigenous rights movement.
Chemical weapons were a legacy of that war, and in this August 1918 photograph during the campaign, German prisoners are seen helping wounded Canadian soldiers off the battlefield.
The war at home has particular poignancy with this shot- the news of the success of the Hundred Days and the armistice meant that husbands and sons and brothers would be coming home- though not all of them.
Another poignant moment is caught here. The funeral for Sister Gladys Wake, who died of wounds sustained in a German air raid late in the war, underscored the risk nurses undertook at the front. Her fellow nursing sisters tend her grave.
Here we have a shot from the early stages of the Hundred Days. Robert Borden, our Prime Minister during the War, is addressing troops near the front. The Canadian experience of the Great War started with the country automatically drawn into the war as part of the British empire, but led the government to press for a place on the world stage, bolstered by what Canadians did in the battlefields.
Newfoundland during the First World War was a separate entity, not part of Canadian Confederation. But Newfoundlanders served faithfully attached to the British forces, suffering horrendous losses. Sergeant Thomas Ricketts of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment won the Victoria Cross for bravery during the Hundred Days. Ricketts was lucky; many Newfoundlanders never returned home, and the wounds of those losses weighed heavily at home for decades to come.
Arthur Currie had worked in real estate and insurance before the war and served part time in the militia. He had the distinction of starting his military career at the bottom of the ladder as an enlisted gunner before getting noticed enough to be elevated as a militia officer in 1900. The war changed him forever- he rose all the way to the rank of a lieutenant general, in overall command of the Canadians in Europe. Unlike so many generals who seemed to spend the better part of four years sending men at enemy positions in the tried and true way- Napoleonic tactics of mass infantry charges in an age of machine guns- Currie was tenacious, resourceful, and capable of adapting quickly. He is considered one of the best commanders in Canadian military history.
Some 39 000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders were wounded in action during the Hundred Days. This photograph shows some of the challenges veterans faced back home- note the missing limbs here and there. The government found themselves providing services for veterans who were dealing with disability and accessibility issues.
This last panel is at the end of the set. It features a shot of Canadian soldiers liberating Cambrai, France, in October 1918 after the retreating Germans set the city on fire. The Hundred Days ended the First World War, and in the process, like the war itself, those days changed the perspective of Canadians about themselves.