Friday, November 23, 2018

Into The Storm

The section on World War Two at the War Museum opens with displays putting into context the global situation in the 1930s with the rise of what would become the Axis- Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan, and the measures they were taking in their own ambitions in the years leading to war. Canada joined the war from the beginning, and it is covered extensively and chronologically in this area. This first shot, featuring a German torpedo at the base of a series of panels about U-Boats off the Canadian east coast. A map of the area is at the right, littered with dots indicating ship sinkings, shelling of shore positions, and insertions of enemy agents. 

Canada also found itself at war with Japan in December 1941. In the span of the same few hours in which Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Japanese struck at targets in Asia, including Hong Kong, where Canadians were among the garrisons stationed. The Battle of Hong Kong ended in defeat and POW camps for the Allied troops stationed there.

The home front was affected by the war, of course, and there are a series of propaganda posters of the era placed on a wall here. This is one of them.

This painting depicts another aspect of life at the home front. Massey Ferguson During World War II was painted by A.J. Casson (another member of The Group Of Seven). The Massey Ferguson plant in Brantford, Ontario, is the subject of this painting and captures men and women working on building naval guns.

Women served in various capacities in the military branches during the war, and there are displays on their role, including a uniform and panels on the Canadian Women's Army Corps.

Life at home also included rationing at grocery stores. This display features wartime products.

Fragments of a Lancaster are found here, with a panel on Andrew Mynarski, a bomber air gunner with the Royal Canadian Air Force, one of the crew members of the Lancaster in question. He posthumously won the Victoria Cross for his actions in a June 1944 raid over France in which the Lancaster had been attacked by a Luftwaffe fighter and set ablaze. Mynarski went through the flames to try to save one of his fellow crewmen, and died of burns afterwards.

The Spitfire was heavily used by the RCAF throughout the war.

Canadian troops were part of the Italian campaign, and that is examined here in the WW II section. William Ogilvie painted Entry Into Assoro, Sicily, depicting the entry of Canadian soldiers into the town on July 22nd, 1943 after fighting their way up the mountainous terrain.

Casa Berardi is a painting by Charles Fraser Comfort, an officer who by 1943 was commissioned as a war artist. He depicts the Royal 22nd Regiment in the midst of battle against Germans. Their victory would open the way to Ortona. 

Today I finish with another example of the panels one finds on individuals throughout the Museum- in this case a general and a private. General Burns and Private Smith both served in the Italian campaign.


  1. Interesting display. I grew up thinking that World War II was a long time ago, but of course it wasn't, especially then.

  2. My Dad was in the RAAF and Mum in the AWAS. Hence this war was very much in my childhood with old war friends etc visiting.

  3. Hello William!
    Very interesting post and informations about the WW2.
    My mum was telling us how she had suffered through the war here in Greece ,from the German soldiers and the the German conquerors.
    Thank you for sharing! Have a nice day and a happy weekend!

  4. I wonder what´s in the "handbag"?
    Interesting food display.

  5. As good as the Second World War actually originated from the end of the First World War, so logically it is that in the War Museum you almost automatically end up at the Second World War. You have made a nice post of it with beautiful illustrations. I especially like the poster of the arm with the hammer and the painting of the factory.

  6. That old food display is one of the things that I remember from my visit a few years past.

  7. @Linda: relatively speaking, no.

    @Joan: it would bring up memories.

    @Dimi: you're welcome.

    @Iris: I think so.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Jan: one led to another.

    @Anvilcloud: how could I do on that little sugar?

  8.'s good to see the war from the Canadian viewpoint.

  9. Hello, interesting exhibit. I wonder if people now could go with rationing their food. Have a happy Friday and a great weekend.

  10. I agree with Tom, good to see the extent of participation by other countries. My father in law flew a Lancaster plane, he was one of the lucky ones who made it through ✨

  11. I am ashamed to say that I didn't know that Canada was involved in the war before the Americans were. Very interesting exhibit.

  12. Interesting exhibit. Have a fabulous weekend!

  13. Heading into another messy conflict.

  14. Thank you for showing these displays, William.

  15. WW II was a long and drawn out series of attacks at a time. I like how you show the Italian action.

  16. @Tom: I think so.

    @Eileen: thanks.

    @Lady Fi: they are.

    @Grace: many didn't.

    @DJan: they were in from the start.

    @Nancy: thanks!

    @Sharon: very messy.

    @RedPat: you're welcome.

    @red: true.

  17. The displays are a great teaching tool for everyone.

  18. In spite of the fact, I was just a bit too young to have served in WWII, it's always fascinated me. I appreciate this post so much for we tend to concentrate on our own USA artifacts and propaganda and ignore the work done by other countries. These are truly great displays, William, and I appreciate them very much!

  19. That was a very interessting exibition. One Canadian flyer died while helping turn a Halifax bomber away fro our local town Wallingford, he is remembered with a road named after him. You can read about it in my blog

  20. Interesting displays and powerful paintings.

  21. I've seen what look like retro Libby's cans in my grocery store lately.

  22. @Bill: they are.

    @Lowell: thank you!

    @Bill: I'll look that one up.

    @Tamago: that they are.

    @Revrunner: that doesn't surprise me.

  23. really enjoy the lady outfit ... i have several ladies in my family that were nurses in the Army and one in the Air Force. interesting. ( ;

  24. I knew an older man who was a merchant marine on the eastern seaboard during World War II. I'd had no idea how many attacks there were on Atlantic fleets at that time. He had a lot of harrowing stories to tell.

  25. Been reading through your previous posts too and it's a great exhibition about the war.

  26. I'm glad they focus on some of the causes of WWII because I see some of that happening in the world now and yet, I'm not sure people know what the next step could be. And next time it won't be pretty -- not that WWII was pretty, to be sure. I hope every child in Canada goes to this place.

  27. Interesting to see the food on the homefront!

  28. I like the way all aspects of the war are covered and how if affected everyone at home and away:)

  29. Wonderful display of WWII and its impact on all and how everyone drew together to support each other ~ Awesome historical displays ~

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

  30. I like the paintings very much. Interesting display.