Thursday, November 21, 2019


The War Museum's story carries on after the War of 1812, dealing with other military issues of the 19th century in Canada. I'm picking up with the second gallery, which moves into the idea of fighting for Queen (or King) and country in two different conflicts. The first is the South African War, otherwise called the Boer War. Thousands of Canadians went far from home to fight in what would become a guerrilla war as the 19th century gave way to the 20th, battling the forces of Boer states in South Africa. This conflict is covered extensively.

One of the panels here looks at Georgina Pope, a nurse who would serve with distinction during this war and the First World War. She is among the figures of Canadian military history featured in the Valiants statues downtown near the War Memorial.

Of course the other war in question was the so called War to End All Wars. In 1914, Canadians rallied for the cause, not knowing what was to come in the battlefields of Europe.

Art is featured extensively through the museum, including this large canvas. Canada's Answer is the title of this painting by Norman Wilkinson, depicting the country's First Contingent, 32 000 soldiers heading for Britain in October 1914.

The 18 pounder field gun was the most common type used by Canadian and British military forces during the war. An estimated 100 million shells were fired from guns like this over the course of the war. 

Another prized artifact. This is the personal Colt pistol of Lt.-Colonel John McCrae.

A walk through reproduction of a trench is found here.

Canadians took part in multiple battles throughout the First World War, developing a fierce reputation along the way. Vimy Ridge would be a watershed moment in the country's history, with Canadian soldiers emerging victorious against a tenacious German force. Vimy Ridge is covered extensively in this area.

The First World War was the first time aircraft were used in combat. Tactics were invented as pilots went along. Many of them died. Others survived. One of the Canadian aces is William Barker, whose medal set is displayed here.


  1. WWI was so horrible, and the ongoing tragedy is that it did not "end all wars."

  2. A nurse named Pope, "funny".
    My name translated is "Emperor", my parents had an employee named Pope, too, and a customer with the name Duke.
    At work my boss´ name (from my customer´s side) was Mr. King. Names :-)
    The trench sure is very spooky. The poor men back then, and today.

  3. Presumably the reconstructed trench does not have the mud or rats. Despite their best intentions of museums they fall short of explaining the full horror of war.

  4. ... de oorlog is verschrikkelijk! Het maakt niet uit dat het de Eerste Wereldoorlog, de Tweede Wereldoorlog of de orlog van vandaag in Sirie was ... I do not understand where humanity wants to go!

  5. Estou a gostar de acompanhar esta exposição.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

  6. Only those who have been to war or in the midst of one experienced the pain and suffering caused by war.

  7. Sad to note so many wars fought, not only on one's own land but others' too!

  8. It's about time for all wars to come to an end.

  9. ...even the mightiest empires can fall.

  10. Good to see the nurses represented.

  11. The people at the beginning of the 20th century look so stern and serious. Life was so serious back then. Janis GDP

  12. It is important to understand the causes of war. Thoughtful post.
    I watched Windtalkers yesterday, coughing and sneezing!!!! It was amazing.

  13. I wonder how many people who survived these wars have seen these displays. (Obviously the Boer War was probably too long ago for survivors now.) I think they would have felt pretty sad. I know the reasons for the wars were worthy, but the loss of men, the pain of their injuries makes me wish that eventually no more wars will be fought.

  14. I was struck by the photo of Georgina Pope. What a lovely and accomplished woman. There have been so many accomplished women who have done so many wonderful things and we are just now beginning to hear about them.

  15. @Linda: that is true.

    @Iris: it does feel a bit spooky in there.

    @John: no rats.

    @Ella: nor do I.

    @Francisco: thanks.

    @Nancy: that's true.

    @Magiceye: indeed.

    @Jan: it should be, but I suspect it's in our nature.

    @Tom: that is true.

    @Marie: it is, yes.

    @Janis: or that's the way they posed and beyond the camera they were more affable.

    @RedPat: you do wonder.

    @Jennifer: thank you.

    @Barbara: I know some years ago I was in the area here where the Devil's Brigade is examined, and a volunteer was talking about a year or two earlier seeing a couple of guys there looking at it, and realizing from their conversation that one of them had been in the Brigade itself.

    @Sharon: that's true.

  16. War is terrible, you wonder if the world will ever be war free and live in peace.

  17. I can see why the McCrae pistol is a real treasure for the museum.

  18. You know, in retrospective none of this makes sense. Now we are friends, but only decades ago we needed to fight each other.

  19. I guess we will never be free of war.

  20. War is so destructive, why do we never learn to settle matters in a peaceful way.

  21. really enjoy the hat and the metals. i wonder how heavy they might be? ( ;

  22. @Bill: I doubt it.

    @Jeanie: well worth having.

    @Sandi: that is true.

    @Lois: unlikely.

    @Gemel: it's not in our nature.

    @Beth: a good weight, I think.

  23. The work of remediating all that soil from the lead contamination is two wars is mind boggling.

  24. I can't imagine what it must have been like in those trenches. I was very interested to learn of Georgina Pope, thank you William. Wonderful post!

  25. William - countless lives have been lost in armed conflicts all around the world. I continue to pray for peace. Museums such as this one (ably covered by you) help us to remember and hopefully work toward a world without war. Enjoy your weekend!

  26. Such a dreadful war, how brave they all were and how sad so many were lost:)

  27. So many brave young men and women lost in wars William! I too was interested to read about Georgina Pope!

  28. Another great post and photos from the War Museum ~ ^_^

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

  29. … and still wars continue.

    All the best Jan